Academic Policies & Procedures

Master's Thesis Students

Thesis Proposal

A student's thesis committee must formally approve the student's research project before it begins. To earn official approval, the student must present a research proposal at a public proposal meeting, open to faculty and students.

If the proposed research involves human subjects, animals, biohazards, or radiation, approval from the appropriate institutional review board (IRB) must also be obtained prior to the beginning of data collection. Information on the use of human subjects in research may be found at: The thesis proposal meeting may take place before or after IRB clearance for the use of human subjects has been obtained.

Complete the following steps to arrange the meeting:

  1. The student and the master's thesis committee agree on a date and time for the student's proposal meeting.
  2. Three weeks in advance of the proposed meeting date, the student completes and submits the Application To Schedule a Graduate Student Meeting Form. The Application To Schedule a Graduate Student Meeting Form may be found online at The completed form must be submitted to the administrative secretary for academic affairs in SPH 115. The secretary will verify that the student's Nomination of Master's Thesis Committee Form has been approved and submitted. The secretary will reserve a meeting room. Confirmation of the meeting date, time, and location will be communicated to the student and the committee members via email.
  3. The student and master’s thesis committee chair create a one-page proposal meeting announcement, containing the date, time, location, and a description of the proposed research project. The secretary has examples of proposal meeting announcements which students may use when formatting their announcements.
  4. At least two weeks in advance of the proposed meeting date, two versions of this announcement must be submitted to the administrative secretary for academic affairs in SPH 115. A printed version with the signature of the committee chair must be submitted.  In addition, an electronic version without the chair’s signature must be attached to an email message and sent to the administrative secretary for academic affairs.  The secretary will post the unsigned announcement on the Web.

During the first portion of the proposal meeting, the student formally presents the research proposal in an open forum. Committee members and visitors have the opportunity to ask questions. Visitors leave after the formal presentation. The remaining time is determined by the student's research committee.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Question: How do I make sure I am on the right track with the research project I choose?
Answer: Present your research proposal to your thesis committee at a formal thesis proposal meeting. At this meeting, your committee will help you finalize your plans before you move forward.

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