Graduate students in Environmental Studies typically design a two year program, with one full year dedicated to the thesis requirement. Since students enter with a variety of academic, scheduling and financial needs, the Center's procedural requirements are presented here along with an "idealized" schedule. Establishing specific deadlines for completion of the degree requirements is the graduate student's responsibility in conjunction with his/her faculty advisor. Note that you are individually responsible for complying with requirements set by the Graduate School as described in the "Instructions for the preparation and presentation of Master's Theses", available from the Graduate School Office. A copy can be found on the Graduate School Website at: http://www.brown.edu/academics/gradschool/masters-thesis-guidelines. Students who elect a web-based thesis are not required to follow the Graduate School's rules for thesis submission.
Each entering graduate student will be assigned to an ES faculty mentor near the mid-point of the first semester and will meet with that mentor regularly to discuss possible thesis topics. By the end of the first semester, a thesis topic and the most appropriate thesis supervisor should be identified. Generally, but not always, the faculty mentor will turn out to be the best choice as thesis supervisor.
You should consult with your thesis supervisor and the graduate advisor on course selection for the second semester and together you should identify courses appropriate to support your thesis interests. Most students register for ENVS2980 - the first thesis research course, in their second semester.
You should plan to meet with your thesis supervisor on average for half-an-hour each week during the early stages of your thesis research to discuss substantive and procedural issues related to your thesis, including your advisors' performance-based expectations.
Graduate students typically have two faculty advisors on their thesis committee: one from the ES faculty, and one from another department at Brown University and one or more readers from outside the University. You should consult with your thesis supervisor on the selection of the two readers during your second semester. You are responsible for contacting potential faculty advisors and outside readers to obtain their agreement to serve in this capacity. You should arrange to meet informally with each of your faculty advisors and outside readers in order to elaborate on your thesis proposal and to obtain their comments. You are responsible for arranging meetings with your advisors and readers over the entire course of your thesis project although your primary advisor may convene formal or informal meetings with members of your committee to review your progress.
Full-time students are required to submit at least one significant piece of written work based on their thesis research for committee review by the end of their second semester. Part-time students should consult with their thesis advisor to set a schedule for submission of written work. In addition, you are required to present your thesis results at a Soup or Brown Bag Seminar which should be scheduled during the semester in which you plan to submit the review draft of your thesis. Your thesis commi ttee should be invited (and encouraged) to attend. Graduate students are expected to attend all graduate student seminars, and are encouraged to attend a majority of the undergraduate thesis seminars.
Students expecting to graduate in May generally should plan to submit a review draft of their thesis to their committee on or before 1 April in order to provide their committee with adequate time for review. [Thesis supervisors are, however, free to set an earlier due date.] At that time, you should submit a signed release authorizing the Center to distribute your thesis abstract and/or copies of your thesis in response to requests from the academic and outside communities.
Once your entire thesis committee has completed its review of your draft thesis, you should consult with your ES faculty advisor to schedule a thesis defense. If feasible, all of your readers should attend this evaluation session, and it is open to all ES faculty. You should present a summary presentation of your thesis results, and respond to questions about these results and their implications. Your thesis supervisor will be responsible for communicating the results of the evaluation to you, including the specifics of revisions or additional work that will be required. Following revisions to your thesis based on the evaluation report, you must submit one unbound copy of your thesis ready for signature, accompanied by a formal written response to comments. The response to comments should summarize each substantive comment in the evaluation report and indicate how you have addressed it, including specific page references where you have revised the text, or your reason for not making suggested changes. Those preparing web-theses should prepare a guide for their readers, with links to changes that have been made in their website.
Upon final review and approval by your committee, you must submit the original and one signed copy of your manuscript to the Graduate School. (See "Instructions for the preparation and presentation of Master's Theses", available from the Graduate School.) Note that the Graduate School Office offers a thesis proofing service. You must also submit two bound and signed copies of your thesis to your ES advisor for permanent archival in the CES, and place a digital copy of your thesis on the CES server. The bound copies for the CES should be double-spaced and double-sided. You should also be prepared to make courtesy copies for your advisors and outside readers. Students who prepare a web-based thesis should install their website on the CES webserver and should submit two copies of their website on CDs to our Administrative Manager.
The University's deadline for submission of your thesis to the Graduate School typically is in the first few days in May.