Thesis Prep

Master of Science Thesis

The M.S. thesis in chemistry is a comprehensive report of a piece of original research done under the direction of a member of the faculty and representing not less than an academic year’s work. The thesis should include a comprehensive survey of the literature on the subject and should be written so as to be understandable without supplementary study by chemists not familiar with this special field.

The thesis examining committee is assigned by the research advisor and the completed thesis should be submitted to the examining committee no later than two weeks before the scheduled final examination; failure to do so may result in the examination having to be rescheduled, possibly to the following semester. The final examination for the M.S. degree is oral and is approximately one hour in length. The major portion of the examination is on the thesis, but general questions on both chemistry and subjects taken as related work are in order. The Master’s degree defense consists of a seminar followed by an oral exam. The seminar is open to the public, but the oral exam is closed, with the student and faculty committee members present only. 

Instructions for preparing M.S. thesis

For information concerning the structure of their M.S. thesis students should consult with their research advisor, however suggested outline which may be used as a default follows.

Title Page – title, name of the student, date, and Thesis submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements of the Degree of Master of Science, Prairie View A&M University. The title should be brief, grammatically correct, and accurate enough to stand alone. The purposes of the title are to attract the potential audience and to aid retrieval and indexing services. The latter is facilitated by using several keywords in the title.

Abstract – one half to one page (single-spaced); a succinct summary of objectives, methods, results and conclusions. The purposes of the abstract are (1) to allow the reader to determine the nature and information given in the thesis and (2) to allow editors to pinpoint key features for use in indexing and retrieval. State briefly the problem or purpose of the research if it is not adequately conveyed by the title, accurately summarize the principal findings, and point out major conclusions.

Introduction – Statement of objectives and a review of pertinent literature is required in the introduction. This section should generally be more detailed than allowed for a journal article. The introduction should contain a clear statement of the problem and why you are studying it. Outline what has been done before by citing truly pertinent literature. All the cited references should be listed in the reference list. Indicate the significance, scope and limits of your work.

Experimental – methods used; instrumental, synthetic and analytical, as well as computational. Also, description of equipment used, built, compounds synthesized, computer programs written, etc. This section should include sufficient experimental details about the experiments used to collect data and techniques used so that experienced workers could repeat your work and obtain comparable results.

Results – the data complete and detailed, with sufficient description to be understood-but without interpretation. Summarize the data collected and the statistical treatment of them. Use equations, figures, and tables where necessary for clarity and conciseness.

Discussion – the interpretation, analysis and explanation of the results, both positive and negative; what does it all mean? The results section can sometimes combined with the discussion section to present as Results and Discussion.

Summary/Conclusion(s) – final wrap-up statement. Have you resolved the original problem? If not, what exactly have you contributed? Conclusions must be based on evidence presented in the thesis. Suggest further study or applications, if appropriate. This section may be omitted and its contents presented in the Discussion section.

References – In the style indicated by your research advisor. If your research advisor does not indicate a specific style, use the following.

Book references. Author or editor (last name followed by initials), book title in italics or underlined, publisher, city of publication, year of publication, page number(s). Example: Dodd, J.S., Ed.; The ACS Style Guide, American Chemical Society: Washington, DC, 1986, pp 108-111.

Journal references. Author (last name, followed by initials), abbreviated journal title in italics, year of publication (boldface), volume number in italics, and initial page of cited article (the complete span is better). Example: Fletcher, T.R.; Rosenfeld, R.N. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1985, 107, 2203-2212.

Appendices – any extensive tabulation of raw data, additional spectra not needed for illustration of the main text or listings or computer programs written or modified.

Further notes on style

  1. All pages should be numbered consecutively. Leave 1.0 inch margins from all sides, line spacing: 1.5, Font: Times New Roman, 12 points.
  2. Each table should be on a separate sheet, be consecutively numbered, and have a caption at the top. Columns must be labeled and all labels should be explained in the caption or in footnotes.
  3. Each figure should be carefully drawn on a separate sheet, consecutively numbered and accompanied by a legend. The legend should normally appear below the figure but may be placed on a separate sheet, if necessary. Figures should be carefully prepared using a drawing program such as ChemDraw or ISIS Draw (a free download; http://www.symyx.com/downloads/index.jsp ). Graphs are treated as figures, i.e., they should not be labeled as "Graph 1," "Graph 2," etc. Each axis of a graph must be clearly labeled as to the variable represented and its value along the axis. Each curve on a graph should be clearly identified. Raw data displayed in graphs may also appear in separate tables. All symbols and conventions, such as broken lines or dotted lines, should be explained in the legend.
  4. In so far as are practical, mathematical equations, Greek letters, special mathematical symbols, and chemical reaction schemes should be typed in the text using MS word insert equations. Graphs should be drawn using MS Excel.
  5. Reprints or preprints of any publications that have already arisen from the research being reported may be appended.

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