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What Is A Thesis?


A thesis should represent a master student's significant contribution to the field of Industrial and Systems Engineering. A thesis should be based upon the knowledge and methods learned in the classes leading to a MS ISE degree and should incorporate this knowledge in a logical, novel, and creative way to solve some type of an industrial and systems engineering problem.

There are many different types of thesis possible:

  • Develop and test a model of some process
  • Conduct experiments to test a hypothesis (manufacturing, ergonomics, etc.)
  • Develop a software package to solve some type of manufacturing, human factors, or operational problem
  • Solve an actual industrial engineering problem using one or several quantitative, analytical, and/or qualitative methods
  • Survey the addition of technology in industrial engineering


Regardless of the type of thesis that is done, the thesis must meet several criteria:

  • Must be original work
  • Must make a significant contribution to the field of Industrial and Systems Engineering
  • Must be logically organized and properly discuss and reference all relevant technical literature
  • Must strictly follow all the University and College guidelines.

Thesis Procedure

Thesis Topic

Graduate students are urged to choose their faculty advisor and topic as early as possible. An early decision is crucial so that the student can include in his/her Plan of Study the courses that are relevant to the selected research topic. Students are strongly encouraged to start their research before all course work is completed, to minimize the total time to graduation.

Thesis Committee

Upon the choice of a topic, the student selects the thesis committee members in consultation with the thesis advisor. The committee must be formed before the student registers for ISE 6950 (Thesis). The committee consists of a minimum of three faculty members from the Russ College of Engineering and Technology, who have graduate faculty or associate graduate faculty status, and a representative outside of Russ College who is appointed by the Associate Dean upon recommendation of the ISE Graduate Chair. The external representative must have Graduate Faculty or Associate Graduate Faculty status in their respective college.

Thesis Propoal

The students should prepare a typed thesis proposal outlining the proposed work. The proposal is expected to review the state of the art and should indicate that a substantial literature search has been conducted. It should include a list of relevant references that have been reviewed and a proposed methodology for the research.

Once the proposal is approved by the thesis advisor, copies are submitted to the members of the thesis committee for their approval. Students present the proposal to the thesis committee in a proposal defense meeting. The proposal document is submitted to committee members at least two weeks prior to proposal defense meeting.

Thesis Preparation

The thesis advisor guides the thesis research and thesis writing. The committee members are also available for guidance and advice. The student prepares a typed draft of the thesis, following the College's "Directions for the Format and Presentation of Theses and Dissertations".

Oral Exam

After the thesis advisor approves the draft, the student submits copies of the approved draft to the committee members. The draft must be submitted to the committee at least two weeks prior to the scheduled oral exam. An oral exam must be scheduled at least one week prior to the last day of classes in order to graduate that quarter. The exam begins with a presentation by the student of the thesis work, followed by questions on the thesis.

In general, all MS thesis defenses in the College of Engineering and Technology are open to the public. All people attending may participate in asking questions in accordance with specified procedures to be followed during the exam.

Thesis Submission

The result of the oral exam may be pass, fail, or retest. A pass does not necessarily mean that the thesis is finished and ready to be submitted to the Dean's Office. Substantial revisions and rewriting may be required by the committee prior to submission. After necessary revisions are made, the thesis must be approved by the thesis advisor and the Dean. The student must submit the final copy to the Dean's Office by the deadline in order to graduate by the end of that semester according to the TAD guidelines.


Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering
Russ College of Engineering and Technology
270 Stocker Center
Ohio University
Tel: 740-593-1539
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