It is expected that the student will consult with his or her major advisor for guidance in defining the thesis. When a thesis area has been agreed upon, the student must submit a thesis proposal to his or her advisory committee. Once this proposal is approved, formal work on the thesis can begin.
Normally, it is expected that the thesis topic will be selected and approved as soon as possible, but before the end of the first complete year of study (i.e., by the beginning of the third semester of residence). Students are required to present a thesis proposal to their committee and other interested faculty so that the scope of the research project is clearly understood by all parties. The proposal will consist of an oral presentation based upon a document distributed to the committee in advance. The document should cover previous work in the area, define the specific problem to be addressed and outline the research plan.