Thesis Option | Mechanical Aerospace and Materials Engineering | SIU

Southern Illinois University



College of Engineering, Computing, Technology, and Mathematics

Thesis Option | Mechanical Aerospace and Materials Engineering | SIU

Thesis Option

Basic Requirements - The student must complete a minimum of 30 semester hours of 400-level and 500-level work beyond the B.S. level, with at least 18 hours of course work completed within the School of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Materials Engineering. The research work associated with the thesis may account for 6 hours of the total. A minimum 12 hours of courses at the 500-level (excluding thesis) is required. Special Problems courses (i.e., ME 492 and ME 592) will be allowed for credit only in rare circumstances, consult with the graduate studies academic advisor and require the approval of the program director.

Preliminary Advisement – Students admitted to the program should make an appointment, through the program secretary, with the graduate studies academic advisor, the program director, or a faculty member whom they have identified as their thesis advisor (Chair of their thesis committee). The initial course assignment must be completed after discussion with the graduate studies academic advisor, unless or until a permanent thesis advisor is chosen.  The academic advisor should be consulted on program changes, course registration approval, etc. and course registration requires the form to be signed by the MAME Program Director with a copy retained by the MAME office.

Thesis Area & Thesis Advisor Selection - During the first semester of work and prior to the end of the second semester of work, the student should select a general thesis topic area. An attached list shows the MAME faculty research areas. Students need to contact professors associated with a specific research area of their interest to ascertain if a faculty member will serve as thesis advisor and whether or not they can provide support for their research.  Some students may initially be given graduate assistance support on specific research projects and may be required to choose a thesis related to the project if continued support is desired.  If there are any questions about this, make an appointment with the MAME Program Director for clarification.

Once an agreement is reached with a professor on either a general area or a tentative specific topic, the student needs to fill in the “Proposed Thesis Research/ Research Paper Project” form, have it signed by the thesis advisor and approved by the Program Director.  A copy must be on file in the MAME office before a graduate student can continue.

Thesis Committee - After selection of a thesis advisor, the student and the advisor select at least two and not more than four other faculty members to serve as the thesis committee. Including the advisor, at least three of these faculty members must be from the School of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Materials Engineering.

The student is responsible for contacting all proposed committee members and obtaining  signatures indicating their willingness to serve on the “Research Thesis Committee” form. The School formally recognizes the committee when this form is filed with the program's graduate advisor.

Thesis Proposal - Following the selection of a proposed thesis topic and prior to the third week of the third semester (excluding summer session), the student should prepare a thesis proposal and submit it to the thesis advisor for review and approval of the thesis committee. The thesis proposal should include the following: 1) Title; 2) Introduction; 3) Literature Review; 4) Statement of Objectives; 5) Procedure; 6) Estimated timeline to complete the thesis; 7) Expected Results; and  8) References (using approved ASME format).  This proposal should be 10 to 20 double-spaced typed pages, including figures.  It is expected that the student will have completed ME 582 – Research Tools and ME 583 – Technical Research Reporting prior to or concurrent with writing their thesis proposal.

Copies of the thesis proposal should be distributed to thesis committee members for review and the student must give a presentation of their proposal to their Thesis Committee. Acceptance of the student’s thesis proposal requires unanimous approval of the thesis committee. This approval must be obtained no later than 28 weeks prior to expected graduation. Approval for exceptions to this time needs to be obtained from the Program Director. The form “Thesis Proposal Approval” should be completed and signed by thesis committee members following the Thesis Proposal defense. A copy must be filed with the MAME graduate studies academic advisor (MAME Office).

Thesis - The major professor should be consulted for details of organizing and formulating the thesis.  It is customary for the student to provide the thesis committee members with examination copies of the thesis at least five (5) working days prior to the oral examination (thesis defense). These copies should be nearly error free and they should accurately represent the work accomplished by the student. Plagiarism in the thesis will not be tolerated, and such activity can result in a strict reprimand, even failure to graduate.  Careful use of reference material and supervision by the major professor and the committee are expected to be safeguards against improper use in the thesis.

The Graduate School requires the thesis to be filed electronically and requires the signed Thesis Approval form.  See the Graduate School webpage for details. The MAME office requires one original on bond paper and the document on CD in Microsoft Word.  Both must be submitted along with the Thesis Approval form that is signed by the thesis committee members.  The thesis will be reviewed by the MAME Program Director, prior to their signature approval, which is prior to submission to the Graduate School.  The student is expected to pay for any personal copies and copies to their thesis committee members, unless arrangements are made with their thesis advisor or the MAME office to cover the cost of reproduction.  Approval from the Faculty member must be presented to the MAME office staff, along with the account that is to be charged.

Comprehensive Oral Master’s Examination - The examination committee shall consist of the thesis committee, the Program Director, if available, and may include another Faculty member from outside the School if considered appropriate by the thesis advisor. This examination should be held no later than four weeks before graduation. It is the student’s responsibility to contact each faculty member of the Examination Committee and arrange a mutually satisfactory place and time. The MAME secretary can help in arranging a room for the exam and for the distribution of the exam notice.

The student should be aware that questions may cover the thesis and any area of coursework which directly or peripherally pertains to the thesis.  Careful preparation is needed. It is recommended that the student practice presenting their oral defense presentation with their thesis advisor at least once prior to the exam presentation.  This may also be part of their participation in ME 580 – Seminar.

The format of the examination consists of a brief introduction of the student by the major Professor, a formal Power Point presentation of the thesis by the student, and an open question period. The presentation should be carefully prepared and planned to take no more than 35-45 minutes and yet cover the motivation, procedures, and primary results of the research.  All lettering should be large enough to be seen clearly in the room selected for the examination.

Following the completion of the presentation and oral examination, the guests are excused and the committee consults privately with the student being examined for a more thorough questioning of the research and examination performance.  The student is then excused and the committee consults privately to make their decisions.  A majority approval of the examination committee is required. The student may pass without any conditions; pass with the condition that corrections must be made to the thesis under the direction of the thesis advisor; pass with a revised thesis to be reviewed by the thesis committee; not pass, with the student required to take the examination again after more preparation and revision of the thesis.  Conclusions reached by the committee are relayed to the student by his advisor following this conference.  Each committee member completes an examination evaluation form, which the student needs to provide. These forms are prepared by the MAME secretary prior to the examination and are normally handled by the thesis committee chair.

Application for Graduation - The student should file for graduation at least six weeks before commencement. These forms are available from the SIU Graduate School.

Forms Required by Program and Grad School

Please see the MAME office staff to obtain copies of all forms needed for your successful completion of your graduate program.  Additional required forms can be obtained from the SIU Graduate School.