Directed Research and Thesis Information

Video Presentation

The following presentation was given by Joyce Hwang, Associate Chair, and Stacey Komendat, Graduate Programs Coordinator, in Spring 2020. The purpose of the presentation was to assisst students with understanding the process and requirements for doing Directed Research and Thesis as their culminating experience in the graduate program. The portfolio culminating experience option was also discussed during the presentation. 

Preparing for Directed Research/Thesis

Students in the M.Arch program must either do a Thesis or Portfolio to meet their culminating experience requirement for graduation. 

Thesis includes two semesters (or more) of work, including registration for “Directed Research” the semester before “Thesis.” Students who take Directed Research in the fall semester should plan to be registered for Thesis in the spring semester. Students who take Directed Research in the spring semester should plan to be registered for Thesis in the fall semester. Students who wish to do Directed Research or Thesis must have a GPA of 3.5 or higher.

To start, students need to define a general area of interest. What are you interested in studying, exploring, learning? Second, students should review the department website and read about the work of each faculty member and make notes. Third, it's recommended that students send a one-paragraph description of their preliminary intentions to 3-5 prospective thesis advisors, and ask them to set up a 20-30 minute interview. Students only need one faculty member to start, but want to ensure a good fit. While it is optimal to find someone who is an expert in the topic you will be investigating, it can be equally beneficial to find someone with whom you have worked productively in the past, someone who can serve, more generally, as a good coach, or someone who possesses the methodological skills related to what you’ll be doing. Lastly, it's recommend using as much of the proceeding semester as possible to make progress on the above as well as the preliminary work of the thesis.

For their final committee, students need at least two committee members from the UB faculty. The committee members need to be either tenured, tenured-track, or clinical faculty. External advisors are acceptable as well, but these individuals are not officially on the students committee and they will not sign any official paperwork and the department does not provide any honoraria or payment for external advisors. Students should plan to meet with their advisors regularly (approximately once a week) throughout directed research and thesis.

Registration Process for Directed Research

Once students have found their Committee Chair, they should work with them to complete the Proposed Directed Research form. The form must then be submitted to Stacey Komendat with signatures before the add/drop deadline of the fall or spring semeter the students is to be registered for Directed Research.

Registration Process for Thesis

Students who are currently registered for Directed Research will be registered for thesis once the department receives approval from the Committee Chair through the Completion of Directed Resrearch Form. Students should follow up with their Committee Chair at the start of the semester if they are not yet regsitered for Thesis and this is their expection. Students who are not approved to move on to Thesis will instead be registered for research studio and should plan to complete the portfolio course as their culminating experience. 

Mid-Term and Final Reviews

Each student in Directed Research and Thesis should plan for two reviews during the semester. These include a mid-term review and a final review. Students are expected to work with their committees to organize their own mid-semester reviews. Final Reviews will be organized by the Department. Students will be contacted in the fall and spring semester with more information. 

Submitting Your Thesis to the Graduate School

At the end of the Thesis semester and following the approved final review, students will be required to obtain signatures from their Committee on their M form (indicating that their thesis was approved by their committee) and submit the form to their Graduate Advisor before the due date in which conferral documents must be submitted to the Gradaute School. She will then obtain the Chair's signature and submit the form to the Gradaute School on the students behalf. The Graduate Advsior will also then mark the "culminating experience" requirement as complete on the students AAR once the M form with signatures has been received. 

Students must also upload their thesis electronically to the Graduate School via the ETD Administrator site by the date in which conferral documents are due. Detailed information on this process, including deadlines each semester, can be found on the Graduate School Electronic Thesis Guidelines website link below. 

Extending Thesis Completion to a Later Semester

If a student cannot complete their thesis/submit the required documentation by the Graduate School deadline and must push graduation to a later semester, they need to submit a Petition to Change their Expected Graduation Term. This form should be submitted to their Graduate Advisor by the end of the semester with necessary signatures (your advisor is your Committee Chair). 

Registration for Thesis after Extension

Students pushing thesis completion to the fall or spring semester must be registered for at least one credit of thesis. Students pushing graduation to the summer semester may or may not need to be registered for thesis over the summer. Please see below. 

Domestic Students Extending Thesis Completion to the Summer

Domestic students do not need to be registered for thesis over the summer. They must submit their Petition to Change their Graduation Term indicating a change to the summer term and then submit their M form and upload their thesis to the Graduate School before the summer deadline posted on the Gradaute School site. In order to graduate, any incomplete on the students record must also be changed to a letter grade when grades are due at the end of the summer term or earlier.

International Students Extending Thesis Completion to the Summer

International students on F1 or J1 visa need to be registered for one credit to thesis over the summer term (if planning to graduate that semester). In order to do this, they must first submit the Final Semester Reduced Courseload Request to International Student Services. Students can find information on this policy and the form on the links below. 

The same as domestic students, international students must also submit their Petition to Change their Graduation Term to the summer term and then submit their M form and upload their thesis to the Graduate School before the summer conferral deadline. In order to graduate, any incomplete on the students transcript must also be changed to a letter grade when grades are due at the end of the summer term or earlier.