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Thesis Guidelines

Student Handbook

Subject
Format
Faculty Advisor
Content
Deadlines
Formatting and Style Requirements
Suggestions
MS Word template

 

Deadlines

Plan to submit all materials as early as possible. Computers crash. Papers jam in the printer. Degree conferral dates do not change. It is the responsibility of the student to meet all deadlines.

Action Required

Deadlines

Degree

10/21/2015
conferral
2/10/2016
conferral
5/18/2016
conferral
10/19/2016
conferral

Subject (short description) and

Written agreement from a Faculty Mentor to MA Program

5/26/2015 9/9/2015 12/18/2015 5/31/2016

Proposed Title and Outline (½ to 1 page) to MA Program

6/23/2015 10/6/2015 1/19/2016 6/27/2016

Completed Thesis Draft to Mentor and MA Program

8/20/2015 12/16/2015 3/23/2016 8/17/2016

Approval from Mentor and Mentor-approved electronic version to MA Program

10/7/2015 1/27/2016 5/4/2016 10/5/2016

Approval from the MA program and

One final (approved) bound copy to MA Program

10/14/2015 2/3/2016 5/11/2016 10/12/2016

 

       
Application for Degree submitted to Registrar and to Program 9/1/2015 11/2/2015 12/1/2015 9/1/2016

Electronic submissions to the MA Program should be made to ly63@columbia.edu  The Application for Degree form http://registrar.columbia.edu/sites/default/files/content/degree-app.pdf should go to the Registrar and also to biotech@biology.columbia.edu

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Subject

The thesis can be about any subject related to the natural science aspect of Biotechnology. This includes, but is not limited to, almost anything that is touched on in the W4034, W4300 and G4305, as well as almost all the research fields of the faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences and many in the Health Sciences Campus. Non-natural science issues such as business, law, ethics, can be included only as a small portion of the major picture. They should not be the main, or the only, theme of the thesis.

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Format

Option 1: Review articles with strong "views" and "future" components. The thesis shall give in-depth evaluations of the field, including the history, current status, and future directions.

Option 2: Grant proposal for Predoctoral Fellowship using Form PHS398

Option 3: Scientific report. For students who have done independent research beyond that for Supervised Research, the thesis can be about their research while enrolled in the MA program. The general format should follow the Research Articles in Nature Biotechnology. An exception is that the thesis should have a much more extensive background section. Remember that materials already used for reports and credits cannot be used again for thesis except to include them as appendices.

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Faculty Mentor

Any Columbia faculty member can serve as a thesis mentor. The involvement of the faculty member can range from “holding-hands-every-step-of-the-way” to just reading the final draft, depending on the agreement between the student and the advisor. If you would like to have a non-Columbia faculty as your primary advisor, you need to have prior approval from the Program.

Most people, advisor and advisee alike, find it helpful to have at least some ideas about what and how you plan to write before approaching somebody for advice. You must have at least one faculty advisor who will read your final draft critically. In order not to overwhelm research faculty with reading commitments, we may have to limit the number of thesis each faculty can be asked to advise.

Please inform your advisor of all rules and deadlines. Keep in mind that many people take summer vacations in August.

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Content

Title page

Required

Copyright page

Optional

Abstract

Required

Table of contents

Required

List of Figures & Tables

Optional

Acknowledgements

Optional

Dedication

Optional

Main body of the thesis (including introduction and chapter pages, graphs, photos, figures, and tables)

Required

References

Required

Appendices

If applicable

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Formatting and Style Requirements

Follow the requirements exactly. It not only makes a better-looking thesis, it keeps a thesis from being rejected due to technicalities. Theses that are formatted correctly will be easier for the Mentor and Program to review and will facilitate appoval.

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Suggestions

THINK: I think a lot and write very little.
- Ernest Hemingway

SIMPLIFY: Rule Seventeen: Omit needless words. Omit needless words. Omit needless words.
- William Strunk Jr.

REVISE: In my writing, I average about ten pages a day. Unfortunately, they're all the same page.
- Michael Alley

Recommended books:

"The Elements of Style" by W. Strunk Jr. and E. B. White, ISBN: 020530902 (paper back only costs $6.95)

"The Handbook of Good English" by Edward D. Johnson ISBN 0-87196-141-5

"Lapsing Into a Comma" by Bill Walsh. ISBN: 0809225352

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MS Word template

Thesis should be submitted electronically to advisors and the MA office in one file. Here is an MS Word template if you have difficulties with page numbers.

If your file is too big to transmit electronically because it contains too many high-resolution graphics, separate the graphics from the text. In that case, it is OK to send one text file and one graphic file.
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