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Your choice of Honors thesis supervisor shapes how you personalize the final stages of your academic studies at UConn and in Honors. You will select a thesis supervisor who will work closely with you and serve as a scholarly guide throughout the development, implementation, and conclusion of your thesis project.
What does the thesis supervisor do?
Your thesis supervisor is an expert on your thesis topic and will work closely with you in all stages of your project. Your supervisor is an important mentor for the process of completing your thesis as well as your specific topic, but they are not expected to be knowledgeable about other aspects of Honors.
Your Honors advisor is generally not your Thesis Supervisor; both are important toward your completion of your Honors thesis. Your advisor is knowledgeable about Honors requirements for your major, but they may not know as much about your specific topic. Keep them informed throughout your thesis work, because your Honors advisor must approve both your Thesis Plan and your final thesis . Your Honors advisor will continue to provide advice and support in your final semesters, including your choice of coursework.
Your Honors advisor and your thesis supervisor may be the same person if (a) your thesis topic aligns with your Honors advisor’s research, or (b) your department’s policy is to switch your Honors advisor to your thesis supervisor.
Who can be a thesis supervisor?
Your official thesis supervisor must be a faculty member at UConn (including UConn Health or regional campuses). Graduate students may not serve as official thesis supervisors, although they may be directly and actively involved in your thesis process. Your Honors advisor will need to approve your selection of thesis supervisor.
You should consult faculty members and advisors in your field to find the best person to help guide you through the thesis process. Select someone you can envision working with for multiple semesters; this relationship is critical to the success of your thesis!
Tips for securing, retaining, and managing the relationship with your thesis supervisor:
- Although your thesis timetable will differ based on your department, in general you should have secured a thesis supervisor no later than the 2 nd semester of your junior year. For some majors, especially the sciences, thesis research arrangements should be made by the end of your sophomore year or very early in your junior year.
- Use the steps in the suggested timeline to learn what faculty members in your department or related departments are working on.
- Request a meeting to discuss shared interests and determine if the partnership is a fit. This in-person meeting is critical; don’t ask someone to be your thesis supervisor via email. Learn more about the best ways to connect with faculty .
- During or after the meeting, confirm with the faculty member that they are willing to serve as your thesis supervisor . A faculty member who agrees to work with you on “Honors research” has not necessarily agreed to supervise your thesis!
- Create a timeline with your thesis supervisor and set expectations for how often you will communicate and meet, as well as any internal deadlines.
- Stay in touch with your thesis supervisor throughout the process. Stick to deadlines, but communicate and seek help when you need it.
- Ask questions about your thesis, your field, and their journey in the field. Make the most of having this mentor.
Sample emails to your thesis supervisor
A good thesis requires good communication between you and your thesis supervisor. This includes emails! Yet, even a simple email can lead to stress and overthinking. If you struggle to communicate with your thesis supervisor via email, have a look at six sample emails for inspiration.
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase using the links below at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products or services that I truly believe can benefit my audience. As always, my opinions are my own.
General tips for emailing your thesis supervisor
Sample email to thesis supervisor inquiring about potential supervision, sample email to thesis supervisor setting up a meeting, sample email to thesis supervisor sharing post-meeting action points, sample email to thesis supervisor asking for feedback, sample email to thesis supervisor asking for support, sample email to thesis supervisor when not meeting a deadline.
Every relationship between student and thesis supervisor is unique. And everyone has a unique (email) writing style.
Nonetheless, there are a few general tips for emailing your thesis supervisor:
- Properly address your supervisor. In some contexts, it is acceptable that students address their supervisors on a first-name basis. In others, it would be completely unthinkable! So make sure to follow context-specific standards, and learn how to address your supervisor depending on their position and rank in the university hierarchy . When in doubt, always go for the more formal option (Dr. x, Professor x, Prof. Dr. x, Mr. x, Ms. x).
- Keep your emails short. No one wants to read an email of the length of a novel. Too much text can bury your main request. Always state clearly what you want. Don’t expect your thesis supervisor to read between the lines.
- Create accompanying calendar invites to your emails. Once you and your thesis supervisor/s agree on a meeting date via email, make sure that you send everyone involved a calendar invite via email. It will be greatly appreciated.
- Don’t overthink your emails too much. You may obsess about formulating a certain sentence or making sure no word is missing and no grammatical mistake is made. While emails to your supervisor should not read like a jotted-down text message, overthinking your emails is also a waste of time. Your supervisor will not judge you if your email includes one whacky sentence or a single spelling mistake.
The first email to a potential thesis supervisor tends to be very formal. If you have never met the potential thesis supervisor in person before, make sure to check out tips on how to cold-email professors. In the following sample email, however, we assume that the student and the potential thesis supervisor met before.
Successful (postgraduate) students are proactive and take matters into their own hands. Reaching out to their thesis supervisors to set up a meeting is one part of it. The following sample email contains a simple request from a student to meet with her thesis supervisor.
To get the most out of thesis supervision meetings , it is highly recommended that the student takes notes during the meeting. Based on these notes, the student then summarises the key takeaways from the meeting, or action points, so to speak. These action points will guide the student’s work until the next meeting, and provide a written record of agreements.
Sometimes, it does not make sense to wait for feedback until the next supervision meeting. Of course, students should not bombard their supervisors with constant questions via email. However, a kind request once in a while is usually accepted and appreciated. The following sample email showcases a student asking for feedback.
As a student, it can also happen that you get stuck. Often, it is better to reach out and ask your thesis supervisor for support, both in terms of content or any other challenges you experience. Don’t suffer in silence. The following sample email shows an example of a student asking for support.
And lastly, there are the unfortunate occasions where you made agreements with your thesis supervisor, which you cannot meet. Pulling an all-nighter is generally a bad idea, as sleep is crucial for efficient thesis writing . It might be smarter, to be honest, and open about it and to inform your thesis advisor in advance. In the following sample email, the student informs the supervisor that he cannot meet the agreed deadline.
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Asking for a recommendation letter from a PhD supervisor
How many conferences postgrads should attend, related articles.
How to write a literature review introduction (+ examples)
First meeting with your dissertation supervisor: What to expect
Minimalist writing for a better thesis
The importance of sleep for efficient thesis writing
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Ten simple rules for choosing a PhD supervisor
Department of Biology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
J. scott p. mccain, introduction.
The PhD beckons. You thought long and hard about why you want to do it, you understand the sacrifices and commitments it entails, and you have decided that it is the right thing for you. Congratulations! Undertaking a doctoral degree can be an extremely rewarding experience, greatly enhancing your personal, intellectual, and professional development. If you are still on the fence about whether or not you want to pursue a PhD, see [ 1 , 2 ] and others to help you decide.
As a PhD student in the making, you will have many important decisions to consider. Several of them will depend on your chosen discipline and research topic, the institution you want to attend, and even the country where you will undertake your degree. However, one of the earliest and most critical decisions you will need to make transcends most other decisions: choosing your PhD thesis supervisor. Your PhD supervisor will strongly influence the success and quality of your degree as well as your general well-being throughout the program. It is therefore vital to choose the right supervisor for you. A wrong choice or poor fit can be disastrous on both a personal and professional levels—something you obviously want to avoid. Unfortunately, however, most PhD students go through the process of choosing a supervisor only once and thus do not get the opportunity to learn from previous experiences. Additionally, many prospective PhD students do not have access to resources and proper guidance to rely on when making important academic decisions such as those involved in choosing a PhD supervisor.
In this short guide, we—a group of PhD students with varied backgrounds, research disciplines, and academic journeys—share our collective experiences with choosing our own PhD supervisors. We provide tips and advice to help prospective students in various disciplines, including computational biology, in their quest to find a suitable PhD supervisor. Despite procedural differences across countries, institutions, and programs, the following rules and discussions should remain helpful for guiding one’s approach to selecting their future PhD supervisor. These guidelines mostly address how to evaluate a potential PhD supervisor and do not include details on how you might find a supervisor. In brief, you can find a supervisor anywhere: seminars, a class you were taught, internet search of interesting research topics, departmental pages, etc. After reading about a group’s research and convincing yourself it seems interesting, get in touch! Make sure to craft an e-mail carefully, demonstrating you have thought about their research and what you might do in their group. After finding one or several supervisors of interest, we hope that the rules bellow will help you choose the right supervisor for you.
Rule 1: Align research interests
You need to make sure that a prospective supervisor studies, or at the very least, has an interest in what you want to study. A good starting point would be to browse their personal and research group websites (though those are often outdated), their publication profile, and their students’ theses, if possible. Keep in mind that the publication process can be slow, so recent publications may not necessarily reflect current research in that group. Pay special attention to publications where the supervisor is senior author—in life sciences, their name would typically be last. This would help you construct a mental map of where the group interests are going, in addition to where they have been.
Be proactive about pursuing your research interests, but also flexible: Your dream research topic might not currently be conducted in a particular group, but perhaps the supervisor is open to exploring new ideas and research avenues with you. Check that the group or institution of interest has the facilities and resources appropriate for your research, and/or be prepared to establish collaborations to access those resources elsewhere. Make sure you like not only the research topic, but also the “grunt work” it requires, as a topic you find interesting may not be suitable for you in terms of day-to-day work. You can look at the “Methods” sections of published papers to get a sense for what this is like—for example, if you do not like resolving cryptic error messages, programming is probably not for you, and you might want to consider a wet lab–based project. Lastly, any research can be made interesting, and interests change. Perhaps your favorite topic today is difficult to work with now, and you might cut your teeth on a different project.
Rule 2: Seek trusted sources
Discussing your plans with experienced and trustworthy people is a great way to learn more about the reputation of potential supervisors, their research group dynamics, and exciting projects in your field of interest. Your current supervisor, if you have one, could be aware of position openings that are compatible with your interests and time frame and is likely to know talented supervisors with good reputations in their fields. Professors you admire, reliable student advisors, and colleagues might also know your prospective supervisor on various professional or personal levels and could have additional insight about working with them. Listen carefully to what these trusted sources have to say, as they can provide a wealth of insider information (e.g., personality, reputation, interpersonal relationships, and supervisory styles) that might not be readily accessible to you.
Rule 3: Expectations, expectations, expectations
A considerable portion of PhD students feel that their program does not meet original expectations [ 3 ]. To avoid being part of this group, we stress the importance of aligning your expectations with the supervisor’s expectations before joining a research group or PhD program. Also, remember that one person’s dream supervisor can be another’s worst nightmare and vice versa—it is about a good fit for you. Identifying what a “good fit” looks like requires a serious self-appraisal of your goals (see Rule 1 ), working style (see Rule 5 ), and what you expect in a mentor (see Rule 4 ). One way to conduct this self-appraisal is to work in a research lab to get experiences similar to a PhD student (if this is possible).
Money!—Many people have been conditioned to avoid the subject of finances at all costs, but setting financial expectations early is crucial for maintaining your well-being inside and outside the lab. Inside the lab, funding will provide chemicals and equipment required for you to do cool research. It is also important to know if there will be sufficient funding for your potential projects to be completed. Outside the lab, you deserve to get paid a reasonable, livable stipend. What is the minimum required take-home stipend, or does that even exist at the institution you are interested in? Are there hard cutoffs for funding once your time runs out, or does the institution have support for students who take longer than anticipated? If the supervisor supplies the funding, do they end up cutting off students when funds run low, or do they have contingency plans? ( Fig 1 ).
Professional development opportunities—A key aspect of graduate school training is professional development. In some research groups, it is normal for PhD students to mentor undergraduate students or take a semester to work in industry to get more diverse experiences. Other research groups have clear links with government entities, which is helpful for going into policy or government-based research. These opportunities (and others) are critical for your career and next steps. What are the career development opportunities and expectations of a potential supervisor? Is a potential supervisor happy to send students to workshops to learn new skills? Are they supportive of public outreach activities? If you are looking at joining a newer group, these sorts of questions will have to be part of the larger set of conversations about expectations. Ask: “What sort of professional development opportunities are there at the institution?”
Publications—Some PhD programs have minimum requirements for finishing a thesis (i.e., you must publish a certain number of papers prior to defending), while other programs leave it up to the student and supervisor to decide on this. A simple and important topic to discuss is: How many publications are expected from your PhD and when will you publish them? If you are keen to publish in high-impact journals, does your prospective supervisor share that aim? (Although question why you are so keen to do so, see the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment ( www.sfdora.org ) to learn about the pitfalls of journal impact factor.)
Rule 4: It takes two to tango
Sooner or later, you will get to meet and interview with a prospective PhD supervisor. This should go both ways: Interview them just as much as they are interviewing you. Prepare questions and pay close attention to how they respond. For example, ask them about their “lab culture,” research interests (especially for the future/long term), and what they are looking for in a graduate student. Do you feel like you need to “put on an act” to go along with the supervisor (beyond just the standard interview mode)? Represent yourself, and not the person you think they are looking for. All of us will have some interviews go badly. Remember that discovering a poor fit during the interview has way fewer consequences than the incompatibility that could arise once you have committed to a position.
To come up with good questions for the prospective supervisor, first ask yourself questions. What are you looking for in a mentor? People differ in their optimal levels of supervision, and there is nothing wrong with wanting more or less than your peers. How much career guidance do you expect and does the potential supervisor respect your interests, particularly if your long-term goals do not include academia? What kind of student might not thrive in this research group?
Treat the PhD position like a partnership: What do you seek to get out of it? Keep in mind that a large portion of research is conducted by PhD students [ 4 ], so you are also an asset. Your supervisor will provide guidance, but the PhD is your work. Make sure you and your mentor are on the same page before committing to what is fundamentally a professional contract akin to an apprenticeship (see “ Rule 3 ”).
Rule 5: Workstyle compatibility
Sharing interests with a supervisor does not necessarily guarantee you would work well together, and just because you enjoyed a course by a certain professor does not mean they are the right PhD supervisor for you. Make sure your expectations for work and work–life approaches are compatible. Do you thrive on structure, or do you need freedom to proceed at your own pace? Do they expect you to be in the lab from 6:00 AM to midnight on a regular basis (red flag!)? Are they comfortable with you working from home when you can? Are they around the lab enough for it to work for you? Are they supportive of alternative work hours if you have other obligations (e.g., childcare, other employment, extracurriculars)? How is the group itself organized? Is there a lab manager or are the logistics shared (fairly?) between the group members? Discuss this before you commit!
Two key attributes of a research group are the supervisor’s career stage and number of people in the group. A supervisor in a later career stage may have more established research connections and protocols. An earlier career stage supervisor comes with more opportunities to shape the research direction of the lab, but less access to academic political power and less certainty in what their supervision style will be (even to themselves). Joining new research groups provides a great opportunity to learn how to build a lab if you are considering that career path but may take away time and energy from your thesis project. Similarly, be aware of pros and cons of different lab sizes. While big labs provide more opportunity for collaborations and learning from fellow lab members, their supervisors generally have less time available for each trainee. Smaller labs tend to have better access to the supervisor but may be more isolating [ 5 , 6 ]. Also note that large research groups tend to be better for developing extant research topics further, while small groups can conduct more disruptive research [ 7 ].
Rule 6: Be sure to meet current students
Meeting with current students is one of the most important steps prior to joining a lab. Current students will give you the most direct and complete sense of what working with a certain supervisor is actually like. They can also give you a valuable sense of departmental culture and nonacademic life. You could also ask to meet with other students in the department to get a broader sense of the latter. However, if current students are not happy with their current supervisor, they are unlikely to tell you directly. Try to ask specific questions: “How often do you meet with your supervisor?”, “What are the typical turnaround times for a paper draft?”, “How would you describe the lab culture?”, “How does your supervisor react to mistakes or unexpected results?”, “How does your supervisor react to interruptions to research from, e.g., personal life?”, and yes, even “What would you say is the biggest weakness of your supervisor?”
Rule 7: But also try to meet past students
While not always possible, meeting with past students can be very informative. Past students give you information on career outcomes (i.e., what are they doing now?) and can provide insight into what the lab was like when they were in it. Previous students will provide a unique perspective because they have gone through the entire process, from start to finish—and, in some cases, no longer feel obligated to speak well of their now former supervisor. It can also be helpful to look at previous students’ experiences by reading the acknowledgement section in their theses.
Rule 8: Consider the entire experience
Your PhD supervisor is only one—albeit large—piece of your PhD puzzle. It is therefore essential to consider your PhD experience as whole when deciding on a supervisor. One important aspect to contemplate is your mental health. Graduate students have disproportionately higher rates of depression and anxiety compared to the general population [ 8 ], so your mental health will be tested greatly throughout your PhD experience. We suggest taking the time to reflect on what factors would enable you to do your best work while maintaining a healthy work–life balance. Does your happiness depend on surfing regularly? Check out coastal areas. Do you despise being cold? Consider being closer to the equator. Do you have a deep-rooted phobia of koalas? Maybe avoid Australia. Consider these potentially even more important questions like: Do you want to be close to your friends and family? Will there be adequate childcare support? Are you comfortable with studying abroad? How does the potential university treat international or underrepresented students? When thinking about your next steps, keep in mind that although obtaining your PhD will come with many challenges, you will be at your most productive when you are well rested, financially stable, nourished, and enjoying your experience.
Rule 9: Trust your gut
You have made it to our most “hand-wavy” rule! As academics, we understand the desire for quantifiable data and some sort of statistic to make logical decisions. If this is more your style, consider every interaction with a prospective supervisor, from the first e-mail onwards, as a piece of data.
However, there is considerable value in trusting gut instincts. One way to trust your gut is to listen to your internal dialogue while making your decision on a PhD supervisor. For example, if your internal dialogue includes such phrases as “it will be different for me,” “I’ll just put my head down and work hard,” or “maybe their students were exaggerating,” you might want to proceed with caution. If you are saying “Wow! How are they so kind and intelligent?” or “I cannot wait to start!”, then you might have found a winner ( Fig 2 ).
Rule 10: Wash, rinse, repeat
The last piece of advice we give you is to do this lengthy process all over again. Comparing your options is a key step during the search for a PhD supervisor. By screening multiple different groups, you ultimately learn more about what red flags to look for, compatible work styles, your personal expectations, and group atmospheres. Repeat this entire process with another supervisor, another university, or even another country. We suggest you reject the notion that you would be “wasting someone’s time.” You deserve to take your time and inform yourself to choose a PhD supervisor wisely. The time and energy invested in a “failed” supervisor search would still be far less than what is consumed by a bad PhD experience ( Fig 3 ).
The more supervisors your interview and the more advice you get from peers, the more apparent these red flags will become.
Pursuing a PhD can be an extremely rewarding endeavor and a time of immense personal growth. The relationship you have with your PhD supervisor can make or break an entire experience, so make this choice carefully. Above, we have outlined some key points to think about while making this decision. Clarifying your own expectations is a particularly important step, as conflicts can arise when there are expectation mismatches. In outlining these topics, we hope to share pieces of advice that sometimes require “insider” knowledge and experience.
After thoroughly evaluating your options, go ahead and tackle the PhD! In our own experiences, carefully choosing a supervisor has led to relationships that morph from mentor to mentee into a collaborative partnership where we can pose new questions and construct novel approaches to answer them. Science is hard enough by itself. If you choose your supervisor well and end up developing a positive relationship with them and their group, you will be better suited for sound and enjoyable science.
The authors received no specific funding for this work.
- Masters Thesis and Supervisor
[Part of the Policies of the CHD, August 2019]
A candidate for a terminal Master's degree, with the prior approval of a faculty supervisor and of the CHD, may undertake an extended reading and research project resulting in what amounts to a Master's thesis. The thesis is optional for the S.M. degree and required for the M.E. degree. In connection with this project, an S.M. candidate may take no more than two SEAS letter-graded reading and research courses (299r), no more than one in any given semester. M.E. candidates may take up to one 299r course as part of the eight letter-graded courses and are required to take eight 300-level reading and research courses.
When a thesis project is pursued in connection with a terminal Master’s degree, the thesis supervisor, in consultation with the student, shall nominate an outside reader who is a member of the SEAS faculty for approval by the CHD by course-enrollment day of their second semester in the case of SM students, or by course-enrollment day of their third semester for M.E. students. Ordinarily, both the supervisor and reader must be members of the SEAS faculty; exceptions must be approved by the CHD.
An initial draft of the thesis must be transmitted to the supervisor before Spring Recess of the student’s final semester (or Thanksgiving Recess if the student’s final semester is the fall). The final draft of the thesis, incorporating any revisions given on prior drafts by the thesis supervisor and outside reader, must be transmitted to the thesis supervisor and outside reader by the first day of Reading Period, and the student should simultaneously submit a one- or two-page abstract to the Office of Academic Programs. The thesis supervisor and outside reader should each submit to the Office of Academic Programs by the last day of Reading Period a letter giving their evaluation of the thesis.
It is expected that such a thesis will represent a more substantial contribution than is customary for an undergraduate senior thesis, but less so than a doctoral dissertation. The thesis will follow a similar format to a Ph.D. dissertation, and satisfy similar criteria. The main difference is in the volume of original work expected of a master’s thesis, which might have the content of roughly 25% of original research as in the Ph.D. dissertation. No part of a master’s thesis may be included in a subsequent Ph.D. dissertation. The student should note that the following four points should be covered in a master’s thesis: introduction, stating the question being asked, or hypothesis being tested, or design challenge being addressed; literature review, summarizing pertinent prior work; original research or design; and conclusions, stating what was learned.
The thesis abstract and evaluations will be made part of the student's permanent record. When an S.M. or M.E. program plan approved by the CHD provides for or requires the preparation of a thesis, awarding of the degree will not be recommended until the abstract and satisfactory evaluations have been received by the Office of Academic Programs. Unsatisfactory evaluations of the thesis will be reflected as unsatisfactory grades given by the supervisor in the student’s 300-level and/or 299r courses and will preclude the awarding of the M.E. degree; M.E. students who otherwise have met the requirements for the S.M. may apply for that degree to be conferred on the next degree date.
M.E. students who are in-between supervisors
M.E. students who do not remain with their initial supervisor are expected to secure a new supervisor by the end of the second semester. Students who cannot identify a new supervisor by that time will be expected to withdraw from the program based on a lack of progress to degree, receiving the S.M. if they have met the requirements for that degree. Such students may petition to remain for a third semester in order to satisfy the S.M. requirements.
The new supervisor will normally be a member of the SEAS faculty. Permission for a student to have a non-SEAS supervisor may be given by the Director of Graduate Studies; such students must also have a SEAS faculty member as co-advisor.
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Individualized & Interdisciplinary Studies Program
Guide for thesis supervisors.
Thank you for supervising an individualized major senior thesis project. Your expertise is critical in guiding the student’s project and setting the criteria for its evaluation. The guidelines below outline some considerations particular to individualized major students. They are most appropriate for traditional research projects but may also be relevant to less traditional final projects.
All individualized majors complete a capstone, which provides them an opportunity to integrate knowledge they have acquired during the course of their majors. About 40-45 percent of individualized majors do so by completing a thesis. (The rest complete our capstone course or an approved alternative.)
Thesis projects usually take the form of a traditional research study, but other formats, such as a photo essay, film, website, or piece of creative writing are also possible. Thesis projects, whatever their form, should contribute to the development of knowledge or practice in new ways, involve significant background research, and require sustained attention in the implementation of the project. If the final product takes a less traditional form, it should include a piece of writing that describes the student’s learning process.
Some thesis projects will comprise six credits completed over the course of two semesters. This is mandatory for students completing Honors Scholar requirements in their individualized major. Non-honors students may complete a one-semester, three-credit thesis project. Students intending to complete a thesis project must submit a thesis proposal which they have discussed with their thesis supervisor no later than the last day of classes of the semester before they begin their thesis.
In the social sciences and humanities : In the Fall semester of the senior year, students will typically begin their research by enrolling in a thesis-related research seminar, graduate course, or independent study in their thesis supervisor’s department. During the Spring semester, students will enroll in UNIV 4697W Senior Thesis (for which the thesis supervisor serves as instructor) in which they will complete the research and write the thesis. During this process, the student meets regularly with the thesis supervisor for feedback on data collection, evidence gathering, analysis, and writing.
In the sciences , students may follow a more extended sequence, perhaps two to three semesters of data collection and laboratory work (independent studies or research courses) followed by thesis writing (UNIV 4697W) in the final semester.
Individual faculty will differ in expectations regarding research methodology, theoretical approaches, and presentation of findings. Nonetheless, there are some general criteria and intended learning outcomes for all individualized major thesis projects.
- The student’s research, analysis, and writing on the thesis project should be relevant to their individualized major and represent an opportunity for them to integrate and deepen at least several aspects of study in the major.
- A thesis should do more than summarize the existing literature on a particular topic. It should make an original contribution to the field of study, present new findings in the form of new data, or new, critical interpretations of existing material. It should reflect a good command of the research methodologies in the relevant discipline(s).
Upon completion of the thesis project the student should be able to:
- Define a research question and design a substantial research project.
- Select a methodological approach to address the research question.
- Identify appropriate sources and collect relevant and reliable data that addresses the research question.
- Analyze the strengths and limitations of different scholarly approaches to the question, and recognize the resulting interpretative conflicts.
- Develop an argument that is sustained by the available evidence
- Present that argument in a clear, well-organized manner.
Requirements for Honors Students
As noted above, all Honors students are expected to complete at least six credits of thesis-relevant coursework. In addition, all Honors students are expected to have a second reader and make a public presentation of their thesis project.
We ask Honors students to identify a second reader for their thesis from a relevant discipline, which may be the same as, or different from, the supervisor’s discipline. The second reader will provide the student with a different perspective and may provide additional insights on how to achieve the intended learning outcomes of the thesis. The thesis supervisor, in consultation with the student, determines when to bring the second reader on board. It is the supervisor’s prerogative to define how the grade for the thesis will be determined.
Honors students are required to make a public presentation of their thesis research in a format negotiated with the thesis supervisor. Where possible, the audience should include the thesis supervisor, the second reader, and an IISP staff member. Other faculty members and the student’s peers may be invited to join the audience, as well.
Existing departmental exhibitions or “Frontiers in Undergraduate Research” make excellent venues for student presentations. If a student cannot find a venue for his or her presentation, please consult with IISP and we will coordinate one.
Note: Although non-Honors students who are completing a thesis are not required to have a second reader or make a public presentation, we would certainly welcome them to do so.
An IISP staff member serves as Honors Advisor to each individualized major following an Honors Scholar plan of study. The staff member’s role as an Honors advisor is to coordinate and facilitate students’ plans for completing Honors Scholar requirements, including the thesis, and to monitor progress toward completion.
Thesis Course Registration
Specific instructions for registering for UNIV 4697W are available on the Capstone page .
We very much appreciate your willingness to supervise an individualized major’s senior thesis. If you have any questions about the Individualized Major Program or about supervising an individualized major thesis, please contact IISP staff .
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The First Steps: Choosing a Topic and a Thesis Supervisor
There are two key choices you must make when you embark on your thesis: choosing a topic and choosing a supervisor.
Choosing a topic
A research topic can be very broad - you have not yet developed a specific research question but instead, have an expansive area of interest. Here are some tips for choosing a successful thesis topic:
Let your interests guide you. This project will consume a considerate amount of your time during your junior and senior years, so pick a topic that you are genuinely interested in and committed to exploring. Think about interesting topics or readings from your coursework—what caught your attention?
Pay attention to your social world. Look to the media, news outlets, your friends - what issues are people debating now? What questions need answering?
Think of this as a chance to do something totally new. Is there a course you wish that the School of Hospitality Management offered about a certain topic? What research questions follow from that topic?
Engage with current or past research. See what has been done. Look at journals like the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Research, the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, and the International Journal of Hospitality Management. What topics have they covered recently? What can you add to the debate?
Your research topic does not have to be specific yet. Do some brainstorming—write down 5 to 10 topics that interest you. Talk with friends and professors to see which topics are the most interesting (and could provide the starting point for a strong thesis). Once you have decided on a topic, you are ready for the next step.
Choosing a thesis supervisor
Once you’ve identified the broad subject area you are interested in exploring, you should think about who to choose as a thesis supervisor. Any graduate faculty member of the School of Hospitality Management may serve as a thesis supervisor. A list of the current graduate faculty members is provided in the Appendix. We have one research center within the School of Hospitality Management, the Center for Food Innovation. If you work with this center as part of your thesis work, you should plan, consistent with best practices across laboratories in the College of Health and Human Development, to choose a faculty member other than personnel from the center to be your thesis supervisor. However, it is assumed you will also work closely with personnel from the center during the completion of your thesis work.
There are several ways to go about choosing a thesis supervisor. One strategy is to consider professors in whose courses you have been or are enrolled. Is your thesis topic relevant to their research interests? A second strategy is to look on the School of Hospitality Management website for a listing of faculty members and their research interests ( /shm/directory/BioList.aspx ). You can also think about interesting articles or books you’ve read in your coursework. Finally, you can meet with the School’s honors adviser to brainstorm about who a suitable thesis supervisor might be.
Once you have identified a potential thesis supervisor, you must ask him or her to advise the thesis! This should take place during the fall or spring semester of your junior year. Before approaching potential supervisors, do some brainstorming on your own. For your own use, write a brief description of your potential topics and 2-3 more specific research questions. When you meet with a potential supervisor, you do not yet need to have a definitive research question. This is something a thesis supervisor will help with.
You should set up appointments to discuss the thesis with potential supervisors. Send them an email requesting a meeting to discuss the possibility that they advise your thesis. Include the description of your topic. When you have scheduled a meeting, present your potential topic and ask them if they would be interested in advising it. If you are still working on developing your specific research question, ask for their advice or feedback on your potential research questions.
Examples of the questions to ask during your first meeting with a potential supervisor:
- How promising do you find my research topic?
- Are there particular directions you think I should explore in developing a research question?
- How often do you like to meet with advisees?
- How many drafts are you willing to read? How many days do you require to read a draft?
- What is your preferred method of maintaining regular contact?
- Do you have any books or journal articles that you think I need to read before our next meeting?
 Note that a topic is a broad subject area while a research question is much narrower. A research question is a specific problem or question within a given subject area that can be addressed within the approximate 1.5-year time frame given over to the thesis A research question is typically tested with empirical data.
Return to Thesis Guide Table of Contents
Duties of a thesis supervisor and the supervision plan
The instruction belongs to the following themes.
- Supervising theses
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Supervision work is closely linked to the intended learning outcomes of the degree and thesis as well as the related grading criteria. In accordance with the Regulations on Degrees and the Protection of Students’ Rights at the University of Helsinki, the student must receive instruction both during their studies and while writing their thesis. See here for instructions on ensuring that your supervision is aligned with the learning outcomes.
On this page
The Rector decides on the principles of supervision, including the rights and obligations of the student and the supervisor. The degree programme’s curriculum must contain instructions on how to prepare a personal study plan, along with the practices for approving and updating the plan. Please review the curriculum of your faculty and the thesis grading criteria in order to ensure that your supervision is aligned with the learning outcomes.
In the Rector’s decision, supervision refers to the support provided for the student’s or doctoral candidate’s learning process as they change, gain experience and grow as an expert. As a whole, supervision consists of communication, advice, instruction and special guidance. Supervision and counselling can be organised in a group led by the supervisor, at a seminar, in a peer group of students or doctoral candidates organised by the supervisor or in a personal meeting separately agreed between the supervisor and the student/doctoral candidate. Supervision and counselling can also be provided electronically through, for example, Moodle or other teaching tools available.
Members of the teaching and research staff provide counselling that is related to teaching and research and requires knowledge of the content of different studies and disciplines. This counselling may concern, for example, personal study plans or thesis supervision.
Guidance and counselling are provided in the Finnish and Swedish-language and multilingual degree programmes in Finnish or Swedish depending on the student’s native language or in English or another language as agreed with the student. If the student’s native language is a language other than Finnish or Swedish, guidance and counselling are provided in English or, if agreed with the student, in another language. In English-language master’s programmes and doctoral programmes, guidance can also be provided solely in English.
The degree programme steering group is responsible for ensuring that each student is appointed with a primary supervisor who is responsible for the supervision of their thesis. Additional supervisors may also be appointed. Your supervision plan can be used to agree on the responsibilities related to the supervision.
Supervision as interaction and the supervision plan
Supervision is about interaction with responsibilities that are divided between the different parties of the supervision relationship. Ambiguities related to supervision are often due to the parties’ different expectations regarding the content and responsibilities of the supervision and the fact that the parties are often unaware of the others’ expectations. Below, you can find a table that serves as a great tool for considering the different rights and obligations related to supervision
The policies and practices of supervision should be discussed in the early stages of the thesis process. The supervisor and the student may also prepare a written supervision plan that clarifies the schedule for the supervision and the thesis work as well as the content of the supervision. The plan can also be utilised if any problems arise or you fall behind schedule.
Topics the supervisor should incorporate in the supervision
When supervising a student’s thesis work, remember to pay attention to the following topics:
- the responsible conduct of research and avoiding cheating
- guiding the student in matters related to data protection
- matters related to open access publications and the public availability of theses
- inform the student of the general process of thesis examination and approval and the related schedule
Different faculties may have their own decisions and instructions on thesis supervision. Please read the instructions provided by your faculty.
See also the Instructions for Students
You will find related content for students in the Studies Service.
Bachelor’s theses and maturity tests
Thesis and maturity test in master's and licentiate's programmes.
- Instructions for students
- Notifications for students
- Research article
- Open access
- Published: 22 August 2019
The journey of thesis supervisors from novice to expert: a grounded theory study
- Leila Bazrafkan 1 ,
- Alireza Yousefy 2 ,
- Mitra Amini 1 &
- Nikoo Yamani 2
BMC Medical Education volume 19 , Article number: 320 ( 2019 ) Cite this article
Supervision is a well-defined interpersonal relationship between the thesis supervisors and their students. The purpose of this study was to identify the patterns which can explain the process of expertise attainment by thesis supervisors. We aimed at developing a conceptual framework/model to explain this development based on the experience of both students and supervisors.
We have conducted a qualitative grounded theory study in 20 universities of medical sciences in Iran since 2017 by using purposive, snowball sampling, and theoretical sampling and enrolled 84 participants. The data were gathered through semi-structured interviews. Based on the encoding approach of Strauss and Corbin (1998), the data underwent open, axial, and selective coding by constant comparative analysis. Then, the core variables were selected, and a model was developed.
We could obtain three themes and seven related subthemes, the central variable, which explains the process of expertise as the phenomenon of concentration and makes an association among the subthemes, was interactive accountability. The key dimensions during expertise process which generated the supervisors’ competence development in research supervision consisted maturation; also, seven subthemes as curious observation, evaluation of the reality, poorly structured rules, lack of time, reflection in action, reflection on action, and interactive accountability emerged which explain the process of expertise attainment by thesis supervisors.
As the core variable in the expertise process, accountability must be considered in expertise development program planning and decision- making. In other words, efforts must be made to improve responsibility and responsiveness.
Peer Review reports
Supervision is a well-defined term in the interpersonal relationship between thesis supervisors and students. A supervisor is designated to assist the student’s development in terms of their research project [ 1 , 2 , 3 ]. Faculty members supervise the students because qualified supervision leads to success on the part of the student, and it has moral, reputational, and financial outcomes for the institution. Supervisors are expected to train students to gain competence in areas such as specialist skills, generalist skills, self-reliance skills, and group/team skills [ 4 ]. Expertise is derived from the three essential elements of knowledge, experience, and the ability to solve problems in society [ 5 , 6 , 7 ]. .According to Dreyfus, acquisition of expertise or practical wisdom represents a higher level of “self-actualization.” At this point, one reaches a level in which they can flourish in their talents and abilities. This enables the teachers to function in scientific communities and multicultural environments [ 7 ].
Wiscer has identified three stages in the thesis supervision process and describes the duties of the supervisors in each of them [ 8 ]. Pearson and Brew state that maturation in specialist skills, generalist skills, self-reliance skills, and group/team skills are the major areas that need to be promoted in the student. Moreover, these are the generic processes in which the supervisors should be involved for efficacious supervision if they aim to help the students develop in various institutional, disciplinary and professional settings; acquire appropriate expertise and features needed for employment; and make an outline of what might form a flexible professional development program for supervisors in this setting [ 3 ]. Vereijken et al. emphasized novice supervisors’ approaches to reach expertise in supervision and explained the relationship between practice and dilemmas among novice supervisors [ 9 ].
.Despite the importance of expertise in higher education and particularly research supervision, research abilities are not considered as one of the priorities in the employment of the academic staff. Furthermore, the newly employed faculty members are often involved in teaching, administrative tasks, and services in health care; this inhibits them from expertise attainment in other aspects such as research supervision [ 10 , 11 , 12 ]. In this regard, Malekafzali believes that in the area of research activities, the faculty members have serious weaknesses in defining the problem, choosing the appropriate method for research, analyzing the data, interpreting the results, and publishing scientific articles. Besides, there is a lack of coherent and compiled training programs which can enhance their research capabilities [ 13 ].
One of the most important factors contributing to the thesis and research quality is the process of developing expertise in supervisors’ research supervision. Most studies in our country have focused on research abilities during the research, and fewer studies have focused on the process of expertise acquisition in thesis supervision, and no actual model has been proposed for this [ 11 , 12 , 13 ]. The quantitative researches could not explain exactly how and through which process the faculty members, as thesis supervisors, become experts in thesis supervision since the expertise process is multi-factorial and has many unknown aspects. Considering the effective role of qualitative research in clarifying ambiguous and unknown aspects, we chose the grounded theory approach for this study [ 14 , 15 , 16 , 17 ]. This theory will be used when the investigator intends to determine the patterns of actions and social interactions needed for the development of expertise by specific groups of people in a specific setting [ 17 , 18 ].
In this study, we aimed to identify the themes that explain the expertise development process among thesis supervisors in Iran, and also to develop a conceptual framework/model to explain this development based on the experience of both students and supervisors.
This study was carried out in 20 universities of medical sciences with different ranks in Iran because universities are the places where supervisors and students interact purposefully to discourse the needs of experts on specific occasions and in specific conditions. In these universities, different students study with various disciplines. There are three types of universities in Iran. Type 1 universities are the ones with the most facilities, faculties, research presentations, international collaborations, and scientific outcomes. The second rank belongs to type 2, and the one with the least mentioned qualities is type 3 universities. All three types of universities were included in this study. In all these courses, writing a thesis is one of the requirements with the same role and regulation. The majority of the students in this research project were in the late stages of both undergraduate and postgraduate educational programs within the same function and regulation.
We conducted this qualitative study based on a grounded theory approach in a systematic form [ 17 , 18 ]. Grounded theory is a symbolic interaction which is derived from systematic data collection during the research process. In this strategy, collecting and analyzing data and the theory derived from the data have a close association [ 17 , 19 ]. The investigator’s purpose in using grounded theory is to describe and clarify a phenomenon in the social condition and to identify the essential processes working within [ 17 ].
In this study, 84 subjects including 56 faculty members of medical sciences, 20 undergraduate and postgraduate students (medical students, MS of Science, Ph.D. and residents), and eight managers in the field of research supervision participated. Using purposive sampling, snowball sampling with maximum variation, we selected the participants from a variety of academic ranks with different work experiences, as the key informants in thesis supervisors. Then, to continue the sampling, we used theoretical sampling and data saturation. The inclusion criterion was 5 years of work experience in thesis supervision, and the exclusion criterion was the unwillingness to participate in the study. Firstly, we collected data in Shiraz University with the help of a research supervisor who is known for his high quality of supervision and then data gathering was initiated in the university of Isfahan. There were 34 key informants from the two universities and 22 individuals from other universities. Students were selected based on their willingness to participate.
Theoretical sampling was used next to develop the tentative theory. The basis for theoretical sampling was the queries that emerged during data analysis. At this stage, the researcher interviewed the supervisor, administrators, and students. Theoretical sampling facilitated in verifying the supervisors’ responses and credibility of categories and resulted in more conceptual density. Data saturation was obtained when no new data emerged in the last five interviews. Therefore, data gathering by interviews was terminated.
We collected the data primarily by semi-structured interviews from September 2017 to September 2018. The participants were recognized with unknown codes based on their field of work and setting, and each participant was interviewed in one or two sessions. Having obtained the participants’ informed consent, we recorded the interviews and they were transcribed verbatim immediately. The interviews began with open-ended general questions such as, “What did you experience during research supervision?” and then the participants were asked to describe their perceptions regarding their expertise process. Leading questions were also used to deeply explore the conditions, processes, and other factors that participants recognized as significant issues. The interview was based mostly on the questions which came up during the interview. On average, each interview lasted for an hour, during which field notes and memos were taken. At the end of each session, the participants were asked to give an opinion on other important topics which did not come up during the interview, followed by data collection and analysis which are simultaneously done in grounded theory; analytic thought and queries that arose from one interview were carried to the next one [ 20 ].
The data were also collected by unstructured observations of the educational atmosphere in the laboratory, and the faculty member and students’ counseling offices. These observations lasted 5 weeks, during which the faculties and students’ interactions and the manner of supervision were closely monitored. The observation was arranged to sample the maximum variety of research supervisor activity for some faculty member who is known to be a good or poor supervisor and detailed organized field notes were kept.
Also, we used the field notes to reflect emergent analytic concepts as a source of three angulations of data, frequently reconsidering the data, and referring to field notes in the context of each participant’s explanation. Analysis of the field notes facilitated in shaping contextual conditions and clarifying variations in the supervisors’ responses in each context. This led to the arrangement of several assumptions in the effect of contexts.
We simultaneously performed data collection and analysis. We read the scripts carefully several times and then entered them into MAXQDA (version10). We collected and analyzed the data practically and simultaneously by using a constant comparative method. Data were analyzed based on the 3-stage coding approach, including open, axial, and selective coding by Strauss and Corbin In the open coding stage, we extracted the basic concepts or meaning units from the gathered information. Then, more general concepts were formed by grouping similar concepts into one theme. The themes became clearer throughout the interviews. Then, the constructs of them were compared with each other to form tentative categories. After that, we conducted axial coding by using the guidelines given in Corbin and Strauss’s (2008) Paradigm Model [ 21 ]. The extracted themes (codes) in the previous (open coding) stage were summarized in 3 main themes during the axial coding stage, and then the core variables were selected in the selective coding stage [ 20 ]. To generate a reasonable theory to the community, a grounded theorist needs to condense the studied happenings a the precise sequence. To check the data against categories, the researcher asks questions related to certain categories and returns to the data to seek evidence. After developing a theory, the researcher is required to confirm the theory by comparing it with existing theories found in the recently available research [ 21 ]. We finalized the model after 5 days; during this time, we explained the relations between subcategories and the core category for realizing theoretical saturation and clarifying the theoretical power of the analysis explained about work as narration.
In terms of accuracy improvement, we used the Lincoln and Guba’s criteria, including credibility, dependability, conformability, and transferability [ 22 , 23 ].
To increase credibility, we collected data from different universities in Iran, and their credibility was also confirmed by three reviewers and experts in qualitative research. Also, some of the participants rechecked the data and the investigators’ description and interpretation of their experiences carefully. Prolonged engagement and tenacious observation facilitated the data credibility. In this way, the process of data collection and analysis took 12 months. Data triangulation and method triangulation also confirmed credibility [ 20 ]. The use of the maximum variation sampling method contributed to the dependability and conformability of data. Furthermore, once the explanation of the phenomenon was full, it was returned for confirmation to 3 participants of each university, and they validated the descriptions. Finally, to attain transferability, we adequately described the data in this article, so that a judgment of transferability can be made by readers.
This study was approved by the Ethics Committee of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences (92–6746). The participants were informed about the research aim and interviews. Informed consent for conducting and recording the interview was obtained. The confidentiality of the participants’ information was maintained throughout the study.
In this study, the mean age of the faculty members and students was 44.34 ± 14.60 and 28.54 ± 2.38 years, respectively. All the faculty members and most of the students were married. Only three students were single. Three themes and seven interrelated sub-themes emerged from the data (Table 1 ). The main variable, which explains the process of expertise as the phenomenon of concentration and makes an association among the categories, was interactive accountability. The key dimensions of the expertise process are displayed in a model (Fig. 1 ).
The process of expertise attainment in research supervisor model
Theme 1: engagement
In this theme, the initial phase of expertise, the supervisor starts to observe the others’ behavior in the students’ supervision and guidance based on the practical and cognitive skills previously acquired. They attempt to recognize the different needs based on the amount of their motivation and previous competence so that the models become important for them, and they recognize the scope of the needs based on their importance. Then, they try to understand the needs and values of real thesis supervision in this context. In this theme, two sub-themes, curious observation, and evaluation with reality emerged.
In this sub-theme, several concepts such as personal interest, self-awareness, ability to meet the students’ needs, ability to detect weaknesses in research skills, and observation of role models in this area act as the impellent factors in expertise attainment in research supervision.
Regarding personal interest, a successful faculty member in the area of research supervision said:
“…In my experience, faculties must be selected from those who have curious personalities as well as being good observers, first of all. In this way, they will have the appropriate intrinsic character to acquire knowledge in guidance and supervision)…” (Faculty member N0.3)
According to our participants, the most important intrinsic motivation is the desire to update the content knowledge and skills in research supervision. An experienced professor said:
“ … The knowledge gap between the new and old generations of faculty members is what forced me to update my knowledge...and it has been detected by myself…” (Faculty member N0.3).
Another important intrinsic motivation is the ability to meet the educational and research needs of students. However, usually these needs are combined; one of the faculty members put it:
“…I would like to be an expert in this process (thesis supervision) to meet my students’ needs. Because I have seen and felt this need many times before…” (Faculty member N0.12).
Since the publication of research directly affects the promotion of a faculty, some professors seek skills that are practical in article publication such as several statistical and basic skills for thesis writing. The participants considered the self-awareness and consciousness elements as very important. Through consciousness, one can better understand their needs.
Evaluation with reality
In this sub-theme, in the initial phase maintaining academic dignity and competition motivates the faculty members to obtain expertise in research supervision. At this point, the supervisor evaluates themself and their potentialities considering more precise features and acquired information (or data), so that they can find the distance between the optimal state and the existing conditions. They also evaluate the others’ potentialities in this field realistically and compete. Good supervision is then highlighted for them. Based on the supervisors’ experience, at this stage, they are seriously engaged in evaluation and competition.
Another motivation was obtaining academic and social promotion. Although the number of theses supervised by them can affect the academic promotion of supervisors, this effect is insignificant. The real motivation is maintaining academic dignity and competition amongst peers. A member of the clinical faculties stated:
“ … To enhance academic dignity, a faculty member should master various skills such as patient care, teaching, educational skills, and last but not least, research supervision. I got involved in research and thesis supervision because I felt I should not be left behind…” ( Faculty member N0.17).
At this stage, the junior supervisor tries to increase the cognitive knowledge in research supervision such as increasing specific knowledge of the discipline, planning, directing of a project effectively, and developing good interpersonal skills presented in research supervision.
Theme 2: supervision climate
In this theme, we describe the contextual factor which changes the process of expertise attainment in thesis supervisors. The result of the study reflects some concerns about the relationship between individuals in the context in that they interact purposefully but with barriers. The supervision climate in the thesis supervision process in this theme led to the emergence of two sub-themes, challenging shortcomings and role ambiguity. These challenges include poorly structured rules and regulations which, in turn, can cause confusion and role ambiguity.
This report shows that contextual factor plays a significant role in promoting the quality of a thesis in a university, but the process is faced with altered challenges such as inadequate resources, inadequate time, and ineffective evaluation and rule and regulation deficit. These challenges include the following. Most faculty members and students have experienced these shortcomings.
Various inadequate resources, such as access to new and online journals, laboratory equipment were one of the challenges for supervisors in certain aspects which required more competency, and the constraints on communication with the other academic centers worldwide undermine the sense of competition and hinder the effort put in to become an expert. One of the students said: “… I see how difficult it is to gain access to a good article or laboratory materials in this situation …we try, but it just isn’t possible...” (Faculty member N0.17).
Based on our results, the sudden changes in personal life, work position, and organizational change can affect the path to expertise. These changes such as marriage, work overload, admission of students over the capacity, new rules and regulation of scholar citizenship, promotion and so on can have both positive and negative impacts, depending on whether they facilitate or restrict the professional development of faculties as supervisors. For instance, an increase in student admission causes work overload, which results in neglecting self-improvement.
“…As you know, we are over- loaded with students (they have increased the number of admissions), which is beyond our capacity. This means that most of our time will be dedicated to teaching. Self-improvement is difficult due to lack of time…” (Faculty member N0.6).
Poorly structured supervision can occur where there is an ambiguous context of supervision structure, supervisors and students’ roles. Most participants, as faculty members, managers, and students have experienced some difficulties in this regard, due to poorly structured rules(EDITORS NOTE; do you mean ‘rules and regulations ‘here) and regulations and its impact on the thesis supervision. It is not only the rules themselves but also the way they are implemented. One of the faculty members expressed confusion over the rules related to the dissertation as follows:
“…It should be made clear what I must do exactly. It is obvious regarding supervision on the work of students; there are not the same expectations from an Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and a professor. Most problems occur as a result of the gap in legislation; For example, the rules imply a full Professor does not need a statistical consult, while many supervisors like me do not have enough knowledge and skills in statistical analysis...” (Faculty member N0.1).
Failure to implement the rules also increases the sense of this ambiguity, and there are no specific rules for verifying capability and audits to determine inadequate experts in thesis supervision. The role ambiguity or unclear roles and responsibilities of the supervisor and student in the thesis process were other limitations that were emphasized by the majority of participants. A faculty member stated:
“… Supervisors have different roles during the thesis process. To enhance this process, one must exactly know one’s responsibilities. For instance, in the beginning, the supervisor should guide the students through the process of finding a suitable research topic, but if the teacher's role is unclear, then instead of guiding they may actually choose the topic, and if so, the students will be prevented from exploring, using their creative thinking, and improving their problem-solving abilities…” (Faculty member N0.1).
Based on the participants’ experiences, in this situation in which there are inadequate resources and organizational and social problems, some faculty members are well-trained in the field of supervision. One of the senior faculty members said: “It is my honor to mention that despite the existence of many obstacles, I have been able to train well-educated students, who have become researchers and contribute to the development of science in my country.”
One of the most important causes of poor performance is ineffective evaluation. Based on the participants experiences, two main problems can result in ineffective evaluation. First of all is the inadequate feedback from the supervisor which leads to unmotivated learners and the second one is lack of feedback from the stakeholders and educational institutes which in turn diminishes the supervisor’s efforts toward self-improvement. These can lead to poor performance both in students and supervisors.
In one of the Ph.D. student’s words:
“…In this system, there is no supervision on the supervisors; there is no control or evaluation of their work. Also, the supervisors don't get feedback from their students during the research process, and there is no third person who investigates whether the report is real or not…” (student N0. 7).
Evidence from data suggests that an unfair judgment and evaluation of academic theses are other problems in the process of acquiring the merit of teachers. If there isn’t proper evaluation, students and supervisors would not have the right standards to correct their performance.
The professors do not always consider the lack of expertise to be the only cause of poor performance. Many believe that inadequate monitoring can also reduce the motivation for quality performance. This means that supervisors may obtain the necessary expertise, but they are not motivated to enhance their performance since they are not expected to do this. One student had experienced:
“…I was so thrilled that my thesis supervisor was an experienced, older and well-known professor, but unfortunately, I soon found out that not only was his scientific knowledge outdated, but also he lacked the necessary supervision skills, so he let the students do all the work unsupervised. He did not take any responsibility during the process…” (Student N0.4).
Another point which leads to poor performance is the fact that some faculty members do not comprehend the main purpose of the thesis writing process; actually, they do not know the difference between teaching and guiding in the project or thesis supervision. One of the basic science supervisors said: “… Some faculties consider a thesis as research work and not a lesson in which research methodology should be taught...” (Faculty member N0.5).
Performing poorly along with ignoring professional ethics can also lead to increased tension and stress in student-teacher relationships. This can result in despondency and frustration in both students and teachers and create a vicious cycle of inefficient supervisors who will train inefficient students or future supervisors.
One of the students put it this way:
“...I feel the absence of a supervisor in my research; I would have been more successful, and my results would have been better if I had had more guidance.” (Student N0.6).
Theme 3: maturation
In this theme, the secondary phase of expertise, the individual is emotionally involved and feels that success or failure is important. This is a stage in which the learner needs an integrated schedule to be competent, and as a result, success or failure will follow. The supervisors frequently think about personal promotion and takes action in this way. They try out different approaches, and sometimes due to disappointment and embarrassment they fail. Some individuals quit at this stage and never reach competence, or they have what may be called an artificial competence. And this does not mean that they are not considered to be well-known supervisors; rather, they know, as do the students, that they are not competent. At this stage, the supervisor attempts to acquire the identity of a researcher and tries to enhance his availability, and be dutiful, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic in research supervision. Along the lines of this theme, three sub-themes of Reflection in action, Reflection on action, and Interactive accountability emerged.
Reflection in action
In this sub-theme, the patterns of expertise development begin, and self-directed learning, participatory teaching and learning strategies through a hidden curriculum are considered. At this stage, the supervisor tries to follow self-directed learning, and the amount of time allocated to expertise acquirement seems to be one of the most important factors. In this regard, one stated:
“…My success in this case (research supervision) is, first of all, due to self-evaluation and self-effort. For instance, to be in control and take full responsibility, I think about everything related to the guidance of the students, and I felt the need to master every aspect of research, even the statistical skills needed for analysis…” (Faculty member N0.8).
The supervisors’ activities were divided into two groups: self-directed –learning strategy and gaining experience through individual effort. Expertise requires continuous interaction and experience. They evaluate their learning, and by this, they experience the manner of managing and allocating time for effective supervision. According to participants, the amount of time allocation for expertise seems to be one of the most important factors for self-directed learning and expertise acquirement.
The formal training workshops provided an opportunity for supervisors with similar terms and the same problems in terms of learning experiences, environmental features, students, and educational problems to come together in one place. Participants also considered the formal participatory teaching necessary since it can provide an opportunity for the peers to get together and exchange their experiences. As a clinical faculty member put it:
“…Collaborative strategies can be beneficial in many ways. One of them is the facilitation of experience exchanges amongst teachers, peers, and colleagues and modeling the behavior of teachers and teaching workshops that emphasize the importance of their expertise in research supervision…” (Faculty member N0.1).
In our participants’ experience, this self-directed learning is effective if, and only if, it is done accompanied by proper training and participatory teaching. Otherwise, it is a waste of time. As an example, one of the students in this field said:
“…my supervisor was a great teacher and put in a lot of time and effort on my thesis supervision; however, due to his lack of research skills, I had to change my thesis proposal three times. However, after he participated in a training course at the University of Oxford, his progress was unbelievable and impressive…and I saw his expertise…” (Student N0.11).
One of the faculty members also quoted:
“…When the teachers feel a gap in their knowledge or skill, the university must provide a comfortable, appropriate, and easy way for learning them …” (Faculty member N0.10).
Regarding this subject, one of the Managers in this field stated:
“…Another improvement strategy is the use of interpersonal interactions among faculty members, these instructive interpersonal interactions among the faculty members in similar conditions make it possible to benefit from peers’ feedback …” (Manager N0.1).
A hidden curriculum strategy, like learning through trial and error can also affect the expertise process. One of the professors expressed:
“… Learning through trial and error is very effective; through the supervision of each thesis, we learn some of our mistakes and try not to remake them in the next one …” (Faculty member N0.3).
The professors do not always consider the lack of expertise to be the only cause of poor performance. Many believe that inadequate monitoring can also reduce the motivation for quality performance. This means that supervisors may obtain the necessary expertise, but they are not motivated to enhance their performance since they are not expected to do this. One student’s experience:
Reflection on action
The learner provides an integrated schedule for their competence and uses all the facilitators and facilities around them for further efficiency and promotion. This stage is named Conditional Self-efficacy by expertise experience. At this stage, the supervisor is considered a competent individual who can guide the students based on the experiences of specialized and non-specialized faculty members.
In this regard, one of the students said:
“…I can acknowledge that my supervisor functioned very impressively in this thesis, but guidance and supervision are not static; rather, it is an active process. To be a good supervisor, the faculty members should try to keep up to date and revise their attitudes, duties, and their specialty and knowledge. …” (Student N0.3).
According to the participants, at this stage the supervisors have achieved meta-competence and general characteristics or professional value; are able to guide the students and others; and develop characteristics such as acquiring specific knowledge of the discipline, especially well-organized knowledge, planning, directing of a project effectively, having good interpersonal skills, and being dutiful, knowledgeable and enthusiastic in research.
One of the PhD students states: “… My supervisor is typical of an expert. His ingenious inquiries, extraordinary attention to science and his personality have always been admired and he has been a role model for me…” (Student N0.6).
For example, the supervisors attend educational programs on scientific writing and thesis evaluation as well as ethics in research and apply them in team work. Gradually, their competency can enable them to function as a good supervisor for their students. At this stage, the supervisor develops so that they can respond due to discovery and intuition. These responses replace their dubious and unskilled reactions. The supervisor now reflects various stages of supervision and guidance. They take action, and in fact, a part of their reactions are achieved through observation and recognition. In this stage, they not only recognize what should be done but also distinguish how to achieve it with more precise discretion. A competent person does the appropriate task in the most appropriate time using the right platform.
The time period required for training or acquiring expertise varies from one person to another. Some individuals become experts very soon, whilst it takes others longer.. As one of the professors said:
“…In the beginning, I was too concerned with my responsibility as a thesis supervisor and was not sure what I should do. However, after ten years of experience, I have gained a sense of awareness which makes supervision easier for me. Of course, up to date knowledge and skill as to managing a thesis are always necessary. It took me about 12 years to reach where I am today. Furthermore, an individual who is expert at present, will not be so in two years, so I want to say that the expertise in thesis supervision in a continuum, which depends on the supervisor’s reflections on work and activity …” (Faculty member N0.15).
The continuous path of expertise in supervision can be affected by various factors. This has resulted in a range of expertise and performance in supervisors. This range and continuum is a theme that most of our participants agreed with. One of the managers revealed:
“…There is surely a continuum of expertise. We cannot deny the expert supervisors; however, the existence of those with poor supervising skills must also be acknowledged (in thesis supervision). There are those on whose ethics, honesty, and knowledge we can rely on. On the other hand, there are a few who are not as trustworthy as needed.” (Manager N0.1).
The core variable: interactive accountability
As shown in Fig. 1 , through this survey, we found that the core variable in thesis supervision process is the interactive accountability shaped by interactions of supervisors and students in an academic setting, so to enhance the accountability, each group must take responsibility and do his or her job. In this regard, one of the managers claimed:
“…When supervisors find themselves responsible, and the university officials recognize this responsibility, the supervisors are motivated to seek expertise and try to enhance their competencies and acquire learning strategies because of being accountable…” (Manager N0.2)
This means that teachers must be responsive to the needs of students, university and community. Accountability is a mutual interaction between the students and their supervisor, in other words, if the student is responsive to his duties, he creates motivation in his supervisor. One of the participants commented;
“…I've always tried to be a competent thesis supervisor, so that I have the ability to meet the needs of the community and university as well as students. I say to myself when I accept the supervision of a thesis, I should be well accountable for its results…” (Faculty member N0.32)
This study aimed at exploring the processes of expertise among thesis supervisors based on the experience of faculty members, students, and managers of Iranian universities of medical sciences. The section concludes with an explanation of how these themes are a cohesive relationship, which enables the expertise development of supervisors. It seems that the core variable in the expertise process is the concept of interactive accountability and efforts to acquire the capacity to respond to the students and academic needs. This will help them to promote their professional behavior in research supervision. The importance of accountability and various types of ability in thesis supervision has also been emphasized by other studies [ 24 , 25 , 26 ]. It was also mentioned as the major feature of the supervisor in other studies [ 26 , 27 ].
In this study, “accountability” emerged as the behavioral pattern through which the supervisors resolved their main concern of being an expert in being responsive to academic and students’ needs. Supervision training is complex since academic choices in the real world can depend on supervisor characteristics. The results of this study revealed that in the initial phase of supervision, observation, evaluation, and reflection in action and maturation stage in the secondary phase were the major themes that emerged. This result compared with Bandura’s social learning and self-efficacy theory was significant in similarity and difference. Bandura believes that achieving self-efficacy is one of the most important contributors to competence. In his model, he suggested four sources of self-efficacy, including previous accomplishments, vicarious experiences such as having a role model, verbal persuasion such as coaching and evaluative feedback, and emotional arousal [ 28 , 29 ]. Likewise, in this study, we found that the emotional arousals such as personal interest in cooperative learning, peer competition, meeting the needs of students, self-awareness and the need for upgrading are the significant factors for the faculties’ expertise. Also, our participants found that the utilization of previous experiences is the most effective method of achieving personal competence. However, this study indicates conditional expertise, which means if an expert’s information is not up to date and they do not make any effort in this regard, being an expert and having expertise is not a permanent condition.
This study also revealed that self-effort, workshops, and role models, as part of a hidden curriculum, are influential methods of teacher empowerment which agrees with the results of some studies such as those of Britzman et al. and Patel et al. Patel et al. have also suggested the importance of role modeling; they believe that modeling and observing other faculty members behavior is an effective tool for promoting and strengthening the sense of efficacy in learners [ 30 , 31 ].
Based on our study results, among the learning methods used in Iran, the collaborative education and problem-based learning is the widely accepted method which is preferred by most faculties. Therefore, cooperative and collaborative learning strategies can be used in educating the faculty members towards expertise in supervision, as revealed in other studies [ 32 , 33 ].
Lack of time is reported by supervisors to be one of the most common barriers in trying to become an expert and carry out respectable worthy supervision, and taking one’s time is acknowledged as a motivating factor for putting in more effort in thesis supervision [ 34 , 35 , 36 ].
The effect of contextual factors is studied in several surveys [ 36 , 37 , 38 ]. Gillet et al. state that contextual and organizational factors play a key role in the competence of teachers in research supervision [ 36 ]. This study also showed that faculty expertise in thesis supervision was significantly affected by the impact of contextual interventional factors such as sudden changes, structural shortcomings, and educational environment. Based on our and other studies’ results, among the sudden changes, increased workload due to the increase in the student population has greatly affected expertise. Moreover, while an increase in the workload can lead to more experienced faculty members, it is very time-consuming and, therefore, reduces the chance to obtain new information and skills in thesis supervision [ 33 , 37 ].
Similar to our study, other studies such as those of Al-Naggar et al. and Yousefi et al. have also found insufficient monitoring and lack of formative evaluations to be one of the main obstacles in the thesis supervision process. Studies have indicated that to improve the supervision process, careful planning and incentive rules must be applied [ 5 , 34 ]. Similarly, our participants mentioned that rules and regulations which have resulted in the positive effect of research on scholarship and promotion had truly motivated them. Like our study, other studies in Iran have also found that the amount of time allocated to learning is one of the influential factors affecting the faculty members’ expertise [ 13 , 38 ]. A malfunctioning relationship between the student and supervisors can affect both of them negatively; that is, it can compel the students to misbehave and also reduce the teachers’ motivation to develop better skills. This malfunction may be due to the lack of constructive interactions or paternalism leadership in research supervision [ 39 , 40 ]. As shown in Fig. 1 , this study provided a conceptual framework that can be used in policy making and studies of expertise development in research supervision. This framework is based on the perception and experience of the majority of those involved in the thesis process. It also provides teachers with an opportunity to compare and share their experiences.
This model has three fields of experience, which yields a comprehensive gradient of the factors used for the development and progress of thesis supervision quality. In other words, it is a rational structure that makes an effort to cover a comprehensible number of stages, of concept, achievement, and impact or consequence. In other words, this model is a combination of a great number of items that help to recognize the present and future processes of expertise in thesis supervision, and future challenges in this area which predict results and impacts of supervisor’s knowledge, attitude and research supervision. Table one offers the categories and clarifications [ 17 ].
This study is based on our overall model of expertise attainment. This model reveals that specific personal efforts such as observation of prior knowledge, evaluation or self-assessments alongside the university contextual dynamics help to figure out how supervisors select their approaches and engagements, and respond carefully to their task, which in turn impacts the supervisors’ level of expertise and, finally, outcomes such as work and perseverance, which then help them to become an expert. Similar to the social learning theory of Bandura, this model also states that there is a mutual relationship between different parts that can mutually affect one another. For instance, faculty members have shown in various studies how one’s previous academic success and failure can affect the future levels of involvement and motivation. Based on the study aims, we focused on only three of the components of the model: observation, evaluation, and self-efficacy; in terms of motivational processes, we focused on four motivational components. The first is self-efficacy, defined as students’ judgments of supervisor abilities to carry out a task, and their beliefs about their ability to do so show the highest levels of academic achievement and also engagement in academic behaviors promoting learning.
Through the use of this grounded theory, we can begin to understand the supervisors’ challenges and why it may be difficult to become an expert in research supervision in practice. The junior supervisors curiously observe and evaluate their environment by reflection and in action and do their best to attain knowledge and skills in the supervision of the theses, so that they can reach maturation. They are mainly supported by prior knowledge of the research supervision, which they had acquired when they were students. The concept of “interactive accountability” refers to the fact that if the supervisor is responsive to the students’ needs, they can be an expert in supervision. If they cannot overcome the barriers and shortcomings such as lack of time, they will not attain expertise in thesis supervision.
Strengths and limitations of the study
This grounded theory study describes the main dimensions of expertise in research supervision from straight reports of a large qualitative sample ( n = 84) which consists of thesis supervisors, from all Iranian universities in three different data collection phases. Like other qualitative research, the results of this study cannot be generalized; therefore, it is recommended that the researchers conduct further qualitative research in other contexts to support these findings.
Despite the above limitations, we believe that this model can be useful for supervisors in the thesis supervision area, not only in analyzing the supervisors’ experience of supervision and being an expert but also in recognizing the areas of intervention or development of teacher training.
Implications of the study
The findings of the present study will help administrators to choose the supervisor with definite criteria in medical sciences institutes and facilitate the expertise in the supervision process through elimination of the shortcomings and improvement of the educational climate. The supervisor’s interest, talent, and capabilities should be assessed at the beginning of their employment as academic staff. Supervisors should attend educational workshops for updating their knowledge about supervision. It is recommended that collaborative strategies and methods should be used, so that we can contribute to the process of becoming an expert. The assessment of supervisors’ functioning in supervising and provision of feedback can contribute to the process of expertise. Feedback received from students about their supervisors will improve the supervisor’s further expertise and capabilities. For future studies survey on the impact of successful models in thesis supervision, disclosure analysis studies about student and supervisor are recommended.
In this study, we aimed to find out how thesis supervisors achieve expertise in supervision. The results of our study indicated that thesis supervisors achieve expertise in supervision in two stages of engagement and maturation. The emotional need to be responsive towards peers and students is the main motivation for the acquisition of competency at observation and evaluation phase of engagement. Through the evaluation and observation phase, the supervisors reach cognitive competence, such as research skills. Also, in the maturation phases, they reach meta-competence in research supervision such as problem-solving and resolving dilemmas by reflection in and when exposed to dilemmas. Meanwhile, the effects of supervision climate include shortcomings and role ambiguities which should be taken into account. According to this model, when supervisors are exposed to such problems, they apply multiple strategies, such as self-directed and collaborative learning; and learning by trial and error and from the role models. This will help them to promote their professional behavior in research supervision. This study indicated that interactive accountability, as the core variable, can be guaranteed in thesis supervisors by making the role clear, creating a supportive context, and improving the academic competencies of staff in an ongoing fashion. Therefore, this can promote constructive expertise in supervisors and foster a deeper understanding of the supervisor’s expertise in thesis supervision.
Availability of data and materials
The datasets produced and analyzed during the present study are not publicly accessible due to participant confidentiality, but are obtainable from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
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The researchers would like to thank all research participants of Medical Sciences Universities (faculty, student, and managers) who contributed to the study. The authors would also like to thank the Education Development Center of Shiraz University of Medical Sciences for cooperation in this study and special thanks to Professor Shokrpoour for her editing.
The present article was extracted from the thesis written by Leila Bazrafkan. The design and implementation of the project was financially supported by Esfahan University of Medical Sciences (Grant No. 92–6746).
Authors and affiliations.
Clinical Education Research Center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
Leila Bazrafkan & Mitra Amini
Department of Medical Education, Medical Education Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran
Alireza Yousefy & Nikoo Yamani
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LB developed the study design, conducted the interviews and analysis, ensured trustworthiness, and drafted the manuscript. AY, as the supervisor participated in the study design, supervised the codes and data analysis process, and revised the manuscripts. NY as research advisor participated in the study and provided guidance during the study and MA revised the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
LB is an assistant professor of medical education in Medical Education Research Center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences,
AY is Professor of Medical Education Dept., Medical Education Research Center, University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan
MA is Professor of Medical Education in the Medical Education Research Center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences,
NY Associate Professor of Medical Education Dept., Medical Education Research Center, University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran
Correspondence to Nikoo Yamani .
Ethics approval and consent to participate.
This study was approved by the Ethics Committee of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences (92–6746). The participants were justified about the research aim and interviews. Informed consent for conducting and recording the interview was obtained. The confidentiality of the participants’ information was maintained throughout the study.
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Bazrafkan, L., Yousefy, A., Amini, M. et al. The journey of thesis supervisors from novice to expert: a grounded theory study. BMC Med Educ 19 , 320 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12909-019-1739-z
Received : 07 February 2019
Accepted : 29 July 2019
Published : 22 August 2019
DOI : https://doi.org/10.1186/s12909-019-1739-z
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- Qualitative research
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- Thesis supervision
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How to write an to thesis supervisor email with an email template
How to reply to an to thesis supervisor email with an email template, how to write email to thesis supervisor using our email template.
Learn how to write better to thesis supervisor emails with our tips and templates.
Learn how to reply to to thesis supervisor emails with our tips and templates.
Learn how to write email to thesis supervisor using our tips and template
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Sample Email for Thesis Supervisor: A Guide to Writing an Effective Email
Are you a graduate student struggling with writer’s block about how to write the perfect email to your thesis supervisor? Fear not, as we’ve got you covered! In this article, we’ve compiled some sample emails as a guide to help you draft the perfect email to your thesis supervisor. We know it can be tricky to find the right tone and words to convey your message effectively, and that’s where these samples come in handy. You can use these examples as a starting point and edit them to fit your specific needs and personal style. Whether you’re seeking feedback on a chapter or asking for a meeting, these samples will give you the inspiration you need to write an email that your thesis supervisor will respond positively to. So, grab your coffee, put on your writer’s hat, and let’s get your email drafted and sent in no time!
The Best Structure for a Sample Email to Your Thesis Supervisor
When crafting a sample email to your thesis supervisor, it’s essential to ensure that the structure of your email is clear, concise, and compelling. After all, your email is your initial point of contact with your supervisor, and it’s vital that you make a good first impression. In this article, we’ll outline the best structure for a sample email to your thesis supervisor, using Tim Ferris’s writing style to keep your message engaging and impactful.
1. Introduce Yourself
The first paragraph of your email should introduce yourself and why you are contacting your thesis supervisor. You could choose to open with a short anecdote, a brief summary of your academic background and interests, or something that you admire about your supervisor’s work that has inspired you to contact them. Keep it personalised, engaging, and professional.
2. Explain the Purpose of Your Email
The second paragraph of your email should explain the purpose of why you are contacting your thesis supervisor in the first place. Are you seeking initial advice on your thesis topic? Are you looking for an opportunity for them to serve as your thesis supervisor? Clarify what you are hoping to gain from the interaction, and keep your language straightforward.
3. Share Your Thesis Topic or Proposal
In the third paragraph of your email, it’s time to share your thesis topic or proposal. Describe what the focus of your research is, why it interests you, and what you hope to achieve. Be concise and to the point. It’s essential to provide enough detail that your supervisor can make an informed decision on whether to take you on as a student.
4. Discuss Your Expectations and Goals
In the fourth paragraph, it’s time to discuss your expectations and goals. This could include the timeline for your research, what you expect to learn, and what you would like to achieve through your thesis. By outlining your expectations and goals, you show your thesis supervisor that you have thought through your research and are committed to your project.
5. Request a Meeting
The final paragraph of your email should be a clear request for a meeting. This could be an initial conversation to discuss your research proposal or alternatively, a formal request to become their student. Be clear with your request and provide dates when you are available to meet. Be sure to close your email with a professional sign off and your contact information.
In conclusion, crafting a sample email to your thesis supervisor is an important first step towards building a successful mentor-mentee relationship. By structuring your email as described above, you can ensure that you make a good first impression and increase your chances of success. Remember to keep your message personal, concise, and compelling, inspired by Tim Ferriss’s writing style.
Email Samples for Thesis Supervisor
Request for an extension of thesis submission.
Dear Professor [Name],
I hope this email finds you well. I am writing to request an extension for my thesis submission date. As you are aware, I have been facing a few health issues that have hindered my progress. I have consulted my doctor and been advised to take some time off from work and rest. Due to this, I have been unable to complete my work at the expected time.
I would be grateful if you could grant me an extension of an extra two weeks to complete my thesis. I have been working diligently to ensure that it is completed to the best of my abilities and with your permission and support, I can ensure that it is done in the most efficient manner. I am looking forward to hearing back from you regarding this matter.
Thank you very much.
Request for Feedback on Thesis Proposal
I hope this email finds you well. I am writing to request your feedback on my thesis proposal. As per our agreement, I have submitted my thesis proposal to you, but I have not received feedback yet. I am looking to further refine the proposal and need your valuable input.
Would it be possible for you to let me know if you require any further information or modifications in the proposal? I am eager and ready to work on any recommended changes requested. Please let me know if there are some points that you would like me to further elaborate or if you require some bibliography added as well.
Thank you very much for your assistance in this matter. I am eagerly waiting for your feedback.
Request for Thesis Submission Guidelines
I hope this email finds you well. As I am approaching the deadline for my thesis submission, I was wondering if it would be possible for you to send me some guidelines for any formatting or other requirements that I may need to adhere to for the submission of my thesis.
As this would be my first time submitting a thesis, I want to make sure that I do not make any errors or overlook any formal requirements.
Thank you very much for your kind consideration. I am looking forward to hearing from you soon.
Request for Letter of Recommendation
I hope this email finds you well. I am writing this email to request your assistance in writing a letter of recommendation on my behalf. I have applied to several institutes to pursue higher studies, and I am hopeful that you can provide me with a recommendation letter that would help me secure the opportunity.
I would appreciate it if you could provide as much detail to showcase my skills, educational background, and any other strengths that would help me stand out from other candidates.
I understand that you may require some additional information or documentation, and I am willing to provide you with all the necessary details if required.
Thank you very much for your time and professional courtesy.
Request for Additional Research Materials
I hope this email finds you well. I am writing to request additional research materials that would be relevant to my thesis topic. As I delve into my research, I am in need of additional materials that will expand my knowledge of the topic and enable me to expand my research and finish my thesis.
Would it be possible for you to share any articles, reports, or other research papers that you feel could be valuable to my study? It would be greatly appreciated, and I believe it would help me complete my work well on time.
Thank you for your support and guidance, and I am looking forward to hearing back from you soon.
Request for a Meeting to Discuss My Progress
I hope this email finds you well. I am writing this email to request a meeting with you to discuss my thesis progress. Due to the current situation and long-distance learning practices, I am not able to meet you in person, but I would be grateful if we could discuss it online or via email.
As we are nearing the submission deadline, I would like to discuss any feedback that you have for me on my current progress and to determine if there is anything that I need to work on specifically. I hope to use the meeting to ensure that I am on track to complete my work on time.
Thank you very much for your kind consideration, and I am looking forward to hearing back from you soon.
Request for A Letter of Permission for Thesis Examination
I hope you are doing well. I am writing this email to request your assistance in providing me with a letter of support or permission to examine my thesis.
The examining committee requires this letter from my supervisor, and I am hopeful that you can provide the necessary documentation that will allow me to proceed with the examination.
Thank you very much for your professional kindness and assistance in this matter, and I am looking forward to hearing back from you soon.
Tips for Writing a Sample Email to Your Thesis Supervisor
Writing an email to your thesis supervisor can be nerve-wracking, especially if you’re not sure what to say or how to say it. However, with the right approach, you can compose a well-written and effective email that will not only garner a positive response from your supervisor, but also earn you their respect and trust. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when crafting your email:
– Keep it professional: Remember that you’re communicating with your supervisor, not your friend or family member. Be courteous, respectful, and concise in your email, and avoid sending any messages that contain slang, colloquialisms, or inappropriate language. Maintain a formal tone throughout the email, but don’t be afraid to express your enthusiasm and passion for your thesis topic.
– Be specific: In the subject line of your email, include the reason for your email in a concise and clear manner. For example, “Request for Meeting Regarding Thesis Progress,” or “Questions About Literature Review.” In the body of your email, provide clear and detailed information about your concerns, questions, or requests, and make sure your supervisor understands exactly what you’re asking for. If you need to schedule a meeting or discuss a specific issue, suggest some dates and times that work for you in your email.
– Do your homework: Before you send your email, make sure you’ve done your research and are well-informed about your thesis topic. Prepare a list of questions or concerns you want to discuss with your supervisor, and be prepared to share any updates on your progress or challenges you’re facing. This will show your supervisor that you’re serious about your work and are invested in its success.
– Follow up: After you’ve sent your email, follow up with your supervisor if you haven’t received a response within a reasonable timeframe. Send a polite and professional reminder and reiterate the purpose of your email. It’s important to show your supervisor that you value their time and input, but also demonstrate your commitment to your work and your determination to move forward.
By following these tips, you can write a sample email to your thesis supervisor that is both professional and effective. Remember to be courteous, specific, and well-informed, and you’ll be well on your way to achieving your thesis goals.
Frequently Asked Questions: Sample Email for Thesis Supervisor
What should i include in the subject line of my email to my thesis supervisor.
A clear and concise subject line that reflects the purpose of your email is recommended. This can include information such as your name, the title of your thesis, and the action you are requesting from your supervisor.
How should I address my thesis supervisor in the email?
You should address your thesis supervisor professionally and use their proper title (e.g., Dr., Professor). If you are unsure about their preferred title, you can ask them for clarification.
What should I include in the body of my email?
Your email should include an introduction that briefly explains your purpose for writing. You should include details about your thesis project and any specific questions or requests you have for your supervisor. It’s also important to thank your supervisor for their time and consideration.
How long should my email be?
Your email should be concise and to the point. Try to keep it under two paragraphs if possible. However, be sure to include all the necessary information and context to make your email clear and informative.
How long should I wait for a response from my thesis supervisor?
This can vary depending on your supervisor’s workload and availability. It’s a good idea to give them at least a week to respond before following up. If you haven’t heard back after two weeks, you can send a polite follow-up email.
What should I do if I disagree with my thesis supervisor’s feedback or suggestions?
It’s important to approach any disagreements with your supervisor respectfully and professionally. You can explain your reasoning and offer alternative ideas, but ultimately, it’s important to consider your supervisor’s expertise and guidance in the process.
Is it okay to send a follow-up email if I haven’t heard back from my thesis supervisor?
Yes, it’s okay to send a polite follow-up email if you haven’t heard back from your supervisor after a reasonable amount of time. This can help ensure that your email wasn’t lost or overlooked.
Now that you’ve got a better idea of what to say in your email to your thesis supervisor, it’s time to put all those tips and tricks into practice. Remember to keep it concise, polite, and professional. Your supervisor is there to help you, and a well-written email can make all the difference. Thanks for reading and good luck with your studies. Don’t forget to check back soon for more helpful tips and advice!
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Sample emails to your theses supervisor
A good thesis requires good communication between you and your thesis supervisor. This incl emails! Yet, even a simple email pot led to stress and overthinking. If you battle to communicate with your thesis supervisor via email, have a look in six sample emails since inspiration.
General tips forward emailing your thesis supervisor
Every relationship bet student real thesis boss is unique. And everyone has a unique (email) writing styling.
Sample email to thesis supervisor inquiring about potential supervisors
The start e-mail to a potential thesis supervisor tends to exist very formality. If you have never met the potential thesis supervisor in person before, make safer until check out tips on how to cold-email professors. In which following taste mailing, but, we assume that the student and the potential thesis supervisor met before.
Sample email to theme attending setting up ampere meeting
Sample email to final supervisor sharing post-meeting action points, sample email to thesis supervisor asking on feedback.
Sometimes, it does not make sense toward hold available feedback through the nearest supervision meeting. Of running, students should not bombard their supervisors include constant queries via email. However, a kind request once in a while is usually accepted and appreciated. The following sample email showcases a study asking for feedback.
Sample email to thesis supervisor asked for support
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