M.S. Thesis Information

(REVISED June, 2015)

The following outlines the recommended timetable a graduate student pursuing the M.S. Thesis degree in chemistry, biochemistry, or clinical chemistry should follow.

Semester I

The student should enroll in CHEM 509 Introduction to Research. This course is offered in the fall semester. This S/U graded course is a prerequisite for CHEM 599 Master's Thesis. Generally, during the second and third weeks of each Fall Semester, the department faculty members present brief seminars about their research as a part of CHEM 509. Graduate students are also urged to meet individually with the faculty in the department, in order to become acquainted with the ongoing and future projects available. The student will then choose a research advisor and, in consultation with that advisor, select a thesis project. The student is reminded that not all faculty members can supervise an infinite number of research students: early selection will help to ensure that the student is able to choose her or his desired project. Two additional full-time chemistry faculty members will be selected by the student, again in consultation with the research advisor, to serve with the advisor as members of the student's thesis committee. If the research is to be performed outside of the Chemistry Department under the direction of an external research supervisor, then a department member will serve as the student’s research advisor. This person is responsible for ascertaining that all departmental requirements are satisfied in the thesis process. Such outside research must be approved by the Department Chair and Program Director at the time the proposal is filed. At least two of the committee members must be Chemistry Department faculty. The student will write a proposal, describing the thesis project, and submit the proposal to the committee members. Upon committee approval of the proposal, the student will distribute the proposal approval form (linked to this document) to the committee members for signature, and then submit the completed form to the instructor of CHEM 509 and the Director of the Graduate Programs in Chemistry. A student will only receive credit for CHEM 509 if the proposal has been approved, with all of the necessary signatures on the cover page, by the end of the semester. An approved proposal must be on file for at least six months before the thesis is to be defended.

Semester II

After these have been completed, the student may begin M.S. research. The student must have a completed Chemistry Department Research Authorization Form (PDF   MS Word) on file before beginning M.S. Thesis research. The Chemistry stockroom is not authorized to provide research supplies to master's research students prior to proposal approval. A student should begin the research no later than the second semester of his/her program. The student should remain aware of the departmental and University regulations governing her/his research, as failure to follow these may result in penalties, including suspension of research privileges. The student should be registered for CHEM 599 Master's Thesis, or have In Progress (IP) credits for this course while performing this research.

Final Semester

The student must file an Application for Degree with the College of Arts and Sciences at the beginning of the semester in which she/he intends to graduate. Failure to do this may prevent the student from graduating in the intended semester.

Once an acceptable (to the research advisor) draft of the thesis is complete, the student should schedule the thesis defense, at a date and time approved by all committee members. This should be done early in the semester, to allow time for corrections prior to the deadline for thesis submission, as scheduled in the Graduate Studies Catalog. A copy of the thesis should be given to each committee member with sufficient review time (no less than one week). Notices announcing the defense should be prominently displayed on departmental bulletin boards during the week prior to the defense. It is the responsibility of the research advisor to ensure that the copies of the thesis given to committee members are of defendable quality. The defense will consist of a presentation by the candidate to committee members and other interested members of the University community. The committee members may choose to ask questions pertaining to the project during or after the presentation. The committee will decide only on the approval of the thesis, the grade for the M.S. Thesis credits are to be determined solely by the research advisor. The committee may choose to approve the thesis without corrections, in which case the signature page is signed immediately, approve upon correction, in which case the signature page may be signed once each member of the committee is satisfied that all necessary corrections have been made, or not to approve, in which case, substantial revisions (possibly including additional laboratory work) must be made prior to a subsequent defense. Please use the signature page format included with this document.

The College of Arts and Sciences and the Weinberg Memorial Library will require the submission of both print and electronic versions of each master’s thesis.  The Weinberg Memorial Library will preserve both versions: print theses will be stored in the Library’s Special Collections, while electronic theses will be included in the Library’s Digital Collections. After the student’s graduate thesis committee has read and approved the thesis, the student will submit to the Program Director the following materials:

  1. Three signature pages, each signed by the thesis director/mentor and the members of the thesis evaluation committee.
  2. Two printed copies of the completed thesis. The print copies must be double-spaced, single-sided, and on acid-free paper.  An original signature page (two of the three) must be included with each copy.  The print copies should not be bound or stapled. One print copy remains with the department, the other goes to the Library.
  3. One digital copy of the completed thesis saved on a CD, DVD, or flash drive. Acceptable file extensions include .doc, .docx, .rtf, or .pdf.  The digital copy must include a scan of the signature page signed by each reader.  Students should contact the Library’s Digital Services Department at etheses@scranton.edu if they require the use of an alternative file format or have questions about digital theses.
  4. One Electronic Theses Approval Form filled out and signed by the student. Forms are available at http://matrix.scranton.edu/academics/wml/about/policies/index.shtml .


The following represents the Chemistry Department's recommended format for the M.S. thesis. The completed thesis should contain all of the following parts in the following order:

  1. COVER/SIGNATURE PAGE (see attached example): there must be as many lines on the signature page as there are members of the candidate's committee.
  2. TITLE PAGE: should contain the thesis title, the author's name, the declaration ("A thesis presented to the faculty of the Chemistry Department of the University of Scranton as prerequisite for the degree of Master of Arts in Chemistry/Biochemistry/Clinical Chemistry."), and date of defense.
  4. LIST OF FIGURES (pages numbered in lower case roman numerals starting here)
  7. ABSTRACT: a brief description of the research performed and results obtained.
  8. INTRODUCTION: a review of research leading up to this thesis, this section should clearly explain to the reader the rationale for this research. (pagination begins here)
  9. EXPERIMENTAL: the methods, instruments and materials used in the project should be introduced in this section. The ultimate goal of this section should be to enable the reader to repeat the performed experiments. Reagents should be described by manufacturer and grade (purity listed when available), instruments by manufacturer and model number*.
  10. RESULTS: the acquired data and calculations performed on the data, including graphs, tables, statistical analyses. The degree to which raw data and calculations appear in this section is left up to the student and research advisor: large compilations may be moved to an appendix if the flow of the thesis would be improved by the move*.
  11. DISCUSSION: an analysis of the results, including scrutiny of inherent errors and deviations. The candidate should discuss the agreement of the results to the expectations put forth in the proposal and how the results compare with those mentioned in the introduction*.
  12. CONCLUSION: a brief summary of the results and their interpretation, usually containing suggestions for future research.
  13. REFERENCES: a list of all work cited in the thesis. The format of this section will be determined by the candidate's research advisor, but the chosen format must be followed consistently throughout the thesis. The student is encouraged to utilize the ACS Style Guide in determining the proper abbreviations for journal titles.
  14. APPENDICES: information pertinent to the thesis, but too cumbersome for inclusion in the text (e.g., computer printouts, multiple spectra, multiple graphs).

*The order of the Experimental, and Results/Discussion sections may be reversed.

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