Should you do a Project or a Thesis?
As you get started with your proposal, it is essential that
you are fully aware of the implications of chosing to do
an Engineering Thesis versus an Engineering Project.
Following are the key features:
* The main objective of both Theses and Projects is
to demonstrate your mastery of the discipline at the graduate
level through the application of concepts and methods learned
to the solution of a relevant technical problem.
* Theses are 6 credits only while Projects are usually
3 credits but in some circumstances they could be worth 6.
Therefore, it is expected that you will devote about 250 hours
of your time and effort to do a Thesis and about 125 hours for a Project.
* Most students at Rensselaer-Hartford chose to do
Projects. Theses are recommended for those few who may want to
keep open the possibility of continuing graduate study after the
Master's degree or who are interested in a research career.
* Theses must have a definite scholarly character,
they must reflect original work, break new ground,
generate new knowledge and be capable of sustaining
external peer review as demonstrated by
publication of results in an archival technical journal or
presentation at at a technical meeting or conference.
* Project can have the same outcomes as above but the
expectation is more modest. Projects are carefully selected
so that while still challenging, there is even at the outset
a somewhat clear picture of the tasks ahead. Since Theses
involve breaking new ground, the tasks may change along the way.
* Projects can be completed in as little as one academic term
while Theses take usually a minimum of one calendar year.
* The final deliverable of both endeavours is a professionally
written and carefully edited report employing the RPI Thesis Template.
Theses reports usually run some 80 pages or more while Project reports
contain of the order of 40 pages. Both, paper and electronic formats
are mandatory and copies become publicly available through RPI.
* Successful completion of a Project leads to the Master of
Engineering degree. Completion of a Thesis leads to the
Master of Science degree.