Each student's record is reviewed and a particular sequence of courses recommended based on the student's academic background. This provides a focused approach to make for deficiencies in paper science and/or engineering subject areas. Next the student selects a thesis research topic, major advisor, and reading committee. A detailed written research proposal is prepared and must be accepted by the reading committee. This proposal usually includes a literature review, a specific description of the research problem/topic to be investigated, a detailed description of the experimental design, procedures, and apparatus to be utilized in carrying out the research, a discussion of how the data will be analyzed, a project timetable, and an estimated budget. This process is similar to that required by many industry research and engineering departments.
The Qualifying Examination is a two-hour written examination covering a narrow subject area in which the student is expected to be proficient. The subject is selected after reviewing the student's background (undergraduate degree, Miami coursework, thesis topic, job experience, etc.). Following the two-hour examination period, the examination is immediately graded and the results evaluated by a faculty committee. If the committee deems clarification appropriate, the student is orally questioned about the written response given.. A thesis proposal seminar must be presented to all faculty and graduate students with extensive discussion with faculty concerning details of the proposed research. This gives students the experience in preparing and delivering formal oral presentations. Students receive final constructive feedback on the proposed research.
Students must complete final coursework and carry out thesis research experiments including an end-of-semester progress report for reading committee review. Writing progress reports and participating in review meetings are common practices in industrial research. Once the experimental work is completed, the thesis is written. Reading committee approval of the thesis draft is necessary prior to submission for thesis approval to the entire faculty. A thesis seminar is presented to faculty, graduate students, and anyone else who wishes to attend. The student must defend the thesis before the entire faculty and submit the final thesis manuscript to the Graduate School.
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