Now that I have finished my thesis, I feel that I am equipped with the knowledge to tell you all about the process! There are various steps before you submit the final thesis, and I hope this will give those of you who are just starting the MSc and anyone thinking of applying some idea of what to expect!
Finding a supervisor
The first step of the thesis process is finding a supervisor. You can start looking as soon as you begin the master’s program! There are many ways to find a supervisor; some search on various research groups’ websites, others already have a supervisor and project in mind, and some wait for a list of projects with supervisors to be published. You can read more about this part of the process in my semester 1 review.
Project outline and project proposal
After selecting a supervisor and a project, it is time to put together the project outline. This then becomes the basis for your project proposal which is written over the winter break. These proposals are written over just a few weeks and are then presented in a project proposal seminar to your class. Your peers ask questions, and the course leaders are there to guide you and ensure that your project is possible in the time frame.
Then, before you even know it, it is time for the half-time seminar. This all happens very quickly! The half-time submission is where you submit your methods, and any results you have, and present them in a seminar. This is also a chance to practice defending your work, as one of your peers is assigned to be an ‘opponent’ and ask questions about your work and the process you have gone through. It is not plain sailing to this point though; since the project proposal seminars projects and supervisors have changed, laptops have broken, and work has been accidentally deleted. However, everyone manages to produce a good piece of work for the seminar – it’s all very impressive!
After the half-time seminar, you are given feedback and then have time to work on the thesis until the submission deadline. This can be a bit of a lonely time, but people formed little groups to help each other through it. For example, a group of us booked a study room on campus and studied together.
Submission and defence
The thesis defence is when you present and defend your work in front of fellow students, examiners, and the course leaders. At KI, these defences are actually public, so anyone can attend! Each student only has 10 minutes to present their work. We felt that this really wasn’t enough time to showcase all of the hard work we had put into the thesis process, but we all tried our best to squeeze everything into that precious time!
After the thesis defence, you get some feedback on your thesis. Then there is about 1 week to make those final tweaks and changes before the final submission. It is important to note that you are graded on this final submission, so it is key to make the revisions suggested by the examiners!
Overall, the thesis process felt the hardest part of the course, but ultimately I found it very rewarding to write and finish a thesis in a relatively short time frame. It was hard work, and at times many of us thought we would never finish, but in the end, everyone submitted a piece of work they could be proud of.
Hey! I’m Katie, a blogger for the master's programme in global health. I’m from England, and I’ve currently studied half of my medical degree in the UK, and after this year I will return to the UK to complete my degree and qualify as a doctor. If you have any questions about the programme feel free to contact me!