Thesis Process

Students who choose the thesis option should begin thinking about their potential thesis topics early on in their coursework. Students may take Independent Study (B EE 600) credits or a specific course in the possible research topic to explore working with a potential thesis topic and faculty advisor. Students should meet with the Division of Engineering & Mathematics (E&M) Graduate Program Coordinator (GPC) to determine if their thesis interest falls within the scope of current UW Bothell EE faculty. For additional information on pursuing the thesis tract, please see the E&M Graduate Advisor.

The Thesis process for the Masters of Science in Electrical Engineering program is as follows:

Step 1: Form a Supervisory Committee

Students who desire to register for Thesis Credits must first form a supervisory committee. A supervisory committee will consist of a student’s Faculty Advisor (who will serve as committee Chair) and at least 2 additional members. At least two of the total committee membership must be EE faculty whose primary appointment is in the UW Bothell Electrical Engineering Program. The Chair and at least one-half of the total membership must be members of the graduate faculty. For proposals with Chairs outside of the UW Bothell EE Program, please contact the E&M Graduate Advisor prior to submission of the request. Requests take approximately one month to complete.

Students should work closely with their Faculty Advisor (Committee Chair) to choose the remaining faculty to staff the supervisory committee. It is the students’ responsibility to obtain the agreement of all the faculty on the supervisory committee. The GPC will approve and formally appoint the supervisory committee.

Students must submit a Request to Form Supervisory Committee form that is signed by all committee members and a full thesis proposal detailing the general goals and objectives of the proposed work to the E&M Graduate Advisor to obtain an entry code to register for the class, see Thesis Proposal Guidelines.

It is highly recommended students attend another EE master’s candidates thesis final examination & defense in order to fully understand the process. View the Thesis/Project Final Exam Schedule.

Signed forms with proposal must be submitted no later than the seventh week of the quarter PRECEDING the start of a student’s thesis credits. Once the approval is final, the E&M Graduate Advisor will send the student an e-mail notifying her/him of the approved committee and an entry code to register for B EE 700: Master’s Thesis. Students are encouraged to submit their request early, to avoid any late registration fees.

Submission deadlines

  • Autumn 2023: July 31, 2023
  • Winter 2024: November 6, 2023
  • Spring 2024: February 12, 2024
  • Summer 2024: May 6, 2024

Step 2: File a Thesis Plan

By the end of the second week of the first quarter in which a student is registered for thesis credits, the student must submit to the Faculty Advisor an updated detailed thesis plan. The plan should be based off the original proposal, but should include any updated objectives (if applicable), a time table listing key milestones and associated deliverables, the quality criteria and specific metrics by which student expects to measure the quality of their result. The plan simply provides a well-defined start for the remainder of the thesis work. A copy of the approved plan must be submitted by the student to the E&M Graduate Advisor. Revisions to the Thesis plan must be approved by Faculty Advisor

Submission deadlines

  • Summer 2023: June 30, 2023
  • Autumn 2023: October 9, 2023
  • Winter 2024: January 15, 2024
  • Spring 2024: April 8, 2024
  • Summer 2024: July 1, 2024

Step 3: Schedule Regular Progress Reports

Throughout the period of enrollment in thesis credits, students are required to schedule regular progress report meetings with their Faculty Advisor, as well as with all the members of the Supervisory Committee. At minimum and as agreed upon between Faculty Advisor and student, and documented in the thesis proposal a student should meet with their Faculty Advisor no less than three times a quarter, each quarter they are enrolled for thesis credits (typically will meet weekly). In addition students should meet at least once a quarter with the Supervisory Committee members to deliver progress updates. Reports should include updates on the challenges, changes and overall progress of a students work.

Step 4: Scheduling Final Examination and Defense

Students must schedule a Final Examination and Defense of their thesis work no later than the third Thursday of the quarter in which they are giving their Final Examination, coordinate with supervisory committee to determine the date/time of the exam. All members of the supervisory committee must be in attendance for the exam (all members must be able to certify the results of the exam). The Final Examination must take place prior to the last day of instruction of the quarter in which all degree requirements are met. Earlier is recommended to allow time for the student to make any recommended changes to the thesis.

Defense dates/time/location are scheduled using a SLATE calendar, the E&M Graduate Advisor will provide a link to sign up for a date once a date/time is confirmed with the supervisory committee. Students must provide the title of thesis, abstract and, and names of supervisory committee attending to the Graduate Advisor at that time.

Step 5: Master’s Degree Request

By 5PM on Thursday of the third week of the quarter that a student is registered for their final degree credits the student must apply to graduate by filing a master’s degree request online. Students should work with the E&M Graduate Advisor and Committee Chair to plan their degree curriculum accordingly, so that their final thesis credits serve as the culmination of their degree coursework. The UW requires that students be registered for credits during the quarter they are graduating.

Step 6: Submit Draft of Thesis

At least ten business days before the final defense the student must submit a substantial draft of their thesis to their committee for a preliminary reading. The purpose of this draft is to demonstrate to the Supervisory Committee that the student has achieved a Masters level competency in electrical engineering and that the student is ready to defend their work.

Step 7: Final Examination and Defense

The Final Examination and Defense consists of:

  1. A public student presentation.
  2. A public question and answer session.
  3. A closed-door question and answer session between the student and the Supervisory Committee, Chair will excuse public.
  4. A brief private discussion among the Supervisory Committee, student will wait outside presentation room.
  5. The Supervisory Committee announcement to the student of the result of the Final Examination and Defense.

If a student does not pass the Final Examination and Defense, the Supervisory Committee will work with the student to decide upon the necessary additional work required for obtaining their Master’s degree.  

Supervisory Committee members must sign Warrant for Master’s Degree generated by the E&M Graduate Advisor. The form must also indicate approval or not approved for graduation.

Step 8: File your Final Thesis

Thesis students must submit an electronic copy (PDF) of their Thesis to the UW Graduate School, according to current policy, 11:59 pm PST on the final day of the quarter they intend to graduate. Failure to meet these submission deadlines will delay graduation.

Students must submit electronic (PDF) copies to:

  1. Their Supervisory Committee Members
  2. The E&M Graduate Advisor
  3. The UW Graduate School (see above).

Special Notes on Thesis Documents:

  1. Formatting and process are important! Thesis students must meet specific formatting guidelines, and follow a specific filing process for submission. Please carefully review and follow the UW Graduate School Thesis/Dissertation guidelines and requirements well in advance of your final examination. Failure to meet these submission deadlines will delay graduation.
  2. Thesis students must submit a signed Supervisory Committee Approval Form as part of the submission Process. The E&M Graduate Advisor will generate this form and give it to the Committee Chair at the time of the student’s Final Examination and Defense. When completed, the E&M Graduate Advisor will email a scanned copy of the signed form to the student for submission with their thesis.

Student Conduct Code

All students are subjects to the university conduct code. For information on the conduct code, including sections on academic misconduct, visit Student Affairs Student Conduct.