MS Thesis Guidelines
The sections below provide detailed information for current master’s thesis students. If you have any questions about the information below, please contact the biomedical engineering department’s student affairs office.
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Requirements to defend the master’s thesis:
- Students must be in good academic standing.
- Students must submit their Intent to Graduate prior to any term when they might be graduating. Students should log in to the University portal. Find the “Student Self-Service” – “Records Menu” at the bottom left of the Welcome tab. Click on “Graduation” in the new Records page, the click “Apply to Graduate.” Read the information carefully and follow the instructions given. For more information, visit the Graduate College graduation page.
- Master’s students do not need to be registered for the term when they defend their thesis if they have finished all coursework and thesis research hours. However, registration (including zero-hour registration) is required for all master’s students holding a student visa, as stipulated by the Office of International Services. Also, certain fellowships, assistantships and tuition fee waivers require a minimum number of credit hours.
- Zero-hour registration: Master’s students are only eligible for “Zero Hours Option A.” Charges for Option A include Range IV (0 hours) tuition, tuition differential, and all related fees, including CampusCare (unless under the the opt-out option). The petition must be submitted by the 10th day of the fall or spring term, or the fifth day of the summer term. Students should register for 0 credit hours of master’s thesis research (BME 598) by the registration deadline each term, even if the petition is still pending approval. Please check with the graduate program coordinator to confirm that all degree requirements have been fulfilled prior to petitioning for zero hours. More information about zero hour-registration, including important information for international students, can be found on the zero-hour registration page.
- Thesis submission deadlines: In order to be eligible to graduate for a certain term, students must submit the thesis and have it approved by the deadline according to the Graduate College academic calendar. Failure to submit the thesis by the deadline will delay a student’s graduation to the following term.
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The thesis committee must be approved by the Graduate College, on the recommendation of the director of graduate studies, and consists of at least three people. At least one must be a tenured full member of the UIC Graduate Faculty, at least one must be a biomedical engineering department faculty member, and the committee chairperson must have full membership (not necessarily tenured). Check the Graduate College website for the membership status of individual faculty. For any faculty without membership in the Graduate Faculty, a CV will need to be included with the Committee Recommendation Form.
Committee recommendation form
The committee recommendation form must be submitted to the Graduate College for processing at least 3 weeks prior to the thesis defense date. The form must be approved by your advisor and then submitted to the graduate program coordinator to obtain approval from the director of graduate studies. Please note:
- The form must be typed on the PDF. Handwritten versions will not be accepted.
- Your full name on the form MUST exactly match the name on your student record as well as the final thesis that is submitted to the Graduate College.
- The program code for the bioengineering program is 20FS0408MS and biomedical engineering program is 20FS5971MS.
- The program code for the bioinformatics program is 20FS1909MS.
- The thesis title may not exceed 105 characters, including spaces, and may not include any abbreviations. The thesis title on the form MUST match the title of the final thesis that is submitted to the Graduate College.
- Changes to the committee or the thesis title may be requested before the defense occurs using the Request for Change in Thesis Title/Committee Member(s) Form. Please note that changes to the thesis title after the Examination Report has been issued will require submission of the Request for Change form to the Graduate College. A new examination report will be issued and it will be the student’s responsibility to obtain all of the signatures from the committee members.
Thesis defense announcement
The defense must be open to the academic community of the university and be publicly announced one week prior to its occurrence. The student must submit a copy of the thesis to each member of the thesis defense committee one week prior to the defense date. Students are responsible for e-mailing the graduate program coordinator at least one week prior to the defense date with the announcement (date, time, location, advisor), thesis title, and abstract. The announcement will be distributed to the students and faculty one week prior to the defense date.
The student is the sole author of his or her thesis, and it is the student’s responsibility to ensure that all information is correctly cited and that proper copyright permissions have been obtained. The iThenticate screening process is one tool towards that end and is required to be completed prior to the thesis defense.
iThenticate account information will be e-mailed from email@example.com to you upon receipt of the Committee Recommendation Form by the Graduate College. The Graduate College website includes a page on iThenticate review procedures.
There are three iThenticate report documents that need to be submitted to the Graduate College through a shared Box folder. Detailed instructions and a demonstration video are available on the Graduate College’s iThenticate page. Please be sure that the Box folder is shared with the Graduate College using firstname.lastname@example.org (along with your advisor) and that it includes all three reports required by the Graduate College. The final report must show zero percent overlap.
All candidates for the MS degree must have an advisor who is a member of the UIC graduate faculty. The advisor is considered the primary reader of the thesis. Defense presentations must be limited to less than one hour. Additional time will be allowed for direct examination by the thesis committee and discussion among the committee members alone.
The committee vote is “pass” or “fail.” A candidate cannot be passed if more than one vote of “fail” is reported.
The Executive Committee of the Graduate College has endorsed a return to in-person defense of preliminary/qualifying examinations, theses and dissertations as of Spring 2022. A limited use of Zoom and similar technologies for hybrid defenses will be permitted in cases where (1) members of the committees have a documented excused absence from the UIC campus, (2) the student is currently remote and unable to return to campus, or (3) where external committee members are employed more than 50 miles from UIC – making travel to campus problematic or expensive.
Examination report form
After the committee recommendation form has been approved by the Graduate College, the Graduate College will send the Examination Report Form to the graduate program coordinator, who will e-mail students that it is available. The Examination Report Form must include the pass/fail decision and signature by the entire committee. The Examination Report Form must be submitted to the graduate program coordinator within two business days of the thesis defense.
Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (ETD) submission
The Graduate College’s Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (ETD) guidelines and Thesis Manual can assist you in preparing and submitting your thesis. Following your defense, the final version of your thesis must be reviewed by your advisor and the graduate program coordinator at email@example.com before it is submitted to the Graduate College through the ETD submission system. Students are required to pay a publishing fee as outlined in the ETD guidelines.
Master’s thesis defense timeline
At least two months prior to defense
- Consult with research advisor regarding anticipated date of defense.
- Confirm with the graduate program coordinator that all other degree requirements have been fulfilled.
- Submit the Intent to Graduate through my.uic.edu prior to the term of the defense.
- Contact potential committee members regarding availability.
- Coordinate with committee members for date/time when all members are available.
At least three weeks prior to defense
- Complete the Committee Recommendation Form and submit to the graduate program coordinator.
- Reserve a room (contact the graduate program coordinator when requesting a biomedical engineering classroom).
One week prior to defense
- Send defense announcement to firstname.lastname@example.org with date, time, location, advisor, title, and abstract.
- Provide copies of the thesis to each member of the committee.
- Submit thesis through iThenticate and generate reports required by committee and Graduate College.
Following the defense
- Immediately confirm that every committee member has signed the Examination Report Form, indicating a grade (“Pass” or “Fail”).
- Immediately make sure the chairperson indicates the Examination Date and any conditions that may have been made by the committee.
- Submit the complete, signed form to the graduate program coordinator within two business days of the defense.
- In the following weeks, e-mail a copy of the committee-approved thesis to email@example.com for format approval. You will be notified within 24 hours if it is ready to be submitted through the ETD.
- Upload the final thesis to the Graduate College through the Electronic Thesis and Dissertation system. Follow all instructions related to the format requirements and publishing fee.