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MMI 691/692 Senior Thesis

Course Description: MM&I 691 – Senior Thesis (3 credits)

An independent and original study completed under the direction of a member of the Medical Microbiology & Immunology Department faculty; recommended for seniors majoring in a biological science- or microbiology-focused degree program.

Each credit hour corresponds to approximately 4 hours of research per week.

Project Topic: The specific topic for independent study is determined in consultation with the MM&I faculty advisor prior to enrolling in MM&I 691. The student is expected to consult appropriate research literature, texts and data sources, and may be expected to conduct laboratory experiments, depending on the chosen topic.

Grading: A student who successfully completes MM&I 691 is assigned a provisional grade of “P” (denoting satisfactory progress). Criteria for satisfactory progress include the following:

  • Development of a bibliography/reading list
  • Timely completion of biosafety, chemical safety, animal use, human subjects and/or HIPAA training if applicable
  • Attendance at regular meetings to be determined with the faculty advisor (typically weekly or biweekly)
  • Quality of work
  • Effort to carry out the work independently
  • Creativity in applying coursework knowledge to the independent study

Upon successful completion of MM&I 692, the student is assigned the same letter grade for both MM&I 691 and MM&I 692. Credit is not given for MM&I 691 if MM&I 692 is not completed.

Course Description: MM&I 692 – Senior Thesis (3 credits)

Continuation of MM&I 691. As with MM&I 691, each credit hour corresponds to approximately 4 hours of research per week.

Project Topic: The topic for independent study is a continuation of the work conducted for MM&I 691. The student is expected to consult appropriate research literature, texts and data sources, and may be expected to conduct laboratory experiments, depending on the chosen topic. In addition to completing the research work started in MM&I 691, students are required to submit a written thesis (written report of their research) in the format prescribed in the attached handout.

Grading: Upon successful completion of MM&I 692, letter grades for both MM&I 691 and MM&I 692 are assigned by the student’s MM&I faculty advisor. The final grade is based on the following criteria:

  • Attendance
  • Quality of work
  • Ability to carry out the work independently
  • Creativity in applying coursework knowledge to the independent study
  • Quality of the submitted written thesis

The final thesis is due to the thesis advisor no later than 3 weeks before the last day of classes of the semester in which the student is completing the thesis.

If the student anticipates needing additional time to complete the work, s/he must discuss this with his/her thesis advisor well before the thesis submission deadline. If additional time is granted, the student will receive a grade of Incomplete for MM&I 692. If the student is graduating and needs the 691/692 credits for graduation, official graduation will be delayed until the thesis is approved and the incomplete is removed.

If the student chooses to take an incomplete in MM&I 692, the final thesis must be handed in no later than the end of the first week of the next semester for which the student registers. If the student needs an extension past this deadline, s/he must request, and be granted, an extended incomplete from his/her thesis advisor. Failing to do this will result in the incomplete lapsing into an F.

Senior Thesis Guidelines

The written thesis should follow the format described below:

Introduction and Literature Review: This section is intended to provide a short introduction to the questions addressed in your thesis, including a review of the relevant literature. The literature review need not be extensive, but it should summarize the status of the field at the time the project was undertaken. This section should conclude with a clear, concise statement of the hypothesis to be tested or the questions to be answered.

Materials and Methods: In this section, the materials (usually biological and/or chemical) used in your experiments should be reported and all techniques should be described. If a technique has been used essentially as reported in the literature, you can reference it without further description, but you should note any significant modifications of the original report. Methods should be reported in sufficient detail to allow an interested colleague to reproduce the experiments, if desired.

Results: The purpose of this section is to describe your major experimental findings, which are usually summarized in the form of tables or figures. Tables and figures should be numbered consecutively, with each on a separate page. They may be inserted into the text as needed (usually as the page immediately following the text page on which a given table or figure is first mentioned) or collected together at the end of the thesis.

Discussion and Conclusions: This section is intended to provide a discussion, interpretation, and summary of your findings. The conclusions that can be drawn from the data should be stated clearly and defended concisely. It is often appropriate to discuss your results in light of the findings of other investigators, particularly if your conclusions appear to be in conflict with those of others.

References: All references cited in the text should be collected together in a bibliographic listing at the end of the thesis. You should use a consistent format for all references. References may be cited in the text by number (in parentheses or as superscripts) and listed here in order of citation. Alternatively, you can cite in references by name and list them alphabetically here. In the latter case, papers with one or two authors are usually cited in the text by name(s) and year (i.e., Smith and Kuba, 1999), whereas papers with three or more authors are usually cited as the first author et al. with the year (i.e., Smith et al., 1999).

Other Sections: It is helpful to include a short (one-page) abstract or summary and a table of contents at the beginning of your thesis. You may also wish to include a page of acknowledgements to express your appreciation to those who were especially helpful to you in your work. The coversheet should precisely follow the format in this document (Word doc; PDF also available).

Appendices: Experimental details or findings that are only tangentially relevant to the thesis may be included as appendices, if it seems desirable to preserve a record of the information.