I meant to write my blog more than a week ago but I was away in Washington DC for a conference and since I came back I've had a lot of things to do. Last week I wanted to blog about my thesis defense experience. Many of you heard me mentioned it before and even read that I sucessfully passed. However, I could've shared my experience so other people are aware of the entire process.
Once I got good results for my thesis topic, I had to talk to my advisor and get it approved by him. Once he approved it I started writing it, the thesis had to be at least 30 pages long. It took me about 6 days to entirely write my thesis (without editing it, which it takes another couple of hours). There's a special format to write a thesis and it's available online in the UML website: http://www.uml.edu/registrar/docs/thesis_guide.pdf
Once I finished editing my thesis, I had to get it reviewed once again by my Professor, who suggested couple of changes and also asked me to get it reviewed by another student. The first draft of my thesis was reviewed about 5 times before hand it over to the committee members. Committee members along with the thesis advisor are the ones who judge the thesis and give the student a pass/fail grade and the student need to defend it in front of them.
For my thesis, Prof. Mil'shtein (advisor), Prof. Armiento and Prof. Mufeed from the Electrical Engineering Department were the members of my defense. In some cases, four members can be in the committee. I handed my thesis for review by the judges more than a week in advance, so they can review it and provide feedback during the thesis defense.
The day of the defense I was pretty anxious and kind of nervous which is normal. In my own opinion, the thesis defense was easier to present since I was very familiar with the topic and I was talking about my own work. Once I started my presentation, the anxiety went away and everything started to flow. I think I was rushing at first, but once I realized it I started slowing down. I liked the fact that my thesis defense was very dynamic meaning that the judges were asking me questions along with the presentation which made the defense more interesting.
In some defenses, judges ask questions only at the end or throughout the presentation. I think it depends on the committee members. Once I finished with the presentation and questions, the members of the committee asked me to step out along with the other students who ere watching the defense while they deliberated. After couple of minutes they call be back and they let me know they decision. Once they told me that I had passed I felt so relieved. All the hard work I had put into it had paid off and I was finally a Master of Science.
However, this wasn't the end, a lot of things had to be done before finishing my thesis. I had to review the comments of the judges about by manuscript, then edited and submit it for binding. I had to edit the manuscript and print at least 3 copies: one for the library, one for the department and a personal one. The cost of binding is $15 per copy and there's also a publishing fee of $55. If a person wants to copyright his/her work another fee applies. When I submitted all my copies for binding I was finally done with my thesis. Now, I need to focus of the other three classes I have.
I hope this information is useful and can help students who are planning to write a thesis. This was a stressful experience but I learned a lot from it.