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Conflict Resolution Institute

CRI Graduate Degree

MA Thesis

Make a Schedule

How do I make a schedule to complete the thesis?

Decide how much time will be needed for each part of the research work, what deadlines to set, when you will be able to begin the work. Note: work steadily; research requires constant attention and thinking, not just isolated blocks of time. (It’s very difficult to complete a thesis if you can only work on it during the weekends—everyone who has tried to do this agrees.) Creating a research plan makes everything easier. Work out a mutually agreeable schedule for submitting your work to your advisor and keep to it. It may be useful to think of it as a binding contract. Show it to family and friends and ask them to help you stay on it. When you hit snags or get bogged down, don’t avoid your advisor (a common problem!). There is no need to be ashamed for lack of progress, difficulty with writing, etc. The faculty want to help you through the process, so seek out aid when you need it.

The process of thesis work—selecting a topic, deciding a research strategy, carrying out research, and writing up the results—is largely up to you. You will be working more independently and with self-imposed deadlines to finish the task. This process, beginning at the moment serious dedication and work on the thesis commences until final acceptance of the thesis manuscript, commonly takes six months or more from start to finish. It is a project requiring full attention and intensive thinking.

During the entire period, it is important that you and your faculty advisor establish a specific time period that is considered reasonable for comments to be provided on your submitted work, with the understanding that this could be changed because of other responsibilities. (Note: Usually students should not expect professors to examine their work in the summer unless they have confirmed this arrangement in advance.)

Time is taken up in the “turn-around” space by both student and professor who have multiple priorities to juggle in work life. It is not unusual for a student to wait several weeks to receive feedback after submitting a manuscript draft. And, it is typical for the student to take several weeks to make revisions to the manuscript in response to feedback. Some professors may offer a two-week turn around time, others need a month.