Guidelines for the Optional MLT Thesis

LTI MLT students may elect to complete a thesis. This is not required; however, students who intend to apply for the PhD program should consider this option as a way to demonstrate their research potential. (Other possibilities include innovative research in a research project or class work-- which choice is the better one should be discussed with the student's advisor.)

The MLT Thesis must be completed according to the following:

  1.  There are two course components required for students who choose this path. 11-928 (Masters Thesis I) with the chosen thesis advisor, typically for 12 units, typically in the fall of the second year; and 11-929 (Masters Thesis II) in the following spring.

  2. The MLT thesis may focus either on a significant research result or a significant implementation of a new technology. The student should work with their advisor to define an interesting, but bounded, research project. The MLT thesis culminates in a publication-quality paper that clearly describes the work in terms of its research significance.

  3. The MLT thesis committee will be composed of the thesis advisor and two additional readers, to be chosen by the student in consultation with the advisor, during the fall Masters Thesis I course. At least two (2) of the 3 committee members must be SCS faculty working in Language Technologies.

  4. To recieve a final grade for the first semester's course, the student must have prepared a written proposal of at least five pages describing the scientific thesis to be investigated, any relevant research already completed by the student, a comparison with related work by others, and a detailed description of the work to be completed in the next semester. The proposal MUST be accepted by the committee by the end of October, or the student will not be allowed to enroll in the Masters Thesis II course.

  5. Sometime during the semester when the students enrolls in Masters Thesis II (typically their final semester of coursework), the student will distribute a draft of the thesis to the committee for initial review. This should be done as early as is feasible to avoid last-minute surprises that could delay the thesis' final approval.

  6. The thesis work culminates in the submission of the final version of the thesis document, followed by a public presentation of the work in an LTI seminar or other suitable public forum. Since the defense is public, the LTI graduate program administrator must recieve all information required for a public announcement at least one week before the defense. The Masters' thesis presentation is somewhat less rigorous than a PhD defnse. The presentation will communicate the research work done, similiar to a conference paper presentation. The committee will observe the presentation, and then decide whether the thesis and presentation were acceptable, or whether further work is required. Unlike a PhD defense, only a simple majority vote of the committee is required for approval.

  7. Although students are required to enroll in the appropriate course sequence of two Masters' thesis courses, it is not required that students finish that thesis by the end of that second semester. If a student requires more time to revise the thesis to the committee's satisfaction, and adequately present the work, a grade of "incomplete" will be assigned in the Masters' thesis course until such time as the work and its presentation are accepted. The student will still be permitted to walk in the spring Commencement ceremony, if all other requirements for the MLT have been completed. Students should note that any financial support beyond the end of the semester will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, and must be arranged in advance with the project supporting them. Students are strongly encouraged to finish the thesis work within one (1) year following the semester they enroll for the first Masters' thesis course.