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Notes to MS Chemistry Students
Registering for Chem 6800:
You should register for Chem 6800 during their terminal semester with the approval of your major professor and under consultation of the MS thesis committee. This should be done when the MS research is complete and ready to be defended. If you are not close to being ready to defend your thesis, do not register for Chem 6800 lest you risk getting an “incomplete” which may turn into an “F” the following semester if not properly followed up. You should not show copies of your thesis to your committee members without approval of your major research professor. Submit your abstract (with references) to Dr. Chusuei for inspection at least 10 days (the earlier the better) prior to your presentation; see sample.
The typical format of the student seminar is as follows:
(1) presentation to general audience;
(2) Q&A session with general audience;
(3) general audience is dismissed; and
(4) the MS candidate will then undergo further in-depth examination by his/her thesis committee.
Remember to clean up if you have brought refreshments that day. Grades will be assigned by the thesis committee and then reported to the assigned Chem 6800 instructor for recording.
Preparing to give your seminar, advice for thesis writing:
Chem 6800 seminar should not be the first time you are presenting your research findings in public. Get into the habit of presenting in a small group setting on a regular basis. Give talks at scientific meetings, e.g., ACS regional or national meetings. A good venue to do this is within your own research group meetings. Consult with your advisor/thesis committee to ensure that you are on track. Ask your group members to critique your findings. If you can effectively explain your findings to a small audience, you can do it to a bigger audience. With frequent practice, giving your defense to a larger crowd should not be a big deal since you’ve done it before.
Articulating your work to others helps the thesis writing process. It helps to publish before finalizing your thesis as it goes through a review process. Do not wait until you have finished your experiments to start the writing process. (Getting into the practice of maintaining a detailed lab notebook can be a life-saver, especially if you’ve forgotten what you have done!)
A lot of preliminary writing can be done as you are developing your procedures, methodologies, etc. Proofread, edit, repeat. Begin the writing as soon as possible and continue to work methodically. This habit will minimize stress and make your MS career here at MTSU more enjoyable.
Advice from Prof. George Whitesides
(Dept of Chemistry & Chemical Biology, Harvard University; ACS Publications)
“How to choose the focus of your research”
(video) (2 min 31 s)
“How to write a paper to communicate your research” (video) (8 min 40 s)
“Improving your writing”(video) (3 min 57 s)
“Writing so people notice” (video) (4 min 9 s)
“What if your article is rejected?”
(video) (2 min 57 s)