OMG UPDATE: Question? Answer.

Updated on Friday, June 6

#6626

QUESTION: Can someone who has done an undergraduate thesis give insight to what its like?

9 comments

  1. did mine in biology this year:

    first month - get to know the lab and labmates; the prof gives you info on your project (thesis of previous student working on the project, research articles, etc), you write your project proposal (20 pages of background info, methods, and what you plan to achieve). workload is somewhat heavy

    next ~5 months - you do your research; this part is not as work-intensive, but may be time consuming, depending on your lab

    last ~2 months - summarize your results, rush to get some last-minute data, despair, calm yourself, prepare for your colloquium (10 min presentation to people in your department); write up your final thesis (40is pages, it's a lot of work). workload is heaviest, so try to do some of the work on break/holiday

    marks: 60% for your write-ups and presentation, 40% for "lab performance" - so be nice to your instructor and labmates. 4th year thesis is a great GPA booster, you will never get below 80% unless you were horrible, 90+ is fairly common

    overall - highly recommended, i got a taste for research (didn't much like it) if you're considering masters, learned more teamwork, communication and time management. also good if you're looking for two reference letters (again, if you weren't horrible)

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    1. Seems pretty accurate. I mean, I'm writing mine now and I have about 1 and a half months and I'm just starting to write it. :'(

      You wont get below 80%? Is this actually true????

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    2. 1 here, ^ yeah, marks in biol 499 are usually pretty high (but then not just anyone can get in). it all depends on your supervisor and 2nd reader i guess, but Dr Butler told me something like "profs very rarely give below 80". they really don't expect wonders from you.

      the thesis is just your proposal with intro+methods reworded and results+discussion added.

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    3. Unless theyve changed the requirements for the proposal 1 has the page length wrong. When i did it we only were allowed a maximum of 6 pages.

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    4. ^yeah sorry its 11 pages for me, also 11 for the person from 2 years ago (no real restrictions tho)

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  2. I'm also currently doing mine in Biology. I would highly recommend it if you're considering a research based degree in the future. It actually gives you a taste of what real scientific research is and it's fairly common to be included as a collaborator when papers get published which looks really good.

    The nice thing with 499's is that while getting results is nice, it's definitely not required because they do realize that often scientific research is not agreeable. I've heard tales of some people not being able to get any of their results until several weeks before the colloquium date.

    The marks thing is definitely true. Most of the time your supervisor will help you edit your proposal and final paper so that it contains exactly what they're looking for and it's easy to score high on. Apparently the main thing that messes up some people is that they stop going into work on their project 2 months in and then show up in the last month. 40% of the final mark is based on your lab participation so this can really make or break you

    I also am really enjoying it because it's kind of a make your own hours course. Obviously they do require a lot of work but unlike lecture based courses there is some flexibility in when you can go in. I personally work on mine mainly late at night and on weekends which is nice since then I have more free time during the weekdays

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  3. I am starting my thesis this term. Don't even have a topic yet. I am probably going to do my thesis with two profs because the work I am doing doesn't fit into any one prof.

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    1. shouldn't they give you a topic? lol
      your proposal should be handed in by now

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    2. 3.a - they usually let you pick the topic. Sometimes the prof will ask if you want to help out with their research or do research related to a topic they've picked. You could always decline and do your own thing.

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