Sustainability: Working with Your Research Advisor

Proposals in Sustainability are developed during the Crafting the Thesis Proposal course (ENVR E-200 or S-200). However, you need to work towards a finished pre-proposal well before taking the course - you also may have to finalize the proposal after the course is completed.

Planning coursework

  • Your eventual thesis research should influence selection of courses before or after you take the Crafting the Thesis Proposal course, so discuss tentative thesis research ideas with your Research Advisor soon after you are admitted to the program
  • Determine courses relevant to your research problem and possible methodologies
  • Pursue course research papers and develop a database of references¬†
  • Background research in courses - or outside of courses - is necessary for you to develop original research questions and hypotheses, as presented in your pre-proposal

Developing an approved pre-proposal

  • Submit the required pre-proposal to your Research Advisor at least two months prior to the course (see the E/S-200 course description for due date and instruction form)
  • The pre-proposal (see Sustainability: Proposal Examples) is a 4-5 page summary that helps you focus on and develop the crucial elements of the proposal
  • As a prelude to a useful meeting with your Research Advisor - held at any time to discuss possible thesis research - organize your research plan by attempting to fill in the instruction form
  • Your pre-proposal helps you and your Research Advisor evaluate if you are on a good path towards developing an original thesis research project
  • It is usual for you to revise your pre-proposal several times before it is approved by your Research Advisor and you are allowed to enter the E/S-200 course
  • Although you can register for the course, admittance requires an approved topic

Distance students should engage in their pre-proposal well in advance of the course.

  • Be certain your pre-proposal will be approved before you make travel or housing arrangements for the required in-residence E-200 or S-200 course
  • It is your responsibility to inform your Research Advisor of travel dates, so submit your pre-proposal well in advance of these dates and allow for required revisions

The final research proposal

Your Instructor in the E/S-200 course will help you develop your full proposal.

You will receive a grade in the course and emerge with either:

  • A proposal approved by both your E/S-200 Instructor and Research Advisor - ready to submit to a possible Thesis Director selected with your Research Advisor
  • A completed proposal that you nonetheless wish to revise before starting thesis research - work with your Research Advisor towards a final proposal
  • A proposal not yet approved - revision will be under direction of your Research Advisor, not the Instructor in the course