Sustainability: Working with Your Thesis Director

Appointment of your Thesis Director in Sustainability

Thesis Directors in Sustainability are from diverse sources:

  • Faculty teaching one of our courses with expertise in your topic or its methodology
  • Harvard University faculty or affiliated researchers or staff
  • Faculty from other colleges or universities with expertise in your research topic
  • Researchers or staff with research backgrounds from the private sector, NGOs or government agencies

We encourage students to consider possible Thesis Directors from universities or other organizations near where they live for the benefits of face-to-face meetings, although Skyping and phone calls are alternatives.

You will be asked to research and evaluate a set of possible Thesis Directors

  • One of your assignments in the E/S-200 course will be to develop a carefully considered list of possible Thesis Directors, which you will then discuss with your Research Advisor
  • Contacting a potential Thesis Director must be approved by your Research Advisor
  • A final proposal approved by your Research Advisor is required before this step

Continuing Role of your Research Advisor

During your thesis research and writing, your Research Advisor continues to serve as a resource for both you and your Thesis Director

Although your Thesis Director is responsible for submitting a grade for your thesis, your thesis must also be approved by your Research Advisor.

Your Research Advisor is the quality control gatekeeper, and often requires revision for:

  • Required formatting
  • Organization of your thesis material into required chapters and sections
  • Clarity, conciseness and other elements of writing quality, labeling of tables and figures, and other issues to produce a thesis of high standard

Therefore, you should engage your Research Advisor when major issues emerge, such as substantial changes in thesis proposal, research goals or methods, or organization of the thesis.