Working with Your Thesis Director

Your Thesis Director plays a vital role in your thesis process. S/he will help you focus your work, redefine your question (as necessary) and help you figure out how to obtain resources.

  • While collaborating with your Thesis Director, you may receive requests to modify your topic, as well as suggestions for changes in the research problem/method

Your Thesis Director meets with you (in person, or via telephone/e-mail) at appropriate, regular intervals during the thesis process to assist with problems as they arise and to ensure adequate progress.

  • These meetings or consultations are typically most frequent during the early stages of the project
  • The Thesis Director should not be expected to undertake remedial work, i.e. teaching you what you are already expected to know

Primary responsibilities for acquiring basic research techniques and identifying an initial research problem lie with you

Upon completion of your research and writing, you’ll submit a written thesis to your Thesis Director. Most Thesis Directors prefer to review this work in successive stages, chapter by chapter, while others prefer to wait until the entire manuscript has been completed.

  • We strongly advise candidates to be proactive in requesting a chapter-by-chapter review of the work in progress - this type of incremental review facilitates the process of revision

It’s the Thesis Director’s role to read the thesis, request revisions, and grade the final version.

  • Upon completion, the Thesis Director will submit a letter grade and brief narrative evaluation of your project to Harvard’s Extension School

It’s important to know who your Thesis Director is

For many disciplines the Thesis Director holds a teaching appointment at Harvard at the rank of senior lecturer, assistant, associate, or full professor, or professor emeritus/emerita. Thesis Directors may also include industry professionals or specialists whom your Research Advisor has selected to match the topics you have chosen to study in your thesis work.