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Research Requirement

One of the requirements to obtain a M. S. degree in civil engineering is to write and present a thesis or research paper. The thesis or paper must be on a topic relevant to civil engineering. It must include (1) a literature review using a variety of high quality data sources, (2) data analysis or a comparative study, and (3) conclusions. To select an appropriate project or topic, you need to consider your interests, the interests of your faculty advisory committee, and data availability.

To search for high quality literature, use the journal databases available at the SIUE Lovejoy Library where you can locate online indexes to journal literature and links to the full text of articles within some journals. "Compendex", a journal database very relevant to engineering and science, is recommended. If you need help how to these databases, please contact Mr. Paul Anthony, the Business and Engineering Librarian.

Important Note:

Every statement appearing in your thesis or research paper must either be your own or a reference must be cited. In other words, you must avoid plagiarism. (Plagiarism is the act of representing the work of another as your own. It may consist of copying, paraphrasing, or otherwise using the written or oral work of another without acknowledging the source. Plagiarism is grounds for suspension from the University.)

See the following resources for further guidance about how to avoid plagiarizing.

Citing References and Avoiding Plagiarism

• Fair Use:

• Purdue's Online Writing Lab:

• University of Southern Mississippi's Plagiarism Tutorial:

You must follow the Graduate School's guidelines for theses. You must follow the Department's guidelines for research papers.

Use the following as a general procedure for the review and presentation of your research. Note that this process is lengthy and will take at least one full semester to complete. If you do not follow this process, you may find that you have to rewrite your paper substantially and/or present your research again, i.e., you will not graduate when you thought you would.

  • Propose a research topic to your committee chair.

  • Provide an approved outline of your research paper to your committee members, and schedule a meeting to discuss your research proposal.

  • Upon obtaining the committee's approval, conduct the research.

  • Stay in contact with your committee chair regarding your progress.

  • Prepare a draft of the paper and submit to your committee chair by the deadline.

    • Spring: April 1st
    • Summer: arrange with committee chair
    • Fall: November 1st
  • Revise the draft based on the comments received and resubmit to your committee chair. This step may be repeated multiple times.

  • Provide the approved draft of your paper to your committee at least 2 weeks prior to your presentation. Note that your committee may postpone your presentation and/or acceptance of your paper if you do not meet this deadline.

  • Schedule your presentation.

  • Present your research.

  • Revise your paper based on the committee's final comments.

  • Submit the revised copy to your committee chair and any other committee members who requested a copy.

  • Upon approval of the paper and presentation, graduate.

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