Plan A Considerations

The Plan A Thesis involves close collaboration with your advisor, individual initiative, and careful attention to requirements as established by Office of Graduate Education. Students choosing this option must take leadership for their research process and coordinate the faculty who are supporting them through their capstone. Listed below are a few things to consider when contemplating a Plan A – Thesis and some helpful hints about how to successfully lead the Plan A process and what to consider in selecting a thesis topic. These tips were compiled by Dr. Barbara DeBaryshe, an MEd ECE graduate faculty who frequently advises our Plan A students.

Focusing on Research and Writing for Publication

  • The Plan A allows you to develop expertise and focus in depth on a specialized topic
  • You will develop valuable skills—identifying issues, conceptualizing processes, reviewing literature, conducting research, analyzing data, and writing that will be important if you are planning to pursue a research position.
  • If you like research and are independently motivated, you will enjoy running your own study.
  • Your thesis will result in an original contribution to the field.
  • You may be able to publish your thesis results.
  • Some doctoral programs require applicants to have already completed a thesis.
  • This can be a first step in establishing a longer-term research agenda and a unique professional identity.
  • You MUST pay careful attention to information on the Office of Graduate Education website for key deadlines and requirements related to your thesis work.

Be Prepared to Contribute a Significant Commitment of Resources

  • You will almost certainly need to take more courses in research methods and statistics beyond the mandatory coursework for the MEd ECE Program.
  • You will need to plan to devote more resources (time and money) than you would for a Plan B capstone.
  • If you intend to finish with your cohort, you will need to be very organized!
  • Some people find it challenging to select a thesis topic.
  • You should have passion about doing research on your topic; it should be something you are excited about and willing to devote considerable time and energy to.
  • If you have a very consuming job or substantial outside commitments it will be more challenging to balance the demands of a Plan A with these commitments.

Advisor and Committee Basics

  • It is helpful to have an advisor who already has an established research agenda that is linked to your thesis topic. If not, you will need to make sure the advisor your choose has interest and time to support you in your agenda.
  • It is essential to have a good working relationship with your advisor.
  • Your thesis committee should have interest and expertise in your topic.
  • Choose committee members who have interest in working with work well together.
  • Most thesis topics will require you to meet the requirements of the Institutional Review Board.