22.THT | Fall 2015 | Undergraduate

Undergraduate Thesis Tutorial

Instructor Insights

Course Overview

This page focuses on the course 22.THT NSE Undergraduate Thesis Tutorial as it was taught by Prof. Michael P. Short, Christine Sherratt, and Jane E. Kokernak in Fall 2015.

This interactive seminar guides students through various aspects of choosing, proposing, and executing original thesis work. Major topics covered include: choosing a thesis topic; setting concrete goals and milestones; identifying efficient document writing tools; maintaining good communication with one’s thesis advisor; and finding and citing primary resources from the literature.

Course Outcomes

Course Goals for Students

  • Learn how to choose a project topic, considering available time and resources
  • Practice efficiently finding and properly citing scientific resources
  • Learn how to efficiently author a scientific document without doing busy work
  • Practice presenting your research in 30 seconds or less, in an impactful elevator pitch
  • Outline a thesis in a detailed manner, to help guide both your research and writing
  • Develop your own personal, scientific writing style

Curriculum Information


22.09 Principles of Nuclear Radiation Measurement & Protection

Requirements Satisfied

Nuclear Science and Engineering bachelor’s degree requirement


Every fall semester

Instructor Insights

"Science is equal parts careful discovery of the laws of nature and effective communication."
— Michael Short

Below, Prof. Michael P. Short describes various aspects of how he taught 22.THT NSE Undergraduate Thesis Tutorial.


Grade Breakdown

Assignment Percentage
Thesis Topic and Elevator Pitch 5
Central Hypothesis (3–5 Sentences) 5
Hypothesis Revision and Signoff 5
Rough Drafts of Thesis Prospectus and Outline 10
Communications Lab Review 10
Detailed Thesis Outline 10
Thesis Introduction and Background Sections 10
Writing, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication (WRAP) Review 5
Final Prospectus 40

Student Information


10 students

Breakdown by Year

Most students were seniors. However, some were not, and this was a deviation from previous years. Some faculty members have decided that a student doesn’t need to be a senior to write a senior thesis. If the student has done high quality undergraduate research that’s original, well-documented, and conclusive, there’s no reason not to start the senior thesis process early.

Breakdown by Major

Nuclear Science & Engineering majors

How Student Time Was Spent

During an average week, students were expected to spend 3 hours on the course, roughly divided as follows:

In class

  • Met 1 time per week for 1 hour per session; 13 sessions total.
  • Students were supported in developing key aspects of their prospectuses.

Out of Class

Students drafted and revised their prospectuses in consultation with Graduate Fellows in the NSE Communication Lab and WRAP staff.

Course Info

Learning Resource Types
Written Assignments with Examples
Instructor Insights