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Masters dissertation question examples

Apr 7, 2018

Example Dissertation Titles

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May you live every day of your life. Jonathan Swift

During your interview, you will be asked questions, and you are expected to ask intelligent questions. Here are some examples to help you:

Typical Questions They Will Ask You

1.What is the first experiment you will do?
2.What equipment will you need for your research?
3.What sources of funding will you apply to?
4.How will you distinguish yourself from your previous supervisors?
5.Who in the world would be your biggest competition?
6.Is there anyone else in Canada doing related research?
7.How large of a research group do you want to have?
8.Where do you see your research program in five years?
9.Where else are you interviewing?
10.Who will write the papers in your group?
11.Do you have any hobbies?
12.What if that doesn’t work?
13.What if your student does the reaction and brings you a flask of black sludge? What will you recommend?
14.How does this relate to so–and–so’s work?
15.Who do you see yourself collaborating with in our department? Other departments?
16.Where will you publish your work?
17.What is your biggest weakness?
Expect many specific questions about your proposal.

Questions You Could Ask During Lunch With Graduate Students

1.Why did you choose to come here?
2.What are the facilities like?
3.How do you find the research environment?
4.What are the courses like?
5.Are most students happy?
6.Do the students have a department organization?
7.Are there many activities for graduate students, or for faculty and graduate students?
8.How are the undergraduates?
9.How often do you teach? Lectures or labs?
10.Do you live on-campus or off-campus? Which areas are good to live in?
11.How hard do most students work?
12.What do you expect from your supervisor?
13.What is the employment outlook for graduates from this department?

Questions You Could Ask During One–on–one Interviews with Faculty

1.What facilities are available?
2.How does the NMR booking procedure work here?
3.How much does instrument time cost?
4.How many classes do graduate students take?
5.Where do most graduate students come from?
6.How would you rate the quality of the graduate students you get?
7.Have you had any difficulties attracting graduate students or post-docs?
8.How much does a graduate student cost? Do you have to pay their tuition?
9.What would you say were the biggest hurdles you encountered starting up?
10.How do you like living here?
11.How is the library?
12.Do you have a lot of electronic resources?
13.How is the teaching load?
14.Is collaborative work encouraged or discouraged?
15.How many committees do new faculty serve on?
16.Where is a good area to live?
17.How do the faculty get along with one another?
18.Is there a mentorship program?
19.Does the Head do a good job of supporting young faculty?
20.How has this department changed lately?
21.What are the strengths of this department? Weaknesses?
22.How are graduate students assigned to research directors?

Questions You Could Ask the Chair

1.How does the tenure review process work here?
2.What is a typical teaching load?
3.How are salary increases determined?
4.What committees could I expect to serve on in my first year?
5.Where will my space be located?
6.Where is the nearest synchrotron? (And other questions relating to equipment you will need.)
7.What is the rate of tenure in the department?
8.How many people is the department planning to hire this year?
9.What is the pension plan like, fixed or tied to the market?
10.Are there any additional benefits provided to new faculty?
11.Are there plans to renovate or build new space?
12.Do I get paid for nine months or a full year?
13.How good is the department at nominating faculty for awards?
14.Do start-up funds expire?

Are you putting the final touches to a dissertation? Let's pass on some tips to those who'll be doing them next year

The sun is shining but many students won't see the daylight. Because it's that time of year again – dissertation time.

Luckily for me, my D-Day (dissertation hand-in day) has already been and gone. But I remember it well.

The 10,000-word spiral-bound paper squatted on my desk in various forms of completion was my Allied forces; the history department in-tray was my Normandy. And when Eisenhower talked about a "great crusade toward which we have striven these many months", he was bang on.

I remember first encountering the Undergraduate Dissertation Handbook, feeling my heart sink at how long the massive file took to download, and began to think about possible (but in hindsight, wildly over-ambitious) topics. Here's what I've learned since, and wish I'd known back then…

1) If your dissertation supervisor isn't right, change. Mine was brilliant. If you don't feel like they're giving you the right advice, request to swap to someone else – providing it's early on and your reason is valid, your department shouldn't have a problem with it. In my experience, it doesn't matter too much whether they're an expert on your topic. What counts is whether they're approachable, reliable, reassuring, give detailed feedback and don't mind the odd panicked email. They are your lifeline and your best chance of success.

2) If you mention working on your dissertation to family, friends or near-strangers, they will ask you what it's about, and they will be expecting a more impressive answer than you can give. So prepare for looks of confusion and disappointment. People anticipate grandeur in history dissertation topics – war, genocide, the formation of modern society. They don't think much of researching an obscure piece of 1970s disability legislation. But they're not the ones marking it.

3) If they ask follow-up questions, they're probably just being polite.

4) Do not ask friends how much work they've done. You'll end up paranoid – or they will. Either way, you don't have time for it.

5) There will be one day during the process when you will freak out, doubt your entire thesis and decide to start again from scratch. You might even come up with a new question and start working on it, depending on how long the breakdown lasts. You will at some point run out of steam and collapse in an exhausted, tear-stained heap. But unless there are serious flaws in your work (unlikely) and your supervisor recommends starting again (highly unlikely), don't do it. It's just panic, it'll pass.

6) A lot of the work you do will not make it into your dissertation. The first few days in archives, I felt like everything I was unearthing was a gem, and when I sat down to write, it seemed as if it was all gold. But a brutal editing down to the word count has left much of that early material at the wayside.

7) You will print like you have never printed before. If you're using a university or library printer, it will start to affect your weekly budget in a big way. If you're printing from your room, "paper jam" will come to be the most dreaded two words in the English language.

8) Your dissertation will interfere with whatever else you have going on – a social life, sporting commitments, societies, other essay demands. Don't even try and give up biscuits for Lent, they'll basically become their own food group when you're too busy to cook and desperate for sugar.

9) Your time is not your own. Even if you're super-organised, plan your time down to the last hour and don't have a single moment of deadline panic, you'll still find that thoughts of your dissertation will creep up on you when you least expect it. You'll fall asleep thinking about it, dream about it and wake up thinking about. You'll feel guilty when you're not working on it, and mired in self-doubt when you are.

10) Finishing it will be one of the best things you've ever done. It's worth the hard work to know you've completed what's likely to be your biggest, most important, single piece of work. Be proud of it.

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• This article was previously published on Guardian Students on 2 May 2012.

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