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The Master's program (Software Engineering) I'm enrolled in offers both a thesis track and capstone track. Currently I'm enrolled in the thesis track and I've completed all of the required coursework for the thesis track, but I've been stuck in the thesis proposal process for over a year now1 and I'd like to just graduate and be done. I suspect that I'm being "encouraged" to switch over to the capstone track without the Research Advisor outright saying it. What should I take as the signs that it's time to make the switch?


  1. By stuck I don't mean that I don't have a proposal, I mean that I've been submitting revisions about once a month for the past year with conflicting feedback being received and no real progress towards having a Thesis Director.
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    Isn't trying for a whole year enough of a sign to switch? What is holding you back? – superuser0 Jul 22 '13 at 18:58
  • @T.F. Well, normally I would agree with that assessment; however, the average time from "concept to acceptance" is around nine months so the extra three months might not be that long. Plus, most of the feedback on the concept and proposed solution has been positive. – anonymous Jul 22 '13 at 19:10
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    Please clarify the difference between the "thesis" and "capstone" tracks—are you saying it's the difference between being admitted to PhD candidacy versus a terminal master's program? – aeismail Jul 22 '13 at 20:10
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    Ask point-blank. Stop letting your advisor be "nice". – JeffE Jul 23 '13 at 1:13
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    I can understand it would take a year for PhD thesis proposal. For master thesis, no way ! – scaaahu Jul 23 '13 at 14:04
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This answer might not be applicable to everyone; however, today I met with the Associate Director of Professional Programs at [tier-one university]. I was informed that barring extenuating circumstances, if a student doesn't have an accepted proposal and a Thesis Director assigned after a year then they should switch over to the capstone track to ensure they are able to successfully finish their degree.

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