Nutrition & Dietetics: Master's Thesis

What's a Thesis?

The culminating project for both the M.S. in Nutrition and M.S. in Sports Nutrition and Exercise Science is a master's thesis. A thesis is an original research project developed by you, the student, in collaboration with a 3-person committee, which approves the thesis.

You are encouraged to begin thinking about your thesis as early as possible. Class assignments can be used to explore topics of interest. Before submitting a thesis proposal, you should be knowledgeable about the topic.

You will begin to develop your proposal in ND/SNES 590: Research Methodology.


Some of the issues you should consider include:  

  1. Do you have access to an appropriate population?
  2. Do you have the technical and statistical skills to complete the project?
  3. Are there validated instruments that can be used?
  4. What equipment is needed and is it available?
  5. What costs will be incurred and how will they be paid?

The Process

The final product of ND/SNES 590 is a very rough draft of a potential thesis. You can use this as a starting point to enlist a faculty mentor and two committee members to work with you on the final project. Your mentor must be a Marywood faculty member from the department that houses the program in which you are enrolled. The other two committee members can be other faculty or people outside the University. They must hold at least a master's degree.

Thesis credits are divided into 595A, 595B, and 595C. Each of these courses is 1 credit. 595A must be finished before you register for 595B or 595C. These courses are not formal courses that meet for a set number of hours each week. It is your responsibility to schedule meetings with your mentor and committee members to discuss ideas, submit proposal drafts, complete revisions, and ultimately prepare to defend your completed proposal.  

After a mentor has agreed to work with you on your project, you must sign up for your mentor's section of ND/SNES 595A. This section involves completing a polished version of the first 3 chapters of your thesis, defending it to the committee, and submitting it to the Marywood IRB. This section takes the longest to complete. It is wise to register for ND/SNES 595A during the summer after you complete ND/SNES 590.

Section B involves the collection of data and readying it for analysis. It is wise to take ND/SNES 591: Statistical Analysis during this period.

Section C involves analyzing the data and writing chapters 4 and 5 of your thesis. This should be done in close collaboration with your mentor and committee.

Defending Your Thesis

After you've completed your thesis, you must present it and answer questions from your committee. Your committee then decides if your thesis is a pass, pass with modifications, or not passing. Most theses are pass with modifications. In this case, you have 1 week to make modifications.

If your thesis does not pass, you must correct any problems and defend your thesis again.