Planning for Thesis


While planning for thesis may sound exciting to some, it can feel daunting to others. This is totally normal. We have broken down the process for thesis planning into a flow chart and three steps. It will take a couple of weeks to complete all three steps, so the sooner you start on all of this, the better.

In short, you will need a thesis project, you may need some funding, and you will need a thesis advisor.

Consider the flow chart below. It is designed to have you think about the entire thesis planning process from start to finish and as you move through Steps 1-3. Enter the flow chart by deciding if you want a summer research experience or not. If you do, it may be possible to work with a Bates professor, or as a research intern at an another institution. In these cases, proposals and/or applications may have to be written by specific program deadlines. These deadlines may be in early January, but are usually sometime in February though March. Check all programs and do not delay in planning for thesis.

After spending some time with the flow chart and the details within Steps 1-3 below, go ahead and get started. Reach out to the EACS faculty as soon as possible. Go through Steps 1-3 listed below, and be sure to complete STEP 3 (fill out the google form) no later than January 25, 2021.

To learn more about the department including an introduction to faculty and their research programs, please view the YouTube video.

Step 1. Thesis Project Ideas – Meet with EACS Faculty

The EACS faculty have research programs currently underway that might be right up your alley.

Meet with each faculty member to learn about their research programs and brain storm ideas for projects, and funding, if needed, by January 25.

There are plenty of exciting opportunities for thesis projects at Bates; and more will be coming online as we hire for next year.

EACS faculty available for advising thesis next year (AY 21-22) include, Bev Johnson, Mike Retelle, Raj Saha, and 2 new faculty as yet to be hired.

Dyk and Genevieve will not be available to advise theses next year (AY 21-22), but they will be replaced. So if you are interested in doing a thesis in Geodynamics or Earth Materials, just let us know when you get to Step 3/Filling out the google form.

We list below our areas of expertise, but this does not necessarily mean you are limited to a project in those areas. Have a look at the List of Theses on the EACS website to get a sense of what is possible.

Bev Johnson: environmental geochemistry, salt marsh carbon dynamics and sedimentary archives of coastal processes, water quality of local watersheds, hydrogeology, GHG emissions

Mike Retelle: paleoclimate and current climate in high Arctic, lake sediment records, beach monitoring

Raj Saha: climate modelling, Earth systems modelling

Faculty Member #1, starting AY 21-22. Earth Materials Visiting Assistant Professor (hiring underway Winter, 2021) likely to have expertise in igneous and volcanic processes, silicate melts, experimental petrology, mineralogy. (Genevieve Robert: on sabbatical AY 21-22.)

Faculty Member #2, starting AY 21-22. Geodynamics Visiting Assistant Professor (hiring underway Winter, 2021) likely to have expertise in field mapping, structural geology, geology of the Appalachians. (Dyk Eusden; retiring Spring 2021.)

Faculty Member #3, starting AY 21-22. New 2-year position: Earth Surface Processes (hiring underway Winter, 2021.)

Step 2. Funding a Thesis – Write Proposals and Applications, if Needed

Research can be, but is not always costly. Money is needed to do field work, keep instruments running, and analyze samples, for example. Salaries are needed for summer internships, and can be provided by a professor with an external grant, or can be applied for by writing a proposal to one of the many grant opportunities internal to Bates. It is also possible to apply to a summer research program outside of Bates.

The Department of EACS provides each student with $200 to assist in covering the cost of thesis research. Other potential sources of funding to EACS students include the Bouley Fund.

For more on Funding Opportunities (Internal and External), see Student Research Opportunities.

Some of these funding opportunities require grant proposals and applications to be submitted beginning as early as Feb 1, 2021. The grant proposals are usually written with input from the faculty advisor. Talk to the EACS faculty about funding needs and suggestions for thesis projects of interest.

Step 3. Thesis Advisor – Fill Out the Google Form

The key to a successful thesis experience is to find a project that interests you and a thesis advisor who has both the expertise and the time to work with you. Each faculty member can advise up to a maximum of four students. Once you meet with all of the faculty, fill out the thesis google form to let us know of your research interests by Jan 25. The faculty will meet to review your answers and preferences and assign thesis advisors to the students. We try to accommodate student interests while distributing the thesis advising workload across the faculty. Please do NOT miss this deadline.