Time management

Deadlines have a habit of sneaking up on almost everyone.

While most people are fairly adept at meeting term paper deadlines, senior theses pose more of a problem because of the magnitude of the task. Theses are due on the last day of classes so a student has only 13 weeks, including vacations, to complete it. Thus, it is important to set a tentative schedule for writing your thesis. A typical thesis might have five chapters: introduction, conclusion, and three substantive chapters (e.g., literature review, theory and hypothesis, empirical analysis). A writing schedule that leaves some margin for delays would be:

  • end of 1st week – Turn in thesis proposal
  • end of 4th week – Turn in first substantive chapter
  • end of 7th week – Turn in second substantive chapter
  • end of 10th week – Turn in third substantive chapter
  • 11th week – Revise chapters; write introductory and concluding chapters
  • 12th week  – Proofread, make corrections, and hand in completed thesis

Different theses may require different schedules. You and your advisor should tailor a schedule to fit the needs of your research. Most thesis advisors require students to meet with them weekly in order to keep track of progress and problems. You can utilize this time to keep your advisor posted on how your thesis is going and to discuss any bottlenecks you are encountering.

If you use a computer for writing your thesis, allow time to print it. There is a long backlog of jobs on the laser printers at the end of each semester.