An MIT dissertation is a long and innovative document composed by a doctoral student enrolled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a distinguished institution located in Cambridge, Massachusetts that is particularly renowned for its advancements in and contributions to the sciences. MIT dissertations are required for all students seeking doctoral degrees from MIT. An MIT dissertation is no different from a dissertation from another school of higher learning. However, because MIT is a very competitive institution, it is not uncommon for MIT dissertations to be of a generally more advanced level of scholarship than those of less competitive institutions.
Writing and defending an MIT dissertation is a doctoral student's final step in earning his or her Ph.D. Typically, the thesis is undertaken after the student has taken and passed a series of qualifying exams in his or her field of study. These exams demonstrate the student's advanced knowledge of the coursework and discipline; the thesis is intended to demonstrate the student's innovative thought in the field and successful execution of data collection.
All MIT reports should be composed under the advisement of the student's dissertation committee. This committee is comprised of advanced professors in the student's field who have a particular interest in the student's dissertation topic. The committee will assist the student in all steps of the report, and will ultimately determine if the student's dissertation has earned him his Ph.D.
Because of MIT's emphasis on the sciences, an MIT dissertation will often be a report of an originally-designed research study that the student has created and tested. The report should clearly describe the inspiration for and execution of that study in precise detail. The exact format of such a report will be mandated by the student's department; however, most dissertation formats in the sciences include sections that identify and explain the student's research question, present a comprehensive overview of existing research on the topic, provide an exhaustive description of the execution of the study, present the study's results, and discuss how the study contributes to knowledge in the student's field. These elements are typically divided into several chapters, and within each chapter will almost always be several subheadings that clearly identify the chapter's various topics.
Once a student has completed his or her assignment, he or she must engage in a dissertation defense, in which the student's committee and other MIT faculty members challenge the student's research design and execution.
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