How to write MSc Thesis

How to write MSc Thesis

By Dr. Azhar Saleem


    • Font: Times New Roman, 12 Size
    • Line Spacing: Double
    • Borders: 1 in, all four sides
    • First Level Heading: 12, Bold, Capital
    • Second Level Heading: 12, Bold, First letter of every word Capital
    • Third Level Heading: 12, Regular, Italic, First letter of every word Capital
    • No Empty spaces below Figures and Tables
    • Every Figure and Table must have caption


  • Abstract
  • Dedication (optional)
  • Acknowledgements (optional)
  • Table of Content
  • List of Figures
  • List of Tables

Chapter 1: Introduction
1.1 Problem Statement
1.2 Objectives of Research
1.3 Research Methodology
1.4 Organization of Thesis
Chapter 2: Literature Review
Chapter 3: Experimental Work
Chapter 4: Analytical Work
Chapter 5: Results and Discussion
Chapter 6: Conclusions and Recommendation
1 Page Resume

It should be limited to 250-300 words. Discuss the rationale behind the study, general approach to the problem, pertinent results, and important conclusions or new questions. Write abstract after the rest of the thesis has been completed.

Literature Review
When you write about historical context in terms of who has done what, use first person active voice and refer to the author’s last name. Do not jump from one topic to the other. Connect statements from various authors so that everything is in flow. If you copy something directly from a paper without putting it in your own words, put it quotation marks.

Experimental Work/Methodology…… (HOW?)
Use past tense except when referring to established facts. Most authors use third person passive voice. Omit all explanatory information and background. Save it for the discussion.

Results…… (WHAT?)
Make this section a completely objective report of the results, and save all interpretation for the discussion. Use figures and tables and refer each of them in text. In text, describe each of your results, pointing the reader to observations that are most relevant. Provide a context, such as by describing the question that was addressed by making a particular observation. Also describe results of experiments that are not presented in figures or tables.

Discussion….. (WHY?)
Here we write Interpretation of results and support for all the conclusions, using evidence from experiment. When you explain a phenomenon you must describe mechanisms that may account for the observation. If results differ from expectations, explain why that may have happened. If results agree, then describe the theory that the evidence supported. Decide if the experimental design adequately addressed the hypothesis. Try to offer alternative explanations if reasonable alternatives exist. Do not present superficial interpretation that more or less re-states the results. It is necessary to suggest why results came out as they did, focusing on the mechanisms behind the observations.


  •  Do not be subjective: “We felt that……”
  • Avoid superlative such as “huge,” “incredible,” “wonderful,” “exciting, “etc.
  • Talk in terms of numbers and percentages.


  • What can you say about the work that you couldn’t before?
  • What are the broader implications of the work?
  • Write conclusions with FRESH MIND,


  • Take a break before proofreading. The goal is to return with a fresh eyes and mind
  • Leave yourself enough time. No speeding
  • Get others involved
  • Read your thesis out loud
  • Print out a copy to proofread

Sample References

  1. Banthia, N., Al-Asaly, M., and Ma, S., “Behavior of Concrete Slabs Reinforced with Fiber-Reinforced Plastic Grid,” Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering, V. 7, No. 4, 1995, pp. 252-257.
  2. Ghannoum, C. M., “Effect of High-Strength Concrete on the Performance of Slab-Column Specimens,” MEngrg. Thesis, Department of Civil Engineering and Applied Mechanics, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada, 1998, 91 pp.
  3. ACI Committee 318, “Building Code Requirements for Structural Concrete (ACI 318-08) and Commentary,” American Concrete Institute, Farmington Hills, MI, 2008, 473 pp.
  4. British Standard Institution, “Structural Use of Concrete,” Standard BS 8110, London, UK,1997, 168 pp.
  5. Mirmiran, A., “Length Effects on FRP-Reinforced Concrete Columns,” Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Composites in Infrastructure, Tucson, AZ, 1998, pp. 518-532.

Complied by:
Dr. M. Azhar Saleem
Director, Bridge Engineering Lab,
Department of Civil Engineering
UET Lahore.

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