Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Graduate and PhD Theses and keeping it simple

James Gosling has a post on his blog titled "Only solve the problems you need to solve". I woud advise every PGSM student to give it a read, especially the first part.
Back when I was a grad student I was spinning out of control trying to come up with a thesis topic. My advisor took me out to lunch one day and asked me a simple question: "What is a PhD thesis?" I yattered on for a while and he listened patiently. Eventually he said "No: It's just a stack of 100 pages with 4 signatures on top". I was falling into a common grad student trap of feeling that I needed to do something grandiose and solve all of the worlds problems. He was into "keep it simple". So I did, and I came up with a pretty straightforward thesis proposal. The odd thing was that when I finally finished my thesis, I realized that I had only delt (sic) with one sentence out of the simplified proposal.


Anonymous said...

100 pages, ur kidding me............

Abhinav Agarwal said...

Double-spaced, chapters beginning on new pages, large font-face, adequate space for page headers and footers, margins for gutters, large charts, etc... you would surprised :-)


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