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Meeting Template For Onboarding A New MSc Thesis Student

Meeting template for onboarding a new MSc thesis student

A while ago, I developed a meeting template that shows the topics I touch upon when I’m meeting a new MSc thesis student who is starting their research. I’ve been having this checklist on my computer for three years, and I realized it may be of interest to some readers. So, without much further ado, here is the template I use:

I made this agenda based on the assumption we have 1.5 hours for the appointment for an MSc thesis student.

  1. Welcome and introductions (20 minutes):
    1. Get to know each other
    2. Get to know interest of student and background
    3. Get to know working style of student
    4. Learn about the future plans of the student (Further studies? Research career? Working in industry?) and discuss how this project can serve their goals for the future.
  2. Procedures (40 minutes):
    1. Explain the different meetings (kick-off, greenlight etc) and required paperwork to the student.
    2. Walk student through the format of a meeting with the full committee: what should you prepare for the meeting and which material should you send in advance (and how much time in advance).
    3. Explain the expectations and how the student will be assessed.
    4. Explain to the student my role in the supervision (depends whether I am daily supervisor or external committee member)
    5. Let the student know how I am available for him/her/them when I’m not in the Netherlands, the tools I use for videoconferencing, and how I provide feedback on the documents.
    6. Discuss the learning objectives of the thesis, as well as any personal learning objectives the student may have.
  3. Content (20 minutes):
    1. Listen to ideas of student about the topic, and help him/her/them to distill the main focus from these ideas.
    2. Ask the student on how he/she/they will carry out the literature review. If the student has already read some articles, discuss interesting ideas and, if needed, give pointers on how to find other relevant articles or how to process the information from the literature.
    3. Ask the student to formulate the research question. At this point, the research question is still a first idea. Discuss possible directions based on this first research question.
    4. Ask the student to brainstorm methods and actions based on the research question, which will help him/her/them to develop planning and preliminary table of contents.
  4. Closing and setting net appointment (10 minutes):
    1. Expectations for next meeting: short document with background and scope, research question, short literature review, planning, and draft table of contents of thesis.
    2. Final questions
    3. Set next appointment or agree to use a Whenisgood to find a time and date to meet with the full committee.

Which procedures do you use for onboarding a new thesis student?

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