The thesis can be about any subject related to the natural science aspect of Biotechnology. This includes, but is not limited to, almost anything that is touched on in the W4034, W4300 and G4305, as well as almost all the research fields of the faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences and many in the Health Sciences Campus. Non-natural science issues such as business, law, ethics, can be included only as a small portion of the major picture. They should not be the main, or the only, theme of the thesis.
Option 1: Review articles with strong "views" and "future" components. The thesis shall give in-depth evaluations of the field, including the history, current status, and future directions.
Option 2: Grant proposal following NIH RO1 rules using Form PHS398
Option 3: Scientific report. For students who have done independent research (G4500-3 or uncredited), the thesis can be about their research while enrolling in the MA program. The general format should follow the Research Articles in Nature Biotechnology. Exception is that the thesis should have a much more extensive background section. Remember that materials already used for reports and credits cannot be used again for thesis.
Any Columbia faculty members can serve as advisors. The involvement of the faculty member can range from “holding-hands-every-step-of-the-way” to just reading the final draft, depending on the agreement between the student and the advisor. If you would like to have a non-Columbia faculty as your primary advisor, you need an additional Columbia faculty to be the final reader and to approve the thesis.
Most people, advisor and advisee alike, find it helpful to have at least some ideas about what and how you plan to write before approaching somebody for advice. You must have at least one faculty advisor who will read your final draft critically. In order not to overwhelm research faculty with reading commitments, we may have to limit the number of thesis each faculty can be asked to advise.