How To, Thoughts, Tips, University Life

Picking Your Thesis Topic, A How-To

Last Updated on January 7, 2019

I got a question from one of my juniors today, they were asking for tips and trick on how to choose a thesis topic and its supervisors. This reminds me back 2 years ago when I have a big interest in plant breeding. I ended up having a thesis research in chili pepper yield evaluation for around 6 months. Thank God I have such wonderful lecturers (Pak Syukur & Bu Iis) that allows me to go, um, travel a bit over the summer but still help me manage to finish all the necessary things for graduation in 2012. :))

Anyhow, I’ll gladly share what I think is necessary to know before you choose your thesis topic, especially in Agronomy and Horticulture. But if you’re not from my department, I think this apply generally. 🙂

1. Decide if you would like a research or an internship. For me, I take on research because in the long run, I would like to be a professor (Amin!). The advantage of taking up research is that you have the experience and skills to plan and conduct your own research with the help of the supervisors, of course. As for internship, the advantage is that you have a short working experience, but right now in AGH is mostly in plantations. The choice, it’s up to you.

2. Choose a topic that you like. This is quite important since you most likely don’t want to be stuck in something that you don’t like. Think it over carefully and try to list 2-3 topics that you would like to do research on. For example, in AGH you have seed science, plant breeding, plant production, ecophysiology, biotechnology, and such. For internship, as I said, is mostly on plantation crops and mostly about management.

3. Another way is to choose the type of commodities that you would like to work on. Do you want to work with horticulture (fruits, veggies, ornamental, ect) plants, or plantation plants, or others. Always make a backup preference, in case the first one does not work out.

4. Search for the potential supervisors, usually there is a list of supervisors and the thesis topic available for the students to fight over, hahaha. Ask the seniors questions about the potential supervisors, how are they like, their relationship with students, do they travel much or mostly stay in campus, ect. These are important details that can get you finishing up college really fast or really slow.

5. Talk to your parents or your close friends if you are still not sure with the decision that you make. Probably they can help you see from a different point of view to give you an ever bigger prespective. 🙂

6. When you are sure about a topic and it is time for you to make a decision, then follow the procedures that are applied. In my year, you have to send the email right at 00.00 so that you can get your first pick. Remember that somebody else may want the topic topic that you want also. Be quick and be smart!

7. If you are able to have your desired topic immediately, CONGRATS! 🙂 I was one of you too. However, if you are outrun by another, then don’t worry. Remember the tip where I told you to list out more than one topic, the try on another topic. Hopefully it is meant for you.

I hope my tips can help the dilemmatic process of picking out a thesis topic. Whatever it is the topic that you get, remember that it is the best for you. Good luck! 🙂


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