Building Science Thesis

ARCH 692b: Building Science Thesis

Instructor: Karen Kensek

Scientific and technological progress has accelerated rapidly in the past 100 years. To a large degree this is due to a shift in worldview and logical thinking became a major means to explain the nature of the world. This approach may have inherent weaknesses, but it has proven useful to the advancement of human knowledge as is related to “hard sciences” and has even been useful in clarifying thoughts in other areas of endeavor.

Renee Descartes provided a useful codification of the process that forms the basis of most current research and which allows us to attack a specifically defined problem or issue with a certain intellectual rigor. This class will introduce the student to the thesis process, and other research tools, and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the thesis as a way of increasing knowledge in different kinds of applications. Indeed, within the fields of Architecture and Building Science, we are often more interested in overlapping areas, or their interaction. This makes the application of the thesis process particularly interesting.

USC allows individualized thesis topics developed as a research partnership between individual students and faculty. This means that students are not confined to specific coursework after the core classes, but they have the opportunity to study a specific area that interests them and their chosen faculty committee. This gives the student great freedom. It is also dangerous, in that the student can flounder. For that reason, it is important that the student understand the thesis process completely; the student will use it to become responsible for their own educational goals and whether or not those goals are achieved. This is not easier for the student or the faculty. It requires a great deal of individualized work. But it can be extremely rewarding. This course is the capstone of the Master of Building Science research project and thesis.