To start a thesis project
The thesis project is a course with examination at the university (opposed to a trainee position at a company) and it is therefore important that all parts involved -- student, supervisor at a company or at some department, reviewer and examiner -- are aware of what is required for an approved examination. To clearfiy this is the goals with these pages.
The thesis project is a project that is done individually. This does not exclude that two students can cooperate in a larger project and write a common report. It is then required that it is clearly described who has contributed with what, both in writing and in the oral presentation.
Some student want to do a thesis bases on their own ideas, may be because they want to test some ideas. We strongly discourage you do try this. The reasons for this is twofolded; it will be very difficult to find a supervisor for this. Supervision is a task that don't generate any economical reward. Therefore supervisors are usually only interested in projects formulated by themselves. Also these projects are often loosley defined and tends to be late.
Scope and level
There are five types of thesis projects:
- 15hp at C-level - to get a bachelor degree.
- 15hp at D-level - to get a (60hp) master degree if you already have a 15hp C-level thesis.
- 30hp at E-level - to get a master degree or a civil engineering degree.
- 45hp at E-level - to get a masters degree.
A thesis project at C-level should show that the student can use his knowledge in computer science on a realistic problem. A considerable part of the work should be done individually. There are no requirements that the problem has any specific nature or level of difficulty, nor that it should be solved completely. However the problem should be addressed with a scientific methodology obtained in the education, an analysis of the result should be done.
It is not uncommon tha the major part of the thesis project at C-level consists of programming work. Here, the student should make sure that the project contains something more than just coding from a predefined specification, as such a project rarely contains a relevant problem to solve.
The main difference between thesis projects at C- versus D- and E-level is that at D- and E-level the problem should be addressed in a scientific approach, the main part should be done individually, and that new knowledge should be obtained. The problem should in addition be related to scientific literature in the area and the analysis of the work should be extensive.
These requirements do not mean that the student should solve a scientific problem, but a scientific methodology should be used, and there must problems in the relevant field to investigate. Projects with only routine programming is not accepted. It is important to note that these requirements implies that not all projects are suitable as D- or E-level thesis. This makes it important that there is a clear specification is available before the work starts so that the examiner can judge whether this will pass as a suitable project.
The prerequisites to start a thesis project is found in the course plan for the course.
To carry out a thesis is is also required that you have specific knowledge if the field of the project. For a project in IT it is required that you have taken relevant courses in the area. An individual judgement is done based on the specification.
How to find a suitable thesis project
It is a task for the student to find a suitable thesis project. The process of finding one is itself a instructive part of the education. You have to present yourself and your competence in a nice and correct way.
Big companies and research centers use to present collections of master thesises, sometimes even printed catalogues and/or on the web. These are mostly directed to technology students mainly because the engineering education has a longer tradition when it comes to thesis work. However many proposals are also suitable for natural science-, mathematics- or computer science-students.
When searching for a thesis project it is best to contact persons that are listed as responsible for the proposal. Even if you don't have a name you can contact companies or scientific organizations and require about thesis projects. It is often possible to create a tailored thesis project together with the company. If you desire to do your thesis project at a department at the university, you can contact teachers/researchers that have their knowledge in the field you have selected.
It is also the responsibility for the student to make sure that a specification for the project is created and that it is approved before the project starts. This specification is created in cooperation with the supervisor.
A good thesis project is interesting, builds on and develops the student prior knowledge, has moments of thematic interest and contains a thorough analysis of the results.
An unsuitable thesis project can eg
- be too big or to small.
- be vaguely delimited
- contain too much implementation work
- contain too much descriptive moments or
- offers too little of analysis or constructive thinking
Note, A project proposal does not necessary mean that it is a suitable thesis project.
The University is a governmental authority, therefore we are obliged to adhere to the principle of public access to official records. What can be classified as confidential is controlled by the secrecy act and it is important that all such matters are clarified in advance. Only external thesis projects can be confidential and we require that an agreement of confidentiality is signed before starting the thesis when required. It is recommended to use the form found on our web. Note that we strongly recommend you to avoid confidential reports if you can. You cannot use such a report as a merit and it will not be published in any way.
A solution to the problem of confidential reports can be to extract confidential parts from the report that is sent to the university, eg to have these parts in a separate appendix, this can be test data or other detailed information. However, the report sent to the university must still fulfill our requirements of contents and depth in these cases.