Summary of requirements and procedures for a master's thesis project at the department of information technology of Uppsala University.
This information relates to a 30 credits "D or E"-level (master's) thesis project. There are also other kinds of thesis projects with different (lower) requirements.
A master's thesis project is a course - with examination - not an internship or other work practice. For this reason it is important that everyone connected with a thesis project are aware of the requirements so that there will not be problems at the conclusion of the project.
The master's thesis project is the final part of a four to five year long undergraduate study program. During the project, the student should demonstrate that he/she can apply the knowledge acquired during the study program. Problems and solutions should be treated in a scientific manner. The project should involve additional study in some subject area. It is important that the student studies relevant (scientific) literature as well as any related work. The project should conclude with an extensive analysis of the project itself and its results. Again note that in Sweden, a master's degree is an undergraduate degree, so the student is not expected to do original research (although that is certainly allowed). The total effort of the thesis project - including writing the report - should be about 20 weeks of full-time work.
Formally, the goal of the master's thesis project is "to give the student training in planning, carrying out and presenting an independent piece of work and to provide contact with research and development."
This means that not all projects are suitable as master's thesis project. Projects primarily involving implementation (program design/coding/testing/debugging) work are not generally acceptable as master's thesis projects. (Although sometimes an implementation project can be made acceptable by including suitable design issues.) As a rule of thumb, not more than a third of the project should be implementation work. If the implementation presents particular challenges which are connected to the subject of the thesis project, then up to half the effort may be implementation. Also, projects where the student is continually working from instructions is also generally not acceptable as the student should carry out independent work. If the student is studying for an engineering degree, there is the additional requirement that the subject of the project should be relevant from an engineering point of view.
The thesis project is typically carried out in a company or other organization outside the university. Every thesis project has a supervisor and a reviewer, to be appointed before the work begins. The supervisor should be competent within the subject area of the project and should belong to the organization where the project is carried out. He/she is responsible for the day-to-day supervision of the student. The reviewer is typically a faculty or other scientific staff member at Uppsala University. The reviewer should follow up on the project at regular intervals and is responsible for the grading (pass/fail) of the thesis.
The thesis project is initiated by the student writing a thesis specification with the assistance of the supervisor. The specification (typically 1Â½-3 pages in length) should include a description of the proposed work, background, methodology and expected results as well as a time plan.
The project specification should be approved by the reviewer before any work begins. Usually, there will be a few revisions of the specification before the reviewer is satisfied.
The student shall write a report of the project. It is usually best to start writing early and write incrementally as the project proceeds, as the authoring effort is often underestimated! The report should include the following:
- An abstract
- Background information so that a person trained in the general subject area (e.g. computer science, numerical analysis...) but without specialist knowledge of the subject of the thesis can understand it (at some level).
- A description of the problem
- A description of the methods used to solve the problem
- A description of the solution itself
- An analysis of how well the problem was solved
- If the problem could not be solved completely, a description of the probable reasons.
- A critical analysis of the work itself
- A comparison with other work on similar problems.
For further information, please contact the master's thesis project coordinator of the Department of Information Technology, Thesis coordinator.