Recommendations and requirements for writing a master thesis
Based on the recommendations given by Prof. Greveler
Before I agree to supervise a thesis, you are asked to provide a proposal consisting of the following contents:
- formulation of the research question or problem to be solved
- elaborate discussion of relevance of the problem / research question in combination with
- a thorough presentation of related work and existing solutions in scientific literature
- definition of functional and quality criteria for the solution
- course of the work
- intended result
- structure of the thesis down to the second level (table of contents)
- milestone plan including dates
- 10+ pages
If you plan to write your thesis at a company, the proposal shall be discussed with your supervisor at the company first and then sent to me. Otherwise, the proposal shall be sent to me directly. After receiving the finalized proposal a face-to-face meeting is appropriate.
There are four general types of master thesis. Any single thesis will most probably not fit exactly into one category and will be a blend of different types (Based on on the excellent “Recommendations for thesis writing at the Institute of Computer Science, University of Tartu”).
1. Solution of an Application Development Task
The thesis is written around a software or system architecture solution for a goal defined beforehand. The architecture of the solution must be described. An important component of such thesis is the presentation of related work (conference papers, journal articles) and the analysis of the obtained results. In particular the thesis shall address whether there any other similar implementations and what the benefit of the result by the author is compared to previous solutions. Decisions on architecture, technologies and quality assurance methods shall be documented.
2. Theoretical Study
A thesis of this kind presents a rather formal description of a problem, system requirement, protocol etc. in a selected field with a strict, formally reasoned solution to it. The theoretical work can be either an independent research result performed by the student or might compile results obtained in scientific literature (conference papers, journal articles).
3. Independent Study
Assessment criteria for an independent study are the same as for a theoretical study, but certain requirements may be relaxed due to the actuality of the research. The result of the work may be a formal description of a protocol or system or any other formal description of theoretical results.
4. Review-type study
Theoretical study can be a review of known results if the treated materials together with used formalizations can be synthesized into a systematic approach that can be later used for educational purposes or as a lab demonstrator. The work shall include innovative features that have not appeared in any previous work. The thesis author shall demonstrate their understanding and proficiency in the chosen subject.
References and further reading
- University of Tartu: Recommendations for thesis writing at the Institute of Computer Science
- William D. Shoaff: How to Write a Master's Thesis in Computer Science