Bachelor and Master Theses

The working phase

2.2 The working phase

This phase marks the beginning of the concrete work. During this phase, students are expected to drive the work forward under the guidance of their supervisor.

2.2.1 Starting the course

Students can start to work on their thesis work only when:

  • There is a suitable thesis course instance that starts.
  • They have a supervisor and an examiner at IDT. The supervisor and examiner must be two different persons. In special cases (proposal across two domain, junior supervisor, etc.), several supervisors might be necessary to have.
  • They satisfy the prerequisite to start the course.
  • They have received an email from the Thesis Coordinator confirming that their application has been approved to start.

Theses at advance level starts in Spring Period 1 (January). Some theses at basic level start in Spring Period 1 (January) and some in Spring Period 2 (April). The exact start dates for each course is specified in Important Dates.

At the start of the course, students take contact with their supervisor to discuss how to get started with the work.

2.2.2 Doing the work

Whether students are enrolled for a basic level thesis or a thesis at advanced level, working on a thesis requires lots of work. To reach the examination deadlines, students are expected to work regularly. The final outcome of a thesis at basic levels shall account for 10 weeks of fulltime work. For the ones at advanced levels, it is 20 weeks.

Key activities that need to be done during the working phase includes (but are not limited to):

  • Studying and understanding the problem.
  • Finding, reading and analysis what has already been done to solve this problem.
  • Proposing your own solutions to solve the problem.
  • Comparing your solutions to existing ones.
  • Reflecting on how the work could be improved or expended in the future.
  • Writing the report, which should be an on-going activities through the whole work.
  • Preparing an oral presentation of the work.

Additional information on these different activities can be found in Recommended resources.

2.2.3 The “planning and status” seminar

Two weeks into the course for theses starting in Spring Period 2 (respectively 3 weeks for theses starting in Spring Period 1), the “planning and status” seminars will be held. The students will be divided into groups and assigned to a seminar. Students working in pairs will be in the same seminar. The list of the groups will be published on the thesis website around a week before the seminar. To prepare for this seminar, students are expected to write a report describing the background and motivations for the work, the problem, the method that will be used to solve the problem, the expected outcomes and the time plan. If done properly, parts of this work can be directly included in the final report of the thesis. Students should use the report template

The report must be emailed to the supervisor at IDT, the examiner and the thesis coordinator (see how to submit the planning and status report). The reports will also be distributed to the students of the corresponding seminar.

The seminar itself consists of two parts:

  • A 5-10min PowerPoint presentation. The presentation shall give an overview of the report.
  • A discussion of the works in a review sessions.

Each seminar will be held by one of the senior researchers at IDT and one of the student in each seminar will be selected to write the minute notes of the review sessions. The notes will be emailed to the thesis coordinator, every students in the seminar and to their supervisor and examiners. The minutes shall be sent within maximum 2 days (i.e. latest on the Friday of the seminar week).

See Important Dates for the exact dates for submitting the report and the seminar.

What is the difference between the proposal I submitted and the report for the status and planning seminar? Shall I submit again my proposal?
The status and planning report is NOT the same as the proposal for the application to start. A significant part of the report must be dedicated to a well-written background section (i.e. you must describe all the concepts and all pieces of information that a reader will need to place your work in a context and understand it). Another significant part of this report must be about formulating the problem and explaining what you will be researching. Finally, the last important part is that you must have a method section where you describe what a method you are planning to use to solve your problem and why. You are expecting to provide a justification of why you plan to use a given method.

As usual, it is difficult to set a min-max page limit for the report. However, you should attempt to write 5-10 pages on your report for 15-credits theses fulltime, and 10-15pages for 15-credits theses at half-time pace and for the 30-credits theses. (This count excludes the cover page, table of contents). The report must be written according to the official template:˙forStudents. Basically, if done right, this should be viewed as the first draft of the first chapters of your final thesis report. You might also want to include abstract and introduction to get early feedbacks on it.

How to submit the “planning and status” report

The report must be emailed to the supervisor at IDT, the examiner and the thesis coordinator, with “[CourseCode] Planning and status report” as subject for the mail (where CourseCode is the actual course code of the thesis work.

Review session procedure

  1. Assign a student to take the minutes of the session.
  2. Write the name of the participants.
  3. Discuss each thesis work (report and presentation)
  4. For each thesis, identify good points, weak points, propose area of improvements and reflect on the actual planned work (e.g., any risks with the proposed scope and planned method? Anything that could be done differently? etc.)
  5. Notes should be emailed to the thesis coordinator, every students in the seminar, their IDT supervisor and the examiner – latest on the Friday after the seminar.

2.2.4 Writing the report

The thesis report is one of the most important aspects of a thesis work as it is the only element that stays long after the work is over. It also testifies of the work that has been accomplished in the different activities throughout the work. In particular, if errors have been made, certain aspects have been omitted or results have been falsified, these problems will be visible in the report.

Waiting for the last weeks to write the report is a guaranteed method to 1) not having the report ready on time or 2) getting a “Fail” on the report examination. To avoid this, it is important to write the thesis report along the “concrete” work and planned several iterations.

Supervisors have limited amount of time and are busy with other activities too. It is thus important that students planned the iterations ahead together with their supervisors. It is equally important that students proofread the work they send for feedbacks. By doing so, this will allow the supervisors to focus their time on providing more relevant inputs instead of spending their limited time on addressing basic language mistakes.

Generally, students who do not have iterations on their report or students who do not follow their supervisor’s advices for improvements typically have a hard time getting their report approved by the examiner. A similar situation occurs when students do not follow the supervisor’s recommendation of not submitting their report for examination. This often ends up in the report not being approved by the examiner. On the other hand, having been advised by the supervisor to submit does not necessarily means that the examiner will approve the report. However, the odds are significantly higher in that case. Information on how reports are assessed at IDT can be found (see Grading Criteria)

All thesis reports must be compliant with the IDT template for undergraduate theses that can be found here: Students Report . In addition, students should pay a special attention to not plagiarize when writing a report. More information on plagiarism is available in the webpage on Academic Honesty). More information on how to write a good thesis report can be found in Recommended resources)

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  • Latest update: 2018.05.24