How to do a master's thesis in my group

by Martin Monperrus

Recap. document for a good master's thesis. May be specific to my field (computer science / software engineering) and my style of supervision.

Topics

Looking for a thesis topic? See https://www.monperrus.net/martin/topics and contact me by email.

Past completed topics with my group:

Novelty, Soundness, Clarity

The goal of a master's thesis is to contribute to science with a piece of knowledge that is:

Aim high: Some Master's theses have changed the world, such as the one by Claude Shannon at MIT. A good master's thesis contains material for a real peer-reviewed scientific publication, if you're ready to work the extra mile to make it happen.

Process

Template for Thesis Proposal/Specification The structure must be follows:

Pilot study / Pre-study The pre-study is the Background + Related work chapter. What goes in "Background" is a introductory presentation of the key concepts and techniques used in the thesis. What goes in "Related work" is a detailed presentation of at least 20 closely related papers, with at least on paragraph per paper. "Background" would not appear in a scientific article (the reader is assumed to know it), "Related work on X" would appear in a scientific article). I suggest to call section "Related Work" on "Related Work on XXXX" to clearly scope the work.

Supervision process

Defense 20-25 minutes presentation (strict, fail if not the case).

Professionalism: you are expected to

Writing

Introduction

RQs A master thesis typically contains 3-4 research questions (RQ) that explore different facets of the same problem.

Case studies Some topics are better evaluated with deep case studies instead of quantitative RQs. All case studies are based on the same methodology.

Tips

Bibliography:

Good practices:

Bad practices:

See also

Appendix: KTH regulation

School guidelines: https://intra.kth.se/en/eecs/utbildningsprogram/kursplanering/rutiner-och-regler-for-examensarbete-pa-avancerad-niva-1.1030777

Point taken from KTH Comprehensive guidelines for degree project courses, common goals and assessment criteria

  1. demonstrate knowledge of the scientific grounds of their chosen subject area, as well as in-depth insight into current research and development and in-depth knowledge of relevant methodology.

  2. demonstrate the ability to search for, gather and integrate knowledge and identify their need for additional knowledge, all with a holistic, critical and systematic approach
  3. demonstrate the ability to identify, analyse, assess and handle complex phenomena, questions and situations, even with limited information

  4. demonstrate the ability to plan and, with adequate methods, carry out skilled tasks within a given time frame and evaluate this work

  5. demonstrate the ability to develop and evaluate products, processes, systems, methods or technical solutions with respect to people's circumstances and needs, as well as society's goals in terms of economically, socially and ecologically sustainable development

  6. demonstrate the capacity, both orally and in writing, in dialogue with different groups, to clearly account for and discuss their conclusions and the knowledge and arguments on which these are based

  7. demonstrate the ability to make assessments with regard to relevant scientific, social and ethical aspects

  8. demonstrate the skills required to participate in research and development work or to independently work in other skilled activities

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