GUIDELINES FOR THESIS WORK
Please note: The summer has started, and hence, all thesis proposals sent under the summer will not be processed until the term starts in the autumn. I suggest you to take part of the summer as an opportunity to study topics relevant to your thesis.
This document is for students that pursue a Master's Program in Electrical Engineering at Blekinge Institute of Technology (BTH) and are about to begin their thesis work at the Department of Electrical Engineering (ING).
NOTE! The area Electrical Engineering is divided between two different departments. The guidelines presented herein are only valid for AET, ING. For further information about thesis procedures in Electrical Engineering at COM, please contact Patrik Arlos.
FINDING THESIS WORK
The most important issue you will encounter before embarking on the thesis work adventure, is finding suitable thesis work. Feel free to contact any companies in Sweden, although remember that your work must be within the scientific area of your program.
Beware of companies that ask you to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs). In order to have your thesis work approved, your report must include details of your work. All documentation, source code etc., are considered public documents and will be archived by BTH. There are ways around this, in which case there should always be a discussion and agreement between the supervisor at the company and your adviser at BTH before signing the NDA.
You are free to come up with your own suggestions on the subject of your thesis. If you also have an adviser in mind for it, it would help if you talk to her/him in advance to see if she/he would like to be involved. If that is the case, he/she may even help you write your thesis proposal, which will increase its chances to be accepted by the thesis work council.
FINDING A THESIS PARTNER
We strongly recommend a thesis project to be worked upon with a thesis partner. The reasons for this recommendation are:
- It is much easier if you have someone to discuss the project with, as it may avoid you to get stuck in problem formulations etc.
- It is easier to discover your own mistakes, when you have a partner that reviews everything.
- It is also easier for the supervisor to supervise the project because the remarks/questions he or she may have, are more thought through since hopefully they have been/will be discussed in the group.
Finally, it is much more fun to do your thesis with someone, since usually your are not taking any other courses while you are working on your thesis, hence, it can more easily become dull to work alone during the thesis work.
THESIS WORK DURATION AND THESIS DEADLINE
The master thesis work is worth 30 credits, which is equivalent to 20 weeks of full time work. When you select the area of your thesis work, ensure that it can be done within the time frame corresponding to the number of credits. Too much work will cause delays, whereas too little may not get your work approved by the BTH adviser. For a thesis project divided among two people, make sure everybody gets an equal share (i.e., about 20 weeks of work each).
When you find suitable thesis work, either at BTH or somewhere else, make sure you have in writing what was previously agreed on for your thesis. This will prevent e.g., a company you work for to change the goals for the thesis project. Furthermore, make sure the company will provide you with an adviser. This is a person from the company who will guide you for the duration of the thesis work.
Please note that all theses that starts from 2012 will be stricter with regards to when they have to be finished i.e.: A student has three opportunities, or 12 months, to complete the thesis according to the scheduled master thesis presentations (there will be at least two opportunities, usually four, per year). The time of 12 months is counted when the thesis is registered in LADOK for the first time. Should the student fail to finish his/her thesis work within this designated time frame, the student will fail his/her thesis. However, the examiner can, if there are special circumstances, extend this time.
The thesis proposal must be written in Swedish or English and contain information about:
- Number of points
- Brief description of the work you intend to do
- Company/department you will work for
- Reference person at the company/department (this may be the chief of the department)
- Name of the adviser (this may be the reference person)
- Name of each student participating in the project and the program pursued by her/him
- Time schedule broken down to pre-study, design, implementation, testing and thesis report. More detailed time schedules are always welcome.
- Brief methodology description. How do you intend to perform your study and/or work?
- Scientific contribution.
- Language you will use for the thesis report (English or Swedish)
The last item, the report language, you should choose carefully. Obviously, the thesis advisers will try to catch spelling or grammar errors in your report but they will not rewrite it for you. The English language will make your report readable for a larger number of people. However, bad English will degrade its quality. Therefore, choose the language you feel comfortable with. Please use the Thesis Application Form (or the pdf version) to write your thesis proposal.
Once you finish the proposal you will need to e-mail (or by ordinary mail) it to the thesis Sven Johansson. If the proposal is approved, then an examiner will be assigned to the thesis project. Since proposals are turned down sometimes, you should not start the thesis work before it is officially approved.
After the thesis work is approved, the course will be registered in LADOK. It very important that you control that this are done otherwise you will have problems when you want to out your degree. Note! If the thesis work is done between semesters (i.e. over the summer- or the winter break) you must contact the student administration helpdesk (in August/January) and inform them that you are still working with the thesis otherwise you may loose your registration.
ADVISERS AND EXAMINERS
If you find thesis work at BTH, you will have one adviser and one examiner from the department. They can not be one and the same person. The job of the adviser is to help you with technical and scientific questions related to your thesis work. The examiner is the person that reads your report and attends the thesis presentation at the end. She/He may be involved from the start, in a cycle where she/he reads your report and comes up with suggestions on how to improve it.
When you work for a company, the company must provide an adviser for you. BTH will select an examiner/adviser. As the title denotes it, the job of the BTH person is to advise you, mostly with regards to the report and finally after your presentation decide if the thesis work is complete.
After you begin your thesis work you will need to communicate with the BTH examiner or adviser on a regular basis. An excellent way to do this is by weekly reports. The weekly report should contain the following:
- Progress since last report
- Time schedule changes
- Current time schedule
- Problems encountered and proposed solutions if any
- Link to the last version of the thesis report. Please see section below for a document format (i.e., what word processor to use) for your report.
There are two ways to present your weekly report. The first one is to create a web page for your thesis work using the student account. The web page should contain the thesis proposal, the current time schedule, the weekly reports (change log) and the link to your latest version of the thesis report. The weekly reports can be a list such as the one shown below:
2005-01-02The design was completed and we moved on to the implementation phase.
We have completed chapter 4 in the thesis report.
The design phase took one week longer than expected, thus we expect the project to slip for one week unless we can shorten the implementation and the testing phase. See the update time schedule <here>.
One problem we have discovered during the implementation phase is that the software crashes with a "Segmentation fault" message whenever we call the add(...) function in the math function library. We suspect a problem with the current version of the library and have contacted the author by e-mail. Until we get back an answer we are investigating which other libraries we could use.2005-01-09We are still in the implementation phase.
The math library author has sent a software patch to us, which we are currently investigating. It seems to work fine for the moment.
No other problems so far.
The second way to present your report is by e-mail, following a similar format as above.
THESIS REPORT OUTLINE
Your thesis report should be in a double-sided A4 format. The contents should follow the outline below. Some sections must fall on a odd page number. In that case, if necessary introduce an empty page. All main sections (chapters) must begin on an empty page with odd page number.
- Title page (front cover): you must format it as shown here.
- Empty page (Page 2)
- Abstract: 100-200 words summarizing the problem you solved and the results/conclusions you obtained (Page 3)
- Empty page (Page 4)
- Acknowledgments (optional, Page 5)
- Table of contents (odd page number, don't use more than 3 levels. For example Section 4.5.2)
- List of figures (optional, odd page number)
- List of tables (optional, odd page number)
- Short list of abbreviations (optional, only if one page long or less, odd page number). If longer than one page, make it an appendix
- Introduction: make sure you do not discuss results here
- Problem statement: explain clearly what problem you are trying to solve.
- Scope of thesis work: explain how you delimit the thesis work, your assumptions and parts of the problem that you will not consider in your work due to what reasons.
- Division of work (only if more than one participant): what work was done by who. The adviser will use this to decide if each participant has done enough work, so be specific.
- Outline of the thesis: explain briefly what you will present in each main section following this one.
- Background and related work
- Background: where does the problem originate from
- Related work: describe how other attempted to solve the problem and how well or bad they succeeded.
- Comparison to this work: compare the related work to your work
- Foundations/Design and Implementation: depending on your work you may change the section name and its corresponding subsections
- Requirements: specify exactly what you are implementing and the degree of functionality expected
- Architecture (optional): if your work is a large system or part of a large system, explain how the different parts work together
- Design: explain in detail how you designed your work. For example the mathematical functions you plan to use, how the sub-parts communicates with the rest of the system, the software/hardware you use
- Implementation: explain the algorithms you are using, the error checking etc. Use source code if it will make it easier for the reader to understand, but if you need more than one page per example consider moving the source code examples in an appendix
- Testing: how did you test if the prototype works.
- Mathematical analysis/Data analysis/System performance: choose what seems fitting or come up with better suggestions
- Results and conclusions: summarize your results.
- Future work: unsolved problems or related problems that should be solved
- Appendix A (odd page)
- Appendix B (odd page, use as many appendices you want)
- Reference list (odd page)
- Index (optional, odd page)
When you write the thesis I request you to use one of the word processors listed below:
No other word processors will be accepted. If you plan to pursue an academic career it will be beneficial to learn LaTeX (although it may be time consuming). MikTeX is the LaTeX equivalent for MS Windows. LyX is a graphical user interface to LaTeX (similar in some respects to the graphical user interface in MS Word) and will provide you a quick and less time consuming way to use LaTeX. LyX is free, available for MS Windows as well, and comes with a full set of manuals.
The report links in your weekly report must point to a document editable by one of the word processors above. This will allow us to correct and add comments to your document.
Microsoft Word users can obtain the BTH logotype from the Word template here. The LyX/LaTeX/MikTeX users can obtain it in EPS format from here.
When your report is approved, the BTH examiner will upload the thesis to the thesis database this will be done after you have filled in general information about your thesis in the thesis database.
As you all know is not allowed to copy text directly from other sources (like Internet, articles and magazines) and use it in your thesis. However, of course it is allowed to get information from other sources but then you must rewrite it in your words with a reference to your source. If you want to quote something you must use quotation signs and reference to the original source. Please note, that all thesis will be submitted to a control program that will check the amount of copied text in your thesis and if such is found you will be reported to the university disciplinary board.
When your thesis report has been approved, it is time to prepare your presentation. Please, note that before you can present you must have attended at least four presentations during at least two previous presentation meetings. Make sure you print out this (please note that this file includes both a Swedish and an English version of the form) form and ask the presentation supervisor to sign it every time you attend. Without a complete form you will not be allowed to do your presentation.
We prefer that your presentation is Microsoft PowerPoint format or in PDF format. Feel free to use any PowerPoint template you like.The presentation material must be approved by the adviser and examiner before you can book it. Presentations are held once or twice every semester and are typically announced by e-mail. This organised by Svetlana Zivanovic (firstname.lastname@example.org). Feel free to e-mail them a request to do a presentation next time it is arranged or to ask for more details with regards to that.
You will have 20 minutes to present your work and you must not exceed that. The audience (teachers and students from BIT) get 5 minutes to ask questions about your thesis work. There is no need to be worried since the whole thing is rather friendly.
GETTING YOUR DEGREE
When you have completed successfully both the report and the presentation phase you will obtain the credits for it (15,25 or 30 depending on the thesis work). If you have all the credits required by the program you may apply to get your degree certificate (the diploma). Fill in this form and send to the address at its bottom. Provided everything goes smooth you should have your degree in 3 weeks. Note, before you send in your applications please check via the student's portal that all your credits (included your thesis credits) are registred, if not contact the student administration helpdesk for help.
Happy thesis hunting!