Protocol and Manual for masters' graduation projects
This protocol denotes the rules and criteria your final master's trajectory has to satisfy,
and it gives guidelines for how to tackle them.
We call the final master's trajectory the "graduation phase".
Definitions and goals
- Graduation phase:
The graduation phase is a mandatory part of the study. This phase has two components: a master's project
and a related master's thesis.
You can carry out your master's project within the department and/or in an external organization.
During and after the master's project, you write a thesis report; at the end of the project,
you present the process and results of your project and defend it.
- Prerequisites of the graduation phase:
Students can only start with the master's project when all mandatory courses have been passed and no
more than 15 ECTS (two courses) of the specialization courses are still open. Any deviation from these
rules should be authorized in advance by the internal supervisor and the study advisor, and has to be
officially registered as a separate study agreement.
- The goals of the graduation phase:
- To apply, during a significant period and in a relevant context, the knowledge and academic
skills that have been acquired during the master study and/or to enlarge the knowledge domain by
- To get acquainted with:
- Doing scientific research and/or
- To contribute to relevant theoretical concepts and/or
- To design something that clearly integrates theory and practice.
- To gain experience in oral presentation and defending the recently acquired knowledge
- To gain experience in producing written reports.
- Student tasks:
Research assignments can have one of the following formats:
The above-mentioned formats may involve extra requirements such as passing additional courses.
- A contribution to (a part of) existing research program of the department or a sister institution.
- A contribution to the design or implementation of a project that is running at the department or a
- A research-related internship with an organization in the private or public sector, only if there is a
full agreement between the graduate committee and the organization on the scope of the project, on whether the
student can qualify for graduation with this project, and on the level of supervision.
More than one student can work on the same research assignment if:
- Each person has independently contributed a qualitatively and quantitatively sufficient amount
of work, as judged by the graduate committee.
- Every contribution in the joint thesis document can be assigned unambiguously to one or more
contributors, which is independent of the joint responsibility of the masters' candidates for the coherence
of the thesis.
- Each person independently presents and defends the research findings.
A graduate committee supervises the student during the graduation phase.
The graduate committee (internal supervisors) consists minimally of a daily supervisor
and one or more secondary supervisors. At least one of the supervisors must be a senior staff member.
- The daily supervisor is either a member of the scientific staff of the department or authorized by the
- When the research work is done outside the department, an external supervisor (a staff member of
the external organization) can join the team of supervisors. In that case the graduate committee consists
at least 3 persons.
- The scientific staff members of the graduate committee also function as the examiners in the graduation phase.
- During the graduation phase the student is required to have regular contact with the internal daily supervisor
regarding the progress of his/her project and reports regularly to the graduate committee.
- A minimum frequency of twice a month is recommended for the contacts between the student and the daily supervisor.
- A minimum frequency of once every two months is the guideline for the contacts between the student and the
- Before the actual production of the thesis document by the student, the daily supervisor approves the written
proposal thesis document and submits it to the other members of the graduate committee.
- Based upon a proposal submitted by the daily supervisor the committee draws up a
final assessment, in which at least the following aspects will be considered:
- Intellectual performance delivered.
- Quality of the performed work.
- Quantity of the performed work.
- Degree of independence shown, and amount of guidance needed.
- Quality of the written report.
- Quality of the end presentation.
- Project provider or internship provider:
This is the organization that provides projects and internships. In the case of
an internal project, the department acts as the project provider.
Providers. For all correspondence about internships,
please use the following email:
- The student is responsible for searching for and selecting a master's project, including finding an
appropriate external organization where he/she can perform the project if the research is to be performed
external to the department.
- Some master's projects are available via:
- You also can get in touch with any organization which you think might be able to provide an internship that is of interest to you.
The process of orientation and finding a project takes some time. We strongly advise to start your orientation activities at least 6 months before
you want to actually start with the master's project.
2. Provisional selection of the graduation project and applying for supervision
- When you have selected a project you think is interesting, discuss it and its implementation and start date with the project provider. Together with the company contact person or external advisor (internal advisor when the project is internal) you write a brief description of the project. This has to be approved by the internal supervisor.
- After approval, you complete the
Registration form MSc project
and register it at the student administration.
3. Selection of the graduate committee
- Once you have found a project with an organization or a company that is ready and willing to host your work,
it is time to search for a supervisor. Contact the department staff member you think is most appropriate to
supervise your MSc graduation subject. If you need help, the internship coordinator can assist you in finding
a supervisor. The graduate committee supervises the student during his/her project.
The graduate committee (internal supervisors) consists minimally of a daily supervisor and one or more
secondary supervisors. At least one of the supervisors must be a senior staff member.
- After selection, the graduate committee must approve the project. The project description will be
adjusted, if necessary. The improvement(s) upgrade(s) the project to its definitive version.
4. Constructing a work plan for the project
- The student must construct a work plan consisting of a detailed description of the project,
the enumeration of work phases and results and list of arrangements which student and supervisors
have agreed upon.
Suggested elements of the work plan are:
- Problem formulation.
- Description of the project.
- Feasible timetable over the research period.
- Arrangements: list of arrangements agreed on between the student and the supervisors.
- Supervisors and student meetings:
The supervisors (and the student) discuss the work plan extensively and it is iteratively improved.
- In this step the internship agreement between the student, the internship coordinator and the organization
should be signed by all. To procure the internship agreement contact the internship coordinator.
5. Implementation of the master's project
- Implementation of the work plan.
- During the implementation of a 9-month project, minimally 3 meetings should take place between all
supervisors and the student; with the daily supervisor the student should meet at least twice a month.
- If necessary, additional meetings can take place between the supervisors an the student. The aim of these
meetings is to keep the internal supervisor sufficiently well informed on the implementation of the project,
that he/she can make an adequate judgement on whether the project progresses according to the work plan.
- The student writes a report of each meeting and sends it to all supervisors.
- In this phase it is advised to start writing the first draft of your Master's thesis and ask your supervisor to comment on it.
6. Finalizing the project
The thesis document minimally contains the following elements::
- The final version of the thesis has to be given to the supervisor, after incorporating the comments made by the supervisor(s).
- The student constructs a presentation, gives the presentation and then also defends his project(45 minute presentation + 15 minute question/answer)
- The graduate committee will determine the grade. The external supervisor has an advisory role in this.
The external supervisor completes the evaluation form for the external supervisor.
- The student submits the latest (electronic) version of thesis to the student administration.
Note: The document will be properly provided with references.
- Overview of relevant literature
- Problem definition
- Work plan
- Execution of the work plan: solutions, results, elaborations etc.
The thesis document will be assessed on the following characteristics::
- Scientific level of the thesis document; possibilities for publication of the results.
- Student's self-reliance, creativity, initiative, own contribution and collaboration with others.
- Quality (degree of difficulty), quantity (amount of work, achieved results: are the intended results
- Work pace.
- Student development and scientific growth during the project.
- Thesis: content, form, language clarity, understandability for the targeted audience.
- Presentation quality and skills.