Department of Information and Computing Sciences

Departement Informatica Onderwijs
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Onderwijs Informatica en Informatiekunde

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Computing science MSc thesis

Course code:INFOMCOSC2
Credits:25 ECTS
Period:Possible in any periode individually
Participants:see Osiris Docent
Schedule:Official schedule representation can be found in Osiris
coordinatie          Wishnu Prasetya
Contents:Master thesis projects that start after Sept. 2015 are split in two phases of 15 + 25 EC, which we will refer to as Phase-1 and Phase-2. Projects that started before this time remain to use the old 40EC format. The text below describes the new two-phases projects.


To be allowed to start with the thesis project, you must:
  1. have obtained at least 67.5 EC.
  2. have given a presentation for the Computing Science colloquium, or will give it within one month.
  3. have attended at least 25 Computing Science colloquia (if you started before Sept. 2016, note that in total you need, among other things, 30x attendance to complete your colloquium part).


Before starting your thesis project, you need to fill in a Research Project Application Form (can be found here) and deliver it to the Student Desk. The form needs to be signed by you, your project supervisor (a UU staff member), the coordinator of the Computing Science (COSC) Master Programme (Wishnu Prasetya), and a member of the Examination Board (will be arranged by the Student Desk). Also ensure that you have included a second examiner (UU staff member). Mention in the Application Form, when the Phase-1 and Phase-2 are expected to end. There is no need to register your participation in Osiris.

Work time

You are advised to work full time (i.e. 5 days per week), but 4 days per week is also allowed. In that case, please note that your project takes 25% more time to finish.

Room 5.02 is available as a work room for you. You will need to bring your own laptop. The capacity is limited;you can arrange with your fellow students how to best schedule the usage. In case you need help, contact the COSC coordinator.

External projects

It is possible to do your thesis project at an external organization, e.g. a company or a government institute. One of the staff members of the department should approve the project and serve as a supervisor. If an external party hosts you as a student, you also need to provide a Work Place Agreement (can be found here). The project's topic should lie within the domain of at least one of the four tracks within the Computing Science Master Programme. We encourage you to choose a topic that fits your supervisor’s interests and ongoing work closely.

Phase-1 (15 EC)

This phase comprises 10-11 weeks of full-time work and is intended for you to do a preliminary study (usually in the form of literature study), and to propose and plan your research. Importantly, this phase will give a go/no-go decision towards Phase-2. You are expected to deliver a research proposal consisting the following:

  • A literature study section, summarizing works that are relevant to your research.
  • Well formulated research question(s).
  • The relevance of the research questions for science, technology, and society.
  • A description of your research methodology.
  • A plan for the second part of the thesis.

Additionally, depending on the nature of the project, your supervisor may require you to perform some additional work in Phase-1, either in order to provide a convincing argument towards the prospect and feasibility of your Phase-2, or for efficiency to already do some work of Phase-2, e.g. developing an initial theory or building a first prototype of an algorithm. If such work is required, make an agreement with your supervisor on the scope of this work.

At the end of Phase-1 the supervisors will make a go/no-go decision. This decision, in terms of pass or not pass, will be entered in Osiris. Phase-1 assessment criteria:

  • Scientific quality. This concerns the quality of the literature study, the relevance and impact of the research questions, the merit of proposed research method.
  • Writing skills. This concerns the quality of your writing, use of English, textual structure, and coherence/consistency of your text.
  • Planning. This concerns the clarity and feasibility of the proposed planning.
  • The quality of additional work, if such is required.
For supervisors: to help the assessment, there is a Phase-1 Assessment Form available here.

Phase-2 (25 EC)

The second part comprises 25 ECTS (i.e. 17-18 weeks full-time). You will complete (at least) the following items:

  • Perform and complete your research according to your plan (Phase 1).
  • Write your thesis that presents your research and its results. On approval of your supervisor, you can choose to write the thesis in the form of a scientific conference or journal paper, plus the needed appendix.
  • Present and defend your results and conclusion.

Phase-2 assessment criteria. Your thesis is usually assessed using the following criteria:

  • Scientific quality. This concerns the level and importance of the your results. Are the results publishable as a scientific paper? The difficulty of the problem that you solve also plays an important role, as well as the amount/extent of the work you carry out. These are aspects that are important: the effectiveness of the chosen approach, completeness and preciseness of the literature study, arguments for the choices made, insight in the limitations of the chosen approach, proper interpretation of the results achieved, level of abstraction, convincing argument, proofs or statistical analysis.
  • Your work process. This concerns your ability to work independently, to take initiative, to position your work in a broader context, to adapt to new requirements and developments, and to finish the thesis on time.
  • Your contribution. This concerns the degree of your own contribution and the originality of your ideas.
  • Writing presentation. This concerns the ability to clearly formulate problems, to summarize the results, to compare them with related scientific work elsewhere, and to suggest future research lines. This also concerns clear, consistent, and unambiguous use of language in the thesis. The text should give the readers confidence in that you understand the chronology, structure, and logical entities in your own text; and thus know what you write.
  • Oral presentation (your thesis defense)

The defense of your thesis will take 60 minutes; 45 minutes for your presentation, and the last 15 minutes for questioning. This will usually be scheduled in the Computing Science Colloquium, so you will have public in addition to your examiners.

For supervisors: you need to document your evaluation in a Research Assessment Form, to be submitted to the students administration desk. The form can be found here.

Phase-2 protocol

Please pay attention that if you cannot manage to complete the project by the planned end-date, you will still be evaluated on that date. If this results in an insufficient grade, or a “not completed” grade, with a valid reason, you are allowed to have an extension of maximum 1/3 of the nominal original length. Your grade will be capped on 8 (and therefore you can’t graduate Cum Laude). Please read the whole Delay Protocol; you can find it here.

Cum Laude

The requirements to receive a cum laude include that your Phase-2 grade should be at least 8.5.

Previous thesis projects

If you are curious about previous projects of fellow students, you can find them in the University repository, here.

Defending your thesis

Talk to the COSC colloquium coordinator (Wishnu Prasetya) to reserve colloquium time and location for your defense.

I have completed my thesis, what next?

If you have completed your thesis (that is, you have defended it and informed by your supervisor that you have passed this component), and you have gained 75 EC worth of courses, and completed your COSC colloquium obligation, in principle you are ready to graduate. You are not there yet, there are few more steps to do:
  • You are obliged to upload your thesis, in pdf, to the University repository. Your title page should contain the name of our institution, and a thesis number (= ICA-your_student_number). Uploading instructions can be found here: here. Then, send the received confirmation letter to

  • You can find information on Graduation Ceremony and termination of your enrollment here.

Minimum effort to qualify for 2nd chance exam:Om aan de aanvullende toets te mogen meedoen moet de oorspronkelijke uitslag minstens 4 zijn.