Master's thesis

The final project or master’s thesis assignment is the final proof of the ability of the student to independently handle more complex problems within the area of electrical engineering, and to work as a “scientific engineer” on an advanced level. It is important to find a research group for your master’s thesis as soon as possible after the start of your master’s programme. With your mentor/supervisor you can discuss available subjects for your thesis research.

You can only start your master’s thesis work if you have finished your traineeship. If instead of a traineeship, an individual project was part of your master programme then you should have finished this individual project and 45EC of your course programme.

Purpose of the master’s thesis

The final purpose of the master’s thesis is that the student shows to have obtained the competences of an Electrical Engineering master.

Especially during the master project you have to show that you can:

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interpret a possibly general project proposal and translate it to more concrete research questions.

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find and study relevant literature, software and hardware tools, and critically assess their merits.

·

work in a systematic way and document your findings as you progress.

·

work in correspondence with the level of the elective courses you have followed.

·

perform original work that has sufficient depth to be relevant to the research in the chair.

·

work independently and goal oriented under the guidance of a supervisor.

·

seek assistance within the research group or elsewhere, if required and beneficial for the project.

·

benefit from the guidance of your supervisor by scheduling regular meetings, provide the supervisor with progress reports and initiate topics that will be discussed.

·

organize your work by making a project plan, executing it, adjusting it when necessary, and handling unexpected developments.

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write a master’s thesis that motivates your work for a general audience, and communicates the work and its results in a clear, well-structured way to your peers.

·

give a presentation with similar qualities to fellow-students and members of the chair.

Contents of the master’s thesis

You will have to carry out a project that in general contains elements of both research and design, although one of the two may have more emphasis that the other one. The specific problem will be described in a short project proposal that is handed to you by your supervisor. Your task is to solve the problem or at least to contribute to its solution. Note that it is not precisely known beforehand how far you can get finding a solution. Your problem will be new, not only for you but also for your supervisor. If not, then you cannot speak of research. So no one knows how you should solve your problem. You will have to find out yourself.

Procedure and planning

Below we give a global description of the path that should lead you to a successful master’s thesis.

Preparation

The Electrical Engineering master’s programme is a specialisation programme. You specialize in the research area of one of our research groups and in this group you will also carry out your master’s thesis. However before doing this you will first prepare yourself for your master’s thesis by taking suitable courses and by doing an interesting internship. Therefore you assemble your course programme together with your programme mentor in the group. It is a good thing to discuss your preferences for a direction within the group with your programme mentor as this may influence your choice for certain elective courses. This will lead to the situation that in an early stage you have a global idea of the topic of your master’s thesis. It might be a good idea to take final arrangements when you finish your master’s courses before the start of your internship, as during the internship you will not have much opportunity for discussion.

Literature search and problem definition

The first thing to do is to convert the global problem description into a detailed project proposal. In this proposal specific, research and design questions are posed and for each question a plan is proposed to answer/solve them. Of course literature search is necessary to find out what already has been done elsewhere regarding your problem. This should make clear to you which questions already have been answered so that you can use methods from the literature and which questions are still open.

As a rough estimate you may assume that you will need a study load of 10EC, or seven weeks full time work for this phase.

Assessment committee

The committee that supervises the Master's project is formed by a minimum of 3 persons, at least two of whom are members of the scientific staff and have a permanent position in the Electrical Engineering discipline and one is responsible for day-to-day guidance. Of these two members, one is a full or associate professor of the chair subject to whose accountability the project will take place. The supervisory committee shall also include one member of the permanent scientific personnel of a different chair than that under which the student is studying.

Assessment standards

As a starting point for the assessment standards the set of learning objectives as stated above is taken.

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No long lists of criteria that are difficult to distinguish. Instead, the learning objectives are grouped into 3 categories that get a grade: scientific quality, organization and communication. This grouping still allows teachers to put emphasis where appropriate.

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Proposal for the weightings are: 50% Scientific quality, 20% Organization, 30% Communication.

50% Scientific quality:

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interpret a possibly general project proposal and translate it to more concrete research questions.

·

find and study relevant literature, software and hardware tools, and critically assess their merits.

·

work in a systematic way and document your findings as you progress.

·

work in correspondence with the level of the elective courses you have followed.

·

perform original work that has sufficient depth to be relevant to the research in the chair.

20% Organisation, planning, collaboration:

·

work independently and goal oriented under the guidance of a supervisor.

·

seek assistance within the research group or elsewhere, if required and beneficial for the project.

·

benefit from the guidance of your supervisor by scheduling regular meetings, provide the supervisor with progress reports and initiate topics that will be discussed.

·

organize your work by making a project plan, executing it, adjusting it when necessary, handling unexpected developments and finish within the allotted number of credits.

30% Communication:

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write a Master thesis that motivates your work for a general audience, and communicates the work and its results in a clear, well-structured way to your peers.

·

give a presentation with similar qualities to fellow-students and members of the chair.

Limitation of the duration of the master’s thesis

The study load of the master’s thesis is 40EC or 28 weeks full time work. It is expected from the student that indeed the master’s thesis is finished after this period. This should happen according to a planning which has been agreed upon beforehand with the supervisor. At the end of the period, the supervisory committee will give an assessment, based on the results, available at that moment. If the grade is insufficient (less than 6) then the student may use two additional months of work to improve the result. After this extension the supervisory committee will give a new assessment, which will be considered as a re-examination.

Regarding the master’s thesis the following rules have been formulated:

1.

The student and the daily supervisor of the chair should agree upon a starting date and an end date of the master’s assignment.

2.

The end date should be based on a planning, in which along with the work for the master thesis, also time can be set aside for taking courses and re-examinations.

3.

The plan should be approved by the daily supervisor and signed by the student.

4.

For the work for the master’s assignment only the nominal time should be spent (28 weeks).

5.

Illness should be reported to the secretariat of the chair. The amount of time, missed by this illness will be added to the amount of time available for the master’s assignment.

6.

A possible extra re-examination should be approved by the supervisor and integrated into the planning. The time necessary for the re-examination will be added to the amount of time available for the master’s assignment.

7.

In the planning the student and the daily supervisor should agree upon the time spent by the student for possible academic holidays.

8.

Immediately after the end date of the master’s assignment, as agreed upon by the student and the daily supervisor, the graduation committee gives an assessment about the master’s thesis. This will result in a final mark.

9.

If this mark is insufficient (lower than 6) then the student will have the opportunity to improve the master’s thesis during a period of two months. After this period the graduation committee will give a new assessment. This procedure will be considered as a re-examination.

10.

If the mark given after this re-examination is again insufficient (lower than 6) then the student will have to carry out a fully new master’s assignment.