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Final project & Research Topics

Once you are studying for some time (probably after one-year) in your master’s programme you realise that you have to start thinking about a final project, and writing a master thesis and a lot of practical questions arise, such as:

  • How can I find a proper project for me?
  • Who can I approach to supervise my final project?
  • What can I expect from my supervisors?
  • And so on…


In order to monitor your own progress you need an overview of the final project, which serves as a kind of roadmap. We have formulated an overview of a typical final project based on our experience. In this overview we have identified the following activities:

Exploration* (Research Topics/Final Project)
This activity is performed before the official start of the project, and results in a decision to accept a specific final project (normally carried out within the framework of the “research topics”); 

Formalisation*(Research Topics/Final Project) 
This activity results in project plan and a supervisors committee, which are the formal requirements for officially starting a final project;

Preparation (Final Project)
In this activity the most important background information for the project is studied and the project plan is refined;

Development (Final Project)
In this activity the bulk of the development work is performed;

Reporting (Final Project)
This activity results in a Master thesis;

Presentation preparation (Final Project)
This activity results in the delivery of the final presentation.

*) Before being allowed to start with the final project, you will have to carry out the so-called “research topics”. These course is introduced to provide you with a solid base to smoothly start out with the final project. About the Research Topics course: though it is judged independently it has the purpose to support the activities of Exploration and Formalisation.

You are expected to carry out your final project independently, and the supervisor should stimulate you in your work. However, with ‘carry out your final project independently’ we certainly do not mean that you should avoid approaching your supervisors for advice. It is, after all, a learning process in which you have the right to be guided. What matters is that you do not become dependent on your supervisors, and that the supervisors do not hand you ready-made solutions. You should view your supervisors more or less as colleagues with whom you can discuss your work as a way of ordering your own ideas. In the end, you are personally responsible for monitoring your own progress, while your supervisors only make sure that you do watch your own progress.

Guide and roadmap

In order to obtain a Master's degree, you have to perform a final project that takes you 6 months of your study. The trajectory that leads to a successful final project is complex, comprising many activities and responsibilities that you have to cope with together with your supervisors.

Coverage of the guide

The guide covers the whole process of a final project and starts out with the process of carrying out the “Research Topics” as this is basically intended as a first step towards and a solid preparation for proceeding with the final project.

At the end, the writing of the thesis (also applicable to the writing of the report of the “research topics”) and the final presentation are discussed.

We hope this document will help you carrying out your “research topics” and especially your Final Project successfully, so you and your supervisors will look back on the period of your final project with pleasure.

The objectives of this guide are twofold:

  1. Give a roadmap for candidates that are performing a final project, and
  2. Provide helpful practical tips that apply to the different activities of a final project.

This guide identifies the typical activities of a final project. Each of these activities has specific objectives and milestones. Together they form a road map that you can use to monitor your progress in the final project. For each activity, this guide gives practical tips and links to more information on how to reach the desired milestones.

This guide in Relation to the OER

In the “Teaching and Examinations Regulations” (OER) and the “Rules & Regulations” on teaching and assessment (R&R) you find the formal regulations and procedures concerning the MSc programmes, and, in particular, the final project. This guide gives informal guidelines and tips for performing the final project. Therefore, these two documents differ in status and purpose. While the formal regulations documents have a formal status, defining rights and responsibilities, no rights can be derived from this guide. However, these documents complement each other, in that in case of conflicts or problems the formal regulations determine what should be done, while this guide is meant to help you during the final project.


For a short overview of the planning and steps during Research Topics and Final Project, including registration please check under Checklist & Planning

Registration of Research Topics takes place in Mobility Online using the Standard Registration form for graduation. With finishing Research Topics, you will start your Final Project by registering using the Extended Registration form for graduation. More information on how to fill out the forms can be found under Registration.