Manual master thesis
Sustainable Energy Technology
P.W. Gerbens-Leenes, programme coordinator SET
T.H. van der Meer, director of education SET
In 2003, the three Dutch Universities of Technology (TUD, TU/e and UT) embarked on a cooperation directed towards the harmonisation and coordination of research and educational efforts. The MSc programme in Sustainable Energy Technology (SET) was one of these five new programmes. The three Universities of Technology are in a good position to offer a research-oriented Master’s programme, as required by the energy sector. The joint master programme provides students the possibility to study and perform the master thesis work at one of the three locations, not only at the location of the first registration, but also at one of the other locations. Registration at one location automatically includes registration at the other two. SET is a two years Master’s course of 120 European Credits (EC) offered at the UT according to Table 1. The MSc.-assignment takes 40 - 45 ECTS (credits), which agrees with the duration of 3 quarters of 10 weeks of 42 hours.
Specialisation-linked and elective subjects
Internship and projects
15 - 20
40 – 45
Table 1: Programme setup from OER 2010-2011
This manual gives important information about the general rules for doing the SET master thesis at the University of Twente (UT). The master’s programme Sustainable Energy Technology is a research-driven programme. At all three locations, research in this field is at a high level and of high importance.
The individual master’s assignment is the completion of the master’s program. The main objective of the MSc.-assignment is that the student learns and proves that (s)he is able to define, perform, complete and reflect a research project at a large degree of independence. The assignment is performed in one of the energy related research chairs of the UT under the supervision of a daily supervisor and the responsibility of a chair holder (professor) and a master’s graduation committee. Conditionally, the assignment can be done (partially) at an external institute or organization.
During the master’s thesis work, a student proves his level of understanding and ability to carry out a scientific research or design project, using the acquired competences, i.e. knowledge, skills and attitude. SET graduates combine a broad knowledge in the field of sustainable energy technology with an in-depth specialisation in one field. The combination is covered in a well-balanced two year programme. The core programme is made up of five course types, introductory courses, courses to reach adequate basic levels in applied mathematics and physics, core courses, courses to reach adequate basic levels in social sciences, and system integration courses. Elective courses give students the possibility to acquire in-depth knowledge to effectively carry out a Master’s thesis project.
2. Getting started
2.1 Selecting a topic and a research group
The first step to take to get started with the master thesis research is to select the topic and the research group. We advise you to do this in the first quartile of the first year of the programme. This gives you time to do elective courses in the first year that you need to acquire the in-depth knowledge. You can select a topic from the large offer of the University of Twente. For examples of thesis topics, you can visit our website at www.utwente.nl/set. If you have another idea about a thesis topic related to sustainable energy technology, this is also possible. Another option is to do the thesis work in Delft or Eindhoven. If so, you graduate from the university where you were registered first, in this case the UT. Examples for areas for the thesis topic are:
•Energy from biomass
•Electrical power engineering
•Energy and society
•Sustainable energy in the built environment
The MSc.-assignment has to take place in one of the chairs of the university that is involved in sustainable energy related research. An external assignment is only possible by exception, to be judged by the Exam Committee. In case of an external assignment, a UT-chair professor has to take the responsibility for the assignment and should officiate as the professor in the MSc.- graduation committee.
2.2 Elective courses
When you have found a research topic and a research group, including a supervisor, you make a list of elective courses for your in-depth knowledge and fill it in in the “Study Programme form”. You do this together with your supervisor who will help you. This list needs the approval of both the chairholder of your supervisor and the director of education of SET, professor Van der Meer. You can find this list on the website www.utwente.nl/set and in Annex 1.
2.3 Approval thesis topic and appointment MSc. graduation committee
Next, you need the approval of your thesis topic. For this you fill in the form “Approval form Master Assignment Sustainable Energy Technology”. See Annex 2 and the form on the website. Next, the professor of the chair forms your graduation committee. It includes at least three scientists with a different background related to the topic of research. The committee includes:
-A chairman: the professor of the chair in which the student graduates or a representative (professor or UHD);
-The daily supervisor, who is a member of the permanent scientific staff (professor, UD or UHD);
-A member of the permanent scientific staff of a UT-chair different from the graduation chair (professor, UD or UHD). This member is added to committee to:
i.ensure that committees assess MSc.-assignments objectively;
ii.add additional knowledge and views from other scientific fields;
iii.exchange ideas between chairs.
When the supervisor is a PhD-student, then preferably the staff member who is the supervisor of the PhD-student should be added to the committee. He can monitor the interests of the master student concerned. Scientific experts from outside the programme in which the assignment takes place may be part of the MSc. Graduation committee in addition to the above group of three persons.
The establishment of this interdisciplinary committee makes it possible to guide the student effectively through the process and judge the Master’s thesis from different perspectives. Moreover, the composition of the committees contributes to equal standards across different committees. You give the members of het committee on the form. The form needs the approval of the director of education, Van der Meer.
2.4 Agreements with the research group
The student has to perform a substantial research or design project that meets scientific criteria. The level of profundity and complexity is defined by the chairman of the MSc. graduation committee, the chairholder of the research group. The SET student adds to the research topic of the selected research group the broad perspective of Sustainable Energy Technology.
When you have found your thesis topic and research group, you make agreements with this group. The chairholder of the group, a professor, is responsible for the thesis work. Often, you will have one daily supervisor, sometimes more, who are not necessarily a professor. However, the chairholder has the final responsibility. Before getting started with the actual thesis work, the student and his or her supervisors make a time table of when to get started, end day and deliverables during the thesis work. Also there are agreements about the supervision, who is doing what, and the intensity of supervision. When the actual thesis work is done outside the UT, the research group assigns a supervisor in the outside organization. The UT supervisor and chairholder remain responsible for the content and scientific level of the thesis work. Moreover, they are responsible that the work can be finished within the time given to do the work. The student completes the assignment with a written report (the MSc.-thesis) an oral public presentation and a defense.
The research group pays a limited number of hard copies of the master thesis. These copies are distributed among the members of the graduate committee and the secretary of the research group at least two weeks before the final defense. A digital version in PDF format needs to be send to BOZ-WB (BOZ-WB-CES@utwente.nl)
3. Administrative formalities
The following administrative formalities are needed:
•Approval of the list of courses, including elective courses (see form Annex 1);
•Approval of the research topic (see form Annex 2);
•Approval of the graduation committee (see form Annex 2);
•Documentation of agreements with the research group;
•Inform BOZ-WB about the starting date, research group and location. As soon as you have found a thesis assignment, you are obliged to register this in the Student Mobility System (SMS). You can register by creating a new assignment called 'Graduation' ("Afstuderen") and filling in a so-called ‘Assignment’ form (‘Opdracht’). Print the form, get a signature for approval from your graduation professor and hand the form over to BOZ-WB (Or: Send the signed form as a pdf to BOZ-WB-CES@utwente.nl);
•Within two weeks after you started with your thesis work you are obliged to fill in a so-called ‘Notification’ form (‘Melding’);
•Agreements about finishing courses. All courses need to be finished before the master thesis can be finalized!
•Assessment of working hours with the research group;
•Agreements with the supervisors about the evaluation meetings;
•Information of supervisor in case of problems during the trajectory;
•Information of BOZ-WB in case of temporarily delay, e.g. in case of illness, holiday, exams, etc.;
•Hard copies two weeks before the defense to committee and secretary group, digital copy to BOZ-WB (BOZ-WB-CES@utwente.nl).
In case of disagreement, the director of education of SET can provide assistance.
The assessment of the master thesis is based on the interdisciplinary analyzing capacity, creativity, self-reliance, written report, oral presentation of 45 minutes (including question round) and discussion for a broad audience and the separate, final one hour defense for the graduation committee. The assessment criteria are given in Table 2, the assessment checklist.
Table 2. Assessment Checklist MSc.-thesis SET
Assessment research qualities
oDefinition of the research goals and research questions,
oUse of relevant scientific literature,
oApplying a multidiscipenary framework to put the problem in the proper energy related context
•Execution of the MSc.-assignment:
oApplication of research methodology,
•Analysis of the results:
oApplication of data analysis,
oComplexity of the research,
oFeedback to the research goals,
•Accessibility and usefulness of the results:
oThe most important indicator is the degree of publishability the results.
Assessment of the reporting and general aspects
oContents and structure,
oDesign and lay-out,
oDiscussion of results, conclusions and recommendations,
oLiterature references, list of symbols, description of laboratory set-up, etc.
oMessage, and connection to public,
oExplanation about methods and results (clearness),
oStyle of presenting and use of audio-video support tools,
oDiscussion and response to questions.
oIndependence of student,
oOriginality and creativity,
oAttitude, effort, pace, dedication, commitment,
oCo-operation with “problem owner” and with co-workers.
All committee members make an individual assessment of the final grade based on the criteria of Table 2. Based on these grades, the chair proposes the final grade.
5.1 Announcement of colloquium
The announcement of the colloquium is arranged by the secretary of the research group where you did the thesis work. The colloquium room is also arranged by the secretary. Next, you inform BOZ-WB as well as the secretary of SET (S.Y. Kloost-Zimmerman van Woesik) who take care of the announcement of the colloquium.
The student notifies BOZ-WB at least 4 weeks (20 working days) before the colloquium using the form ‘Aanmelden masterdiploma’ (registration master certificate). And the form ‘colloquiumformulier’ signed by the daily supervisor.
The certificate of the master SET is given when the following constraints are met:
•The student has completed all courses and fulfilled all requirements of the master programme SET. This is controlled by BOZ-WB when they have received the notification. Next, BOZ-WB informs CSA (Central Student Administration)
•The grades of all courses, apart from the master thesis, need to be registered at BOZ-WB at least 3 weeks before the graduation.
•The student is registered at the UT the day of the graduation. This is controlled by CSA.
•The student sends a digital version of the thesis to BOZ-WB at least 1 week before the graduation.
When the constraints above are met, the student is allowed to do the final exam, i.e. colloquium and defense. When this is done successfully, the certificate, signed by the chair of the Exam committee of SET-ME, as well as by the chair of the committee is given to the student. The student also receives the grades list.
All forms can be downloaded at: www.utwente.nl/set.
Master study programme Sustainable Energy Technology
to be filled by chair holder
Within this draft you are invited to
remove the courses you will not take;
add courses of your choice;
fill in or adjust the study load (EC).
Introductory subjects (compulsory, unless otherwise agreed)
Energy Conversion technology
Compulsory subjects: (31 EC)
Technology and Sustainable Development
Energy from Biomass
Electrical Power Engineering and System Integration
System Innovation and Strategic Niche Management
Energy and Economy
Internship or Integration Projects (15 EC)
System Integration Project I (Group)
System Integration Project II (Individual Assignment)
Internship (15 - 20 EC)
Specialization subjects / elective subjects (15-20 EC)
Courses in consultation with tutor/ chairholder
Graduate (40-45 EC)
Master graduation assignment
Total MASTERPROGRAMME at least 120 EC:
It is strongly recommended to complete the above decribed programme before taking additional courses
Additional subjects (beyond the 120 EC)
Director of Education SET
Approval form Master Assignment Sustainable Energy Technology
Student name Student number
Track/specialisation Research group Date
Members graduation committee
Abstract research proposal including 5 keywords (max 600 words)
T.H. van der Meer, director of education Sustainable Energy technology (SET)