Information Sciences Master

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Wiki of the Thesis design and Master project Information sciences.

This wiki page offers information for the master students on how to participate and complete the mandatory Master project.

Thesis Design and Master project courses

The Master project which is mandatory for all students consists out of two courses that both have to be completed. The courses are:

There are a number of phases that the students will have to go through in choosing and participating in a project:

  • Orientation
  • Thesis design
  • Master Project

Further information about the requirments and obligations in these different phases will be given in the following section.

Orientation

Choosing a subject

First, you need to orientate on the different subjects that can be done at the VU or at a company. You can find all the information here on this Wiki and at the "stagebureau". Several companies and organizations in the Amsterdam metropolitan region, collaborating in the Amsterdam IT Circle, offer opportunities for master project internships. If you are interested, you can register at "www.internshipdesk.nl", and they will contact you. For a possible interview at a company, be sure to have your CV ready plus an expression where your interests lie. Furthermore, for a master project in industry you’ll always also need a supervisor at the university, so cater for this at an early stage in your thesis design. Further information on companies and the matchmaking procedure is in the slides recently presented at the Interdisciplinary Research Methodology course X_405085. Open example projects (for all programmes) can be found on this Google document: http://tinyurl.com/ISMasterProjects1718. Here, we list projects for all programmes, note that you are not restricted to these projects, but can also come up with your own idea, as long as you find a supervisor to agree on the topic.

Additionally, in November, there will be a Master Project Information meetings to inform you of the procedure and possible internal and external projects. This meeting will 3 november 15.30-17.15 in (WN-M143). The slides of this and previous year's meeting can be found at the bottom of this page.

Optional: Make an appointment with a Master Project Coordinator

To get further guidance on how to choose a subject, you can contact one of the two Master Project Coordinators. The coordinators are:

Based on your interests, they can suggest a supervisor. When your interest lies within a domain of another Master Programme one of the Master Project Coordinators will send you to the contact person of this domain. The contact person will then suggest a supervisor. Please note that: When communicating with your Master Project Coordinator about your Master Project, please use "Master Project" in your e-mail header. Before you start your project, make sure that your project is 'known' by one of the coordinators.

Make an appointment with your supervisor

Make an appointment with the suggested supervisor. During this meeting, you will make an agreement about the master project. The agreement must consist of the following items:

  • Project place
  • Theme of the research question
  • Supervisor
  • Second reader
  • Period

Register your project

After this, you have to register your project by sending one of the coordinators an email stating the tile of your chosen project and name of the supervisor (+any peculiarities). Note that you can only do this once your supervisor agrees. All student projects need to be registered before December 15th.

Rules for supervision

You can have more than one supervisor, but at least one supervisor needs to be a VU (or UvA) CS staff member. You can have an external supervisor or PhD candidate as your daily supervisor, but then you also need a staff member formally supervising to ensure scientific quality of the work.

Thesis design

The first four weeks of your project are part of the Thesis Design phase (6 ECTS). This is a separate course for which the student will receive a grade. During this phase, you develop your research plan and conduct the literature research. There will be one intervision meeting (tba) to discuss progress as part of the Thesis Design phase. After the first month, you submit your research proposal. The proposal will contain the context, the problem statement, the research question, the method and a planning formulated on max. 4 pages. In a final presentation meeting (tba) you will present this material to your supervisor and other students and their supervisors. The Thesis design is graded by your supervisor and a second reader. The assessment form for the Thesis design can be downloaded here: Thesis design assessment form .

The goal of a thesis design is to write a research proposal on the subject of your chosen master project. The research proposal will have to consist of the following content:

  • State of the art of the literature
  • A clearly defined research problem and question
  • Project plan
  • Methodology
  • Time frame

Please note that the maximum length for the proposal is max 4 pages (excl timeline).

Assessment

The supervisor and second reader will grade the thesis design based on the research design (75%) and the presentation (25%). For this, the supervisors will use the Thesis design assessment form . The assessment form is to be signed by the supervisor and second reader and, together with the thesis design itself submitted to the Resultaat-registratie department of the Education office.

Thesis design presentations

Students will present their thesis design during the Thesis Design Presentations meeting . You will have to prepare a 5 minute presentation where you explain the background, research problem/research questions, the approach, evaluation methods and present the timeline of your research. The presentations are to be attended by at least one of your supervisors who will grade you.

You will have to sign up for a thesis presentation by sending a mail to Mojca Lovrencak: informatica.secretariaat.few@vu.nl with Subject line "MIS Thesis Design Presentation [Name]" and the following information in the email body: Name, Studentnr, VUnetID, Title of project, Supervisor(s) and any time restrictions. The schedule will appear here at a later time.

Please note that you can only present your thesis design when it is ~90% finished at the end of January. Please discuss this with your supervisor.

Timeline Thesis design

  • Week 1: have kickoff meeting with supervisor, agree on working/reporting plan, revisit project proposal, assign literature and other material to read
  • Week 2: Read literature, develop research plan
    • At the end of week 2, there is a Thesis design meeting, where we discuss current progress (TBA).
  • Week 3: Thesis design meeting: Thu 18 Jan 11:00 - 13:00 in WN-C669 This is an 'intervision' meeting (for students only). Here we will discuss the current status of your thesis designs among the students. We hope to see you there.
  • Week 4: Finalize research plan, submit thesis design and final presentation:
    • The final presentations are on 2 Feb 9:00-12.45 in WN-P640 and 13.30-17:15 in WN-F654) You will have to prepare a 5 minute presentation where you explain the background, research problem/research questions, the approach, evaluation methods and present the timeline of your research. The presentations are to be attended by at least one of your supervisors who will grade you.You will have to sign up for a thesis presentation by sending a mail to Mojca Lovrencak: informatica.secretariaat.few@vu.nl with Subject line "MIS Thesis Design Presentation [Name]" and the following information in the email body: Name, Studentnr, VUnetID, Title of project, Supervisor(s), Track and any time restrictions. The schedule will be communicated at a later time. Please note that you can only present your thesis design when it is ~90% finished at the end of January. Please discuss this with your supervisor.

Master project

The remaining 18 ECTS consist of executing the research described in the plan. This is the "Master Project Information Sciences" course (Code: X_405083). When the final version of master project is submitted to your supervisor and the second reader, you will give the final presentation during a special meeting. After this, your supervisor and second reader will assess and grade your work.

Master project presentations

For the final presentations, we will organize five meetings on thursdays and fridays in in June/July:

  • thu 21 june in P647 (chair: Henrik)
  • thu 28 june in in T469 (chair: Henrik)
  • fri 6 july in P647 (chair: Victor)
  • thu 12 july in S655 (chair: Victor)
  • fri 20 july in S655 (chair: Tobias)

Presentations are individual and comprise a 20 minute presentation and 10 minutes discussion. For each meeting, there will be blocks of four presentations (10-12h, 12.30-14.30 and 15-17h). Students are required to attend a whole block as audience to the other students in your block. -->

In the presentation, you discuss the context, problem/research questions, the approach, tools and methods used, evaluation and results and draw conclusions.

The presentations are graded by your supervisor and he/she should attend the meeting. Please note that you can only present your master project when it is ~95% finished. Only register for a presentation if your supervisor agrees.

You can then sign up for a thesis presentation by sending a mail to Mojca Lovrencak: informatica.secretariaat.few@vu.nl with Subject line "MIS Master Project Presentation [Name]" and the following information in the email body: Name, Studentnr, VUnetID, Title of project, Supervisor(s), the date of choice and any time restrictions. The schedule will appear here at a later time.

Important: in order to not waste precious presentation time switching laptops between presentation, send your presentation slides by 9.00 on the morning of the presentation to the chair of your meeting.

If, for some reason, your are not able to present on one of these days, you can self-organize a separate meeting in consultation with your supervisor.

Assessment

The supervisor and second reader will grade the Master project based on the quality of research carried out (3/6), the Master thesis (2/6) and the presentation (1/6). For this, the supervisors will use the Master Project assessment form. The assessment form is to be signed by the supervisor and second reader and, together with an exam slip ('tentamenbriefje') handed in at the Education office (via an email to resultaten.beta@vu.nl).


Final steps and deadlines

To graduate, you need to a) have requested the diploma (you can do this before finishing the thesis) and b) hand in your thesis at the educational office. You can find more information about this on VUNet under "Afstuderen" / "graduation". For our own administration, we also ask you to send your thesis and presentation to Mojca Lovrencak (informatica.secretariaat.few@vu.nl)

We get some questions about graduation deadlines, which are handled by the Education office. Here as well, for the most up-to-date and detailed information, consult VUNet. From VUNet: "The deadline for submitting marks for the academic year 2015-2016 is 29 July 2016." "However, for master's students, this deadline is an urgent advice, but the final deadline is 31 August. You can find an overview of the important (graduation) deadlines under 'What is the graduation date?'".


Regarding UvA students

Thesis Design

UvA students are required to follow the course 'Thesis Design' in case they wish to carry out their master project under the guidance of a VU supervisor. In this way, UvA students will be equally prepared for the master project as our own VU students are. We expect that this will increase the chances of UvA students to successfully complete their project in the allotted time of a one year master program. If you are discussing a master project with an UvA student, do take this new element into account. Once you agree to the supervision of an UvA student, please see to it that the student will include the course in his or her program. Clearly, each UvA student will receive all formal credits upon successfully completing 'Thesis Design'.

The UvA students do a project in block 3 and only have to finish their thesis design by 18th of March. Please note that this applies to UvA students only. Those VU students who are supported by an UvA supervisor will of course follow the VU thus design trajectory

Master Projects

Both UvA and VU students that follow the regular, nominal procedure defend where the actual project is done. The UvA and VU students that are delayed and cannot make it to present in June or July defend at their host institute at a later stage. So, if a UvA student has a VU lecturer as first supervisor and the project is done at the VU or on a VU project, the UvA student presents at the VU in July and joins the sessions announced above. However, if the student does not manage to graduate in the usual way but only in August, September or even later, there are no joint sessions to participate in, so there is no point in graduating at the VU.

The primary grading form that is used is always that of the host institute of the student (in my previous example of a UvA student doing a VU project, this is the UvA form). However, at least at the VU it is necessary to fill out a administrative copy of the grading at a VU form to have the master project properly registered. The forms are processed at the respective institutes.

Some remarks

  1. Although you can do a project at a company, you can only develop a research plan in collaboration with your VU supervisor. So approach a VU supervisor early.
  2. A Master Project IS consists of 18 ECTS and 6 ECTS literature research (Thesis Design) this is approximately 4 months of work. If there is an interruption of more than 3 months, the project will be considered failed.
  3. The Master Project has to be written in English. You have two options of reporting your work on your thesis. [1] an ACM style article approx. 15 pages plus appendices or [2] regular style thesis report.
  4. When you are finished with your project, please upload your thesis document on the wiki and check the finished box.
  5. Further information about Thesis Design in general and about doing a Master Project at UvA, see UvA Information Studies Master Project Page and for information about the Thesis Design presentations.

Links with helpful information

Forms

Rules of the Game slides

Overview of Masterprojects

Click on one of the pages below to get an overview of current and past projects.

Furthermore, the slides presented at the information meeting also give an overview of projects:

Previously, the Master projects page was hosted at this Wiki, however, this page is now broken and can not be considered up to date. You can have a look anyway to get an idea of the possible projects and persons associated:

Additional Sources

Assessment Forms

Past Master Project Meetings


Note that these resources might be outdated

Master project phases


Contact and feedback

If you have any questions relating to the summary of information listed on this wiki site or find that something is missing or incorrect please contact the administrator of this wiki site:

Master Project coordinators Henrik Leopold h.leopold@vu.nl, Victor de Boer v.de.boer@vu.nl