The final project of 30 credit points can be completed in any of the research groups in the CS-division. The practical execution may be performed in industry or a research institute, in the Netherlands or abroad, as long as a CS staff member is supervising it.
Prior to starting the final project you should first choose and consult the intended final project supervisor. As final project supervisors can act assistant professors, associate professors and full professors from the Computer Science sub-department within the Mathematics and Computer Science department. If you are in doubt how to choose the graduation supervisor please consider contacting your mentor.
The start of your master project is marked by submitting a completed graduation plan containing the necessary information on the project (name, place, period, supervisor, and so on), and stating the fact that you have completed your curricular part of the program. The form must be accompanied by a project description and signed by you, your supervisor, the head of the relevant specialization and the academic advisor.
During the master project, you should be able to work and concentrate on your project full-time. In practice, however, it turns out to be rather difficult to plan all your curricular activities and, especially, their success. If all courses have been completed, permission to start the master project will be granted. If more than two courses or 10 credit points (whichever is lower) have not been completed, such permission will not be granted. In other cases (no more than two courses or 10 credit points not yet completed) it depends on the status of the uncompleted courses whether permission to start the master project will be granted, and if so, whether it is feasible to work on the project full time. Courses that are to be taken as homologation units must be completed and passed before you are allowed to start the master project. Also, be aware that you are not allowed to finish your project (with presentation and defense) before you have completed all your courses. So do not be too optimistic in doing courses and project together, because it may harm both. For more information, please contact the academic advisor.
Together with your supervisor, you decide on a description of your topic and a global planning. You also arrange the supervision method, including how often you and your supervisor will meet to discuss progress (at least biweekly). Both of you are responsible for the progress, and the supervisor can be expected to give regular feedback. After one month, you should make sure to have a more clear schedule for structure, content, and phasing of the project. The project is concluded with a thesis and a presentation followed by a defense. The thesis should be handed in to assessment committee three weeks before the defense (although in practice, this period may be shorter). It is advisable to do a midterm presentation to show content and progress to a wider audience.
In general, the master project should be completed within 6 months from the start. An extension to 9 months is possible. In exceptional cases, and only if it is clear that the project can be finished, the exam committee may allow for an additional 3 months period. It is important to note that the project must be finished within 1 year. A project not finished within 1 year is automatically cancelled and graded as ”fail”. You then have to start a new project with a different supervisor. The complete graduation regulations can be found on the website.
Your final project is graded by an assessment committee. The committee usually consists of your supervisor, a staff member from your specialization area, and a staff member from one of the other CS research groups. The supervisor is responsible for forming this committee at least one month before graduation.
The assessment committee takes the following criteria into account:
Results: Significance of the results versus difficulty of the problem or project goals.
Report: Structure, completeness, correctness, readability, argumentation.
Graduation presentation: Structure,contents, clarity, contact with audience.
Defense: Argumentation, demonstration of knowledge, competency in discerning main aspects from details of the project.
Execution of the project: Level of independence, planning, organization, handling deadlines and setbacks, level of own contribution.
The actual assessment form used by the committee has a more fine-grained list of criteria for evaluating the work. Not all criteria are equally important. The assessment committee decides the relative importance of each criterion to arrive at a final grade. The motivation for the grade is documented in an assessment report, see the website.