Master Theses - Guidelines

General Information

The following paragraphs provide useful information of how to do a master thesis in our group.

Project Plan

Each student needs to prepare a project plan. Project management is crucial for the success of any software engineering research project with us. Consider that part of the thesis work typically is the development of a software prototype. The project plan does not need to be very verbose, but it should contain enough information to serve as a guide during and as a reference at the end of the project to determine whether the project was a success and has met the requirements specification.

A project plan should contain the following five sections:

  • Section 1 Project description -- should give an overview of your project: its scope and intended results.
  • Section 2 Background material -- should be your "reading list", namely the list of books, papers and articles that are relevant to your project and that you plan to read or have already read.
  • Section 3 Project management -- should explain precisely the objectives of your project, your priorities, and criteria for success. You should also describe the method of work you intend to apply to achieve these results, and the documentation you intend to provide to your supervisor during your project.
  • Section 4 Plan with milestones -- should specify the deadlines for each step of your project, with a tentative schedule.
  • Section 5 References -- should include the references to papers, articles, books or Web pages that you have used to write your research plan.

For writing the project plan we propose the student to use our LaTeX template.

How to write a Thesis?

For writing the thesis you must use our LaTeX template that you can get from your advisor. The PDF version of the guideline is available online. It describes the structure of a thesis and provides hints about what to write in each chapter. The guideline was taken from Prof. John W. Chinneck's web site where you can find additional information.

Regarding the style of writing a Diploma Thesis we refer the student to the books:

  • "The Elements of Style", Strunk and White.
  • "Writing for Computer Science" of Justin Zobel.

The web site of Prof. Henning Schulzrinne contains further useful hints that should be considered.


According to the official guideline for Diploma Theses you have to deliver 2 printed copies to the IFI Lehrbereichssekretariat. At least one exemplar must contain a CD-ROM with an electronic copy.

In addition to the official deliveries, the student has to deliver:

  • 1 printed copy (in form of a book) for our seal library.
  • 1 electronic copy (pdf or ps) to be published on our web site.
  • A 20 minutes presentation.

Each student is supposed to do a 20 minutes presentation, during which the student presents the problem, the proposed approach addressing this problem, the work done, obtained results, validation of the results, lessons learned, conclusions, and open issues. A guideline on how to do give a research talk is provided here.

Remember: the presentation does influence the grading of your thesis work. Further, it is a chance for you to present the work to us and others.