MSc Thesis

This page contains description of how to do a MSc Thesis with me at DTU Compute. Rasmus Paulsen have a nice guide on choosing the right project with the right supervisor.

Once you have read this page, you may consult my list of project proposals for students to work with. All projects are somehow related to my research in personal health technology and you will hence be working together with a range of other researchers and programmers. Most of my research is centered within the following research areas:

Your background

Prospective students should:

  • have a solid computer science background, previous exposure to the research areas listed above (HCI, UbiComp, mHealth) or related areas. I do consider outstanding students with other degrees, but equivalent computer science background is required.
  • have taken relevant DTU master courses on HCI, embedding programming, and software engineering, such as
  • be a strong programmer and enjoy programming — most of my students’ research projects require very sophisticated programming, either because projects involve non-standard interfaces, or building underlying architectures.
  • also be interested in non-technical cross-discipline aspects of HCI and health, such as sociological or psychological aspects of computer technology, design methods and thinking, usability & UX (graphical) design, health and disease management, and human physiology;
  • be able to conduct user studies, including user-centered design, evaluations, controlled experiments, and pilot field trials, involving users such as patients, relatives, and clinicians
  • team up as a pair — I alway recommend a MSc. Thesis to be done in a team of no more, and no less than 2 persons. According to the DTU regulations, however, you can be up to 4 persons.

Supervision

My supervision is apply a group-based supervision approach. You can read more about this here. This basically means that;

  • There is a joint kick-off meeting for all students that initiates supervision.
  • You make a detailed project definition report including a plan for your work (see below). And you follow this plan (unless some radical problems occur).
  • All of my students meet bi-weekly for a joint supervision meeting. Before the meeting you submit your progress report. At the meeting you get supervision from me and you help each other. Each group have a 20 min. timeslot, so make the best out of it (i.e., be prepared).
  • You should work empirically (i.e., doing practical things like coding, analysing, running test, and evaluating applications) as well as theoretically (i.e., doing things like reading related literature, writing thesis chapters, and creating nice illustrations) throughout the entire project period. I DO NOT recommend writing the Thesis during the last week of the project…
    • You may want to consult my “The Art of Doing a PhD” page – the description here applies equally for doing a Thesis project, just in a smaller scale. Especially the Fish model can be useful.

  • I do not review your final Thesis before you submit it. Supervision is a strange thing; on the one hand I am supposed to supervise you and yet on the other hand I’m also the one to review and grade your Thesis in the end. Hence, in order to see what you can do independently and to grade your work, you need to write up your Thesis on your own. This is the tail of the fish above.

The Project Definition Report

Besides the final Thesis, the Project Definition Report (PDR) is the most important thing to write. The PDR contains the following outline:

  1. Project description
    1. Background
    2. Prior work
    3. Research question / hypothesis
    4. Contributions / goals
    5. Empirical / practical considerations
    6. Impact / innovation / application
  2. Intended learning objectives
  3. Plan
    1. Gantt chart
    2. Activities
    3. Milestones
    4. Deliverable, incl. chapters of the Thesis
    5. Risk analysis

Here is an example of a DTU Thesis Project Description Example, as it should look like. On of the most important parts of the PDR is the Gantt chart, which is illustrated below.

According to the DTU regulations, the PDR should be made within the first month of the project. The PDR will be the major discussion item on the kick-off meeting.

Practical Things

  • We use DTU Inside / CampusNet for communication and file sharing. This is where you submit your PDR, progress reports, etc.
  • The bi-weekly progress report should follow this template from Rasmus Paulsen.

LaTex

It is mandatory to write your Thesis, PDR, and progress reports  in LaTex. There is plenty of support for LaTex at DTU, including the Thesis template