Master thesis

This information is only for students in the Master of Science in Electromechanical Engineering with a supervisor of STFES.

Where are the master thesis topics?

The master thesis topics of the STFES research group can be found here. The video below introduces the approach of the STFES group:

All topics can also be found on Plato.

What is the timeline for the master thesis?

  • 24 September 2019: kickoff meeting with introduction technical staff, safety in the lab, computing infrastructure, targets and planning of the master thesis
  • 24 or 25 September 2019: presentation of first task
  • 1/8 October 2019: introduction courses to uncertainty analysis and how to search in open literature
  • 18 November 2019: deadline literature review (draft version)
  • 2 December 2019: deadline literature review (final version)
  • 13 December 2019: deadline final design or modifications of experimental set-up and/or models and algorithms, overview and planning of your master thesis
  • Around 15 December 2019: evaluation by your supervisors and counsellors
  • 1st week second semester: interim defense
  • 1 April 2020: deadline final title of master thesis in Plato
  • Around Easter holidays: evaluation by your supervisors and counsellors
  • 4 May 2020: deadline extended abstract
  • 31 May 2020: deadline master thesis dissertation
  • 25 June 2020: public defense

Where are the slides of the kickoff meeting and introduction courses?

What is expected for the presentation of the first task?

The students should give a short introduction of the purpose and targets of their thesis. They should present their first (small) task and give a planning of their master thesis. The audience consists of the research team of the promoter as well as fellow thesis students.

Where is the template for the (intermediate) presentations?

You can find this template here.

What is expected for the draft of the literature study?

The minimum requirement for the draft is that it contains an overview of the topics you will discuss in the literature review. The order of the different subjects you want to discuss should be logical. The draft literature study is actually a table of content of the first chapters of your master thesis. Preferably, of course, you have already some parts written out. In this way you get instant comments on your scientific writing skills.

How do we prepare a meeting with our counsellors?

In order to prepare the meeting, you can use the template for the agenda. You should send this agenda at least one day (i.e. 24h!) in advance to your counsellors (and supervisors). After the meeting you should also write a short report of the meeting and send this to your counsellors, supervisors and, if applicable, industrial partners using the template for the report.

Can we ask questions to our counsellors between meetings?

Yes, you can contact the counsellors in between the meetings. If you want to be sure that your counsellor is in the office, you can send an e-mail in advance.

If we have an experimental thesis, can we use all the tools, machinery and material available in the lab?

No, there are tools, machinery and material available especially for the thesis students. Please contact your counsellors and always be aware of the safety measures:

Are we able to purchase a paper on our own?

No, if you find an interesting paper you want to buy, you should contact your counsellor.

What should the presentation of the interim defense contain?

Your presentation has to contain the following components:

  • Introduction and purpose of your master thesis
  • Goals
  • Results of the first months
  • Expected results (think where you want to get and formulate results as if you would have already obtained them)
  • Schedule for the following months

What is considered a good presentation?

Some general tips:

  • Number your slides, so the audience can ask questions about a specific slide.
  • Do not ask for questions at the end; it is the chair of the session who will introduce you and ask the audience if they have questions at the end.
  • Repeat your title slide as the final slide, so the audience still knows who you are and what your title is during the questions.
  • Do not start with an overview of what you are going to talk about in short presentations.
  • Avoid slides full of text. Use illustrations, graphs and photographs.
  • Make sure that your graphs are clear when projected. Use thicker lines than you would do on paper. Add labels to the axes and a legend if there are different curves. Ensure all text on the graph is sufficiently large and readable from a distance.
  • When you show a graph, take your time to discuss it clearly. What is on the x-axis, what is on the y-axis? What do the different curves indicate? What is the physical meaning? What does the graph show?
  • When you show an equation, take your time to discuss it clearly. What are the different symbols appearing in the equations? What is the physical meaning of the equation?
  • Make sure that the title for each slide is representative for the content on the slide.
  • Stick to the timing. A good rule of thumb is that one slide takes about one minute.

Specific tips for your final thesis presentation:

The objective is not to talk about all the things you did during the thesis, nor does it need to be a very detailed description. Instead, the objective is to give a high level overview of what problem you identified, the broad approach you took to solve it and the main conclusions of your work. The audience is fellow engineers, but who are not working in the same field.

A good presentation is well structured and tells a clear story. The slides should logically and seamlessly follow each other, without jumps in the subject. A good guideline for the general structure is:

  • Introduction
    • Introduce the broad context of the thesis
    • Discuss the problem statement and the goal of the thesis
  • Methodology
    • Give an overview of how you approached the problem
  • Results
    • Discuss the most important results of your thesis, relating to the problem statement
  • Conclusions
    • Here you answer the questions posed by the problem statement

Is there a master thesis layout to write our thesis?

On the website of our faculty you can find some more information on the master thesis layout.

What about the extended abstract?

According to the faculty rules you have to include an extended abstract in your master thesis (counting between 2 and 6 pages). We ask to write 6 pages in double column format. You can find a template for this paper here. If you are enrolled for the English master, you have to write an extended abstract in English, without translation in Dutch.

How to write a good introduction?

A good introduction follows the same approach as for the presentation. Start by introducing the broad context of the thesis and finish by giving the problem statement.

How to write a good literature review?

Your literature review should answer three questions:

  • What is already known about my problem in the scientific literature?
  • What can I use directly to solve my problem?
  • Where are the results contradictory or where is knowledge still lacking?

A good literature study should give a (critical) overview of the current state-of-the-art of the subject you are working on. If possible you should discuss the links and differences between the papers you mention. It should also stress the shortcomings of the existing research in order to define the objectives of your master thesis.

At the conclusion of the literature survey you can clearly state what the specific goal of your thesis is. This can be applying the available knowledge to a specific problem, gathering new fundamental knowledge by investigating the identified issues in the literature survey.

Guidelines for writing a literature review

How do we have to hand in our master thesis?

You have to hand in 3 hard copies of your master thesis to your counsellors. You need to upload the electronic version (PDF) on Plato.