Information for master thesis students Prof. De Paepe & Prof. Verhelst

What are the promoters expecting from the first presentation (September)?

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.

What is / are the timeline / different deadlines for the master thesis?

  • 26 September 2017 : presentation of first task, targets and planning of the master thesis
  • 26 September 2017 : introduction technical staff and safety in the lab
  • 3/10 October 2017 : introduction courses to uncertainty analysis and how to search in open literature
  • 14 November 2017 : deadline draft of your literature review
  • 1 December 2017 : deadline literature review (final version)
  • 15 December 2017 : hand in final design of experimental set-up (/modifications) and / or algorithms, overview and planning of your master thesis
  • End of December : evaluation by your supervisors and promoter
  • 1st week second semester : interim defense (situate your work, things that have to be done, to do's and planning)
  • 1 April 2018 : enter definitive title of master thesis in Plato
  • Around Easter holidays : evaluation by your supervisors / promoter
  • 2 May 2018 : deadline extended abstract
  • 2 June 2018 : deadline for your master thesis dissertation
  • 28 June 2018 : public defense

Attention : these deadlines are only for students in 'Master of Science in electromechanical engineering' with promotor Prof. Michel De Paepe or Prof. Sebastian Verhelst

    Do we have a PowerPoint template available that can be used for our (intermediate) presentations?

    Yes. You can find this template here.

    What are the promoters expecting for the draft of the literature study (deadline half of November)?

    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 have to prepare a meeting with our supervisors?

    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 supervisor (and promoter). After the meeting you should also write a short report of the meeting and send this to your supervisors, promoter and, if applicable, industrial partners. Here you can find a template for the report.

    Can we ask questions to our supervisors only during this meeting?

    No, you can contact the supervisors in between the meetings. If you want to be sure that he/she is in the office, you can send an e-mail in advance.

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

    No, the ATHT and TT research groups have tools and machinery available especially for the thesis students. Please contact your supervisors 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 supervisor.

    How should the interim defense (1st week of second semester) look like?

    Your presentation has to contain the following components:

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

    Is there a master thesis layout that we should follow writing our thesis?

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

    What about the 'extended abstract'?

    There are two definitions of 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). If you are enrolled for the English master, you have to write an extended abstract in English. No translation should be provided in Dutch.

    Next to this extended abstract our research group also asks for an additional paper counting 6 pages double column. You can find a template for this paper here. So the extended abstract included in your master thesis is the same or a shorter version of this 6 pages full paper.

    How do we have to hand in our master thesis (number of hard copies, electronic version, where)?

    You have to hand in a minimum of 3 hard copies of our master thesis. 1 extra hard copy needs to be provided if you are working with an industrial partner. You may hand in your hard copies to your supervisor or promoter.You need to upload the electronic version (pdf) on the Plato-platform.

    Where could we find the slides on Trnsys, uncertainty analysis, excel and searching in open literature?

    Uncertainty analysis

    Searching in literature

    Excel : introduction & example

    Trnsys (in preparation)

    How should a good presentation look like?

    Some general tips:

    • Number your slides
    • Do not ask for questions at the end; it's the chair of the session who will introduce you and ask the audience if they have questions
    • 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. This is not useful for short presentations.
    • Avoid slides full of text. Use illustrations, graphs and photographs.
    • Make sure that your figures are clear when projected. Use thicker lines than you would do on paper.
    • 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 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

    How to write a good introduction & literature survey

    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.

    Your literature survey 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?

    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.

    How should a 'good' literature study look like?

    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.

    Guidelines for writing a literature review