Students looking for senior thesis projects should tell professors they know, especially professors whose courses they are taking or have taken, that they are looking for things to work on. See the page on CS Research for Undergrads. Ideas often emerge from recent papers discussed in advanced courses.
Surviving the Senior Thesis
The terms in which some published research was undertaken might be generalized, relaxed, restricted, or applied in a different domain to see if changed assumptions result in a changed solution. Once a project gets going, it often seems to assume a life of its own. To write a thesis, students may enroll in Computer Science 91r one or both terms during their senior year, under the supervision of their research advisor.
Rising seniors may wish to begin thinking about theses over the previous summer, and therefore may want to begin their conversations with faculty during their junior spring—or even try to stay in Cambridge to do summer research.
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An information session for those interested in writing a senior thesis is held towards the end of each spring semester. Students interested in commercializing ideas in their theses may wish to consult Executive Dean Fawwaz Habbal about patent protection. You need a thesis supervisor. Normally this is a Computer Science faculty member. Joint concentrators and, in some cases, non-joint concentrators might have a FAS Faculty member from a different field as their thesis supervisor. However, we encourage you to meet with your supervisor at least several times during the Fall and Spring, and to agree on deadlines for initial results, chapter outlines, drafts, etc.
Three readers evaluate the thesis. The first reader is the thesis supervisor. The second and third readers are recommended by the student and supervisor. At least one of the readers must be a CS faculty member. You are responsible for securing the agreement of the readers. Exceptions to this requirement must be approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
The thesis should contain an informative abstract separate from the body of the thesis. The readers and student are told to assume that the Committee consists of technical professionals who are not necessarily conversant with the subject matter of the thesis so their reports and abstract should reflect this audience. The length of the thesis should be as long as it needs to be to present its arguments, but no longer!
The timeline below is for students graduating in May. For off-cycle students, the same timeline applies, but offset by one semester. The thesis due date for March graduates is November 15, and the thesis deadline for May graduates is March 27, Finally, the student must complete and submit a Thesis Application Form to the Thesis Coordinator, who will provide necessary support for registration, thesis submission, grade reporting, etc.
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Work a total of at least hours, spread over one or two semesters, for the project. Spend the work time solely on a project-related reading, development, and writing. Meet weekly with the Thesis Supervisor, discuss the progress, and seek necessary help. Prepare a thesis that presents the major accomplishments with appropriate documentation. Again, the student must seek the help and the guidance of the Thesis Supervisor in preparing the thesis.
Participate in a final evaluation of the thesis. A thesis is considered completed when the student has completed the planned work of hours or more, and the thesis has been prepared and submitted to the Thesis Coordinator, along with the Self-Evaluation form. The thesis must be word-processed and formatted in a professional manner, following appropriate writing style in the discipline.
Further requirements regarding the format and contents of a thesis will be specified by the department from time to time. The Thesis Coordinator will be the chair of the committee. All committee members will be given an opportunity to read and evaluate the thesis. A letter grade A - E will be assigned by the Committee after the evaluation.
For thesis work that extends beyond one semester, a "PR" grade will be assigned at the end of the first semester. Extension beyond the second semester will not normally be granted.
The Senior Thesis
Senior Thesis Through the Senior Thesis option CSC , students can earn three credits for one or two semesters of independent, but supervised, project work completed in an academic setting. Eligibility Requirements To be eligible for the thesis option, the student must: Have at least junior standing in the College 54 credits.
Restrictions Certain forms of work experience are expressly excluded from consideration for theses: Thesis credits cannot be given for work carried out in an employment situation.