Ablauf von Abschlussarbeiten
Step 1: Get in touch with us
10 months prior to thesis submission
- If you already have a topic for your thesis in mind or a interested in a particular research area, get in touch with a researcher at WeST that is involved in this research field. Our team or research topics pages can help you finding the right person.
- If you do not have any idea for a thesis topic, look at our list of open bachelor or master thesis topics and if you find a topic interesting, contact the respective advisor.
Step 2: Write a thesis proposal
10-7 months prior to thesis submission
Before registering your thesis we want you to write a thesis proposal. In it you will refine your research question, build the thesis structure, organise and schedule the tasks for your research work. It will also serve as a „contract“ for the thesis content after you have registered for your thesis in step 4.
- Step 2.1: Your advisor from step 1 will guide you through the process. Sketch a proposal and discuss with your advisor and improve it until you and your advisor are happy with it. Download a prime example of a well-written proposal here (the introduction can be shorter and this proposal is very ambitious),another example for a well-written proposal (also ambitious) can be found here.
- Step 2.2: Make an appointment with one of WeST’s professors who should be the first supervisor of your thesis (your advisor will help you selecting the right person). Only full professors, assistant professors („Juniorprofessoren“), and habilitated staff members can be the first supervisor. The first supervisor will either accept the proposal as it is (then move to step 2.3) or demand some adjustments (then repeat from step 2.1).
- Step 2.3: Your advisor will create an SVN at the WeST repository for you. Upload the proposal into it.
Step 3: Agree to the thesis conditions
6 months prior to thesis submission
Scientific progress depends on open access to information and data. Without it researchers would not be able to share knowledge broadly, to replicate findings from data, and to evolve scientific insight. in addition, our work is almost completely funded by German and European taxpayers and open access fosters the reuse of software and transfer of knowledge. For these reasons we openly publish our papers, data and program code online so that everyone can access them. We expect our students to proceed likewise with their theses; in return we assure to advise and support our students the best possible way during their theses.
- Step 3.1: Read through the Wikipedia article about academic dishonesty and make sure you understand everything. If you have any questions, ask your advisor.
- Step 3.2: Download and read the thesis agreement. Make sure you understand everything. If you have any questions about the agreement, ask your advisor. Check if the license models work out and if you or your advisor have doubts, your advisor can change them.
- Step 3.3: Let your supervisor from step 2 sign the agreement, sign it by yourself and upload a scanned copy into the SVN repository your advisor has set up for you.
Step 4: Register your thesis at the Examination Office
6 months prior to thesis submission
With this step you officially register your thesis at the Examination Office (Hochschulprüfungsamt, HSPA). Once you have registered, you must submit the thesis to the HSPA within 6 months.
- Step 4.1: Download the registration form.
- Step 4.2: Fill out the registration form. You can pick the start date, we recommend to choose a date not more than one week in advance. The end date is exactly six months after the start date; if this day is a public holiday or in the weekend, enter the subsequent working day. Your first supervisor is the professor or assistant professor from step 2, your second supervisor usually the WeST researcher from step 1.
- Step 4.3: Send a scanned pdf of the filled out and signed registration form to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can keep track of your start and end date and update the thesis list at our website respectively. Hand in the original form at the Examinations Office (Emil-Schüller-Str. 12 or Mailbox No. 96 at the Campus Koblenz, building D, near Copy Shop) to officially register your thesis. The office will confirm registration per e-mail.
Step 5: Work on your thesis
6-0 months prior to submission
Once you have registered your thesis at the Examination Office, you have six months to submit your thesis.
- You should meet with your advisor at least every two weeks so he/she can provide feedback on your work and progress. You should also attend the WeST Oberseminar (a weekly series of scientific talks by WeST members and guests). Regularly upload date, code, text ect. into the SVN repository your advisor set up for you in step 2.3.
- Keep in mind the evaluation criteria your reviews will later apply for grading your thesis. We recommend to also consider Jennifer Widom’s tips on writing technical papers as well as the ACL PC chairs last minute writing advice.
- After about three months, you should give a 10 minute presentation about your thesis (e.g. in the WeST Oberseminar or in a smaller round). After that, both you, your advisor and your supervisor will have a 30 minute discussion about your thesis. Make sure to keep notes of the feedback you receive!
- If you get sick and your doctor gives you a sick note, send a copy of it to email@example.com and hand in the original note to the Examination Office. The office will extend your thesis and tell you and your first supervisor the new end date.
- If you run out of time and need an extension, inform your advisor as early as possible. Extensions can be given from one to three months, the latter requires the agreement of the whole examination committee. Details about extensions can be found at our FAQ list on our website.
- A template for the thesis can be found here. You must include page III with the declaration and the copyrights and library publication must match the ones from the thesis agreement (step 3). Web Science students only need to provide an English summary, students in other programmes need to provide both a German and English summary.
Step 6: Submit your thesis
Remember: Unless you applied for extension and it was granted, you must submit your thesis within 6 months after registration at the Examination Office (step 4). Otherwise it will count as failed. To submit your thesis, follow these steps:
- Step 6.1: Ask your advisor if he/she prefers the thesis in printed hardcopy form with digital pdf or as a digital copy only. In general, we prefer printed copies at WeST.
- Step 6.2a: If submitted as printed hardcopies: Print and bind it three times and hand it over to the Examination Office. The safest way is to do this in person (click here for the opening hours). Postal submission is also possible, here the postal stamp counts as submission date.
- Step 6.2b: If submitted in digital form only: Upload your thesis at the University’s publication server OPUS, in case you get stuck, consult the FAQ list by the University’s library. Print and fill out the declaration form (currently only available in German), bring it to the library and get a confirmation in return that proves you have submitted the thesis in time. Print out the title page from your thesis (page 1) and the declaration (page 3) and hand in both as well as the confirmation you got from the library to the Examination Office. The safest way is to do this in person (click here for the opening hours), but the office’s mailbox (no. 96 at the Campus Koblenz, building D, near Copy Shop) is also possible.
- Step 6.3: Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org (add your supervisor and advisor in CC) and inform us when you have submitted your thesis so we can update our records, make sure the reviews will be ready in time and schedule a date for the colloquium.
- Step 6.4: Make sure you have uploaded the final version of your datasets, code and text to the SVN repository your advisor has set up for you in step 2.3.
Step 7: Review and Closing
1 month after thesis submission
- Your reviewers will be the persons you entered in the registration form (cf. step 4.2). They will receive your thesis and notification by the Examination Office.
- You will be invited to your thesis colloquium by the WeST secretary, usually within the WeST Oberseminar. Here you will give a 30 minute presentation of your thesis and discuss it with the audience.
- Meanwhile, your reviewers write a review, following our sheet with evaluation criteria. Both written text submission and oral presentation during the colloquium will be considered. Once they have finished their reviews, they will upload them to the SVN with your thesis and send them to the Examination Office.
- We will update our list of theses on our website and move your thesis to the „completed theses at WeST“ section.
- The examination office will calculate your grade (mean average of both reviews) and update your KLIPS records.
Step 8: Stay affiliated as a WeST alumnus
- Please provide us (email@example.com) with an email address that will exist beyond your exmatriculation. We plan to set up a Facebook or LinkedIn group (or similar) to stay in touch with our alumni.