Master’s Degree Projects at the School of Electrical Engineering
The department might require that you have finished specific courses before starting the degree project; in this case this is a minimum criterion. Then, depending on the topic of the degree project there might also be other courses that need to be finished. The idea is to have studied courses that give you sufficient knowledge to be able to fulfil the chosen degree project.
The prerequisites for admission also vary depending on your type of studies, see table below. Though, the requirements that need to be fulfilled to complete the thesis are the same for all degree projects, described more thoroughly on this site.
Students of the 2 year Master’s programmes
- The project has to be related to your programme/profile
- Completed 60 credit points from the program curriculum, including advanced courses. The thesis project is carried out in the area defined by the courses taken during the first year of the program.
Students of the 5 years Electrical Engineering programme (Civilingenjör )
- A maximum of two unfinished courses from the first three years of the programme
- At least 210 ECTS from the programme have to be reported
- Irrespectively of where the degree project is carried out, at KTH or outside, the student must have a supervisor and examiner at KTH
- The degree project has to be related to your programme profile
- Arrange in advance a supervisor both at KTH and home university before you apply for a degree project as exchange studies
The application for your thesis project is made by completing the Application Form together with your examiner who also has access to the document. When completed, hand it in to your coordinator.
Exchange students also need to hand in a Thesis Agreement at the same time as the application. It can be obtained from your international coordinator at KTH.
Before you start with your master’s thesis/degree project, please read this information carefully.
The degree projects are always formally done at one of the KTH departments, and usually the department has instruction about projects and requirements for prospective thesis workers. Regardless of where you perform the practical work for your project, you need a supervisor at a KTH department and someone from the department will be your examiner. When performing you degree project at a company you will have a supervisor there as well.
A Master´s Degree Projects of 30 ECTS equals approximately one semester full time work. The project/thesis shall be done individually. If you work together with another student it has to be approved by your examiner and the effort of each student in the thesis must be clearly distinguished.
What constitutes a degree project/thesis?
A degree project is often the largest individual element of your educational program. It is valued as a very important part of the education and of interest for many future employers. A well performed degree project and thesis can be very a good qualification in the initial job searching process.
The purpose of a degree project is to provide you with experiences within research as well as in working life and develop your ability to:
- Independently and under realistic circumstances be able to structure, plan and carry out a specific and limited task with an engineering approach
- Document your work in a systematically structured report, not only showing what you have performed but also that you can express your work in writing in a way that others can benefit from it
- Present your work orally
Besides this, the degree project should show that you can:
- Apply relevant knowledge and abilities that you acquired within the engineering field on a specific problem
- Independently, within a given framework and limited information, analyze and discuss complex issues and to handle larger problems on an advanced level within the technological area
- Reflect about, evaluate and critically review your own and others scientific results
- Be able to document and present your work, for a certain target group, with high demands on structure, form and language
- Discover your needs of further knowledge and continuing development of your competency
How do you find the topic for your degree project?
It is the responsibility of the student to find a suitable topic for the degree project. Normally the project is related to the subject area that is your specialisation due to your profile choice.
It is advisable to contact the person responsible for your profile or degree projects, or the director of studies at your department. They often know of suggestions for degree projects or know where to look. There is also a possibility to find a degree project in ‘Exjobbs-poolen’.
Some degree projects are entirely done at a department and in these cases they are normally connected to a research project. Others are completed at a company or public authority. It is common that they list assignments on their web sites that might be suitable for degree projects. If you see something of interest you should contact the company/authority to see if the task is still is question. Note that you still have to contact your department at KTH to see if they consider it to be an appropriate assignment.
Tasks that are considered inappropriate might be those who:
- Are too extensive or be of a to less extent
- Are not clearly delimited
- Lack sufficient constructive thinking and investigation
Please note that before you start your degree project it is important that you contact the department, and also that you carefully look through their degree project-instructions! It is also of great importance that you get a supervisor and examiner.
Supervisor and examiner
If you perform your degree project at a company or authority you will have a supervisor at the company/authority and a supervisor at a KTH department. The role of the supervisor is to give advice and proposals – but also constructive feedback/critique.
For every degree project an examiner from the department is designated. His or her role is to take responsibility for the quality of the degree project. It is also possible for the examiner to be supervisor. Depending on the department you might have contact with your examiner to a different extent, but it is always the examiner that decides whether or not your degree project is approved.
It is very important that the task for your degree project is as well defined as possible early on in the process when deciding if the task could become a degree project or not.
Requirements for approval of the degree project
A degree project of 30 ECTS is estimated on the basis of three basic criteria: process, academic content and presentation.
It is your examiner at the department that approves the degree project, after consultation with the supervisor. Note that there are requirements both regarding content and how it is presented.
Overview over the sequence of work
What kind of degree project would you like to do?
Search for the type of degree project you would like to do, that is look in companies and departments for proposed degree projects. You can always make your own proposal that might fulfil the requirements/needs of a company/department.
Establish contact with a department
Contact the responsible person for degree projects at a suitable department to obtain a supervisor and examiner. Read carefully the department’s instructions for degree work, they are normally found on the web. Fill and hand in the form regarding degree project that is provided by the department and make also sure that the degree project is registered at the department.
You should discuss your degree project with your supervisor and examiner on the basis of a short preliminary specification of the project. This makes it possible for the examiner to make sure the task is suitable and that the department is the most appropriate to supervise and examine the project.
Establish a contract
Normally an agreement is made between the student and the assigner. The department usually provides templates for these types of agreements. Moreover the student and the assigner makes agreements regarding the properties for the degree project thesis, returning of keys, possible economic compensation etc.
Initiate the degree project
Initiate the degree project after consultation with your supervisor and in accordance with the directions of the department. Some departments require a project plan in the beginning of the degree project. This is advisable irrespective of if this is something that your department requires or not.
The reading phase
Some departments have an explicit period of reading, in general in the beginning of the degree project. This period usually consists of one individual ‘course’, that supervisor, examiner and the technology student defines with the starting point in some adequate literature such as books and/or a collection of scientific articles. You should be prepared to take an active part in the search for literature, and not only depend on your supervisor. The reading phase should concern material that is relevant for the degree project and is to be included in the same. The presentation of the reading period is made in the way agreed upon between the supervisor and examiner, for example through an oral exam. However, the reading period should always be referred to in the degree project thesis.
Keep continuous contact with the supervisors and let them know the progress of your degree project.
Organise a report meeting two to tree weeks before you have completed your degree project. At this meeting you should present the ‘second last’ draft of the degree project thesis that should include all essential parts including conclusions, to your supervisor and possibly the examiner. Naturally the demands of a complete thesis and the quality of the contents are lower than at the final review/presentation.
At this meeting, if you have been doing your degree project at a company, the supervisor from them should also be present.
Both supervisors should have access to the draft of the thesis in good advance before the meeting.
The supervisors revise the thesis and conclude their opinions at the meeting.
You will present and defend your thesis at a seminar where teachers, other engineers and staff from the department have the possibility to participate. An opponent, normally designated by the department, will answer to your presentation.
If the presentation does not fulfil the requirements satisfactory by the examiner, you should have the opportunity to present your thesis at another occasion.
Part of the degree project is the obligation to be opponent to another degree project thesis. The opposition is made at another student’s presentation of his /her thesis, and is approved by the examiner for his/her degree project. Normally you get help from the department to find a degree project to make an opposition on.
When you are doing an opposition the idea is to make a constrictive critique of the degree project you are reviewing. Try to find questions at issue that are interesting of principle rather than focusing on details. At minimum, the following items should be discussed:
- The planning of the degree project thesis
- The way the degree project thesis considers and discusses previous thesis/work on the area
- The relevance and significance of the conclusions
- Linguistic and graphical presentation
Writing of the degree project thesis is an integrated part of the technical work. For this reason you should continuously document your work.
If you do your degree project outside KTH the company are sometimes expecting documentation in the form of a company report. Sometimes companies have their own specific requirements and desires on the design of the documentation and report. For this reason the company report may not be sufficient as a degree project thesis. Discuss this at an early stage with your supervisor at the department.
Please note that degree project thesis/reports are official documents.
Too pass the course the project degree thesis should firstly well describe your degree project, but there are also some formal requirements. Information regarding these can be found at your department. Also, be aware that the thesis/reports are reviewed regarding language. Talk to your supervisor, examiner or the responsible persons for the degree project thesis at your department.
The thesis should be written in Swedish or English. In exceptional cases the report could be written in German or French. If the report is written in another language than English there should be an ‘abstract’ written in English.
When your thesis is finished it should be handed in to the adequate person at the department; this could be your supervisor, examiner or the responsible persons for the degree project thesis.
Consider the following:
- Statements that are not obvious should be left out. This could be made by following a reasoning that is thorough enough to easily understand the conclusions
- Regarding facts that is from another source has to be followed by a reference to the source book or similar. This is also important even if you are not referring directly, but only summarizing what someone else has written
- Try to relate what you do to the literature and the scientific knowledge or standpoints
- Be careful to distinguish your information from information from others
- Be careful to distinguish between facts and interpretation of facts
- Describe not just what your results are, but also how you reached your results. It is important to present the methodology and the results apart
- Describe obstacles in the working process, how you managed them, worked around them or why you could not overcome them
- The degree project should rely on scholarly and scientific foundation. For this reason the requirements are high regarding the references on literature. You have to refer to scientific literature and not only to manuals, company reports and course literature
- The department might have requirements on the graphic design, how many copies that should be printed or to whom they should be sent. Speak to your supervisor
- Make sure that your opponent gets a copy of your thesis at least 2 weeks before the seminar
The principle of free access to public records
As your degree project thesis gets approved (that is the date for grading) the document becomes official. The assessment that the examiner makes is based on that document. Though, if it is a wish from the company, the other documentation and information that is shared to the department during the work process may be confidential.
If you do not complete your degree project
If you have initiated a degree project but for some reason are not able to complete it, you should as soon as possible contact or your supervisor or the responsible person for degree projects at your department.
Advice and help
If you intend to do your degree project abroad – don’t forget to apply for a scholarship at the EE-school office. For more information regarding degree project abroad contact the responsible person for student exchange or the student counsellor at the EE-school office or have a look at the information about studies abroad.
Be realistic when you estimate the extension of your degree project. Often the degree project extends due to the fact that the student hasn’t specified or delimited the area of the degree project sufficiently.
Some companies pay a ‘salary’ during the degree project. Make sure that this is specified in the degree project agreement, and inform yourself how the payments are done – every month or at some specified occasions.
Normally you are entitled to have study grants during the degree project. Make sure CSN knows that you are doing a degree project. If you are making your project during te summer you have to apply for extra grants.
Web-links to information about degree project on the Internet