How to find a suitable project

As a student belonging to other programme than Sustainable Technology (AL227X), Environmental Engineering and Sustainable Infrastructure (AL230X, AL250X, AF283X) or Sustainable Urban Planning and Design (AL250X), you must get permission from your programme’s Programme Director that you are allowed to carry out your thesis work in the field and be able to be admitted to a course code that is not listed within your programme.

It is the student’s own responsibility to choose a thesis subject. A suggestion for a subject can be formulated by the student, a company/authority, or a teacher/researcher. A number of available suggestions for thesis subjects are continually posted to Suggestions for Master thesis. The thesis can be carried out in Sweden or abroad, in cooperation with a company or a municipality, or in direct cooperation with a research project at the department.

Projects can be decided upon by discussions between students and researchers. You can contact the different researchers in the field in which you want to do research and book a time to discuss possible thesis topics. Preferably you should come prepared to present some of your ideas; what you think would be an interesting project and why. The supervisor judges whether the project is suitable for a degree project and needs to know that you have the prerequisites for doing the project - you must have taken courses that provide the knowledge, tools/skills and competence for doing a good job on the project. The thesis project work is normally carried out during the final semester of the Master programme; in exceptional cases, the thesis work can begin earlier. The course Examiner makes a decision regarding admission by signing the registration form.

Projects at companies or organizations

Projects may also be done at companies (not only big companies but small consulting companies as well). Some companies post lists of potential degree projects on their home pages. There is also KTH Degree Project Portal that lists projects in all fields submitted to the site by a wide range of companies and other universities looking for students to do research in a specific topic.

Even if you carry out your degree project for a company, you still are required to have a supervisor and an examiner at KTH and you still must give an oral presentation at KTH and format the thesis according to the requirements. When degree projects are performed at a company or organization, it is important that the company/organization, the student and the academic supervisor share the same view of the purpose of a degree project and the responsibilities of those involved. It is the organisation’s supervisor who is responsible for ensuring that the student has access to the correct technical skills (people, literature, etc.) and resources (equipment, machinery, materials, work space, computers etc.) at the company. Make sure the information is shared and the agreements confirmed by all parts.

Any work done by the student for the project provider that does not contribute to the master thesis, should be in addition to the 20 weeks of full time research. All expenses incurred during the master thesis work (materials, travel etc.) must be paid by the company or by the project within which the master thesis is carried out. No compensation will be paid by the master thesis course.

Normally, the organisation will provide work space for the student for the duration of the project. If this is not possible, please discuss with the relevant Examiner/Supervisor about a suitable arrangement. It may occur that students doing their projects within a company get some kind of payment. This is an agreement between the student and the company. The degree project is still a part of the KTH education and must be approved of by your KTH supervisor and examiner prior to commencement of the project.

Projects at other universities

It is also possible to do your degree projects at other universities. There are two different ways to handle this, but make sure everything is OK:ed before you start.

One way to handle this is that you register for the degree project course at the other university. If you do this, you have to check in advance with your Programme Director of the programme in which you are enrolled that the course from the other university will be approved and counted toward your degree; this must be approved prior to starting the project. In this case, you follow the rules for the course that exist at the other university and not the KTH rules. Thus you would not be graded by KTH but by the other university and the course credits transferred to KTH.

The other way is that you have both a supervisor at another university where you are going to do your work, and an examiner at KTH. In this case, an agreement between the department (SEED) and the supervisor at the other university should be written, prior to the start of your project, which regulates economic compensation for the advisory work done by the external academic supervisor. In this case must follow the rules for and will be graded according to the rules for the degree project at KTH.

Supervisors

Each student is assigned a Supervisor whose role is to assist and advice during the MSc Thesis project work. Both senior researchers and PhD students at the Department of Sustainable Development, Environmental Sciences and Engineering (SEED) may act as academic supervisors. If your project is outside KTH and you have a both a KTH supervisor and an external supervisor you need to be very clear about the limits of your project. Some external supervisors may ask students to do work that, according to the KTH supervisor, is not actually within the frame of the degree project. On the other hand, there might be things that the external supervisor does not consider belong to the degree project that is actually, according to the KTH supervisor, part of the project (e.g. literature studies, attending seminars). The KTH supervisor decides what is or is not part of the degree project.

The supervisor is responsible for informing the student of all the requirements and for guiding and supporting the student in their research and is responsible that the student successfully completes the project course worth 30 credits. Contact your supervisor for anything connected to your actual thesis idea and writing and the form and content of your presentation. You normally will have the closest contact with your supervisor in the beginning and at the end of the work. During the actual work phase, most students who do external degree projects just report regularly to their supervisor how the work is progressing. You should though, have a discussion of the disposition of your report with your supervisor before you start the actual writing. Remember that you are to work independently on your research project and that your supervisor has many other responsibilities and cannot constantly help you. If the work is not progressing the way it should, it is important that you discuss this thoroughly with the supervisor.

When you have written most of your thesis document then you should make a schedule stating when he/she should read your draft. When you give your document to your supervisor, agree on a date that it is to be returned to you. Agreeing on the work time of each person, student and supervisor, is a good way to make sure there are no unnecessary delays. You must also bear in mind that the supervisor can allocate 25 hours for supervision for one degree project and be aware that supervising you is just one of many tasks of your supervisor.

If you do not finish your project

If, for some reason, you do not finish your degree project in the time period stated on your registration form then you must tell your supervisor. Projects that are not finished within one-two years after they started are subject to loose of advisory support.

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