All students enrolled in an Honours program in the School of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) must complete a Research Thesis. In a Thesis, a student may undertake a research project, a development project, a research and development project, or an industry project.
Theses in Faculty of Engineering (of which CSE is a part) are conducted in three consecutive stages which are referred to as Thesis A, Thesis B and Thesis C. Each stage will last for one term, and these three stages are to be taken in three consecutive terms. CSE administers final year theses in single, combined, and concurrent degree programs for the BE (Computer Engineering), BE (Software Engineering), BE (Bioinformatics), BSc (Computer Science Honours). The table below shows the course codes for different programs and thesis stages.
|Program||Thesis Part A||Thesis Part B||Thesis Part C|
Biomedical Engineering (Dual award BE)
Computer Science Honours
This course outline is a common course outline for Thesis A, Thesis B and Thesis C of all the CSE Honours programs.
The Thesis websites are hosted on the CSE's WebCMS3 platform. There is a site for each of the Thesis A, Thesis B and Thesis C.
|Thesis A (4951/4961)||
For a specific term, replace the term in "https://webcms3.cse.unsw.edu.au/COMP4951/23T2/" with the term that you want.
|Thesis B (4952/4962)||
For a specific term, replace the term in " https://webcms3.cse.unsw.edu.au/COMP4952 /23T2/" with the term that you want.
|Thesis C (4953/4963)||
For a specific term, replace the term in "https://webcms3.cse.unsw.edu.au/COMP4953/23T2/" with the term that you want.
An important website that you will be using is the Thesis Management System (TMS) at https://thesis.cse.unsw.edu.au/ . You will be using TMS to browse for thesis topics, nominate thesis topics and submit thesis deliverables.
The first point of contact for all thesis enquiries:
The thesis administration related enquiries should be sent to email@example.com (cc’ing firstname.lastname@example.org ) . We will help you through all policy related matters, including thesis extensions, late penalties, result submission, and reassessment coordination.
As a general rule, all templates and reference materials regarding the thesis will be made available through Thesis Course page. You can also utilize the forum to communicate with your fellow thesis students and the Thesis Coordinator.
The Thesis Coordinator can help you with generic academic guidance and any other thesis-related matters that you need some advice/discussion independently of your supervisor. However, your supervisor is the main person to talk to in all matters relating to conducting your thesis.
The thesis provides an opportunity for you to bring together engineering principles learned over the previous years of study, and apply these principles to innovatively solve problems such as the development of a specific design and/or the investigation of a hypothesis. Thesis projects are complex, open-ended problems that allow room for your creativity, and the acquisition, analysis, and interpretation of results. Typically, the project you work with will have multiple possible solutions or conclusions and sufficient complexity to require a degree of project planning. The thesis requires you to formulate problems in engineering terms, manage an engineering project and find solutions by applying engineering methods. You will also develop an ability to work in a research and development environment.
At the conclusion of this course, students should be able to:
*Note: cross reference the numbers in brackets to the BE (Hons) Program Learning Outcomes in Appendix A.
Undergraduate theses are unusual (compared to other courses) in that they consist of a single piece of work spread over three courses: Part A, Part B and Part C. The three parts have quite different outcomes and assessment, which are described in detail below, but which can be summarised as:
Students with excellent academic records and who perform exceptionally (HD grade) in Thesis A may be permitted to do Thesis B and C together in a single term. However, for students who do both Thesis B and Thesis C in one term there are different deadlines for Thesis B deliverables:
Through the thesis, you will put into practice the knowledge and skills that you've learned in your study up to this point. You do this by investigating a research topic, developing a significant software/hardware system, or some combination of these. All topics will require you to carry out the same basic set of six tasks:
An overview of the assessment items (deliverables) is described below. All assessment items will be marked according to a marking rubric. You can find the marking rubrics in the course website for the Thesis stage that that the assessment item belongs to.
For the exact due dates/times, refer to the Due Dates/Submission pages on the site.
A mark out of 100 will be returned by your supervisor and the assessor. Your thesis A mark is the average of your supervisor’s mark and assessor’s mark. It will contribute 20% towards your final thesis mark. In your UNSW academic transcript, Thesis A is graded as Enrolment Continuing/Discontinuing. You must pass both the written report and the seminar to receive an Enrolment Continuing (EC) grade in Thesis A.
A mark out of 100 will be returned by your supervisor and the assessor. Your thesis B mark is the average of your supervisor’s mark and assessor’s mark. It will contribute 5% towards your final thesis mark. In your UNSW academic transcript, Thesis B is graded as Enrolment Continuing/Discontinuing.
A mark out of 100 will be returned by your supervisor and the assessor. Your thesis C mark is the average of your supervisor’s mark and assessor’s mark. It will contribute 70% towards your final thesis mark.
A mark out of 100 will be returned by your supervisor. Participation will contribute 5% towards your final thesis mark.
The final thesis mark is computed as follows:
ThesisASeminar = mark out of 100
ThesisAReport = mark out of 100
ThesisASeminar = (ThesisASeminarMarkSupervisor + ThesisASeminarMarkAssessor)/2
ThesisAReport = (ThesisAReportMarkSupervisor +ThesisAReportMarkAssessor)/2
ThesisAMark = 0.75*ThesisAReport + 0.25*ThesisASeminar
ThesisAGrade = EC, if ThesisAMark >= 50; FL, otherwise
ThesisBMark = mark out of 100
ThesisBMark = (ThesisBMarkSupervisor + ThesisBMarkAssessor) / 2
ThesisBGrade = EC, if ThesisBMark >= 50; FL, otherwise
ThesisCDemo = mark out of 100
ThesisCReport = mark out of 100
ThesisCDemo = (ThesisCDemoMarkSupervisor + ThesisCDemoMarkAssessor)/2
ThesisCReport = (ThesisCReportMarkSupervisor + ThesisCReportMarkAssessor)/2
ThesisCMark = 0.1*ThesisCDemo + 0.9*ThesisCReport
ParticipationMark = mark out of 100
FinalMark = 0.2*ThesisAMark + 0.05*ThesisBMark + 0.7*ThesisCMark + 0.05*ParticipationMark
FinalGrade = HD|DN|CR|PS|FL, determined by FinalMark
ThesisAMark = 0.25*80 + 0.75*88 = 86
ThesisBMark = 82
ThesisCMark = 0.1*90+ 0.9*80 = 81
ParticipationMark = 80
FinalMark = 0.2*86 + 0.05*82 + 0.7*81 + 0.05*80 = 82 (not including late penalty)
After the Thesis C demonstrations, the Thesis Coordinator will invite students who have done outstanding work to demonstrate their work at an evening showcase event attended by academic staff, other students and industry representatives. The showcase is scheduled on a date decided by the Thesis Coordinator. The invited students are asked to provide a poster and a demo for the showcase.
Any student who doesn't attend their Thesis A seminar/submit their presentation slides or submits their report by the due date will receive a Fail grade and will be required to re-enroll the following semester. Special Consideration can be sought in the usual manner, by submitting an application within the required time to Student Central (see below for more details on Special Consideration) .
Any student who does not present their Thesis B seminar and submit their demo slides by the due date will receive a Fail grade and will be required to re-enroll the following semester. Special Consideration can be sought in the usual manner, by submitting an application within the required time to Student Central (see below for more details on Special Consideration) .
Application for an Extension
If you are going to submit your thesis late then you should notify the Thesis Administration ( email@example.com ) and submit a written request. If you apply for a Special Consideration (extension request), you can submit your request via UNSW Student Central. The relevant documentation such as a medical certificate should be included in your request. Please refer to UNSW Special Consideration Policy in the bottom of Late Penalty section for further information.
Note that if you submit late then you will automatically incur a late penalty unless you have specifically applied for and been granted an exemption from the late penalty in advance (see below).
The penalty for submitting late will be applied as follows:
Application for an Exemption to a Late Penalty
An exemption from the late penalty is only granted in extenuating circumstances, e.g. prolonged sickness or major equipment or supply delays. These circumstances must be documented, and the documentation must clearly show how the work was affected.
if you require an extension because of major equipment or supply delays, or an illness or family circumstances (for example), you should apply for an exemption from the late penalty in the following way:
1. Apply for Special Consideration via Student Central.
2. Submit any other relevant supporting documentation to Student Central.
3. Make sure your supervisor is fully informed of your circumstances.
4. You will receive a confirmation email, copied to your supervisor and assessor, outlining the new deadline and penalty conditions.
In all cases, the School will get back to you with a decision via an email to your CSE account.
UNSW Special Consideration Policy
The Thesis Part C mark may be queried by a student. Before doing so, the student should be aware of the following:
Thesis Part C reports are marked by the supervisor and assessor independently. The final mark is determined by an average of these two marks, less any penalties. The supervisor and assessor do not apply any (or exempt) mark penalties for lateness. Late penalties are applied by Thesis Administration after consultation with the Thesis Coordinator after the submission of the marks to the Student Office.
Supervisors and assessors can modify their mark after submission via an email to Thesis Administration ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) but must justify the change to the Thesis Coordinator once final results have been released to students. The student's CSE weighted average or eligibility for honours are not sufficient grounds to justify a marked change or a request for revision of the final mark.
An application for review must be made not later than 15 working days from the date of official results notification to students. After a review of the mark, the mark may be either increased or decreased .
Thesis Report Review
If a student feels that an error has been made in marking the thesis report, then the following action should be carried out:
1. The student should email the Thesis Administration ( email@example.com ) and explain the error. If the error is clear Thesis Administration will make arrangements for the mark to be corrected, otherwise students will be directed to step 2.
2. The student should see both the supervisor and assessor, together or separately, and request both to review their assessment of the report.
3. If the academics deem the request reasonable, both should review their assessment independently, and forward a report to Thesis Administration ( firstname.lastname@example.org ).
4. Thesis Administration will inform the student of the Thesis Report Review outcome after discussion with the Thesis Coordinator ( email@example.com ).
Thesis Coordinator Review
If the student is not content with the result of the Thesis Report Review, then the student should initiate a Thesis Coordinator Review.
1. The student should contact the Thesis Administration ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) again, and submit via email the reasons why they feel the result of the Thesis Report Review was unacceptable.
2. Thesis Administration will contact the Thesis Coordinator ( email@example.com ), who will review the case determine whether the conclusion of the Thesis Report Review should stand, or an independent examiner should be asked to assess the report. The independent examiner may choose to interview the supervisor and assessor before assessing the report itself.
3. If the student is still not content, then the student is able to submit a complaint to the CSE Grievance Officer.
Students should be aware that they are always able to submit a formal application for review via Student Central. However, a fee is charged for such reviews, and the scope of the review is far more restrictive than a school-oriented review. It is thus advisable to follow the school's internal review procedures.
UNSW policy on Review of Results
The thesis is a project based course. You will be supervised by an academic staff who will provide guidance and feedback to your project. You are expected to meet with your supervisor weekly to discuss the progress made in the week before, any obstacles and difficulties that you face in your work, as well as to discuss the work to be performed in the coming week. The next section on "Some Advice on Research" provides further information on the role of the supervisor and give you some advice on what you should do in order to do well in the thesis.
Here is some simple advice that will help you get on well with your supervisor and work effectively:
Meet with your supervisor regularly. Note that your supervisor is not there to tell you what to do, but to advise you. In general, you should take the initiative to organise meetings, and you should drive the work. Manage your time. You are responsible for monitoring your own progress and ensuring that you remain on track to meet deadlines. However, your supervisor should be able to tell you whether you are being too optimistic, or whether you need to do more.
Write-up as you go. Do not under-estimate how much time it will take to write up the work. Writing-up as you go is not only more time-efficient, it also forces you to formulate your ideas more clearly and completely, and this will substantially increase the overall quality of your work. As well, your final mark will depend largely on the quality of the work and the quality of the presentation in the thesis.
Focus on the project. Understanding the context of your work is important in placing and motivating the research. However, having a concrete, narrow focus when you are working towards a goal and understanding thoroughly the deeper issues involved is better than working too broadly or tackling too wide a problem. Your supervisor should help you to keep your work suitably focused.
Many students are too ambitious in Thesis Part A and Part B and find they run out of time with a thesis that is nowhere near finished. Make sure that the project is feasible (do this early in consultation with your supervisor), write-up whenever you can, and keep an eye on the plan.
Plagiarism may be defined as "the presentation of the thoughts or work of another as one's own " Examples include:
Students are reminded of their Rights and Responsibilities in respect of plagiarism, as set out in the University Undergraduate and Postgraduate Handbooks, and are encouraged to seek advice from academic staff whenever necessary to ensure they avoid plagiarism in all its forms.
Students should also be aware of the rules on the use of ChatGPT as well as other emerging large language models. The rules, together with their rationale, are divided into 3 sections, depending on whether the purpose of the usage is for scientific research, literature review, or report and presentation writing.
The Learning Centre website is the central University online resource for staff and student information on plagiarism and academic honesty.
The Learning Centre also provides substantial educational written materials, workshops, and tutorials to aid students, including those incorrect referencing practices, paraphrasing, summarising, essay writing, time management, and appropriate use of a range of materials such as text, images, formulae, and concepts.
Individual assistance is available on request from The Learning Centre.
Academic Integrity and Plagiarism
Does your thesis involve other people doing something for you?
If so, it may require ethics approval.
The basic principle is that if you want people to provide you with something, even if just 5 min of their time to answer questions, then you should (i) treat them with suitable dignity and (ii) ensure any possibility that they may be badly affected is absolutely minimised. When research at UNSW involves people, then it comes under the oversight of the UNSW Ethics Committee which must give approval before it proceeds.
You will need to get approval if your project involves any of the following (more than one may apply):
a survey, even if done online, an interview, focus group, or other such qualitative method, data-mining, when individual identities might be revealed, behavioural observation, e.g. people using something, choices people make, online activities recording or photography of people, even if in public spaces experiments on human reactions (or other abilities) human performance, e.g. running, falling, playing music, testing a device, tasting or smelling, e.g. foods, and, of course, drug trials, body tissues and other medical activities.
Also, projects involving animals will need ethics approval. Visit the Human Research Ethics Web site to find out what you need to do.
Human Research Ethics Web Site
The role of the Occupational, Health Safety and Environment team is to provide a professional service to the UNSW, its staff, and students on all matters relating to occupational health, safety, and environment, particularly in the area of legislative compliance.
All tertiary education institutions have a responsibility to provide the opportunity for students with disabilities to access and participate equitably in tertiary education in order to achieve their individual capabilities. UNSW Australia also has obligations under the following anti-discrimination legislation:
New South Wales Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 Disability Discrimination Act (1992).
UNSW is committed to the goals of equal opportunity and affirmative action in education and employment. It aims to provide a study and work environment for staff and students that fosters fairness, equity and respect for social and cultural diversity and that is free from unlawful discrimination, harassment, and vilification.
More information on Equity and Diversity
BE (Hons) Program Learning Outcomes
Resource created Sunday 21 May 2023, 10:12:57 PM, last modified Sunday 21 May 2023, 11:19:01 PM.