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Graduation project

Each student chooses an individual topic or theme on which they would like to do a graduation research project. Read the below rules and guidelines before you embark on the graduation project.

Graduation project, rules & guidelines

To support students in their graduation process, bi-weekly Graduation Lab meetings are organised. It is compulsory to participate in these meeting in a meaningful way. All students who plan to start their graduation are advised to join the Graduation Lab course and its Brightspace as soon as possible.

Every graduation project starts with a research proposal. The proposal must state the aims of the project and its scientific context: what existing theories or results does it relate to. It need not yet be a detailed description of steps to take.

The research proposal must be submitted via the "Graduation Form I". It must be submitted via the GradLab Brightspace and in an e-mail to the program coordinator. She will bring it up for discussion during the next Media Technology board meeting. The next board meeting is typically announced in the Media Technology calendar.

The board will evaluate each proposal for scientific relevance, whether it is appropriate within the Media Technology program, and whether it is “doable” for a student. The board may accept and decline a proposal, and when applicable add suggestions for improvement.

After approval of the research proposal, the board assigns a 'primary thesis advisor' to the project.  During the project, together with the primary advisor,  an appropriate 'secondary thesis advisor' must then be found. This can be any qualified researcher (in- or outside Leiden University, possibly from a research company), who has adequate expertise in the topic of study.

The advisors guide the research project and grade the final results. Daily project supervision can be done by either one of both advisors, and the degree of involvement of both advisors may vary per project (sometimes the secondary advisor takes the lead in supervision). During the whole graduation project it is the student’s responsibility to contact and inform the advisors of progress in the project.

Secondary advisors can fill in their role within a graduation project in different ways. Some will take the lead in project supervision, while others take more of a "back seat driver" approach to supervision. Both approaches are fine. The formal minimal involvement of a secondary advisor consists of

  • discussing the project with the graduate a few times,
  • agreeing to the method chosen/developed by the graduate,
  • reading and commenting the written output (thesis),
  • discussing the evaluation with the primary advisor.

The secondary advisor is welcomed to the graduation presentation, but not required to attend. If a publication results from the graduation project, then she/he is a co-author.

The graduation research must be of scientific nature, i.e. start from an original question and aim at contributing new knowledge to the relevant area of study by answering this question. The curriculum contains several courses that prepare students for this task. Also the student must be the owner (or leading researcher) in his/her own graduation research and be proactive and self-propelled in pursuing the project from beginning to end.

It is an important feature of the Media Technology program that the graduating student is owner of the research proposal and project. As a result, research by assignment of corporations or internships are not accepted as graduation projects.

The scientific contribution, context, methods and results of graduation research are preferably described in a scientific-style paper that can in principle (or, as is often te case, in reality) be submitted to a scientific conference or journal. For this, the paper must adhere to academic standards, reflected in its structure, content, relevance, and form. Writing a lengthy thesis ("scriptie") is also possible, but discouraged; a 8-15 pages paper is considered most appropriate. Students may format their paper as they find most suitable for the field they aim their research at.

If the graduation thesis is formatted as a scientific style article, then it must contain the following information in its header/affiliation. If the thesis is formatted as a longer text, this information appears on the first (title) page.

<My Thesis Title>
<Student Name>
Graduation Thesis
Media Technology MSc program, Leiden University
<August 2021>
Thesis advisors: <Name1> and <Name2>

A digital copy (in PDF file format) of the final paper must be delivered to the Media Technology office.

Students must keep a detailed (weekly) log of their graduation process, extending from project start to project completion. It should keep track of all the steps taken in the project. The log must be submitted at the end of the project to the study coordinator, and its quality is included in the final evaluation of the graduation project (How well does it describe the steps taken?). Guidelines for keeping the log are:

  • Keep it digitally (use a lay-out that can be easily printed; so no very wide Excel sheets!), or on paper, but realize that you must hand it in at project end.
  • Update it weekly, stating any problems, thoughts, and actions taken.
  • Include meeting dates/times, deadlines, meeting-notes, etcetera.
  • Include information about data gathering, such as times, conditions, locations, problems, ...
  • Include also information about steps you took that led nowhere, or ideas that were discarded.
  • Keep all raw data, including original questionnaire papers (scanned), Excel files, databases, ...
  • Include photographs, videos, and sketches of products, exhibitions, and work-in-progress.
  • During the project, keep your thesis advisors informed about the log status.

In accordance with the Dutch law, the university is obliged to report data leaks (or loss of confidential information) to the appropriate governmental authority. In the eventuality of a data leak during your research project (for example by loosing a memory carrier with confidential information, or theft of a laptop), please report it as soon as possible to the ISSC Helpdesk or via abuse@leidenuniv.nl.

Just like any other university research, graduation projects must also adhere to current ethics standards and laws. This is particularly relevant when you project involves human or animal test-subjects. In fact, to get your study published, more and more publishers demand explicit ethical approval.

The Media Technology program is currently working on the best/easiest way for students to obtain ethical approval for their study. For now, check out the page of the Faculty of Science Ethics Review Committee.

Within their elective courses 'project space', students can obtain a maximum of 2 EC for helping another student in his/her graduation project. It must be technical assistance, such as programming and hardware construction. The exact rules and requirements are described under the "Project work" section of the Elective course rules.

Read the page about the graduation presentation.

The graduation advisors together determine the final grade for a graduation project, with the primary (internal) advisor being leading in this. The advisors must always consult with an academic colleague about the grading. Grading must take place shortly after the graduation project is completed, but allowing for the advisors to read the produced material.

The overall academic quality of the student’s work is evaluated. Particularly, research choices made by the student are important: were these wise choices, and were the alternatives researched? Creativity in making research choices may be included in the evaluation. The quality of the written thesis is also evaluated, according to standards such as can be expected from conference acceptance procedures. The presentation content is also evaluated, as are the responses by the student within the following open discussion.

The formal date of a student’s graduation is the last working day of the month in which the final component within the curriculum is succesfully completed. This date will be mentioned on the diploma.

It is encouraged that students publish their thesis when possible (not only graduation works, also other papers, actually). See the Publications list for publications by our students. Particularly for students who wish to pursue a career in scientific research, submitting a thesis for publication can be an important step towards securing a PhD position.

The decision to submit a thesis for peer-reviewed publication should always be taken together with the advisors, in accordance with academic etiquette. It is also possible to get financial support for presenting your work at a peer-reviewed conference (not hosted by Leiden University), e.g. a contribution towards traveling costs or registration fees.

There are limited possibilities for financial support of material costs made for graduation research. It is also possible to get financial support for presenting your work at a peer-reviewed conference (see under "Publication").  Students or graduated students can apply for financial support to the Executive Board via a motivating e-mail to the program coordinator.

During a public diploma ceremony graduated students receive their diploma. Typically such a ceremony is organized in February, July and September. Each student is shortly addressed by their thesis advisor during what is formally a meeting of the examination board. There is no need or opportunity for the students to present or explain their work. Students are encouraged to invite their friends and family to the graduation ceremony, since this is a public meeting.

Note that the diploma ceremony is not the moment that students actually graduate. The official date of graduation depends on when the last of the curricular requirements was succesfully completed.

To formally complete your study:

  • your thesis must be fully completed and evaluated by your advisors.
  • all your courses must be completed and the grades must be registered in uSis. Leiden University courses will appear automatically. Results of external courses (outside Leiden University) must be submitted by the student to the study coordinator, in the form of an official statement/transcript of the other institution. These can be submitted digitally, or handed to the study advisor.
  • by email, send to the program coordinator your (1) final thesis, (2) log book, (3) complete research documentation and (4) table of contents of your research documentation.

Students may terminate their student registration at any point during the academic year. It is important to take care of de-registration as soon as you discontinue your studies. In case of graduation you are allowed to de-register as of the 1st day of the month after your graduation date. This can only be arranged before the next month has begon.

It is in your own interest to apply for de-registration on time and in-line with regulations, as late de-registration may affect the amount refunded. Upon termination of your student registration, tuition fees are refunded for each remaining month of the academic year. Students who have paid a reduced tuition fee because they were enrolled in more than one program will only receive a refund if they terminate enrolment in all programs.

  • De-registration per 1 July and 1 August? No refund can be made.
  • Termination of registration should be done via www.studielink.nl.

After completing your program. Note that you must also do this if you have completed your rogram and will not continue studying. You can terminate your registration as of the first day of the month after your last grade is registered in uSis. This can not be done retroactively. For example, if you receive your last grade in uSis on November 3rd, you can terminate your registration as of December 1st. This can only be arranged before December 1st. In December it will be terminated as of January 1st and so on.

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