Category Archives: 4.1 Thesis Information

New Grading Scheme for Final Theses

We designed a new and simplified grading scheme for final theses, replacing the old one. A thesis still has to pass some basic [OK|NOK] checks like completeness of declaration of materials built on, relevant topic, no plagiarism, etc. However, this is a binary decision and does not affect the grade directly (except for failing if these criteria are not met).

The grade then is derived using only four main measures. These are:

  • Results quality
  • Method competence
  • Effort expended
  • Presentation quality

Each measure is taken on scale of [0..10], where 0 means not present at all and 10 means perfect, with a linear distribution around the mean. The four measures are combined using the geometric mean, from which a grade in the German 1,00 – 5,00 grading system is derived.

This new grading scheme has been put into effect starting the academic year of 2017/18.

Clarification of “wissenschaftlicher Anspruch” (Scientific Aspiration) in Final Theses

Please see this new page on our website:

Structure and Layout of Final Theses

This blog post is obsolete: Please visit our current information page.

All theses performed and submitted to our professorship should use the same formatting template, provided in this older blog post. The content structure of a final theses, beyond the formatting, however, depends on the type of thesis. There are at least the following four thesis types:

  • Research thesis. A research thesis should have two main chapters, a research chapter and an elaboration chapter, as explained in the template linked-to above.
  • Engineering thesis. An engineering thesis, going into details of the design and implementation of some artifact, should have the classic form of a final thesis.
  • Teaching case. A teaching case thesis has three main chapters: (a) The actual case, (b) the concepts chapter, and (c) the teaching guide for teaching the case.
  • Business case. A business case thesis should at its heart contain a business plan; typically we use the EXIST grant application template for this.

In any case, students should be discussing the structure of their final theses with their supervisor early on.

Information about Final Theses with Overseas Partner Universities

Our group supports students who would like to go abroad for a final thesis. We maintain close connections with Asian Universities in China, Hong Kong, and Malaysia, as well as with Oceanian Universities in Australia and New Zealand. We also maintain close connections with several American Universities but find it difficult to enable final theses at these universities.

FAU supports such initiatives through the Office of International Affairs. Specifically, Ms Marietta Disch supports final theses abroad. In addition, there is various specialized support, for example,

Also, we have our student reports. Finally, general information sessions are starting again!

Research Theses at Asian Partner Universities

Our group maintains close connections with professors from Beijing-based Universities (Peking University, Tsinghua University), Hong Kong-based Universities (HK University of Science and Technology, City University of HK), and MMU (Multimedia University, Malaysia). While no easy exchange program exists, we facilitate student Master theses at these universities. The interests of our partners vary.

If you are adventurous and interested in performing research work at any of these locations (and most likely finishing up in Germany), please let us know. Below are some photo impressions our colleagues sent us. Also, Wikipedia is your friend.

Continue reading Research Theses at Asian Partner Universities

Writing a Final Thesis with an Industry Partner

Update 1: Prof. Ludewig of University of Stuttgart provides a clear account of the situation (in German).

Update 2: The university provides a leaflet with common Q&A on “external theses”.

Occasionally, students approach me with a final thesis topic “provided to them by industry” and hope I will supervise them on this topic. In general, I am positive about such approaches. However, as a University professor I’m bound by the University and Prüfungsordnung rules and regulations, and this sometimes leads to misunderstandings with the student and the industry partner. So please let me explain:

According to the Prüfungsordnung, only a professor can provide a thesis topic and supervise the work. An industry supervisor is not a professor and according to the Prüfungsordnung an industry supervisor is not in a position to adequately assess a thesis topic and whether it is sufficient for fulfilling degree requirements. (A final thesis is considered an exam, a “Prüfungsleistung”, and examiner needs a permission to examine, the “Prüfungsberechtigung”.)

Typically, the thrust behind an “industry topic” is that students are positioning themselves for a job at the company. In addition, they are often paid for student work at the company. The Prüfungsordnung is also very clear on this: A final thesis cannot be paid work. A student who provides as a final thesis paid-for-by-industry work has failed the thesis requirements. The little blurp that students sign when handing in the thesis checks-up on exactly this condition.

Continue reading Writing a Final Thesis with an Industry Partner

Final Thesis Registration and Agreement

Students, who would like to write a final thesis with our group, can find the necessary form to fill in here.

Structure and Layout of Research Theses at the Open Source Research Group

This blog post is obsolete: Please visit our current information page.

This blog post is about research theses only; please see this blog post category for information on other types of theses.

Imprecise and long-winded documents, including final theses, are the bane of any reader. At university, such documents ensure bad grades. Contrary to popular belief, lengthy theses do not document hard work; they only document that the student was not willing or able to be brief and precise. Credit should be given for achievement and insight, not for text production. In this document we describe how students should structure their final thesis. At a thesis’ core is the research chapter, as taught in Nailing your Thesis, our research lab course. The research chapter is about 6000 words long and contains all essential information. Anything that does not fit into this chapter should go into a secondary elaboration chapter (or appendix), which extends the research chapter. These constraints force students to think hard about what is important and what is not. It also allows the guiding supervisor to turn the thesis into a research paper quickly, if possible and reasonable.

More information: Explanation [ODT, PDF], Template [ODT, PDF]

There is also a LaTeX template and more thesis writing information available.

How We Grade Final Theses (Grading Framework)

Update 2017-10-30: This grading scheme has been superseded by a new version. The version below may still be of interest for the grading rationale based on the various Prüfrungsordnungen.

With increasing student volume, we have to review more and more final theses from students of various degree programs. Thus, we were looking for a model that would ensure fair and even evaluation of student theses. Unfortunately, we didn’t find any, so we had to develop the model ourselves. We describe this model in this article. We first look at the requirements from the rules and regulations of the various degree programs and find that there aren’t many. We then look at existing evaluation models and find that there aren’t many either and that those few we find don’t match our needs. Thus, in a third section, we describe our model as derived from the prior reviews and our general understanding of what a final thesis should provide. It is our hope that this will make more explicit to students what we expect of a final thesis and how we will evaluate it.

Continue reading How We Grade Final Theses (Grading Framework)

Writing your Final Thesis with the OSR Group

We are happy to facilitate your (student) final thesis. There are basically three main options:

  • a research thesis
  • a startup thesis
  • an industry thesis

Let’s look at these options in turn.

Continue reading Writing your Final Thesis with the OSR Group