Graduation Project Procedures
- Thesis Advisors
- Scientific Research
- Graduation Project Logging
- Graduation Project Assistance
- Committee of Critics
- Financial Support
- Diploma Ceremony
- Administrative Study Completion
- Termination of Registration
For his/her graduation project, each student must choose an individual topic or theme on which he/she would like to do a scientific research project. It is possible to come up with one’s own topic, but students can also do guided research that is already embedded in Leiden University. The student must take initiative in finding advisors to whom he/she will present his/her research proposal. Every graduation project has three compulsory parts: doing actual research, writing about the results, and presenting the results.
To support students in their graduation process, bi-weekly Graduation Lab meetings are organised. It is obligatory to participate in these meeting in a meaningful way. More details can be found on the GradLab Blackboard course: MT: Graduation Lab  4383GRADP-1720FWN. All students who plan to start their graduation are advised to join this Blackboard course as soon as possible.
In addition, please do read the manual below carefully! It answers a lot of frequently asked questions.
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 Blackboard page and in an e-mail to the program coordinator, Barbara Visscher. 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.
3. Thesis Advisors
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..
3. Role of Secondary Thesis Advisor
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.
4. Scientific Research
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 the most appropriate. Students may format their paper as they find most suitable for the field they aim their research at. For convenience, an example article format Word file is provided. Alternatively, the style sheet of a relevant conference or journal may be used.
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>
Media Technology MSc program, Leiden University
Thesis advisors: <Name1> and <Name2>
A digital copy (in PDF file format) of the final paper must be delivered to the Media Technology office.
6. Graduation Project Logging
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.
N.B. data leaking / loss of confidential information: according to the Dutch law, the university is obliged to report data leaks to governmental authority. In the eventuality of a data leak during your research project (for example by loosing a USB with confidential information), please report it as soon as possible to the ISSC Helpdesk or via firstname.lastname@example.org.
7. Graduation Project Assistance
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 Elective course rules.
A compulsory part of every graduation project is a public presentation of the project and its results. Without such a presentation it is not possible to complete the graduation project. The student presents his/her final work to the thesis advisors and others in a way that is appropriate for the project.
Presentation can only be held on pre-scheduled dates in the Media Technology calendar. The decision whether the graduation project has progressed sufficiently for it to be presented can only be made by the internal/primary advisor.
Typically, presentations are in the form of an oral presentation and demonstration, but the Media Technology program is open to suitable alternative formats. Presentations are open to everyone. The presenting student and advisors are encouraged to invite others on their own initiative, such as colleagues, students, interested scientists and relatives. It is advised to aim the level of detail and complexity at fellow students and Media Technology scientific staff. The internal thesis advisor of the student will preside over the event.
Presenting students must:
- Obtain permission from the internal/primary thesis advisor for the graduation presentation.
- Send the project title and abstract to the program coordinator, with both advisors mentioned, at least two weeks prior the presentation.
- Invite the Committee of Critics (see below). Provide them with the thesis 7 days before the presentation date, giving them the opportunity to read it. Explain the critics what is expected of them.
- Prepare a 25 minute presentation (in a suitable form) about the project. The internal/primary advisor manages the discussion. Total discussion time is approximately 10 minutes.
9. Committee of Critics
For every graduation presentation, a committee of two critics must be appointed by the student and internal advisor. The critics must attend the presentation and are expected to have read the thesis before the presentation. They have first right to ask questions during the discussion following the presentation; the advisor must see to this. The advisor is free to consult with the critics in order to evaluate the graduation project.
Critics must be academic peers of the presenting student, or otherwise capable of critically evaluating the student's graduation work. At most one of the critics is a fellow student. Typically critics are fellow academic staff, external experts, or graduated fellow students. The names and professions of the critics must be communicated to the advisor before the graduation presentation, making it possible for the advisor to properly welcome and introduce them.
The graduation advisors determines the final grade for a graduation project, with the 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 complete 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 by the Media Technology program that students publish their thesis when possible (not only graduation works, also other papers, actually). The decision to submit a thesis for peer-reviewed publication should always be taken together with the advisor, in accordance with academic etiquette. 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. It is also possible to get financial support for visiting conferences (not hosted by Leiden University).
12. Financial Support
There are possibilities for financial support of material costs made for graduation research. These rules are similar to those of the Semester Project. It is also possible to get financial support for visiting conferences (not hosted by Leiden University), e.g. a small contribution towards traveling costs. Students or graduated students can apply for financial support to the Executive Board via a motivating e-mail to the program coordinator.
13. Diploma Ceremony
During a public diploma ceremony graduated students receive their diploma. Typically such a ceremony is organized in February and September. Each student is shortly addressed by their graduation 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.
14. Administrative Study Completion
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. MT courses will appear automatically. Results of external courses (outside Leiden University) must be submitted by student to the coordinator, in the form of an official statement/transcript of the other institution. These can be submitted digitally, or placed in the postal box of room 156.
- send your final thesis, log book, complete research documentation and table of contents of your research documentation to the program coordinator by mail.
15. Termination of Registration and Reimbursement of Tuition Fees
Students may terminate their student registration at any point during the academic year. It is important to take care of deregistration as soon as you discontinue your studies. In case of graduation you are allowed to de-register as of the 1st of the month after your graduation date. This can only be arranged before the next month has begon.
It is in your interest to apply for deregistration on time and in line with regulations as late deregistration 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.
Deregistration per 1 July and 1 August? No refund can be made. Termination of registration should be done via http://www.studielink.nl. Note that you must also do this if you have completed your Bachelors/Masters program 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.
For more detailed information check http://www.students.leiden.edu/practical-financialmatters/registration/student-registration.html. In case of problems always contact the central student information desk in Plexus (Kaiserstraat 25, Leiden; 071-5278011) http://organisation.leiden.edu/student-education-affairs/student-information-centre.html