Cracking the Hidden Thesis Topic Market

At TUM, topics for available thesis projects are advertised on faculty web pages. I expect the situation to be similar in other universities.

I refer to the collection of open thesis topics as the thesis topic market. The topics on the web pages are its visible part. However, there is also a hidden topic market that contains topics that are available but never get advertised. Read more ›

Posted in Initiation

Topic Roulette

For many, the process for choosing a thesis topic looks like this:

  1. Browse open topics (e.g. on faculty pages)
  2. Choose the one that reads best (and is still available)

This process reminds me of ordering food in a restaurant:

  1. Browse food menu
  2. Choose the one that reads best (and is on offer)

If I am familiar with the restaurant, this process works great.

Things are different, however, if I try a new type of food for the first time. Say Afghan food. How hot is “hot” in this restaurant? What should I expect in terms of quantity—can I order starters, or will that ruin my chances for a desert? What is palau anyway? Read more ›

Posted in Initiation

Recipe for Disappointment

This post applies the rules for great supervision inversely. In that sense, it does not offer much new information. However, I have seen this pattern so often in practice, that I feel it still deserves description. Read more ›

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IAuthor and ISupervisor

To avoid friction at the interface between you and your author, it helps to have a common understanding of each others responsibilities. This includes an understanding of what each one is not responsible for. Read more ›

Posted in Initiation

What Makes a Good Thesis?

In order to produce a good thesis, you must understand what good means in this context. Should you implement something? What about a formal proof? Is an extensive literature survey necessary? An empirical evaluation? If so, which type? Read more ›

Posted in General

Why Write a Thesis?

Because you must. Formally speaking, a thesis project is a mandatory examination that you must take to get your degree.

Regarding a thesis as just another exam, however, does not do it justice. Exams are formats tailored for ease of marking. A thesis, on the other hand, is tailored for effective learning. Read more ›

Posted in General

Phases of a Thesis Project

A thesis project is made up of several phases. These phases serve as categories for the posts in this guide. Browse posts by category, if your interest is particular to a certain phase. Read more ›

Posted in General