Part-time participants in the MSc in Computing will be required to complete an individual project as well as four selected subject modules. The project will be substantial and will be of a suitable technical level in line with the overall standards required by HETAC for Masters level degree programmes. It is envisaged that the majority of part-time participants for this degree will work on a project related to their current work, or areas of research relevant to their work environment. This will help foster closer co-operation between the Institute and industry and should make it easier for part-time participants to allocate sufficient time to their project work.
In each case a project supervisor will be assigned from the Institute staff to oversee the project. In some cases, the supervisor may consult with the participant's employer or direct manager to determine how much of the project work can reasonably be done as a part of the participant's normal duties. A flexible approach will be adopted to allow participants access to Institute computing facilities where this need arises.
The project will normally be undertaken after the four required subject modules are completed. In exceptional circumstances it may be commenced after successful completion of a minimum of two modules. The project would normally be completed within one calendar year after its commencement. Extension of the period would be subject to approval of the Course Board. At the enrolment stage a dialogue will be commenced to outline potential project areas.
Project title and definition may be supplied by either the Institute or the candidate themselves. In either case, the project must deal with an original task or problem and must be deemed to be of sufficient technical challenge and depth.
In the early weeks of the programme, each full-time participant will work on the development of an initial research project proposal in a topic or area of interest to them, and aligned to the research focus of their assigned project supervisor.
It is envisaged that this proposal, through a series of review meetings, will be appropriately refined and scoped to become a formal project / definition of research study by week 10 of the programme.
In all cases (full-time and part-time) the definition of the project will include:
- Project Outline
- Projected time frame of the project
- Resources to be utilised
- Implementation plan
- Relationship (if any) of project to normal work
It is envisaged that each project will require 450 - 500 hours of effort and must be well documented and verified on completion. The final project report should be comprised of not less than 10,000 words and should be typed and bound for presentation to the course board and external examiners. The report should be of Masters Degree standard and be suitable for publication.
Projects will be assessed by the project supervisor, the Course Board and by external examiners. The following assessment criteria will normally apply:
- Ability to define the objectives of the project
- Demonstration of the participant's understanding of the subject area
- Technical difficulty of project
- Quality of the research of relevant literature
- Contribution to existing subject knowledge
- Innovation and/or potential commercial impact
- Documentation and delivery of project
- Overall structure and impact of project
- The degree to which the objectives have been met
Most projects will be computer based and should normally involve a substantial amount of software development. This is in keeping with the overall goals of the course to reinforce participant's existing knowledge and to provide relevant and useful new skills in the area of advanced computing techniques and software development.
- Successful Dissertations and Theses: A Guide to Graduate Student Research from Proposal to Completion - David Madsen
- Doing your Research Project - J. Bell
- Technical Communications, The Practical Craft - M. Roze
- The Research Project: How to Write it - R. Berry