The final thesis, whether in the bachelor's or master's degree program, is an independent scientific work. Typically, it takes place at the end of the degree program. Here are the general steps for completing a thesis.
A thesis is subject to the 4-eyes principle. This means that it is assessed by two examiners.
A thesis can only be issued by a teaching unit of RWTH-Informatics. The assigning teaching unit always will always be the first examiner and is responsible for the supervision.
The second evaluation can be completed by another department, university, or research institution and is done in consultation with the supervisor.
Step 0: Check the requirements
Before the final thesis can be tackled, the following requirements have to satisfied:
- For a bachelor thesis at least 120 credits have to have been reached. Additionally, in the Bachelor Computer Science Examination Regulations 2022 the compulsory modules from the first three semesters have to have been passed.
- For a master's thesis, for example, at least 60 credits must have been achieved and all requirements fullfilled. In addition the online course Scientific Integrity must have been passed.
When it comes to questions of content or organization, it often helps to have a look at your Examination Regulations; in case of further doubts the academic advisory can be of help.
Step 1: Finding a topic
The topic should fit your own inclinations and interests. Through the lectures, seminars and lab courses, you should get a good impression of how broad the field of computer science is in Aachen. The list of all our research groups helps with the search and provides orientation.
The teaching units often advertise their offers on their own websites. It is also helpful to approach the academic staff directly and to ask for a thesis topic.
Note: Special requirements for the study programs Data Science and Media Informatics
Should the search for a thesis topic remain unsuccessful despite intensive efforts, a request for "support for a thesis topic" can be submitted to the examination board.
In the self-study course scientific work in computer science you will find numerous useful tips.
External thesis topics without an issuing computer science professor can not be accepted .
This also applies to theses in other departments of the RWTH.
Step 2: Contacting the Central Examination Office
Once there is agreement with the supervising teaching unit, you write the Central Examination Office by email and ask to receive the"Thesis Application Form". Here is the contact list of for the various degree programs:
In this step, the Central Examination Office checks whether all admission requirements such as minimum credits or completed compulsory modules from the first semesters have been fulfilled and sends by email the registration formLaufzettelwith the official signature digitally.
Step 3: Registration of the thesis with the board of examination
The registration form signed by the Central Examination Office can now be filled out completely. Your own signature and that of the supervisor are required - whether digitally or handwritten.
The Registration of the thesis takes place via the application system of the board of examination for computer science. To be entered are the title and the two persons responsible for the evaluation. Then the application form must be uploaded.
The board of examination for computer science processes the data. Within a few days, the confirmation email will arrive with a link to the submission notice.
The Central Examination Office will also receive the information automatically and record the data, which can be viewed in RWTHonline a short time later.
Step 4: Writing your thesis
All formal hurdles have been cleared and now the real work can begin.
The execution of the thesis topic and the type of supervision are the responsibility of the research groups themselves and can vary widely.
Step 5: Submission of the thesis
Congratulations! Most of the work is done.
The completed thesis must be printed 3x in most study programs and submitted to the Central Examination Office with a firm binding (no spiral binding). In the Bachelor Examination Regulations 2022, the paper only has to be printed 1x. This can be done in person at the office, via the Deadline mailbox at the main building or via delivery by mail - the main thing is that it is on time, this means until 23:59 of the submission date.
Step 6: Giving the final thesis presentation
The contents of the thesis must be presented in a graded talk. This usually takes place at the teaching unit of the first examiner. Details such as the date and length of the presentation are agreed upon with the thesis supervisor.
The final presentation can also take place before the thesis is submitted.
Step 7: Waiting for the grades
Now we have to wait:
The two evaluations must be prepared and the grade assigned. This all happens in the background. If you get impatient, you are welcome to ask your supervisor about the status after 4-6 weeks.
In RWTHonline the grade will be available later on.
A 4.0 certificate declares that the work has been passed, but the grade has not yet been determined.
This certificate may be necessary for potential job applications or for enrollment.
Stumbling blocks along the way
Not everything always goes smoothly and something can come up.
Should the schedule get out of hand, there is the possibility to extend the deadline (max. 4 weeks for bachelor's theses/6 weeks for master's theses). Also, it may happen that in the course of the thesis project, the title must be adjusted. This change has to be applied for at the board of examination.
In the worst case, you may have to pull out of the thesis. One thing to bear in mind here is that the thesis topic can be returned only once and only within the first month of the processing period. Both the supervisor and the Central Examination Office have to be informed directly.
*Note: Special requirements for the study programs Data Science and Media Informatics.
For the study program Master Data Science the theses must usually be issued by professorial or habilitated members of the chosen field of specialization. The second examiner must be a professorial or habilitated member of the department of computer science or mathematics. Details can be found in the examination regulations of the Master Data Science program.
In the study program Master Media Informatics theses can only be issued by professorial or habilitated members of the computer science department of RWTH Aachen University or the computer science department of the University of Bonn.