The University of Sheffield
Department of Computer Science

COM3610 Dissertation Project

Summary In the individual research project, you will complete a major original piece of software design, or an experimental investigation.  This work will be reported formally in a research dissertation and also presented at a project presentation session, to which industrial representatives, students and academics are invited.  The work will include an Interim report that consists of an initial survey and literature review.  You will be engaged in a major piece of software development, or the design and execution of an empirical experiment.  You will have regular meetings with your supervisor, who will advise on any problems you encounter.  You will prepare an 7,000-14,000 word dissertation, which includes the material from the interim report, but also contains a complete design, implementation and evaluation of the results of your project.  This may be assessed by oral examination.
Session Academic Year 2021/22
Credits 40

Please note that it is expected that the underlying work for the project will be split evenly between the semesters. In particular, work is expected to continue at the end of the Autumn semester, after the interim report is submitted.

The main assessment of the module is by a dissertation that is produced towards the end of the second semester, complemented by a project presentation session where the work done is to be demonstrated and questions answered. If considered appropriate by the examiners, an oral examination may be held on this dissertation and project presentation.

Lecturer(s) Project Supervisors

This aims of this module are to:

  • integrate further the material learned throughout the degree course, by applying it to a substantial open-ended problem;
  • give the student the opportunity of bringing an individual piece of work, in a topic area of their own choosing, to completion;
  • promote design and problem-solving skills, especially the ability to translate a theoretical approach into practice, overcoming any unexpected obstacles;
  • promote academic presentation skills, especially those of technical report writing, visual and oral presentation and question handling;
  • give the student the further opportunity to demonstrate and improve their personal skills, particularly those of time and work management.

By the end of this course the students should:

  • have increased their understanding of practical, experimental or theoretical approaches to tackling the research problem under investigation;
  • have demonstrated an ability to evaluate critically and select from the different design solutions relevant to the research problem under investigation;
  • have completed a major original piece of work in a systems design, or experimental area, based on the relevant background research literature;
  • have prepared a project presentation and a research dissertation giving a survey of the literature, an analysis of the topic area, a detailed design and an evaluation of the project’s results;
  • have demonstrated an ability to manage their own time effectively, undertake work on their own initiative and develop plans to progress the work further.
Content The content of the project is typically selected by the student from a range of topics proposed by staff or industrial partners of the department. Students are also encouraged to propose their own topic, provided they can find a supervisor willing to supervise it and with the agreement of the Projects Officer.
Teaching Method The student will have a personal supervisor and is expected to meet him/her regularly in order to discuss their progress and obtain advice on it. The rest of the work they are expected to plan and carry out independently.
Feedback Students will receive formative feedback on their interim report in a meeting with their supervisor, as well as during their regular meetings.
Recommended Reading The reading appropriate to each topic will be identified in the proposal for that topic
IP Exemption
This module is exempt from the University's Regulations relating to Intellectual Property which can be found at: