The University of Sheffield
Department of Computer Science

Dissertation project: Description stage

This is a short report you hand in at the start of the first semester of your 3rd year.   The report sets the scene for your project. It should discuss the relevant background to the project and identify some of the problems and processes involved in the work. The report should be no more than 1000 words in length.

A typical structure for this report is:

  • Title, name, supervisor, module code, date
  • Introduction: background, clear description of project, cite any literature read to date
  • Analysis: Discussion of problems to be solved and possible techniques and tools
  • Plan of action: weekly plan of work

If the report does not describe a valid/feasible project, you may be asked to attend a viva with your supervisor and a second examiner to clarify the project. This is not a particularly common occurrence and could indicate that you have not put enough thought into your project, or that you have not consulted with your supervisor before you submitted the report.


You are required to submit the report electronically through MOLE. Your supervisor will then give feedback in a subsequent meeting with you. If this feedback has not happened within two weeks of submitting the report, please contact the Project Officer.


At this stage the aim is to make sure that the project is feasible, given any relevant working constraints. No marks will be awarded at this stage, although submission is compulsary. Your supervisor will be continually judging your performance on the project and this report will contribute to his/her judgement. In considering your report your supervisor will ponder the following questions:

  • Is the project clearly defined?
  • Is the project feasible?
  • Does the student know what s/he is doing?
  • Have potential problems and possible processes/tools/techniques been identified?
  • Is the plan of action realistic?
Answers to these questions will contribute to the feedback.

You will not be permitted to continue with the project if the report does not describe a feasible project. Instead, it will have to be modified according to the examiners' suggestions.