European Master in Software Engineering

Master Thesis

The Master Thesis, with a workload of 30 ECTS, will consist on the individual execution, presentation and defense before a university panel, of an integral Software Engineering project, in which the competecies acquired are synthesized.

A Master Thesis shall be written sumarizing the main goals and results of the work carried out. It shall have to be written and publicly defended in English.

Optionally, the work can be carried out in the organization where the student completed the Software Project subject, taking as a starting point the work performed. In this case the student should request the authorization of the Master's Committee, with the approval of his thesis supervisor.

The student will count on a Thesis Supervisor that will guide the student along the Master Thesis development, help with the work planning and supervise through periodic meetings. Additionally, they will guide the student in the elaboration of the thesis document and in the preparation of the public defense.

The Master's Academic Committee will establish annually the procedure for the selection of Master Thesis supervisors by the students enrolled in their third semester.

The completion of the Master Thesis is a three-phase process:

The main tasks to be completed in each of these phases are briefly outlined below.

Phase 1: Choice of topic and supervisor

Regarding the choice of the Master Thesis topic, there is a space in the Virtual Classroom (Moodle) called Master Thesis, to which students of third and forth semester have granted access. A compilation of Master Thesis topics proposal offered by the program professors, together to a description and previous advisable knowledge, is listed in this space. When the student find any proposal of their interest, they shall get in contact to the professor proponent, and the professor will decide wether the proposal is assigned to the student.

Whenever a student has a particular topic interest not considered in the list proposed, it is always possible to contact any professor of the program interested in supervising this new proposal, and this professor shall include it in the topics compilation in the Virtual Classroom and assign it to the student.

In both cases, once agreed with the professor, the student shall send to the master administrative secretary the document of assignation of the Master Thesis, signed by the student and the professor, who will be, from that moment, the Master Thesis director. If necessary, the Master Thesis may have an additional co-director; in that case, this document shall be also signed by him/her.

Master Thesis shall be supervised by a professor (UPM academic staff), from Master's programme, with the possibility of co-supervision by an expert in the Software Engineering field. The supervisor's mission shall focus on putting students into contact with the right people, providing guidance on required information, giving advice on the project, appraising the progress of the research and its contents, coming up with ideas for consideration, revising documentation written by students, etc.

If the Master Thesis is performed in a different university, in a research center or as a continuation of the Software Project in a company, the student shall always count, at least, with a director from the UPM professors staff belonging to the master program.

Phase 2: Completion of Master Thesis

The completion of the Master Thesis is the culmination of the teaching/learning process, as it draws on different academic programme contents for the purpose of conducting a development project.

The Master Thesis shall consist of a written dissertation completed by the Master's degree candidate. The topic and approach to the work may be varied. It shall deal with a original work in the context of Software Engineering, with a clear structure and properly descripted, justified and developed.The Master Thesis director shall guide the student to ensure the right nature and format of the work.

Students shall have to demonstrate that they have developed skills to carry out a integral project or an applied research work, always in the field of Software Engineering.

Minor restrictions have been imposed regarding the format and lenght of the Master Thesis, being the Master Thesis director whom shall stablish them depending on the nature and contents of the work. Nevertheless, it is important to respect the following considerations:

Phase 3: Defense of Master Thesis

Students shall be entitled to defend their Master Thesis at the date established at the Examination Timetable. For this purpose, the student shall submit to the Master Secretary, either in paper or by email, the document of applicaton for the defense of the Master Thesis filled and signed, with the approval of the main director of the work. This application shall be submitted, at least, 10 days before the date of defense of the Master Thesis.

If the application is right and the student is enrolled in the Master Thesis subject, the Master Secretary will answer the student with an acceptation for the defense, providing the student with a Number of Master Thesis, a code that the student shall include in the second page of the thesis document. The student shall then submit by email to the Master Secretary a pdf version of his/her Master Thesis, at least 7 working days before the date of defense of the Master Thesis. It is not necessary to submit or print any hard-copy of the Master Thesis.

Students shall defend their Master Thesis individually in a public oral hearing before a board appointed by the Master's Academic Commitee. The Board shall be composed of three EMSE Faculty Members. None of them shall have act as director or co-director of the Master Thesis defended. The Board shall be chaired as President by the highest-ranking (or the longest-serving in the event of equal rank) member of the board; the second highest-ranking (or, again, second longest-serving in case of equal rank) shall act as Vocal; the third one shall act as Secretary of the board.

All the Master Thesis of the same session shall be defended with the same and only board in the same room and day, except when the number of Master Thesis to be defended is so high that it will be advisable to hold parallel defense sessions for groups of Master Thesis with different boards in each room.

Nobody else but the master candidate and the Board are expected to actively participate in the defense process. Master Thesis directors shall not participate to clarify questions or answer instead of the student, except in the cases in which the Board would require it.

The Board shall follow the following instructions, which rule the protocol for defending the Master Thesis:

  1. Once the Board designed by the Coordinator of the EMSE Academic Commission has been constituted, its Secretary shall open the public session and shall call the first canditate, according to the order established on the back of the "Document of Defense of the Master Thesis", which he/she has been provided with.
  2. The Secretary of the Board shall deliver among the other two Board members the “Rubric-Based Assessment Document for Master's Final Thesis”, also provided to him/her. They shall evaluate the Master Thesis guided by that document.
  3. Once the candidate is ready, the Board President shall announce the beginnig of the defense, reading the title of the work, the name of the author and its directors.
  4. The student shall deliver a 20 minutes oral presentation, mainly focused on showing the nature and results of the work to the Board.
  5. After the student presentation, the Board President shall give way to the Board question turn. Each Board member shall be able to raise any question, query, clarification or objection that they like, to which the student shall have to give proper and convincing responses.
  6. Once the Board considers the question turn over, the student shall be invited to leave and each Board member shall individually complete the rubric-based assessment document, shall sign it and shall hand it back to the Board Secretary, which shall guard it from that moment on.
  7. Next, the Board Secretary shall call the next candidate, if there would be any, following the same procedure like with the previous candidate.
  8. When the last Thesis defense is finished, the Board President shall consider finished the public session and shall inform that the evaluation results will be published in the next days.
  9. The Board Secretary shall collect the signatures of the Board members in the Document of Defense of the Master Thesis, together with the observations the Board shall consider opportune to transmit to the Academic Commission.
  10. The Board Secretary shall deliver to the Master Secretary all the rubric-based assessment documents produced and the Document of defense of the Master Thesis of the session.

After receiving all the evaluations from the directors, co-directors and Board members for each Master Thesis defended in the same examination session, the final grades shall be published. From this point on, the same procedure as for any other subject shall be followed.