Diploma Thesis

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A diploma thesis is necessary to complete a Master's degree. The specific requirements and acceptable topics for diploma theses have to be agreed on by the student, the advisor and the faculty for each thesis individually. This page collects general information, tips and personal experiences.

Completing the thesis is worth a total of 30 ECTS, 27 for writing the thesis and 3 ECTS for a final exam on the thesis.

For information in German, see: vowi:TU_Wien:Diplomarbeit_SE_(diverse) and vowi:TU_Wien:Kommissionelle_Abschlussprüfung.

Finding a topic and an advisor[edit]

To get started on writing a diploma thesis, both a topic and an advisor are needed. While there is no general list of offered topics, most research groups keep a list of current thesis projects and topics on their respective websites. Additionally, lecturers can be asked whether they offer thesis supervision for their area of research.

It's also possible to freely chose the topic, provided that it is related to the respective study program and someone is willing and able to supervise it. To find a advisor for a specific topic, ask people from relevant research groups or search for keywords in the Research Database in TISS. It is also possible to write a company sponsored thesis, for more information on that refer to the faculty homepage.

After finding both a topic and a advisor, an abstract needs to be submitted for approval by the advisor. Note that there may be no reply if the topic is approved, only if there is an issue.

Personal Compatibility[edit]

Remember that writing a thesis generally includes a lot of personal contact with your advisor. It's generally recommended to choose an advisor you are confident you'll want to work with for at least half a year.

As not all lecturers at TU Wien are legally permitted to supervise theses, it's possible to have one person as an advisor, while officially being supervised by their group lead or department. This does not affect the writing process, but may impact response time and effort needed to complete all organisational requirements.

Writing[edit]

The exact focus area, research questions and length of the thesis differ and need to be discussed with the advisor. Some advisors provide support for getting into academic reading and writing, be prepared to use this as a resource.

Depending on what was agreed upon with the advisor, the writing process may include multiple feedback rounds and regular meetings, but there is no fixed process to be followed.

Research[edit]

This step should be started before submitting an abstract for approval. Researching a topic both provides the needed knowledge for writing a decent abstract and helps with judging personal interest and motivation for going forward with this topic.

Aside from resources available in the library, TU Wien has several journal subscriptions that provide access to scientific papers. Those can be used by researching while at TU (i.e. having a TU Wien IP address), using the TU VPN or possibly by logging in to TISS or TUWEL to get an authentication cookie and using Google Scholar.

If sources are not available for free using the TU network, there are several options:

  • try to find a pdf online, there are several webservices dedicated to providing free paper access
  • find and use a different paper
  • talk to your advisor about access options
  • visit other universities and use eduroam to potentially get access to their journal subscriptions
  • ask the authors of the paper if they are willing to send you a copy

Templates[edit]

There are some requirements for the content and formatting of a thesis, which can be found on the faculty homepage (german only!). Several templates are offered to support compliance.

Tips for Writing[edit]

The writing process itself varies from person to person, different tips may work for different people.

  • find others working on a thesis or another long term project and meet up to write side-by-side
  • block out timeslots in your calender to use for writing
  • agree with your advisor to send weekly progress reports
  • set up your work environment to minimize distractions
  • ...

Submission[edit]

Once the thesis is done, the advisor will grade it and write a certificate that can then be seen in TISS. For the graduation process after writing your thesis, see How to graduate. It's recommended to start the graduation process around four weeks before thesis completion to minimise waiting times.