CSCU9Z7 - Honours Project



  • satisfactory completion of semester 6 modules

Learning Outcomes

Students will learn:

  • to conduct a substantial and largely independent piece of work in a professional manner
  • to document and verbally present such work
  • an understanding of research methods
  • transferable skills in:
    • undertaking supervised work
    • applying research methods
    • verbal and written communication


This module is mandatory for Honours students in Computing Science. Project work is important for a number of reasons. It requires use of previously acquired skills and knowledge, increasing the grasp of these. It is also important to develop the ability to communicate ideas effectively. Planning and organisation of time is essential since the project is a large part of the final year.

The dissertation topic will be supervised by a member of the Division's staff, and will therefore be agreed with this supervisor. Throughout the project it is necessary to maintain regular contact with the supervisor. Typically this requires weekly meetings.

Honours projects projects in Computing Science are designated CSC9Z7 (Business Computing, Computing Science, Information Systems, Software Engineering). The topic of the project must match the intended degree. As examples:

  • A Business Computing project might design, implement and evaluate an IT solution for some business problem (e.g. customer relationship management for a particular company).
  • A Computing Science project might design, implement and evaluate novel algorithms for a scientific problem (e.g. analysing disease spread).
  • An Information System project might design, implement and evaluate an information system to improve organisational effectiveness (e.g. managing collective meeting schedules for a particular organisation).
  • A Software Engineering project might design, implement and evaluate a substantial software solution for a problem that is not well supported currently (e.g. a tool for creating Internet telephony services).

Where a project extends a previous one, it is particularly important to distinguish the work of the new project from what has been previously undertaken.

Where a project is comparative in nature, e.g. assessing the strengths and weaknesses of different packages or methodologies, it is important to establish in advance clear criteria for the comparison.


To obtain a grade, a student must submit the required coursework: preliminary report, project poster, interim report, final report, project diary, project source code, and seminar report(s). A student must also present a poster and a talk on the project.

In this module the prescribed classes are the project seminars, department seminars (as allocated), poster session, and project presentations. Failure to attend at least two-thirds of prescribed classes will result in the module grade being capped at a maximum of 3C for that module, unless good cause for missing those classes can be shown. Responsibility for showing good cause lies with the student.

Non-submission of any single item of assessed coursework will result in the award of No Grade for the module as a whole. If you cannot meet a deadline and have good cause, please see the coordinator to explain your situation and ask for an extension. Coursework will be accepted up to five days after the hand-in deadline (or expiry of any agreed extension) but the grade will be lowered by one grade point per day or part thereof. After five days the work will be deemed a non-submission and will receive No Grade.


Projects last for two semesters and count as two modules, being assessed entirely by Computing Science. Assessment is based on:

  • interim report (20%)
  • final report (80%)

Note that a pass in this module is mandatory for completion of an Honours degree in Computing Science.


The book by Dawson is recommended, but the following general texts on projects and communication skills may also be of help.

  • R. Barass. Scientists must write. Chapman and Hall, 1978, ISBN 0-412-15430-7
  • British Computer Society. General information about membership and professional issues, consulted August 2013
  • G. V. Carey. Mind the Stop. Penguin, 1971, ISBN 0-140-51072-9
  • J. Comfort. Effective Presentations. Oxford University Press, 1995, ISBN 0-194-57065-7
  • C. W. Dawson. Computing Projects - A Student's Guide. Prentice-Hall, 2000, ISBN 0-13-021972-X (Recommended)
  • H. W. Fowler and R. W. Burchfield. New Fowler's Modern English Usage. Oxford University Press, 1996 (third edition), ISBN 0-198-69126-2
  • C. Goodworth. Effective Speaking and Presentations. Wyvern Business Library, 1980
  • Sir E. Gowers. The Complete Plain Words. Penguin, 1987, ISBN 0-140-51199-7
  • Institution of Engineering and Technology. General information about membership and professional issues, consulted August 2013
  • A. Legout. How to give a good talk. INRIA, Sophia Antipolis, consulted August 2013
  • E. H. Magill. Undertaking a Project. University of Stirling, March 2012
  • L. Reynolds. Presentation of Data in Science. Martinus Nijhof, 1983
  • Royal Literary Fund. Dissertation Writing, consulted August 2013
  • J. A. Sharp and K. Howard. The Management of a Student Research Project. Gower, 1996 (second edition)
  • L. S. Smith. Preparing A Poster. University of Stirling, October 2013
  • W. Strunk, Jr. The Elements of Style. Allyn and Bacon, 1995 (third edition), ISBN 0-205-19158-4
  • L. Truss. Eats, Shoots and Leaves. Fourth Estate, 2009, ISBN 978-0007329069.
  • C. Turk. Effective Speaking. E. and F. N. Spon Ltd., 1985
  • K. J. Turner. Research Themes in Computing Science. University of Stirling, March 2012
  • K. J. Turner. Technical Writing and Presentation. University of Stirling, March 2012
  • G. T. Vardaman. Making Successful Presentations. AMACOM, 1981

Further information and teaching materials for this module.

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