Bachelor Thesis Log 6 ½

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This is an English translation of a blog post that was originally published in German.

August 28th, 2010

Welcome back to my bachelor thesis report, on an irregular day due to recent organizational developments. Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be turbulent.

Registration and Deadlines

The good news first: For the registration of my bachelor thesis there is a form (PDF), which the first and second supervisor have to sign. With the submission of this form, the official processing period of three months begins. Since yesterday I have this form completely filled out and signed here, so that I can hand it in right away on Monday to officially register my thesis. Accordingly, everything I have done so far will be defined retroactively as preparation and familiarization with the topic. Excellent.

For the upcoming winter semester, I also already have my admission for the master's program in computer science. This means that besides the regular deadline of three months, there are potentially further deadlines for me if I want to take up this position. Actually, you are supposed to present a completed bachelor's degree at the time of application, but hardly anyone does that. Instead, it's also possible to plan ahead and say that you'll probably make it in time. That's how it was for me, too. My last study achievement is the bachelor thesis, which I want to finish this fall. At the time, I looked up what there was to know about it.

I have a document called “Application for the Master's programme in computer science” on my hard drive, but I don't remember where I got it. Anyway, I used it as an application guide in July. It says:

Applications without a certificate of the first university degree are possible, provided that this certificate is submitted by the end of December (for applications to the winter semester) or by the end of June (for applications to the summer semester).

End of December, okay. Sounds reasonably comfortable. Of course, a bachelor's thesis is not the same as a bachelor's certificate, but I wanted to be finished by December anyway – before the start of lectures, if possible. So there would still be plenty of time to wait for the grading. That's where I stand so far.

Now I hear from a fellow student that a certificate of the first supervisor has to be available already by Sep 30, certifying that a passing grade is certain. This means that my work would need to be finished by then, at least to an extent so that it can be called a minimal bachelor thesis. After that, I could still do the finishing touches. Okay, sounds strange, but wouldn't bother me.

So I asked the student office. They're telling me that the bachelor thesis has to be finished by Sep 30 and has to be submitted to the examination office. I beg your pardon? A look at the website doesn't look any better:

However, for final admission to the Master's program, your Bachelor's certificate must then be submitted at the latest 2 weeks before the start of the courses.

The course start date this year would be October 18, so the deadline is October 4, which makes no appreciable difference. (Okay, maybe just for printing.) But again, this refers to the certificate, not just the thesis.

So What Now?

Can I manage to cobble something together by the end of September that Axel would be willing to give me a passing grade for? Probably. Will important aspects fall by the wayside and the work remain unfinished? Probably. Will I be annoyed afterwards if I submit a bachelor thesis that is far below my capabilities? Very likely!

My preferred path for now is to really put my back into it and see what I can do somehow. If that's not enough, I have the choice of turning in a subpar thesis and jeopardizing my grade, or losing my spot on the Master's programme and starting a semester later.

What do you think? Does anyone know more about the deadlines, is there still something to negotiate? What would you do?


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