Information for Students
Students taking degrees in Electrical Engineering will have individual final year project (FYP) unit where it will be divided into FYP1 and FYP2 in their final year. Each project is supervised by one(1) main supervisor (and possible one(1) co-supervisor), and assessed via written reports and presentations.
At the start of your final year there are two important tasks you must accomplish (in any order):
- Find a project supervisor
- Select a project topic
Selecting a suitable project topic can seem quite daunting at first. To assist you in selecting a topic, there will be project database to be publish at the beginning of the term. This contains a number of project suggestions made by supervisors. These are only suggestions of suitable topics and there is no requirement that you must select one of these. In fact, we strongly encourage you to formulate your own ideas for a project. The suggestions are provided as a guide to give you ideas and help you understand the scale of the project you should be attempting.
You should use the projects database to view the list of potential supervisors, request a particular project that they have suggested, or to suggest your own project to a supervisor of your choice.
Ideally, you should have selected your supervisor and project topic by the middle of the first week of the term.
Supervisor of the Project
Your supervisor is a member of faculty to whom you can turn for strategic advice and guidance. It is crucial to find agreement the meeting frequency with your supervisor at the beginning of your project to discuss project progress. Initially, they will assess whether your project ideas are suitable, and can help you improve them where needed. Another crucial role that supervisors fulfil is to read and comment on draft versions of the reports you intend to submit. Given that your supervisor also examines these reports, it is in your interests to take advantage of this.
Normally, your supervisor will lecture in the area you have selected for your project. However, because there is a limit on how many projects each member of faculty is expected to supervise, there is no guarantee that you will get the supervisor of your choice. Do not be disheartened if this happens. All supervisors are capable of offering you good strategic advice on your project, no matter what the topic.
Meetings normally will be organised via email. Email is the primary means for supervisors to contact supervisees so it is important that you check your email regularly.
It is not possible to produce a successful project based solely on a period of intense activity immediately before the final deadline, as you may be tempted (ill-advisedly) to do for other modules. You should work consistently and effectively throughout the duration of the project. It is often worthwhile writing drafts of the final report while carrying out the work — it is easier to write up the system design just after you have finished it than to write about it months later.
To keep within the deadlines you will have to make regular progress and remember where your time has gone. To help you to do this you should record your project-related activity in a log. The log is a weekly record of work you have engaged in to meet your objectives. You should start the log right at the beginning of the year, and include records of meetings with your supervisor. You should meet with your supervisor regularly taking your log along to review progress. The complete log should be submitted to your supervisor as part of FYP1 requirement.
You should submit a number of written documents throughout the project. The deadlines for these and timings of other project activities are listed below:
- Browse the projects database and consider possible project topics: at the beginning of term.
- Register with supervisor on the projects database.
- Accepted by supervisor on the projects database: submit FYP project registration form.
- Project proposal:(discussion with supervisor).
- Progress report submission (FYP1): see the requirement.
- Presentation of FYP1: two examiners will assess if your project is sufficient for FYP2.
- Application for ethical review (if required).
- Start of FYP2 : 6 months left to finish your project.
- Draft Thesis (approved by your supervisor)
- Thesis submission (three copies submitted for examination)
- Presentation of FYP2 : two examiners will assess if your thesis satisfies the requirement to pass the Degree.
- Project presentation poster.
- Final Thesis submission: after revision, two copies submitted to the Graduate Office.
Some of the deadline information in these instructions is for guidance only.
Please note that two copies of the final report are required.
You will be formally assessed on the progress report, the final report, and the project presentation and poster .
Below are detailed descriptions of each of the documents and assessments:
Progress report (FYP1)
By the end of 6 months of the start of your FYP, you are required to submit an progress report on your project. This report is formally assessed and should be submitted to the FYP coordinator. Progress reports are usually around 30-40 pages report. The word count would depend on a number of factors including the number of diagrams, amount of detailed design work required, etc, so please check with your supervisor what would be appropriate in your case. The report is effectively an expansion of the project proposal and should include:
- Introduction – This specifies your problems in your chosen project
- Literature reviews – This presents the current methodologies or current techniques that you may be the background of your project.
- Objectives and Methodology -This specifies the objectives of the project and the needs of your intended users that are achievable in terms of time available and your experience. It should introduce both the problem area (remember your reader may not know anything about the particular problem you have chosen) and give an overview of the rest of the report. If your project involves human participants (e.g. for usability testing of the system you intend to develop), personal data or other significant risks then you will need to apply for ethical review.
- Requirements analysis — Your aim is to design a system that will meet the needs of or be directed towards some target group of users. This section will describe the needs of those users, to what extent they are met by existing solutions and how an ideal system might meet them more exactly. In this section, you should feel free to describe the solutions that you do not expect to have time to completely develop or implement. You should expect to include this section with only minor modifications in the final report.
- Project plan — This consists of a breakdown of the work to be done into phases, tasks and other activities with estimates of time to complete the work. It will specify interdependencies of tasks, critical work elements and schedule. You should indicate the work you have done so far and that you intend to do in the second term. One of the tasks should be writing the draft report.
- Log — indicating meetings with your supervisor and reflecting the phases of the plan completed so far. The complete log does not need to be in the progress report but it should be submitted to your supervisor at the same time as the progress report.
Note that the progress report can be regarded as the first version of the first chapters of your final report.
This document is a working version of the final thesis/dissertation. It should be sent to your supervisor one month before your presentation, in order to allow your supervisor sufficient time to read it and suggest improvements before you need to submit the final report.
In your own interests, the draft report should be as complete as possible so that your supervisor can give you useful feedback. Your supervisor will be the examiner on other projects, and will tell you what they are looking for from the projects they examine. If your report does not conform to their expectations you will be able to rectify it in time.
Thesis Submission (FYP2)
Final reports should be submitted using soft binding (binding facilities are available in the University). Double sided printing is encouraged, but not compulsory. You must submit three identical copies of your report to the FYP coordinator before your presentation. Additionally, you must also submit an electronic version of this report and of your entire source code. Moodle group will provide detailed instructions about the electronic submission including the formats that are acceptable.
In any case, each student must submit electronically the following: the final report document and all code (in the sense of program code, e.g. Java, php, C, html) written by the student. Libraries should not be submitted but their use must be acknowledged in the report. There is no need to include code or technical documents that have not been written by you — but you must acknowledge any such material that has been used to complete the project. It may be necessary to include other appendices, but there is an expectation that these will total no more than 20 pages.
The final thesis draft should contain the following sections in the order indicated:
- A cover sheet. This should contain your name, your degree course and department, your candidate number, the title of the project, the name of your project supervisor and the calendar year of submission.
- A signed statement of originality together with an overview of any intellectual property rights agreements that you have made. The statement of originality should be worded as follows. ‘This report is submitted as part requirement for the degree of … at the Curtin University Malaysia It is the product of my own labour except where indicated in the text. The report may be freely copied and distributed provided the source is acknowledged.’
- Acknowledgements — this might include your supervisor(s), other students if part of a related project and any other person or organisation that has assisted in any way in the conduct of the project and its documentation.
- Synopsis — a one page resumé of your report.
- Table of contents (with roman numerical page numbers).
- Introduction — this should give the motivation for the project. The aims of the project should at least be stated in the first paragraph, but preferably in the first sentence. The first chapter should also explain the structure of the report.
- Body of thesis — this should include a requirements analysis and specification of the problem you have tackled. It should also include a description of how you designed, built and evaluated your system. You should evaluate your finished product using appropriate methods, backing up your claims with evidence. If reporting user feedback, this will be more convincing if it comes from a wider audience than just a small group of your peers (for example it could be gathered online via forums etc). Evaluation results should be related back to the original requirements. A summary of the evaluation should appear in the Conclusion section.
- Conclusion — this should include an assessment of the success of the finished product. Have you achieved your objectives? If not, why not? It should also contain suggestions for future extensions, or alternative methodologies that, with hindsight, might have led to a better system.
- References — these must be given correctly. Full references with page numbers are required. If you consult a similar project done in previous years you must reference it. The references should be cited in the body of your report where appropriate. Webpages you consulted need to be listed as well. You need to add the title/topic of the Webpage and the last time you accessed it, not just the URL. References should be written in correct format. Check IEEE for the proper reference format.
- Appendices — you may include any technical material which you estimate as too detailed for the main body of the report. You should make sure that any technical material is appropriately annotated and consistently presented.
In addition to writing the report, you will be assessed on your ability to present your project. The project presentation takes the form of: (1) a poster which you show at a School-wide poster event; and (2) presentation to the two examiners of your project.
Details of the required poster format, submission procedure, and assessment criteria are in the Moodle page.
The presentation should be scheduled by the FYP coordinator. You will be allocated a 15-minute time slot where you will present your project in 10 minutes and 5 minutes question and answer session. Your task is to convince them that your project work is interesting and of high quality.
The poster and the presentation are integral parts of the assessment of the project. If you do not submit a poster by the deadline you will forfeit the associated marks. If you do not turn up to your presentation at the scheduled time you will be marked as absent and forfeit the associated marks.
The final year project and your employment prospects
Undertaking a project can be challenging and exciting. It is challenging because a tremendous amount of self-discipline, time and effort needs to be put into it. It is exciting because a successful project rewards with great satisfaction and experiential learning. The project requires the amalgamation of different kinds of skills: problem solving, studying and communication, both written and spoken. It stretches your ability to limits you never thought possible. It gives you something you can talk about knowledgeably and enthusiastically to prospective employers. Projects are a great opportunity for you to demonstrate your creative abilities and independence. The project is an excellent indicator of a student’s overall ability to carry out a serious piece of work, and therefore employers are impressed by a well executed project.
The majority of your background reading and references will be specific to your chosen topic. For general guidance on writing your reports and preparing your presentation talk you could consult the following books:
- Turk, C. and Kirkman, J. (2001) Effective writing: improving scientific, technical and business communication. 2nd edition. London: Spon.
- Turk, C. (1985) Effective speaking: communicating in speech. London: Spon.
- Sides, C. (1999) How to write and present technical information. 3rd edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.