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Module MA4492: Project

Credit weighting (ECTS)
10 credits
Semester/term taught
Michaelmas & Hilary terms 2017-18
Contact Hours
Academic year long module (2 terms), meetings with supervisor by arrangement. Significant independent work is required. Student group meetings.
 
Lecturer
Prof. Richard Timoney (coordinator)
Learning Outcomes
 
On successful completion of this module, students will be able to:
  • demonstrate competence in independent study at a high mathematical level, at the forefront of knowledge in a specifically chosen topic
  • demonstrate skills in scientific writing
  • demonstrate presentation skills
  • synthesise and apply materials used.
 
Module Content
Basic Rules
  • Senior Sophister students may choose to take a project/thesis module (MA4492), provided that the agreement of the MA4492 module coordinator is explicitly given and that a member of staff is willing to supervise the work.
  • The basic standard of the work should correspond to 10 credits of advanced level modules in depth and difficulty. Ideally the topic should touch on something in the recent research literature (paper in a journal or a preprint) or involve a novel implementation or calculation.
  • A written thesis must be submitted, subsequently a poster presentation will be scheduled and the students concerned will also be asked to make an informal oral presentation of their proposed work (while it is in progress). Where relevant, any computer source code should be submitted (in conjunction with the written thesis). The external examiner will assess the marking of the projects along with examination scripts.
  • The Head of the School of Mathematics will appoint a module MA4492 coordinator for each academic year.
  • Students and their project/thesis supervisors should arrange to meet on a regular basis to discuss the progress of the work.
Deadlines
  • Work on the project must commence before the second week of Michaelmas term in the Senior Sophister year and the agreement of the MA4492 module coordinator should be obtained by this time.
  • The supervisor of the project/thesis should warn the student during Michaelmas term if the work is not proceeding satisfactorily.
  • Theses/Projects should be completed and submitted three weeks before the end of Hilary term (which means Friday March 16th in 2018). Poster presentations of the projects will be scheduled before the end of Hilary term.
  • Theses must be submitted to the module MA4992 coordinator who will give each student a receipt. (It is most helpful if students submit a PDF copy of their thesis via email plus one [spiral] bound hard copy to the coordinator.) The coordinator will acknowledge receipt via email.
  • Each thesis must include a statement signed by the student that the thesis is their own work except where due citations are given. (This is a requirement of the College policy on plagiarism.) Refer to tcd-ie.libguides.com/plagiarism/declaration for the exact wording.
Marking Criteria Theses/projects should be marked according to the following criteria
(i) Reading type project (ii) Implementation type
w×p weight w p% p% weight w w×p
0.05 Oral presentations during the year 0.05
0.15 Poster presentation 0.15
0.20 Clarity of exposition and style of writing 0.20
0.25 Understanding of the material Understanding of the problem and the background 0.20
0.25 Difficulty of the topic Appropriate research method? 0.15
0.10 Originality (students own approach to topic) Originality and difficulty of the problem and progress 0.25
Total % Total %

Here are some of the considerations that will be used by the examiners in arriving at the marks.
  1. Oral presentations during the year.
    The marks for this will be assigned by the coordinator. Students will each give a preliminary talk outlining their view of the planned project, preferably in Michaelmas term.
  2. Poster presentation.
    Did the student prepare a poster presenting the main points of the project in an effective and visually clear manner? Was the student able to field questions about the content of their project?
  3. Clarity of exposition and style of writing
    Is there clarity and precision in the explanations given? Is there a clear development of the ideas? Is the terminology clearly laid out? Are sources and relevant work appropriately cited? (The thesis should include a bibliography formatted in a recognisable style used by journals in the field (with author names, source [journal or publisher], date, pages).)
  4. Understanding of the material | Understanding of the problem and the background
    Are the ideas explained and developed in a way that makes it clear that the student has understood them?
  5. Difficulty of the topic | Appropriate research method?
    Case (i) Difficulty: is this a challenging topic for the student as compared to the standard of sophister modules? Has the student made contact with recent published literature?
    Case (ii) Method: has the student gone about the project in a sensible way? Modified strategy in the light of early results or difficulties encountered?
  6. Originality
    In case (i), can you see the students own viewpoint? In case (ii), did the student succeed and was it a substantial accomplishment?
  7. Guidelines for the thesis
    Students should bear in mind the following when writing up their work.
    • The account should be in the style of a scientific thesis (a mathematical one, perhaps an expository one); understandable by a mathematician or theoretical physicist (or statistician or computer scientist) who may not be in the same field;
    • So should have title, your name as the author, chapters or sections of content and a bibliography.
    • Should convey what you have done, as well as you can in a pedagogical style, and should include discussion of background material you had to master and any difficulties encountered.
    • Start with an abstract, then an overall summary and then some background.
    • We expect an amount of effort and sophistication equivalent to a full year 5+5 = 10 credit course. Does your write-up show that? It should also have enough content to show that (and 35 pages is suggested as a minimum length).
    • Don't transcribe stuff. If you find a perfect explanation of something, it is probably best to refer to it (if it is long anyway). If you reproduce an explanation in the literature with your own slant or more explanations of the steps, this is not a problem. You should cite the sources of things you use.
Module Prerequisite
Students must find a member of staff in College willing to supervise their work and must agree the arrangements with the coordinator as outlined in the rules below. Please consult the coordinator for suggestions about suitable topics and supervisors.
Assessment Detail
This module will be 100% continuous assessment. Written thesis (which should normally exceed 35 pages) and presentations including a poster presentation.