Overview

The student’s work is evaluated with regard to the following criteria:

  1. Written thesis report
    1. Large scale organization
    2. Figures and tables
    3. Small scale writing
  2. Work attitude of student
    1. Assessment of the state of the art
    2. Initiative in problem solving
  3. Oral thesis presentation
    1. Presentation slides
    2. Speech
    3. Free discussion

In each point (1a-1c, 2a-2b, 3a-3c), we have five quality levels, denoted by the Roman numbers i-v. These are mapped to the grade scale from 0 to 10 in the following way: i=10; ii=8; iii=6; iv=4; v = 0. These quality levels are described below and should be regarded as cornerstones. In general, the assessment will be between two levels, and any non-integer grade can be given in individual points.  

Weights 

The final grade will be calculated using the following weights across the different points.

Point

1a

1b

1c

2a

2b

3a

3b

3c

Final grade

Weight

15%

15%

15%

10%

20%

10%

10%

5%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Detailed description of the different criteria

  1. Written thesis report
    1. Large scale organization                                                                            
      1. Publishable as it stands. The report reaches the quality required for submission to an international peer-reviewed journal. All of the following holds. The review of the state of the art is clearly organized. For example, the literature is reviewed in a chronological and/or conceptual way. A clear research questions is formulated. All concepts and methods are introduced in a well-structured and sequential way. At every position of the text, the text can be understood by what was exposed in the previous text. The results are well-organized. They include exemplary detailed results as well as summarized global results. The material included in the thesis is selected such that it provides all necessary and sufficient evidence to support the conclusions. The original contribution of the student is clearly defined. The reader is left with a clear take home message.
      2. Minor revisions needed to reach level i.
      3. Major revisions needed to reach level i.
      4. Complete rewriting needed. Several of the following shortcomings hold. The thesis text lacks any clear structure. The state of the art is incomplete and/or poorly reviewed. After reading the introduction the aim of the thesis remains unclear. No sufficiently clear organization in sections is done. For example, Methods, Results and Discussion are intermingled. The results contain too many irrelevant details and/or lack relevant main results. Conclusions are not well justified. It remains unclear what was contributed by the student, as opposed to the use of state of the art concepts and/or previous work by others or the research group of the student. 
      5. Inacceptable.

 

  1. Figures and tables
    1. Publishable as they stand. The figures could be submitted to an international peer-reviewed journal. All of the following holds. All figures and tables are clearly readable and interpretable. They allow the reader to assess the quantitative results of the theses. All axes are labeled by the quantities and corresponding units. If needed, legends help the interpretation. Legends never cover data points. In case, error bars are used, they are clearly defined. Symbols, line styles and colors are used to allow for an easy distinction of the different data series. All fonts in the figure are big enough to read them.
    2. Minor revisions needed to reach i.
    3. Major revisions needed to reach i.
    4. Complete redrawing needed. Several of the following shortcomings hold. The data is displayed in an ambiguous way. The figures are confusing. Axes labels are missing or incomplete. Units are not specified. The different data series cannot be distinguished, for example because of the wrong use of colors or missing legends. Symbols are too small or too large to be distinguished. Error bars are missing and/or not fully defined. 
    5. Inacceptable.

 

  1. Small scale writing
    1. Publishable as it stands. The writing meets the quality level of international peer-reviewed journals. All of the following holds. The text is very well-written. The language is clear and accessible. It can be understood also by non-specialists. The use of tenses is consistent within the different sections. The text might not be perfect English, but it does not contain any oversights such as incomplete sentences, missing pronouns, or things alike. The use of mathematical symbols is clear and consistent. Abbreviations are all defined. There are no evident errors in the punctuation.
    2. Minor revisions needed to reach i.
    3. Major revisions needed to reach i.
    4. Complete rewriting needed. Several of the following shortcomings hold. The text is very difficult to follow, in particular for non-experts. It contains many overly long, nested sentences which are difficult to decode. The text contains spelling errors and evident errors in the punctuation. Within individual sections, the text often switches between different tenses. For example, the description of a particular method switches between past, present and future. Abbreviations are not introduced. The mathematical symbols are ambiguous. The same symbols are used for different quantities and/or the same quantities are denoted by different symbols.  
    5. Inacceptable.
  1. Work of student
    1. Assessment of state of the art
      1. Outstanding. The student studied all literature recommended by the supervisor. Beyond that the students found and studied additional sources on his/her own initiative. Although the student might not know every single paper in the field, he/she knows the seminal papers as well as important recent work.  
      2. Almost completely assessed.
      3. Assessed only halfway.
      4. Deficient. The student hardly studied the literature proposed by his/her supervisor. Initiative to explore the literature him/herself was lacking.  
      5. Not existent.
    2. Initiative in problem solving
      1. Outstanding. All of the following holds: The student followed the instructions of the supervisor. Beyond that the student actively suggested his/her own approaches to the problem. The student showed the ability to independently explore different problem solving strategies. The student not only solved the research problem assigned to him/her in a fully satisfactory way, but also pointed out new research problems which could represent starting points for future master theses.
      2. Minor improvements needed to reach i.
      3. Major improvements needed to reach i.
      4. Deficient. The student hardly followed the instructions given by the supervisor. Only upon the insistence of the supervisor, the student worked on some aspects. Own initiative in problem solving was lacking.
      5. Not existent.

 

  1. Oral thesis presentation
    1. Presentation slides
      1. Presentable as it stands. All of the following holds. All slides are readily accessible. They could be presented in an international conference without any revision. The slides clearly highlight the organization of the presentation by using overview slides, headlines and sub-headlines. The graphical content (such as figures, tables, formulas) is well-selected and highlights the essentials of the thesis. None of the slides is overloaded with text. All content can be clearly read, not only from the first row but also from within a distance from the projector display.
      2. Minor revisions needed to reach i.
      3. Major revisions needed to reach i.
      4. Complete redoing needed. Several of the following shortcomings hold. The presentations slides are messy and not well organized. The structure of the presentation does not become clear from the slides. Important slides such as a title slide, introduction slide or summary slide are missing. The slides contain an amount of text which makes it impossible to read this text and follow the talk of the student. The graphical content is too small, not readable, not interpretable, etc. Multimedia content, if any, does not work due to an evident lack of testing it.  
      5. Inacceptable.
    2. Speech
      1. Truly excellent. All of the following held. The talk of the student was organized clearly. It was evident that the student had prepared and practiced the presentation. The student addressed the audience and transmitted the essentials of the thesis very well. The audience was left with a clear take home message. The original contribution of the student became very clear. Signs of nervousness do not reduce the punctuation.
      2. Minor revisions needed to reach i.
      3. Major revisions needed to reach i.
      4. Deficient. The talk was poorly presented. Several of the following shortcomings held. It became evident that the student did not rehearse sufficiently. The important aspects were not exposed. It remained unclear what new findings the student contributed, as opposed to the state of the art and previous findings by others and/or the student’s research group.
      5. Inacceptable.
    3. Capability to react to questions after the presentation
      1. Truly excellent. The student discussed his/her work very well. Whenever possible, his/her answers came to the point and resolved the question of the commission member. Whenever a point raised by the commission could not be fully answered (for example when the commission asked for some analysis which was not included in the thesis), the student handled the situation well. When needed, the student entered into an extended dialogue with the commission members. Signs of nervousness do not reduce the punctuation.
      2. Very good
      3. Acceptable
      4. Deficient. Evidently, the student did not understand the questions of the commission members, even after they were reformulated and/or simplified. The replies of the student failed to resolve the points raised by the commission members.    
      5. Refused to answer.