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CSC8498 : Project and Dissertation for MCOMP

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr John Colquhoun
  • Owning School: Computing
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 30
ECTS Credits: 15.0
European Credit Transfer System


- To deepen the knowledge and skills acquired in the first half of the programme through practice.
- To develop an awareness of the range and limitations of technologies available for the analysis and development of secure or resilient or distributed systems.
- To enhance research skills and awareness of the professional literature.
- To develop an awareness of open problems in the subject.

The individual project is a substantial piece of independent work involving the technical and research skills developed in the taught part of the degree. You will have the opportunity to contribute directly to research or development activities, develop your own specialist expertise in the project topic, and further improve your planning and communication skills. You will work closely with a member of staff from one of the School's research groups, and you may also be working with an industrial partner (possibly in an industry laboratory). The project culminates in a dissertation.

Outline Of Syllabus

1.       Project Definition and Planning: Bounding and clarifying a problem for research. Planning background research, identifying relevant information sources. Decomposing a problem and forming a project outline in terms of goals and criteria for success. Identifying resources and tooling required.
Students will either select a project from a list offered by potential supervisors or propose and refine a project proposal with an academic supervisor. Projects will involve learning about some unfamiliar aspect of secure or resilient or distributed systems. In every project there will be a research component and a strong design, programming and/or analytic element.
2.       Supervision Arrangements: Each project has a lead supervisor and second supervisor, both staff from the School. Additional supervision support may be provided by an industrial partner. The student and lead supervisor will meet regularly throughout the period of the project.
3.       Research: Background research will be undertaken in the selected topic using the skills developed in earlier modules with access to library and online resources. The supervisor will advise on quality of sources and standards in the topic area.
4.       Development and Analytic Skills: The core of the project will involve carrying out the project plan largely independently, but with guidance form the supervisors.
5.       Dissertation: A dissertation will be prepared, describing the technical background, the work undertaken, the analysis of results and directions for further work. Guidance on the style and content of an academic dissertation will be provided by means of guest lectures and through the supervisor.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture11:001:00Lecture introducing the project, PIP
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion343:00102:00Writing dissertation
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading111:0011:00Selecting a project, discussing with academic staff as required.
Guided Independent StudyProject work603:00180:00Undertaking project
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDissertation/project related supervision61:006:00Supervisor meetings in person (PIP)
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The project is undertaken with a lead academic supervisor, working in association with one of the research groups of the School or with a collaborating industrial research laboratory (in which case it will be supervised jointly). There will be a designated second academic supervisor to offer additional assistance.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Dissertation2M10012,000 words
Zero Weighted Pass/Fail Assessments
Description When Set Comment
Prof skill assessmntMEthics Form
Design/Creative projMDemonstration of software
ReportMInterim report
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The dissertation provides for an assessment of professional research, development and analysis skills as well as detailed technical communication skills.

Students have to have a good understanding of the problem that they are addressing for the dissertation project and this should be checked formally sufficiently early to make sure that they progress on the right track. The interim report serves this purpose and this is also the reason why it is a Pass/Fail exercise – i.e. they have to put sufficient effort in understanding the topic of their dissertation and progress with literature review and assessment and choice of techniques early on and demonstrate this by submitting the interim report

Reading Lists