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Problems with engineering honor thesis.

  1. May 3, 2014 #1
    I've barely made any progress in my engineering bachelor's thesis. I only have 12 days after today before I have to hand it in.

    I saw a previous bachelor's thesis. It's 65 pages long, except the title page / abstract / acknowledgements / blank space / reference lists etc add up to about 22 pages. The diagrams add up to about 9 pages. So I guess there's about 34 pages of writing in it (yes you can tell I'm clutching at straws).

    I currently have about 12-14 pages worth of notes that I'd put in. It's just general notes about the topics.

    What is actually expected from a bachelor's thesis? General notes? Replicating results? Creating new theory? Frankly, I've no idea. My adviser won't tell me and the marking scheme is vague. Should I be going through important research papers and summarising them or explaining concepts? My adviser won't give me any information on what's expected.

    Before this term and all my life I got near perfect grades but my motivation has been rock bottom all through uni since I really dislike the subject and uni (you can't switch subject in the UK, and I'm going to the uni nearest my house because my parent saved nothing). This term I've worked less than ever.

    I feel like I'm in a ridiculous situation. I always found difficulty of this degree at this uni extremely low* and now I'm on the verge of doing badly. Although as long as I get at least 50 % for the assignment, that's fine (it's marked 80 % for the report and 20 % for the presentation).

    *to give you an idea of the standard: it's an engineering course but we never did a maths course with vector calculus.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 3, 2014 #2
    Most of the real learning I did in engineering major was during my senior thesis as well. I would look at recent papers, but generally the format is as such: Abstract, Introduction, Theory, Materials and Methods, Results, Conclusions, References, Appendix (Code, I've seen some papers where compenent data sheets were in the appendix as well, mathematical methods too long for the intro, etc)
  4. May 3, 2014 #3


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    It sounds like one is suffering the consequences of procrastination, which seems to be common among student populations.

    I would expect that the thesis was mentioned in a course syllabus, and that was an opportunity to ask the professor for the expectations.

    A thesis is a bit like an essay. One starts with some general background on a topic, then the essay/thesis becomes more focused with a discussion on the background including prior art and supporting work, then focus on some specific aspects, then a discussion of the pros and cons, and then conclusions. It is doubtful that one is expected to generate new theory, but certainly that be welcome. Usually a thesis could involve a survey of some aspect of engineering (which is an extraordinarily broad field), or the specific engineering discipline (more manageable).

    One could choose a particular discipline and a particular problem in that discipline as the subject of one's thesis. The topic/problem would usually be assigned by one's professor at the baccalaureate or master's level, or it could involve original research based on consultation with one's professor.

    The other day, I was handed to engineering problems. For both, I'm expected to review the literature to discover certain aspects of some materials, and with that, develop a technical basis of why a certain material is being used for a certain process, offer recommendations for improvements, and if possible offer recommendations for superior alternatives based on a number of criteria, which I would also have to develop.

    In one's case, there are many engineering problems on which one could research, and possibly offer improvements or innovations. Otherwise, one would use the thesis to explore the current state of the art and demonstrate one's understanding of the art and the process by which it was developed.
  5. May 3, 2014 #4


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    In addition to what Astronuc said, you might want to try to have a look at those done by people from the year ahead of you to get an idea of what's been successful in the past.

    And it's generally not too constructive to blame your parents for the spot you're in.
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