The M.Sc. thesis concludes the ICT in Business programme. Its primary aim is to allow students to acquire and demonstrate skills and knowledge to independently define, plan and execute a research project. The project is guided by a Leiden University faculty member who is involved in the ICT in Business programme. The M.Sc. thesis in principle is individual, although it may be possible to have a two-person team project, provided each team member has a clear individual contribution. The thesis can be based on an in-company project, although this is not required. The M.Sc. thesis should build on knowledge and skills acquired throughout the ICT in Business programme and should have a clear focus on creating new knowledge or extending existing knowledge through application in a new domain. For in-company projects it is important that the thesis looks at the in-company project as an example or case-study of a phenomenon that also has relevance outside the specific company. This means that for all thesis projects both academic as well as practical relevance are crucial.
In principle, the ICT in Business thesis project follows the procedures and guidelines as set out for thesis projects in the LIACS examination rules for the general M.Sc. in Computer Science programme. The final written report has no fixed minimum or maximum length; 60-80 pages could serve as a rough indication of what constitutes a ‘typical’ thesis. The research process and reporting should follow strict academic principles, including methodology, adequate use of academic literature, proper referencing, etc. The thesis will have to be presented and defended in a public defense for an examination committee (in accordance with LIACS regulations) including the supervisor of the thesis research, a second advising staff member, a third independent examiner and possibly a company representative (in case of an in-company project). The final presentation will take up 30-40 minutes, followed by 30-40 minutes of discussion.