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How To Write a Master's Thesis

NLP Master's Thesis from Enrollment to Defense

This tutorial could also be called things I wish I had known when I was writing my diploma thesis. I vividly remember the tension and worry when writing (and defending, oh my!) my own master's thesis. This guideline is intended to ease those feelings (and hopefully, to produce better theses and successful defenses, as a result) and what better way is there than provide you with a spectrum of information I gained being on both sides of the trench. I'm going to navigate you through the process of your master's thesis assignment, writing and defense; steering you away from common pitfalls. The guideline is mostly fitted to a typical experimental NLP master's thesis but I'm sure you can tweak it to other situation once you get the general idea.

Enrollment

Timeline

Below is an expected timeline for your thesis development. I don't think I can stress this enough: start EARLY. Seriously. You will make your life much easier if you start programming, measuring and writing (that especially!) in good time. Most opponents can recognize hasty writing hurriedly finished over the last week before deadline. As for the question what is the minimum time in which I can write a thesis, let's pretend I never heard that.

TODO timeline

When planning, allow sufficient time for (at the very least) one, but preferably two corrections from your supervisor. Ideally, you'll write the thesis and send it to your supervisor, allowing several days (or smaller number of weeks if they are very busy) for reading. Unless you are already experienced academic writer, at least one reading is critical for the thesis to pass because your supervisor will spot the obvious problems and tell you what to fix. Don't despair if there are many (many, many) comments, that's absolutely normal. Just keep calm and deal with them one by one.

Working on Thesis

Writing the Thesis

- Typical number of pages
- Chapters (Introduction, Related Work, Methodology, Results, Discussion, Conclusions, Appendices)
- Referencing
- Tables, Figures, Graphs

Submitting the Thesis

Don't fall in the PDF/A trap! The electronic system requires all submitted PDF in PDF/A format and there is an automatic check for PDF/A. Allow yourself enough time to find out how to convert your PDF into PDF/A (like, not in the last two hours before deadline midnight).


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