MSc Thesis and Exam

MSc Thesis

The MSc Thesis involves independent research carried out under the guidance of a Professor of the University of Zurich or the ETH Zurich. The expected work time of a long MSc Thesis is 9 months, and 6 months for a short Thesis. Students choosing to do a short Thesis must complete two additional short research projects (see below).

Students are not required to work full time on their Thesis, but have the freedom to go about other curricular activities during their Thesis work. In this latter case, the Thesis duration increases accordingly (the total work time must sum up to at most 9 or 6 months full time, including the write up).

As soon as a supervisor for the Thesis has been identified, students are requested to fill out the registration (PDF, 172 KB) and have it signed by the one of the NSC Professors (who may be a different person than the supervisor) and must give the original to the Program Administrator.

The MSc Thesis is graded by the Professor, after consultation with the supervisor if applicable. The written and approved report needs to be handed in as a paper version to the Program Administrator, and a PDF version, together with all necessary data needs to be uploaded to a data repository.

Short Project

The Short Project gives the student some hands-on experience with research. A Short Project involves 6 weeks of full-time work, or an equivalent amount of work distributed over a longer time interval. The research projects must be on different topics than the Masters Thesis and different from one another. The Short Project requires also a registration (PDF, 172 KB) to the Program Administrator. The pass/no pass decision of a Short Project is made by the Project Supervisor and is based on a written report. The written and approved report needs to be handed in as a paper version to the Program Administrator, and a PDF version, together with all necessary data needs to be uploaded to a data repository.

External Theses or short projects

Theses or short projects done under the supervision of an official NSC supervisor are strongly encouraged. External theses or short projects are possible if you can convincingly show that the work cannot be done under the supervision of an NSC supervisor. In that case, you should submit a 1-2 pages proposal that has to be approved and signed by the program's director (Prof. R. Hahnloser). If you obtain approval, you then have to find a local NSC Professor (in addition to the direct supervisor of the project) who will evaluate your work upon completion.

MSc Examination

The MSc examination is an oral examination, and is the last exam of your MSc.

The MSc Thesis, Short Projects and courses must be completed and handed in before the oral examination can take place. Your supervisor needs to check that all data necessary has been uploaded to a data repository. In addition the program administrator needs to be provided with a paper print of your MSc Thesis and Short Projects. MSc Thesis and Short Projects need to be dated and signed by the supervisor.

The duration of the oral exam is half an hour. During 20 minutes the student presents a concise summary of his/her Thesis Work to the Supervisor (if possible) and the Professor. The oral exam usually takes place during the weekly Institute meeting (the ‘lab’ meeting). A slot in the weekly Institute meetings must be scheduled with Prof. Benjamin Grewe (bgrewe@ini.ethz.ch) and communicated to the Program Administrator.

Make sure you pick a date when your responsible NSC Professor (and, if possible, the Thesis's Supervisor(s) can be present.

The oral exam and thesis are graded by the responsible NSC Professor, and the co-examiner if applicable. The final grade of the MSc Examination is weighted as follows:

Long Thesis: final grade= 0.82*(grade Thesis)+0.18*(grade oral exam)

Short Thesis: final grade= 0.72*(grade Thesis)+0.28*(grade oral exam)