| | |
CMSC 399: Senior Seminar
IMPORTANT SCHEDULING/ACADEMIC CREDIT NOTE:
This course is listed in the course guide for both fall and spring as
but note that this is one year-long one-credit course.
You do not get one credit each for fall and spring;
the total academic credit for CMSC 399 (Senior seminar and thesis) is 1.0.
All Computer Science instructors, occasionally others.
Semester & Year:
Annually, all year long (for one credit total for the year).
This course is open to seniors in good standing who have declared a major in Computer Science.
Senior work, undertaken under the guidance of a faculty member,
on a topic chosen by the student and advisor.
Students may wish to start by looking at the thesis advising topics documents
posted by faculty [
] and/or contact Haverford faculty about topics not on these lists.
Selection of the proper topic is one of the most important steps
of the thesis process;
a good topic will be of interest to both the student and advisor.
The work culminates in the writing and oral presentation of a paper.
The student must also demonstrate the research skills required to produce this paper,
in accordance with departmental deadlines (below).
Details and Deadlines:
An undergraduate senior paper will not typically include original research,
but instead present an in-depth exploration of the topic in computer science.
The paper should demonstrates the student's ability to apply, in a new context,
the fundamental themes that connect all CS classes, such as:
It is common for the paper to center on a particular algorithm or computing system,
and present the correctness and/or computational complexity thereof.
However, this is not required:
students have successfully pursued other topics,
such as human-computer interaction.
The one core requirement is that the student demonstrate the
ability to think deeply and communicate clearly
about a computer science topic.
- separating the problem definition from its solution
- describing clearly a proposed solution (typically with examples)
- understanding the correctness and applicability of a proposed solution
- comparing several proposed solutions in terms of clarity, resource requirements, etc.
First three weeks of classes:
Schedule a weekly meeting time,
have preliminary discussions of deadlines and the topic selection process.
Before fall break:
Choose topic and advisor, identify preliminary reading list;
in the week before break,
give a mini-presentation (about 10 minutes) about the topic(s)
you are investigating and references you have found
(at this point, you may have 1-3 general topics).
Monday of week 10 of the fall semester:
Topic proposal and reading list.
By the end of fall semester classes:
Detailed chapter outline (email'ed to your advisor and department chair)
and a written draft of one chapter (submitted to your advisor).
Your advisor will provide detailed feedback on these documents,
and also give you a "shadow grade" based on the documents,
the research skills you demonstrated during the fall,
and your participation in seminar meetings,
This "grade" is reported only to you and the department chair,
and is not restricted to the usual "quanta" of Haverford grades
(e.g., it could be a 3.5).
A final grade, based on the standard Haverford scale,
is placed on your transcript only at the end of the full year;
the "shadow grade" is just to give you more feedback about your work so far.
Monday one week before spring break:
A complete rough draft (submitted to your advisor).
In the week after spring break:
A semi-final draft (submitted to your advisor).
This draft should include all of the content for all sections,
but it need not be polished.
In week 11 of the spring semester:
Submit the final version of your paper as a PDF file sent to your advisor,
the chair, and the library,
and submit an abstract for the book of senior thesis abstracts.
In week 12 or 13 of the (14-week) spring semester:
Give an oral presentation of your work.