Master of Research: Year 2

This second year of the MRes consists of a 32 credit point thesis project, with some structured activities along the way that will help with completing the project. Your project will be a significant individual piece of research, carried out under the supervision of one or more members of the academic staff. You will have decided on the topic and title for your project in December of Year 1, based on discussions with your academic supervisor. Year 2 will be the development of this initial idea into a full thesis. Year 2 starts in early January, when the university re-opens.

Full official details of the program are in the Handbook.

Activity 1: Research Frontiers in Computing 2

It will be structured around a series of seminars and reading sessions organised by the Department research groups, reading sessions with other students, and specific sessions with your supervisor.

Assessment will be in the form of a 3,000-4,000 word report based on the seminars, similar to COMP700, due in late August. The report mark will constitute 10% of your assessment for the MRes Year 2. Assessment will be based on the following criteria:

  1. Introduction of the background and evolution of the research area.
  2. Analysis of the state of the art.
  3. Discussion of the open problems and subfields.
  4. Clear presentation and good writing skills.

Activity 2: Literature Review

This will be a structured approach to writing the literature review that will make up part of your thesis.

  • There will be a number of Faculty and Department sessions covering how to write a literature review.
  • These will interleave with student-supervisor sessions covering the content of the literature review.
  • You will submit an initial literature review in mid-April.
  • You will submit a final literature review (maximum 3000 words) by the end of May.

The literature review will be assessed on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis, on the following criteria:

  • Comprehensiveness of Abstract;
  • Clarity of Problem Statement;
  • Review of Related Work;
  • Quality of Writing; and
  • Appropriate Use of Referencing Conventions.

Activity 3: Research Methods

This will consist of a number of sessions covering research methods in general, along with student-supervisor sessions covering research methods specific to the subfield of the thesis topic. You will make a presentation on the research methods used in one specific subfield of Computing.

The presentation will be assessed on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis.

Activity 4: Research Planning

This will consist of a number of sessions on project management, and specifically on how to plan a research project. As part of it, you will be required to produce a research plan after discussion with your supervisor supervisor for a project of up to 4 years duration (i.e. for a PhD scope) with the main focus on the first year. You will then give a presentation to the Department on this plan at the end of June, drawing also on the literature review (Activity 2) for background. The final PhD research plan will be due by mid November.

The presentation will be assessed on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis.

Activity 5: Thesis

You will produce a thesis equivalent to 15,000-20,000 words, incorporating the literature review (Activity 2) on the basis of your research plan (Activity 4), due early- to mid-October.

As an indication of the sort of projects that you could do, look at the following links:

The thesis will be examined by two academics external to the university, and will constitute 90% of your assessment.


For full-time students finishing the project by the second semester of 2014, the general schedule of the due dates of the main activities is summarised below.

  • May: Research Methods presentation, literature review.
  • June: MRes project progress report plus presentations.
  • August: Research Frontiers report.
  • October: Submit thesis.
  • November: Final PhD plan.