All students majoring in Computer Science are required to complete a semester-long Senior Project/Thesis in their senior year. A Senior Project/Thesis represents a student's capstone exprience in the discipline. Students doing a Senior Project/Thesis register for the course CS 403 (Supervised Work) for 1 semester. More details regarding a Senior Project/Thesis are presented below.
Honors in Computer Science
A Senior Project can be declared a Senior Thesis if the student desires to receive graduation Honors in Computer Science. The thesis is reviewed by a committee of three professors who will decide whether to award the Honors. As per college rules, students with a GPA of 3.8 in the Major will be automatically considered for Honors upon successful completion of a Thesis. Students with a GPA of 3.5 or higher should declare their Senior Project as a Thesis for Honors consideration.
Selecting a Senior Project
A Senior Project represents the culmination of a student's pursuit of a degree in Computer Science. Students are encouraged to explore their interests in developing a proposal for their Senior Projects. Senior Projects can be specific development projects (see examples below), or exploratory research in an area/topic of student's interest. Identifying a project is typicaly done in the spring semester of the Junior year. Students typically register for CS 403 (Supervised Work) in the spring semester of their Senior Year. Students are required to submit a formal Project Report (or a Thesis) to their advisor by the end of the 12th week of the spring semester. Students are also required to give a formal presentation which is scheduled in the final two weeks of the classes in spring.
Students completing a double major or a minor in another field are encouraged to propose interdisciplinary projects of their chosing. Double Majors can also propose a single interdisciplinary Senior Project that will fullfill the requirements of both majors.
Several students can also form a group and propose a collaborative Senior Project.
Chosing an Advisor
To help develop their ideas into a concrete project, students should engage their professor(s) in the process some time in the spring semester of their Junior year. The advisor can help student with outlining the scope of the project, selecting background reading, computing materials and software, and other logistics of the project. Occasionally, there may even be external funding that may be available for carrying out the project (see below). The advisor can help students identify possible funding sources. Students should make sure that they set a weekly meeting time to meet with their advisors about the project.
Formulating a Senior Project Proposal
With a professor's assistance, a student can arrive at a specific proposal (a 1-page abstract) that describes the project. The abstract should be submitted to the advisor at the end of Week 1 of the CS 403 course.
Spring Semester of Junior Year: Typically, planning for a Senior Project should begin in the spring semester of the Junior year. Students can then spend the summer doing some background research on the topic before finalizing a specific project. Excellent Summer Research opportunities are available at Bryn Mawr and at other national and international venues. Consult with your advisor about these.
Fall Semester of Senior Year: Students can spend this semester doing initial feasibility studies and further honing their projects. Try and meet with your advisor(s) at least once every two weeks. Generally, most good projects begin their work in ernest by the end of the fall semester.
Spring Semester of Senior Year: Prepare a 1-page abstract in Week 1 and submit it to the advisor. Enroll in CS 403 (Supervised Work). Submit a Senior Project Report (or a Thesis) by the end of Week 12. Give a presentation in the final two weeks of the semester.
Declaring your Project a Thesis
For consideration for Honors in Computer Science (See above), students should request their Thesis be reviwed by a faculty committee of three at the time of submitting a final report/thesis.
Previous Senior Projects/Theses
Below is a list of some Senior Projects/Theses from the past: