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MSC8002 Research Project Dissertation

Semester 1, 2012 External Toowoomba
Units : 2
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Sciences
School or Department : Maths and Computing
Version produced : 30 December 2013

Contents on this page


Examiner: Richard Watson
Moderator: Stijn Dekeyser


Pre-requisite: MSC8001 and Students must be enrolled in one of the following Programs: MCOP or MPIT or BSCH or MSMS.


An in-depth project and dissertation on a specialised research topic are necessary to prepare graduates for further research, applications and responsible jobs in Applied Computer Science, Mathematics or Statistics. This course, in conjunction with MSC8001, enables students to develop and use research capability and an advanced level of Applied Computer Science, Mathematics or Statistics skills.


This course forms the final part of the research training component of the Honours and Masters programs in the Department of Mathematics and Computing. From the foundation established in MSC8001, students will complete a selected project in Bioinformatics, Computer Science, Mathematics or Statistics with the supervision of appropriate staff from the Department of Mathematics and Computing. The project will consist of review, research into and reporting of a well defined area and its applications.


On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. keep abreast of developments in Applied Computer Science, Mathematics or Statistics;
  2. execute and refine a selected research investigation;
  3. develop higher level Applied Computer Science, Mathematics or Statistics skills which include the analysis, synthesis and evaluation of factors involved in the investigation of the research topic;
  4. complete an extensive research based investigation and to evaluate the results;
  5. effectively document and communicate the results of the investigation and the methods used in a dissertation.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Finalise and report on a research project: Report literature survey; Dissertation writing and analysis; Seminar presentation. 100.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Chambers JM, Becker RA et al 1983, Graphical methods for data analysis, Wadsworth, Belmont, Ca.
  • Highham, NJ 1998, Handbook of writing for the mathematical sciences, 2nd edn, Siam, Philadelphia.
  • Jaeger RM 1990, Statistics: A spectator sport, 2nd edn, Sage, Newbury Park, Ca.
  • Strunk, W (Jr) 1918, The elements of Style, W P Humphrey.
  • Tufte, ER 2001, the visual display of quantitative information, 2nd edn, Graphics Press, Cheshire, Conn.
  • Zobel, J 2004, Writing for computer science, 2nd edn, Springer, London.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Consultation 15.00
Private Study 320.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
LITERATURE SURVEY 20 1 09 Mar 2012 (see note 1)
FINAL SEMINAR 20 5 04 May 2012 (see note 2)
DISSERTATION 100 94 01 Jun 2012 (see note 3)

  1. Literature Survey due during Week 2.
  2. Final Seminar due during week 10.
  3. Dissertation due during Week 14.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as lectures, tutorials, laboratories and practical work) scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course related activities and administration. It is the students responsibility to maintain regular contact with their Supervisor according to a mutually agreed schedule.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an assessment items, a student must obtain achieve at least 50% of the marks.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without prior approval then a penalty of 1% of the total marks gained by the student for the assignment will apply for each working day late.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks/grades obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no examination in this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    As there are no examinations in this course, there will be no deferred or supplementary examinations.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must despatch the assignment to the USQ. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the despatch date, if requested by the Examiner.

  2. Students may be required to provide a copy of assignments submitted for assessment purposes. Such copies should be dispatched to the USQ within 24 hours of receipt of a request to do so.

  3. In accordance with University policy, the Examiner may grant an extension of the due date of an assessment item in extenuating circumstances.

  4. Method used to assess the dissertation: normally three Markers will be assigned by the Examiner, after advice by each Supervisor, to assess each student's dissertation. The Supervisor is normally one of the Markers. The Markers will independently assess the dissertation in the following five aspects: (a) Incorporation of established knowledge; (b) Assimilation of research literature; (c) Implementation of scientific techniques; (d) Technical writing; (e) Innovation. Each of these aspects will be given a mark in the range 0-20; the final mark will be the sum of these five aspect marks. The Examiner will moderate the marks recommended by the Markers and determine a final grade normally as the equally weighted average of the Markers recommendations. Where the Markers cannot reach a consensus, the Examiner may seek advice of extra Markers.

  5. Method used to assess the seminar: normally two Markers will be assigned by the Examiner to assess each student's seminar on the following criteria: clarity of verbal communication; clarity of supporting material; organisation of information; answers to questions; impact. The Examiner will moderate the marks recommended by the Markers and determine a final grade normally as the equally weighted average of the Markers recommendations.

  6. The referencing system to be used in this course is supported by the Department. Information on this referencing system and advice on how to use it can be found in the course materials.

Other requirements

  1. Students will require access to e-mail and have internet access to UConnect for this course.

  2. The student will normally lodge two bound copies of their dissertation with the Department: one for the Department and one for their Supervisor. The Department normally pays the cost of these two copies.

  3. Normally a student's work in a project, their seminar and dissertation is expected to be open to public scrutiny. However, a project may generate intellectual property which a student wishes to remain confidential. If this is the case, the student, Supervisor and Examiner will meet or confer to negotiate appropriate work practices consistent with University policies.

  4. Normally, a student and the Supervisor will meet or confer for one hour each week. The Supervisor will: guide direction; provide formative feedback; suggest possibilities; teach methods; advise on balance and emphasis; remind the timelines; recommend marks to the Examiner for the Preliminary proposal, Proposal, Preliminary seminar, and Literature survey; suggest dissertation Markers to the Examiner; coordinate with the Examiner, especially for the seminars; and meet as required with other supervisors.

  5. General Faculty Inductions for All Honours/Masters Students (a) All Honours and Masters students must complete the Faculty of Sciences General Staff/Student Safety Induction before commencing work or within the first week of commencing work in the Faculty. (b) All Faculty of Sciences General Staff/Student Safety Inductions must be completed by the Faculty Safety Co-Ordinator, the Faculty Safety Assistant or their delegate. (c) All Faculty of Sciences General Staff/Student Safety Induction paperwork is to be signed and dated by the inductor and inductee. (d) Completed General Safety Staff/Student Induction paperwork must then be forwarded to the relevant supervisor for signature. The supervisor must keep a copy of this induction form for their own records. (e) Once completed by the supervisor, all Faculty of Sciences General Staff/Student Safety Induction paperwork is to be forwarded to the Faculty Safety Office for filing and the inductions recorded on the appropriate computer database.

  6. Inductions for Restricted Access Areas (a) All Honours/Masters students expected to work in restricted access areas must complete the relevant safety induction for that location before commencing duties. (b) The student's supervisor (or nominated delegate) is to complete all inductions for restricted access areas. (c) Induction paperwork is to be kept in the office of the relative Laboratory Manager or Faculty Administration Manger. Academic Supervisors are again encouraged to keep copies of this paperwork for their own records.

  7. Commencing Work Before All Inductions are Completed: Any Academic Supervisor who wishes their Honours/Masters student(s) to begin work before all inductions have been completed, may do so only if they provide direct supervision of the student in question until the induction(s) is completed.