BA Thesis (ISCL)
The unofficial(!) guide to steps to follow for registering and submitting your BA thesis in the Computational Linguistics programme. They are based on my experiences writing my BA thesis in summer 2018, and the information I’d have found useful to know beforehand.
- Find an advisor. They need to have at least an MA degree. The ISCL BA coordinator (as of November 2021: Dr. Çöltekin) is the person to go to if you have questions about the process of writing your thesis but no advisor yet. Generally, it’s a good idea to talk with potential advisors early on so you can find out if your research interests line up and if they have time to supervise your thesis. Most students’ advisors are lecturers whose classes they have taken or researchers they know from their Hiwi work.
- Find a specific topic you want to research. This can take quite some time! At this stage, you should already get into the relevant background literature and (if it’s a practical topic) try out which approaches might work for your project. Discussing your ideas with your advisor helps narrowing down a broader topic to a clear-cut question you can actually tackle in your BA thesis.
- Make an appointment with Dr. Sauer, who is responsible for ISCL student matters at the examination office. Show him that you have all the necessary course credits and ask him for the application form for your BA thesis. NOTE: Students from just about any other study programme don’t need to do this, but it is necessary for ISCL students!
- Fill out the application (it is mosty about decding on a thesis title that cannot be changed later on) and ask your advisor to sign it. Meet Dr. Sauer again. Once he signs the form, you have a fixed deadline for your thesis: exactly 9 weeks from that point.
- Write the thesis. Regularly discussing your updates or problems you run into with your advisor is helpful! There is currently no official LaTeX template nor any information on formatting requirements available, just use some formatting that you find reasonable.
- Add an antiplagiarism statement to your thesis. When I wrote my thesis, the exact version of this statement and the language (English/German) did not matter, but the examination office provides a German version.
- Send the PDF version of your thesis (including the signed antiplagiarism form) to the examination office (they have special email addresses for submitting theses) and to your advisor. Your advisor might also like a printed and bound version, just ask them.
- After you’ve received feedback about your thesis from your advisor, it can still take a couple of weeks for the examination office to issue your certificate. This appears to be fairly common, so no worries :)
- Prüfungsordnung (examination regulations): The official guidelines for your BA including your thesis. Make sure you select the correct version (year, major/minor, BA/MA). Unfortunately, there does not seem to be an English translation available.
- Module Handbook: The thesis is very briefly described in module ISCL-BA-12.
- Dr. Sauer’s office hours
- Some of the recently completed theses can be found here.