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Faculty of Engineering and Physical


Dissertation Project Handbook (PGT)

School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Disclaimer: The information contained in this handbook is correct at the time of your
receiving it but the University, while retaining proper regard for the interests of students who
have begun their programmes, reserves the right to alter the programmes or the timetable if
the need arises.

Version: 2.1
Date: 8 March 2018

1. General Information _____________________________________ 1

1.1 Background ___________________________________________________ 1
1.2 List of Contacts ________________________________________________ 1
1.3 Key Dates for the Dissertation Project ______________________________ 3
2. Project Selection and Allocation ____________________________ 3
2.1 Available Projects ______________________________________________ 3
2.2 Project Allocation ______________________________________________ 4
3. Project Period __________________________________________ 4
3.1 Project Work __________________________________________________ 4
3.2 Project Outline and Risk Assessments ______________________________ 4
3.3 Engineering Communication lectures _______________________________ 5
3.4 Supervision ___________________________________________________ 5
3.5 Progression ___________________________________________________ 5
4. Dissertation Submission and Assessment _____________________ 6
4.1 Submission ___________________________________________________ 6
4.2 Dissertation Format and Presentation ______________________________ 6
4.3 Applying for permission to submit late ______________________________ 7
4.4 Assessment of Dissertation/Report ________________________________ 8
4.5 Resubmission ________________________________________________ 10
4.6 Plagiarism, Collusion, and Fabrication or Falsification of Results _________ 10
This Dissertation Project Handbook (PGT) provides important information on dissertation
projects for Postgraduate Taught students in the School of Electrical & Electronic
Engineering. This Handbook outlines the procedures in different stages of the project, and
some related important notes. Thus, students should read this Handbook carefully and refer
to it whenever queries arise regarding dissertation project arrangements.

1. General Information

1.1 Background

The Dissertation Project is an integral part of the MSc course, and is an important element in
achieving the aims and learning outcomes of the course. The aims of the Dissertation
Project are:
 To provide a valuable foretaste of what is to be expected in industrial/research
environment upon graduation.
 To equip students with sufficient knowledge and experience to embark on a research
career (especially continuing with PhD studies) and in specialised sectors of industry.
 To apply the knowledge acquired during the taught phase of the programme in
 To practise problem solving abilities, project management and report writing skills.

All MSc students are required to undertake an individual project under the supervision of an
academic staff member, and submit a high standard dissertation at the end of the project

The MSc Dissertation Project unit (EEEN60070) is weighted at 60 credits of the 180 credits
for the MSc course. With reference to the “Postgraduate Taught Regulations” (see
Programme Handbook): a candidate must pass both the taught element and the dissertation
project in order to obtain the MSc degree. Thus, the dissertation project is a vital part of the
MSc course.

1.2 List of Contacts

Should you have any queries regarding the dissertation project arrangements, you should
contact the Dissertation Project Coordinator. For administrative support on queries such as
the dissertation submission process, you should contact one of the Administrative Contacts
listed below. For support on any academic matters you should contact your Programme

Dissertation Project Coordinator

Dr Victor Levi, Room C13 Ferranti Building

Tel: 0161 306 8827 Email: victor.levi@manchester.ac.uk

Dissertation Project Allocator

Professor Vladimir Terzija, Room C8 Ferranti Building
Tel: 0161 306 4695 Email: vladimir.terzija@manchester.ac.uk

MSc Programme Directors

MSc Advanced Control & Systems Engineering:

Dr Joaquin Carrasco-Gomez, Room E1L Sackville Street Building
Tel: 0161 306 2290 Email: Joaquin.CarrascoGomez@manchester.ac.uk

MSc Communication Engineering

Dr Khairi Hamdi, Room E5 Sackville Street Building
Tel: 0161 306 4692 Email: K.Hamdi@manchester.ac.uk

MSc Digital Signal Processing

Dr Hujun Yin, Room D45 Sackville Street Building
Tel: 0161 306 8714 Email: Hujun.Yin@manchester.ac.uk

MSc Electrical Power Systems Engineering

Dr Konstantinos Kopsidas, Room C12 Ferranti Building
Tel: 0161 306 4696 Email: K.Kopsidas@manchester.ac.uk

MSc Advanced Electrical Power Systems Engineering

Dr Victor Levi, Room C13 Ferranti Building
Tel: 0161 306 8827 Email: victor.levi@manchester.ac.uk

MSc Power Electronics, Machines & Drives

Dr Rebecca Todd, Room A6C Sackville Street Building
Tel: 0161 306 4689 Email: Rebecca.Todd@manchester.ac.uk

MSc Renewable Energy and Clean Technology

Dr Iain Crowe, Room 2.316 Alan Turing Building
Tel: 0161 275 1069 Email: Iain.Crowe@manchester.ac.uk

Director of Postgraduate Taught

Dr Daniel So, Room E21a Sackville Street Building

Tel: 0161 306 4697 Email: d.so@manchester.ac.uk

Administrative Contacts

Emma Bentley, Senior Postgraduate Programmes Administrator

Room B26 Sackville Street Building; Tel: 0161 306 2813

Manages the following MSc programmes:

MSc Electrical Power Systems Engineering (including AEPSE)

MSc Renewable Energy and Clean Technology


MSc Power Electronics, Machines & Drives


Tony Lee, Postgraduate Programmes Administrator

Room B26 Sackville Street Building; Tel: 0161 306 2819

Manages the following MSc programmes:

MSc Communication Engineering


MSc Digital Signal Processing


MSc Advanced Control & Systems Engineering


1.3 Key Dates for the Dissertation Project

11 June 2018 MSc Dissertation starts

9 July 2018 Release of Semester 2 results

20 August to 2 September 2018 Resit Examination Period

3 September 2018 Submission deadline for MSc Dissertation

2. Project Selection and Allocation

2.1 Available Projects

Academic staff in the School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering will offer a variety of
dissertation projects. Proposed dissertation project areas will be made available in
Blackboard. While the majority of the projects are offered by academic staff directly related
to your MSc programme, some are offered by staff from other related disciplines. This allows
for more diversity and a larger variety of projects for students to choose from. Some projects
involve hardware implementation and some are software based. All projects offered will be

relevant to your MSc programme. Students will also be given the opportunity to suggest their
own bespoke project areas; bespoke project areas will be considered at the same time as
the school offered project area allocation and will be subject to suitability for your MSc and
supervisor availability.

2.2 Project Allocation

The Project Allocator will allocate projects with consideration to student preferences, suggested
bespoke project areas, the projects being offered by academic staff, and the project workload of
each supervisor.

It is anticipated that some staff will prove more popular and will be chosen by more students
than they can supervise. Whilst taking student preference into consideration, the Project
Allocator will attempt to allocate projects evenly to allow for a fair distribution amongst staff and
more supervision for students.

The Project Allocator will make every attempt to allocate each student one of their chosen
preferred project areas. Should this not be possible, a suitable alternative will be suggested.

Once the project areas are allocated, students will need to meet with their supervisor to finalise
a project title. Should a student be allocated a project outside of their preferred choices and
cannot agree on a project title with their allocated supervisor, the student will be reallocated a
project from those staff with a remaining quota of projects. Students who have been allocated a
supervisor of their choice will not be allowed to reallocate to a different supervisor.

3. Project Period

3.1 Project Work

Project work will commence on a full-time basis after the Semester 2 examination period on
11 June 2018. All students are required to work under the supervision of their Project
Supervisor, and must consult their Project Supervisor on all issues of laboratory and
equipment usage.

It must be emphasised that students are expected to work on a full-time basis, which
is AT LEAST 40 hours per week, throughout the entire project period. A student must
inform the supervisor if he/she wishes to take time off, such as a vacation.

3.2 Project Outline and Risk Assessments

At the beginning of the project, all students must prepare a 2-page project outline that
describes the scope, motivation, aims and objectives of the project. A brief project plan must
also be included. The purpose of the project outline is for students to clearly define the scope
of the project and identify what needs to be achieved. It will also allow the supervisors to
provide formative feedback on your understanding of the project. No mark will be given on the
project outline; only feedback will be provided.

Risk assessment is crucial before the project commences as it identifies the health and safety
risks involved and methods to reduce those risks. Students must therefore complete the risk
assessments at the beginning of the project, which have to be checked by the supervisors.
You should refer to the health and safety induction course to prepare the risk assessments.

Both the project outline and risk assessments must be submitted to Blackboard by 9am on 18
June 2018. They must also be included in the appendix of the dissertation.

3.3 Engineering Communication Lectures

Professor David H. Foster will deliver three lectures on Engineering Communication which will
cover technical report writing skills. You are expected to attend all of three of the lectures that
are scheduled for your MSc programme. Attendance records will be taken at these lectures
and will be made available to the Board of Examiners. The dates and times of lectures will be
published on your personalized timetable in the My Manchester portal prior to the start of the
project in June.

3.4 Supervision

Throughout the course of the project period (from the 11 June to the 3 September) you
should meet with your supervisor on a regular basis. The frequency and length of these
meetings will be dependent on the nature of the project and your supervisor’s availability, but
the normal expectation is that you will see your supervisor once a week. Academic staff will
be engaged in a number of other activities during this period and may also take a period of
annual leave for up to three weeks. If your supervisor is away for longer than three weeks,
arrangements to cover this absence will be made. It is, however, your responsibility to plan a
timetable for your project which takes account of your supervisor’s availability. It is also your
responsibility to raise any concerns that you may have with your project or your project
supervision at the earliest opportunity with your Project Supervisor in the first instance,
and/or your Programme Director if necessary.

It is essential for students to attend scheduled meetings with their supervisors. A student
who is not in regular attendance will be issued with a written warning. If attendance fails to
improve then a final warning will be issued containing details of a meeting at which the
student will be offered the opportunity to explain the reasons for non-attendance. A written
record of the meeting will be sent to the student indicating the conclusions reached.
Students who consistently fail to attend timetabled lectures and scheduled meetings may not
be permitted to submit the dissertation and may be excluded from the course. In the case of
an international student, this exclusion would be reported immediately to the UK Visa and
Immigration authorities who would then withdraw the student visa.

3.5 Progression

The Programme Handbook states that students must obtain a pass in the taught element of
the MSc programme in order to progress to the MSc dissertation project stage. The
requirement for passing the taught element of the programme is documented in Section 3.6
of the Programme Handbook. Some special cases are discussed in the following sections:

MSc students requiring resit examinations

At the discretion of the Board of Examiners, an MSc student who is required to undertake
resit examinations will continue onto the dissertation project stage as normal. The
dissertation submission deadline will be unchanged. However, the dissertation report will not
be assessed until the student has taken and passed the resit examinations.

If you do not pass your resit examinations your dissertation project will not be
marked and you will automatically be considered against the requirements for the
award of Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate.

Postgraduate Diploma students

A PG Diploma programme consists of 120 credits, which must be attained from the taught
modules. A project is not required for PG Diploma students.

Postgraduate Certificate students

The PG Certificate Programme consists of a minimum of 60 credits, which must be attained

from the taught modules. Therefore a project is not required for PG Certificate students.

4. Dissertation Submission and Assessment

4.1 Submission

At the end of the project period, each student must submit their dissertation electronically via
the Turnitin system in Blackboard. The deadline for submission of the dissertation is:

4pm on Monday 3 September 2018.

Late submission, without prior permission, is not allowed, and the student will be
deemed to have failed the dissertation project.

4.2 Dissertation Format and Presentation

The Masters dissertation is a scholarly article that presents an overview of the related
background, critically evaluates existing work, and discusses the project work. Therefore, a
high and professional standard for the dissertation is expected.

While the nature of a project varies from one project to another, students are encouraged to
consult their Project Supervisor on the structure and content of the dissertation. The Project
Supervisor can only provide detailed comments on the table of contents, and one selected
chapter of the dissertation. Students should allow at least 1 week for the supervisors to read
and comment on the selected chapter.

The University has issued guidelines on the formatting and presentation of an MSc
dissertation in the form of a document called: Guidance for the Presentation of Taught
Masters Dissertations for UG and PGT Provision. A copy of this document can be found on
Blackboard. This guidance should be read and followed carefully, apart from with regard to
the following criteria where the School rules, as listed below, must be followed instead:

 The minimum number of words in the main body of text, starting from the first chapter
(often entitled “Introduction”) and ending with the last chapter (often entitled
“Conclusions”), shall be 8,000 and the maximum number of words shall be limited to
12,000. As stated in the “Guidance for the Presentation of Taught Masters Dissertations
for UG and PGT Provision”, the final word count in the main body of text must be
inserted at the bottom of the Contents page.

 The main body of text should not exceed 35 pages. All preliminary pages, abstract,
references and appendices are excluded from the page limit.

 NOTE: Dissertations that are over the word limit or the page limit will be penalised by a
deduction of 5 marks.

 The minimum margin is 2 cm throughout the whole dissertation. This applies to left, right,
top and bottom margins.

 For the main body of text, 1.5 spacing must be used. As stated in the “Guidance for the
presentation of Taught Masters Dissertations for UG and PGT Provision”, single spacing
may be used for quotations, footnotes and references.

 The font type and size for the dissertations shall be Calibri 12.

The project outline and risk assessment must be included in the Appendix.

4.3 Applying for Permission to Submit Late

In exceptional cases, where factors beyond the control of the student would prevent
submission by the deadline, the School may give permission for an extension. Such
permission must be granted prior to the submission deadline, retrospective applications will
not be accepted. As soon as a delay is expected, the late submission request must be
made immediately.

Students requesting late submission should first discuss the issue with the Project
Supervisor. With the supervisor’s agreement, the student must then complete the Request
for Permission to Submit Late (Taught & Research) form, and submit this to their
Programme Administrator (please see the list of administrative contacts on page 2). The
application will then be considered for approval by the School. The decision will be passed
onto the student as soon as it is made.

The Request for Permission to Submit Late form can be downloaded from the General
Documents folder in the Blackboard space for EEEN60070: Dissertation Project.

Please note that if you submit late without having obtained permission before the deadline,
but you have good reason for doing so, you should submit your dissertation project as soon
as you are able to and complete a Mitigating Circumstances form. This will then be dealt with
according to the School’s usual Mitigating Circumstances Procedure (please see the
Programme Handbook for further details of this).

4.4 Assessment of Dissertation/Report

The MSc dissertation project report which you submit will be assessed by your Project
Supervisor and an Independent Examiner. The reports will be assessed independently by
each examiner using the following mark allocation scheme:

Overview and Background: Abstract, Statement of aims, objectives and

motivation, Literature Review/Existing Solutions, Conclusions (including
statement of technical achievement against objectives) 25%

Technical Achievements: Theoretical development, Design,

Implementation, Testing and Discussion of Results 65%
Presentation and Content: Presentation (including spelling, grammar,
figures, tables and formatting), Content (including sections, references,
risk assessment, project outline) 10%

Once the independent marking has been completed, the Project Supervisor and the
Independent Examiner will meet and agree upon a final mark. If the mark difference between
the marks from the Project Supervisor and Independent Examiner is 10% or less, the
examiners will agree to average the mark and will provide a joint set of marks and comments
for student feedback. If the difference between the marks from the Project Supervisor and
the Independent Examiner is larger than 10%, or the examiners do not agree to an average
mark, both examiners meet to discuss and agree on a final mark and feedback comments;
an additional section of the joint mark form will also be completed as a record of the
discussion. If a mark cannot be agreed upon a discussion between the examiners, a further
meeting chaired by the Programme Director (or his/her nominee) will be arranged. If the
moderation meeting does not result in agreement between the examiners, a third examiner
will be appointed and the examination process will begin again.

Examiners use marking norms as follows to assess projects:

Dissertation Description
90-100 MSc Exceptional Distinction
Students achieving marks in this grade range should have satisfied all
conditions in the previous grade range and in addition the following
conditions must be met:
 Exceptional work of the highest quality in all criteria of assessment
displaying significant originality and/or deep insight. Likely to be of

publishable quality.
 Examiners must be convinced by extensive searching on the web or
by personal experience in the field that this is new material that
pushes the boundaries of existing knowledge in the field.
80-89 MSc Outstanding Distinction
Students achieving marks in this grade range should have satisfied all
conditions in the previous grade range and in addition the following
conditions must be met:
 Outstanding work of the highest quality demonstrating
comprehensive knowledge, excellent critical analysis and/or
originality, high level of accuracy, relevance, presentation and
appropriate skills.
 Work marked in this range will demonstrate intellectual originality
and imagination, and include highly innovative analysis.
 Arguments in this range should convince the examiners to think
differently about the subject.
70-79 MSc Distinction
 Excellent work of high quality, demonstrating extensive knowledge,
very good critical analysis, a high level of accuracy, relevance,
presentation and appropriate skills.
 The dissertation will be well-presented, making full and appropriate
use of referenced work.
 The dissertation will be written in fluent, lucid and stylish prose,
which engages the reader's interest.
 The candidate should also be able to situate their topic within the
wider literature, showing an awareness of current debates and an
ability to offer informed and constructive analysis of the work of

60-69 MSc Merit

 High quality work, demonstrating very good knowledge and
 Good critical analysis, accuracy, relevance, and presentation. The
work will be competently or well presented, making correct use of
references to show the backdrop of the work.
 The work will be clearly and effectively written. Arguments should be
clear and cogent, making a plausible, if not compelling, case.
50-59 MSc Pass
 Competent and generally accurate work, demonstrating some
relevant knowledge and sound understanding though undeveloped
with limited critical reasoning.
 Research, referencing and prose styles may be haphazard and
arguments may be one-sided.
 The work should be competently presented but may not entirely
follow the guidelines set.
 There should be some attempt to situate the work within a wider
scholarly literature but the reading may be relatively narrow.
30-49 MSc Fail –Resubmission permitted
 Work that fails to reach MSc standard, is of limited quality and/or
quantity, but demonstrates some relevant knowledge and
understanding with errors and omissions.

(Marks should be considered in this range if it is felt that the candidate has,
throughout the period of the MSc dissertation project, shown reasonable

ability and understanding in the area of the discipline and that the
supervisor would have expected the student to achieve a modest success,
however, the dissertation as written does not reflect this. The candidate
would be given four months from the time of being advised to rewrite and
resubmit the dissertation. A successful resubmission dissertation would be
awarded a mark of 40%. Resubmission is not permitted by the IET under
their rules concerning Chartered Engineer qualification.)

0 - 29 MSc Fail – Resubmission not permitted

 Work that substantially fall below the standard required for MSc, and
is also seriously deficient in quality and quantity.

Failure in the dissertation does not prevent a student from gaining either a
PG Diploma or a PG Certificate as an Early Exit Award.

4.5 Resubmission

The pass mark for the MSc dissertation is an overall mark of 50. On the recommendation of
the Board of Examiners a failed dissertation with a mark of 30-49 will normally be permitted
one resubmission. Students will not be permitted to resubmit their dissertation if they fail with
a mark of less than 30 at first attempt and will be considered for the award of Postgraduate

Normally the resubmission deadline will be within four months of the publication of the result.
A resubmitted MSc dissertation will be capped using the same rules that apply to the
capping of resit examinations (please see your Programme Handbook for further details).

If the resubmitted MSc dissertation fails, the student will be awarded the PG Diploma.

Students who have failed the dissertation may choose to accept the award of PG Diploma if
they do not wish to resubmit their dissertation.

4.6 Plagiarism, Collusion, and Fabrication or Falsification of Results

As explained clearly in the Programme Handbook, plagiarism, collusion, and fabrication or

falsification of results is serious academic malpractice. According to the University’s policy,
once an accusation is made of an MSc dissertation, the assessment will be suspended
immediately. The case will be reported to the Faculty, who will then form a disciplinary panel
to judge on the case. If the accusation is deemed to be serious, the case will be referred to
the University level, which has a wider range of penalties available.

Students are strongly warned not to take any risk of academic malpractice. Especially
with electronic submission of dissertations and anti-plagiarism software it will be
discovered and the penalty is severe. In the past, some students have been dismissed
from the University due to academic malpractice.

Further guidance on plagiarism and other forms of academic malpractice can be found here: