Student projects

This page contains information about Master and Bachelor projects in our group. For more information, send us an email (please include [VUStudent] in the subject).

Make sure  to also send us your answers to the questions in the student interests questionnaire, your grade list, and (optionally) a CV.

For a list of currently available projects, have a look at Available Projects.

Master projects

Thesis projects come in two flavors:

  • Internal projects: working together with PhD students, postdocs, and staff members in the research group
  • External projects: projects in a company or external organisation.

Internal projects. Please note that the internal research projects are invariably tough and very research-oriented. We typically aim for a project that may lead to a publication (no guarantees, of course). In fact, our preference is for you to submit your thesis as a 12-page paper that may be considered for publication. This published paper is an excellent example from one of our former students.

Make sure you really want to do one of those before starting one. Seriously, think about it carefully (And kiss your social life goodbye!).

Topics in internal projects vary. Have a look at our papers and especially some of the student papers to get an idea.  Also have a look at our project page to get an overview of the project areas (and some concrete projects) we cover.

External projects. For external projects, we have good contacts with many companies. Some of them have their own list of projects:

Make sure to understand the exact rules and regulations regarding the registration of your project, time schedules, etc. Do not assume that we will remind you of all these things (or even know all the rules and regulations by heart). This is your responsibility. Make sure to study the wiki pages for the master project.

Bachelor projects

Bachelor thesis projects in our group are also considered very demanding. Make sure you want to do this. If you do opt for a Bachelor project in our group, we have several option.

One option is to reproduce the results of some (really tough) research paper. Have a look at some example papers from past projects [1 | 2]. Even though you have the paper in hand to guide you, you will discover that this is much harder than you might think. However, it is very important in science (and for science) that we constantly try to reproduce research to validate claims and build on the results of others.

Another option is to start a new project. We have different projects on offer. Send us an email if you are interest, but make sure to fill in the questionnaire first!

The official info with all the rules and regulations for bachelor projects can be found on the corresponding Canvas page and on the study guide.

Finally, here is an example of what we considered a very nice bachelor thesis.

Literature studies

Students in the CS master at VU have to do a literature study as part of the “master core”. This is how it works. You first find a topic. If you do not have a topic in mind yet, have a look at the projects and publications pages and see if there are any topics that you find particularly interesting.

Next, you meet up with any of us and discuss the topic. Often we need to scope it such that the actual area you look at is interesting, has a sufficient number of important papers, but also not too many, etc.

When you have finalized the topic, you start reading and compiling the study. At the end you should submit a report and give a presentation.

The literature study should show that you have covered the relevant area well (i.e., you discussed all the important papers), that you were able to systematize it. It is not enough to say: “Paper 1 said X, paper 2 said Y, etc.” Instead, you will have to structure the information. There are many ways to do so, taxonomies, categorizations, chronological ordering, etc.  This is an important aspect of your literature study.

Finally, it is nice (but not mandatory) if you present your own view, vision, opinion, perspective, … E.g., “I think this direction is pointless/great/better/worse because of X,Y,Z.”

A very good literature study is one that may lead to a publication (no guarantees of course). In fact, our preference is for you to submit your literature study as a 12-page paper that may be considered for publication. This published paper is an excellent example from one of our former students.

The official rules for the literature study are in the study guide.

Notes on ethics

See here.


Systems and Network Security Group at VU Amsterdam