Diplomarbeit / Master Thesis


  • Find a topic and an advisor: 
  • To get an idea what to expect, look at former completed theses here.
  • Do an initial literature study and develop an idea. 
  • Derive a work plan. Select a submission date you would like to aim for, and derive a time schedule by reserve-engineering backwards from the intended submission date. To be on the safe side, plan to start with the thesis write-up 8-12 weeks before the pre-submission deadline. 
  • Write a proposal for your thesis and send it to your advisor. The supervisor then needs to register the thesis together with the proposal in TISS (information here).
  • Present your master thesis proposal (e.g., as "DAAV" in the Konversatorium if you study visual computing - see seminar information below).  
  • Have regular meetings with your supervisor to discuss the progress and open issues. 
  • Implementation: in most theses, a piece of software implementing a new algorithm will be created. Use the research unit's GitLab or the TU Wien GitLab and share the repository at least with your supervisor. 
  • Generate results (benchmarks, screenshots, videos, user study, ...)
  • Write thesis.
    • The length of the thesis should be between 80 and 120 pages.
    • There are guidelines for the thesis layout etc. available at the faculty, including a LaTEX template for the whole thesis (optional) and a template for the first page (mandatory).
    • There are hints on writing the thesis text.
    • Be sure to follow the Code of Ethics.
    • Follow the recommendations for good practice in dealing with AI at TU Wien
  • Pre-submit a version of the thesis to your (co-)supervisor(s), which is already polished and in a state that you would like to submit. Plan this pre-submission early enough in your work plan so that you still have enough time to carefully incorporate changes. 
  • Make sure you have filled out all required forms. In particular, you need to fill in F-464, F-945 and F-975 at this link.
  • Present your thesis as a test talk for your defense (e.g., as "DAEV" in the Konversatorium if you study visual computing - see seminar information below).  
  • Upon completion, you have to hand in, in addition to the documents described here, also a pdf of your final thesis, and a descriptive image for our publication database. See faculty information on how and when to hand in your thesis.

In all, a diploma thesis will take a little longer than half a year to complete.

It is a good policy to do the diploma thesis at the department where the more advanced lectures and labs as well as the practical studies were completed. This improves synergy and allows closer cooperation between advisor and student. Before starting with the diploma thesis, one should have completed all lectures and labs. A few remaining exams do not matter, however.

Seminar for Master Students

In addition, students need to do a seminar for master students. Please make sure to check the requirements of your seminar! 


Guidelines for Writing a Master Thesis

What is a Master Thesis?

Note that we use "master thesis" and "diploma thesis" interchangeably.

At the end of their studies, every student has to write a diploma thesis. In our group, students prepare a scientific thesis from the area of computer graphics.  It is the final thesis of a master's degree program and serves to to demonstrate the ability to work on scientific content independently, justifiably and in a methodologically sound manner.  The student works on a topic agreed upon with a supervisor under the guidance of the supervisor:

  • Scientific content means that the topic should advance the state of knowledge of the of the subject area. 
  • Independent means that the student is responsible for the progress and quality of the work (supervision can be requested).
  • Methodologically sound means that recognized scientific methods are used and that the quality of the work meets certain minimum scientific requirements (this concerns documentation, selection of literature, programming, writing style, examples with sufficient statistical relevance, citations of other works, ...).

It helps if you look at the position of the thesis in the academic career path:

  • The bachelor's program consists of courses with learning material (completion of bachelor's thesis).
  • The master's program is intended to teach basic principles of research under supervision (degree diploma thesis). 
  • The dissertation is an own, content-wise new achievement on a topic, which also leads to scientific publications. 
  • The habilitation leads through own projects, lectures and many publications to one acquires the ability to teach and research in an entire subject area. 
  • To become a professor, one must then build up an international reputation, develop leadership qualities, and be successful in an application (this also requires negotiation skills and luck).

What to Keep in Mind When Writing a Thesis? 

An essential element of science is communication:

  • with oneself, i.e. by writing down intermediate results, pos. and neg. results
  • with the supervisor in regular meetings
  • with the research team in which one works, i.e. with people working on similar topics
  • with other people whose background knowledge is different.

Ethical principles ensure honesty in science, and the computer science faculty have written their own document on this. One should make sure you really understand these principles, in case of doubt discuss them with your supervisor. In any case, disregarding these principles can also result in severe consequences (keyword: plagiarism)!

When is a Thesis Finished? 

In short: when the goals agreed with the supervisor have been reached or when the supervisor is satisfied. There are a couple of things you can do to help:

  • You ask the supervisor to clearly define at the beginning which goal is to be achieved, or propose such a clear goal to the supervisor and document the goals in your thesis proposal. 
  • If the work is intensive, six months should normally be enough for the thesis. This and the agreed contents can be pointed out to the supervisor. 
  • If the efforts always end in negative results, then it's okay to document these negative results with scientific accuracy. Even such a contribution is of value to science. Negative results include goals that are not attainable under the given conditions, but  do not include not programming errors, which lead to program crashes or wrong results.

How is a Thesis Structured? 

A thesis typically consists of the following chapters:

  • Introduction (with stating research questions, hypotheses)
  • State-of-the-Art
  • (Theoretical Basics of the work)
  • Practical Part of the work: Developed approach, i.e., algorithms, data structures, technical details,
    workflows, discussion of chosen variants (all this should be clearly abstracted/separated/generalized
    from the concrete implementation details and should thus be relevant for a longer time).
  • Implementation: hardware/software environment, major components of the software. All
    necessary details of the concrete realization should be given to ensure reproducibility.
  • Results, Evaluation, Limitations
  • Conclusion, Lessons Learned, Outlook