Senior Project/Thesis

All students majoring in Computer Science are required to complete a semester-long Senior Project or a Senior Thesis in their senior year. A Senior Project/Thesis represents a student’s capstone experience in the discipline. Students are required to submit a Project or a Thesis proposal by Nov. 15 in the fall semester of their senior year and register for the course CS 399 (Senior Conference) for the spring semester that follows. More details regarding a Senior Project/Thesis are presented below.

Selecting a Senior Project/Thesis Topic

A Senior Project/Thesis represents the culmination of a student’s pursuit of a degree in Computer Science. A Senior Project is typically a well-defined project whose end result is a specific deliverable. An application, an empirical study, a survey, or replicating an existing result are example categories of projects. A Senior Thesis has an expectation of producing new knowledge or advancement in a specific area. Theses are typically carried out in the research areas of department faculty. Both, a project or a thesis, culminate in a written report.

Identifying a project is typically done in the spring semester of the Junior year. Students are required to submit a (one-page) Thesis/Project proposal by Nov. 15 in the fall semester of their senior year, and register for CS 399 (Senior Conference) in the spring semester of their Senior Year. Students are required to submit a formal Project Report (or a Thesis) to their advisor by the end of the twelfth week of the spring semester. Students are also required to give a formal presentation which is scheduled in the final two weeks of the classes in spring.

Students completing a double major or a minor in another field are encouraged to propose interdisciplinary projects/thesis in the subjects of their major(s)/minor(s). Double Majors can also propose a single interdisciplinary Senior Project/Thesis that will fulfill the requirements of both majors.

Several students can also form a group and propose a collaborative Senior Project.

Honors in Computer Science

Students electing to complete Senior Thesis are eligible for graduating with Honors in Computer Science. Students doing a Senior Project that results in original contributions can apply to turn their Senior Project into a Senior Thesis (see Requesting Consideration for Honors). The thesis is reviewed by a committee of three professors who will decide whether to award the Honors. As per college rules, students with a GPA of 3.8 in the Major will be automatically considered for Honors upon successful completion of a thesis. Students below the 3.8 GPA threshold should consult with their advisor and Senior Conference coordinator for Honors consideration.

Choosing an Adviser

To help develop their ideas for a project or thesis, students should engage their professor(s) in the process sometime in the spring semester of their Junior year. The advisor can help student with outlining the scope of the project, selecting background reading, computing materials, software, and other logistics of the project. Occasionally, there may even be external funding that may be available for carrying out the project (see below). The advisor can help students identify possible funding sources. Students should make sure that they set a weekly meeting time to meet with their advisors about the project.

Formulating a Senior Project/Thesis Proposal

With a professor’s assistance, a student can arrive at a specific proposal (a one-page abstract) that describes the project. The abstract should be submitted to the department by Nov. 15 in the fall semester of their senior year. A more definite and detailed proposal will be required by the end of Week 1 of the CS 399 course in the spring.


Spring Semester of Junior Year: Typically, planning for a Senior Project/Thesis should begin in the spring semester of the Junior year. Students can then spend the summer doing some background research on the topic before finalizing a specific project. Excellent Summer Research opportunities are available at Bryn Mawr and at other national and international venues. Consult with your advisor about these.

Fall Semester of Senior Year: Students can spend this semester doing initial feasibility studies and further honing their projects. Try and meet with your thesis advisor(s) at least once every two weeks, if you have one. Generally, most good projects begin their work in earnest by the end of the fall semester. You are also required to submit a thesis proposal to the department by Nov. 15.

Spring Semester of Senior Year: Prepare an updated 2-page abstract in Week 1 and submit it to the advisor. Enroll in CS 399 (Senior Conference). Submit a Senior Project Report (or a Thesis) by the end of Week 12. Give a presentation in the final two weeks of the semester.

Requesting Consideration for Honors

For consideration for Honors in Computer Science (See above), students should request their Project/Thesis be reviewed by a faculty committee of three at the time of submitting a final report/thesis. Students’ advisors can help in making the decision of whether or not a project/thesis might qualify for Honors.

A Sampling of Previous Senior Projects/Theses

Below is a list of some Senior Projects/Theses past years:

Cara Takemoto '12
Title: Using Authorship Attribution Techniques to Classify Texts by Native and Non-native Speakers
Advisor: Deepak Kumar

Bethany Azuma '11
Title: Comparison of Constructions of Smooth Surfaces
Advisor: Dianna Xu

Marissa Mocenigo '11
Title: Analyzing Data Visualization Methods for Academic Social Networks
Advisor: Dianna Xu

Mansi Gupta '10
Title: Visualizing Dance Formations: Dance Studio Version II
Advisor: Dianna Xu

Ashley Gavin '10
Title: Portal; Merging the Real and Virtual Gaming Worlds
Advisor: Dianna Xu

Marwa Nur Muhammad '09
Title: Visualizing Dance Formations: The Choreographer’s Tool
Advisor: Dianna Xu