1. General provisions
1.1 The document “Guidelines for preparing and defending graduation theses in the IAAB, IADB, IVSB study programmes” regulates the procedure of preparing and defending theses in the study programmes of IT Systems Administration (IAAB), IT Systems Development (IADB) and Cyber Security Engineering (IVSB) curated by TalTech IT College (hereinafter “the College”) (hereinafter “thesis-writing process”).
1.2 A thesis-writing process shall comply with TalTech’s Academic Policies, Procedure for Supervising, Reviewing and Defending Graduation Thesis at the School of Information Technologies, Rules for Publication and Preservation of Graduation Thesis, Author Guidelines and Formatting Requirements for Thesis Preparation and Procedure for Processing a Student’s Violation of Academic Practices and Contemptible Behavior in the School of Information Technologies.
1.3 The thesis-writing process is coordinated by the theses coordinator appointed by the college director.
1.4 The forms, instructions, deadlines and other important information related to the thesis-writing process shall be made available to students on the college website and in the Moodle environment on the thesis course page.
2. Preparation and supervision of a thesis
2.1 A thesis is a student’s independent work that deepens professional knowledge and addresses a topical speciality-related issue, using analysis and a methodology suitable for solving the goals and problems set in the work.
2.2 At the beginning of each semester, a thesis seminar is held, during which the theses coordinator and the programme director introduce the requirements for the preparation and defense of a thesis, the deadlines (hereinafter “schedule”) and the process, and give advice on finding a suitable thesis topic.
2.3 A student shall find the topic and supervisor of the thesis by himself/herself, if necessary, the student is advised by the programme director and / or the theses coordinator.
2.4 The student and the supervisor agree on a schedule for the preparation of the thesis.
2.5 The thesis can have up to two supervisors – a principal supervisor and a co-supervisor. A supervisor is selected from among the academic staff of the university or from outside the university, depending on the topic of the thesis. A supervisor must have at least a master’s degree or equivalent qualification; or higher education and at least 5 years of work experience in the supervised field. If the principal supervisor is from outside his / her school or university, the topic of the thesis together with the name of the supervisor must be approved by the programme director.
2.6 The topic of the thesis and the supervisor, including the co-supervisor, shall be approved upon defense of the thesis plan.
2.7 A student shall submit a thesis plan to the Moodle environment on the thesis course page by the deadline indicated in the schedule.
2.8 The defense of the thesis plan is mandatory. A student shall defend his/her thesis plan before a committee at the appointed time. The committee makes recommendations, which the student shall take into account when preparing a thesis. The committee has the right not to approve the plan if significant deficiencies become apparent and to require the student to supplement the plan in accordance with the recommendations received from the committee.
2.9 A student shall submit a thesis plan approved by the committee and signed by the supervisor and himself / herself to the Moodle environment.
2.10 The formatting requirements for a thesis are set out in Author Guidelines and Formatting Requirements for Thesis Preparation of the School of Information Technology, which can be found on the Moodle thesis course page and on website of the School of Information Technology.
2.11 The thesis evaluation criteria are described in the Thesis Evaluation Matrix (Annex A).
3. Thesis defense
3.1 Thesis defenses take place once a semester at a time fixed in the schedule (defense period).
3.2 The defense of a thesis is preceded by a preliminary defense, which is obligatory and usually takes place one month before the final defense.
3.3 For the preliminary defense, a student shall submit an electronic version of the thesis to the Moodle environment by the deadline indicated in the schedule. The thesis must be at least 90% complete. Students who do not submit their work by the deadline will not be allowed for preliminary defense.
3.4 During the preliminary defense, a student defends his/her graduation thesis before a committee, who assesses the readiness of the graduation thesis for the final defense and appoints a reviewer for the graduation thesis.
3.5 A further precondition, in addition to the requirements laid down in TalTech’s Academic Policies, is a decision of the preliminary defense committee to permit a student to defend his/her graduation thesis, .
3.6 Students who do not appear for preliminary defense will not be allowed to defend the thesis. In the next semester, the student will be able to participate in the preliminary defense on the basis of an existing or re-approved thesis plan (see clause 2.9.-2.11.).
3.7 In order to defend a graduation thesis, the student shall submit an application for defense in the study information system by the deadline indicated in the academic calendar. The supervisor approves the application for defense in the study information system. Graduation theses are not declared in the study information system.
3.8 A student shall submit 1) a digitally signed thesis, 2) the thesis in pdf format 3) a signed supervisor’s opinion to the Moodle environment by the deadline indicated in the schedule,. The student must fulfil the metadata table by the same deadline and in the same environment.
3.9 All graduation theses submitted for defense must be checked for plagiarism. Cases of plagiarism are handled in accordance with the requirements of TalTech and the School of Information Technology.
3.10 The theses coordinator forwards the theses to reviewers.
3.11 The theses coordinator shall enter the review to the Moodle environment on the thesis course page by the deadline indicated in the schedule, where it will be available to both the student / thesis defender and the members of the defense committee.
3.12 On the basis of the record of the preliminary defense committee, an order of students who have fulfilled the prerequisites for defending their thesis is drawn up (see clause 3.5).
3.13 The list of defenders together with the topics of the graduation theses, the composition of the committees and the schedule of the defenses will be added to the Moodle web page of the thesis course by the deadline indicated in the schedule and will be published on the college website.
3.14 Thesis defenses are generally public. Closed defenses are allowed only in justified exceptional cases based on the requirements set out in the Procedure for Supervising, Reviewing and Defending Graduation Thesis at the School of Information Technologies.
3.15 The final defenses take place before a defense committee led by the chairman of the defense committee or a member of the defense committee authorized by the chairman. 30 minutes are planned for the defense of one thesis, which includes the defense speech of the student defending the graduation thesis (7-10 minutes), the evaluations of the reviewer and the supervisor, and the student’s answers to the questions of the defense committee.
3.16 A thesis shall be evaluated based on TalTech’s Academic Policies, Procedure for Supervising, Reviewing and Defending Graduation Thesis at the School of Information Technologies and the Thesis Evaluation Matrix (Annex A).
3.17 The results of a defense will be announced after the closed meeting of the defense committee at the end of the defense day.
3.18 A student has the right to dispute the issues related to the defense procedure and the evaluation result within three working days as of the publication of the defense results by filing the corresponding signed appeal to the chairman of the defense committee, who shall respond within three working days.
3.19 A student not attending the final defense where to the student has been admitted (marked as “absent” on the record) may defend the thesis on the same topic in the following semester without participating in the preliminary defense. If the student changes the topic of the thesis, the student shall submit a new thesis plan and pass the defense of the thesis plan and the preliminary defense of the graduation thesis.
3.20 A student who receives grade “0” at the defense can defend his/her thesis again under the conditions set by the defense committee (the student is required to supplement the existing graduation thesis, submit a new graduation thesis, etc.).
3.21 The theses that have been given a positive grade will be published in the digital collection of the TalTech library in accordance with the Rules for Publication and Preservation of Graduation Thesis.