Guidelines for Theses

Formal requirements for students for the execution of

Bachelor Theses, Master Theses, Studienarbeiten

at the Multimedia Communications Lab (KOM) under the supervision of Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ralf Steinmetz.

This information is meant as an overview of requirements, helpful tips, and notes for the application, registration, writing, submission, and presentation of theses at KOM. This is by no means complete nor legally binding. Always regard the current information provided by the University and your department.

General Information

Primarily, students from the departments (Fachbereiche) 1, 18, 20, and related study courses can write their thesis at KOM. The duration of a thesis depends on several factors like department, course of study, and part-time or full-time study.

Available topics can be found on poster displays at KOM or posted in Open Theses. Furthermore, students may propose their own topics within the field of research of the respective scientists. Topic-related questions can be discussed directly with the respective supervising scientist. In our lab, we provide theoretically and practically oriented theses. We also provide sufficient numbers of computers and workplaces in our student laboratories, enabling the completion of the implementation and writing entirely at KOM.

Students are expected to independently acquire and portray the current scientifical and technological state-of-the-art (related work). All sources and references must be correctly cited (see information on Plagiarism).

The search for scientific publications, like articles in journals or workshop and conference proceedings, can be supported by using search engines like TUbiblio by the ULB or Google Scholar. General statistical data can be found for example at Statista. In addition to the advice of respective supervisors, the university’s SchreibCenter provides a broad range of support for writing a thesis.


The official start of a thesis has to be registered at the examination management office (Prüfungssekretariat) in the respective department. In some cases, Studienarbeiten must also be registered.

Students must inform themselves of the respective process and requirements for starting and registering their thesis. KOM will not undertake any verification step to see whether a student is eligible to perform a thesis. See your examination office for more information.

Examination Terms

The General Examination Terms of the Technical University of Darmstadt (Allgemeinen Prüfungsbestimmungen der TUD, APB) contain the regulations for examinations and theses effective for the entire university.

This page gives only a short overview of some important topics. The English translation is for information purposes only. The legally binding document is the German version. See Rules and Regulations for an overview of available documents.

The following passages are excerpts of the English version of the APB:

"§38 Cheating and unlawful behavior

(1) In the event that cheating or any other infringements by a student in an examination situation comes to light, this examination shall be declared “insufficient”. The respective examiner shall decide in such cases, together with the responsible examination committee in case of doubt.

(2) The submission of a false declaration according to §§22 par. 7, 23 par. 7, the submission of another author’s work, a re-working of another author’s work, or a restructuring of another work, in whole or in part, in a graded paper is considered cheating (plagiarism)."

Note: Plagiarism is cheating and not tolerated! All passages of a text that are not originally from the specified author of the text must be clearly marked as such. Every work performed at KOM—theses, seminars, labs, etc.—is checked for plagiarism. See our information page on Plagiarism.

"§23 Final thesis

(7) The candidate must submit two printed copies of the final thesis for the examiners and one electronic version. If the thesis contains models or other material that cannot be represented in a text document, these must be submitted in an appropriate format, such as an image document. The corrected copy of the final thesis can be made part of the examination folder. All theses shall be saved electronically in the university files. The administration office will decide the details of this procedure. Upon submission of the final thesis, the candidate grants the university the right to store the thesis electronically in the State Library of Darmstadt (Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Darmstadt)."

Note: Theses must be timely submitted electronically via TUbama, otherwise the thesis is immediately graded a 5.0! Furthermore, students must submit up to two written and signed copies at KOM, depending on the type of thesis and the department. Besides the general examination terms, specific regulations for each department and course of study may be applicable. Students are responsible to meet the given deadlines and also have to check that their submission meets all requirements for themselves.

Requirements and Further Information for Theses at KOM

Formal requirements for the written thesis

Each written thesis must adhere to the following requirements. Additional requirements may be defined by supervisors.

  • Adequate length, especially but not limited to, including an adequate overview and discussion of related work
  • General structure

    • Title page
    • Declaration about the thesis (Ehrenwörtliche Erklärung). Students must check before submitting their thesis, that the given declaration meets the latest update given by the university or their department. Consult your supervisor in case of uncertainty.
    • List of contents
    • Abstract
    • Actual content, for example

      • Introduction
      • Background & related work
      • Assessment of available approaches and definition of the research gap
      • Own concept/approach/design in context of the research gap
      • Implementation. Ask your supervisor and see the Google Style Guides for information on how to properly style your code.
      • Evaluation
      • Conclusion and future work

    • Bibliography

    • (optional) Appendix, for example

      • Configuration files
      • (technical) specifications
      • additional figures or plots
      • performed surveys or survey data
      • evaluation data

    • (optional) index, list of abbreviations, list of figures, list of tables

  • Layout (for completeness, taken care of by the provided template)

    • Font size 11pt
    • Figures integrated and used within the text
    • Chapter structure not deeper than 3 layers (e.g., Chapter 1.2.3.)
    • The bibliography must be in bibtex alpha style

      • 1 author = First three letters of author + Year [Aaa21]
      • 2–4 authors = First letter of each author + Year [ABCD21]
      • >4 authors = First letter of first three authors, "+", + Year [ABC+21]
      • Equal abbreviations are distinguished by annotating a, b, c, and so on [ABC+21a, ABC+21b]
      • Alphabetically listed sources

Students are provided a LaTeX Template for Student Theses at KOM. On the same page, students can also find examples for good theses.

Students may write their thesis in German or English. However, we strongly encourage all students to write their thesis in English.

In addition to the electronic submission in TUbama and to the respective supervisors, students must submit up to two printed and signed copies of their thesis. The concrete number depends on the type of thesis and the department, consult your supervisor. Print version requirement

  • Double-sided A4
  • Glue binding (Leimbindung) with black binding
  • Black back cover
  • Transparent front cover sheet

Formal requirements for thesis presentations

Each thesis at KOM is completed by a final presentation with a student audience. It gives a detailed overview of the conducted work as well as the result of the thesis. The primary function of the final presentation is to provide students with the possibility to exercise the preparation of slides and presentation of their work. Therefore, each student must attend final presentations of other students as well. The final presentation is graded differently depending on the type of thesis and department.

Anmerkung für Studierende des FB 1: Der Vortrag ist kein Prüfungsgespräch.

An optional intermediate presentation providing an introduction to the topic, related work, and envisioned approach may be held for the scientific staff at KOM. It provides the students with the possibility to present and discuss their work within a small scientific audience.

Students shall use the Presentation Template. The presentation should have a maximum length of 20 minutes. In case this length is exceeded, the presentation may be aborted by the supervisor. Presentation slides shall be in English. The oral presentation may be either in German or English.

The following structure of the presentation can be used as reference.

  • Title slide, including student name and supervisors
  • Motivation and goal of the thesis
  • Possible environments, frameworks, parameters of the thesis
  • Related work and available approaches to similar problems
  • (Mid-term presentation:)

    • possible approaches to the problem
    • current state, open issues
    • further tasks, time plan

  • (Final presentation:)

    • applied approach to the problem
    • implementation and evaluation
    • result of the thesis and resolved issues
    • future work, open issues, further ideas

  • Conclusion of the presentation
  • Resources

Notes on preparing and designing presentations

(partially taken from "Mixtur für einen guten Vortrag" by Markus Roggenbach, University of Mannheim)

Number of slides: To prevent a "slide movie", each slide should contain an adequate amount of information which results in approximately 1 – 3 minutes of presentation time for a slide.

Preparation of the talk: Thinking is faster than talking. Loudly exercise the oral presentation beforehand so you know how long the presentation actually takes and to gain confidence in your given talk.

Design of presentation slides: Slides should support the presentation, not replace it. Neither should the presentation slides be empty and without any information, nor should every detail be described in the slides but not used in the presentation. A common but severe mistake are remarks like: “The rest can be taken from the slides”. Usually, slides are overloaded. The audience requires a significant amount of time to conceive the previously unknown slides. Thus, slides should preprocess and comprehensibly portray the most important aspects for the presenter. The structure of content must be implemented by graphical segmentation, like using different colors and fonts or the indentations of lists or notes. A well-used graphical representation or visualization can help to easily convey complex issues. Generally speaking: a picture is worth a thousand words.

Giving the talk: To overcome initial nervosity, it is often helpful to formulate and exercise the first few sentences of the presentation. This at least saves the beginning of the talk. But beware of simply reading off from your notes! This will result in a monotonous presentation style and a dull presentation for your audience. A motivated and energetic presentation style is key for a memorable presentation. Additionally, do not read off all information from your slides. They should contain only the most important notes and no full sentences in the first place. General hint: If Siri or Alexa could present your slides by reading the content, it is most probably not a good presentation. Another common mistake is that speakers stand in front of their slides and obstruct the audience’s view. To overcome this issue, it may help to purposely pick a spot with an adequate distance to, e.g., the projection surface. This also helps to face the audience, not the presentation slides. If you point at specific parts of a slide, keep in mind not to obstruct the view to the part you are pointing out.