COMP489 (2023) - Research Project


A research project on a topic approved by the Head of School.

Course learning objectives

Students who pass this course should be able to:

  1. The 489 projects are the capstone course of the honours degrees, be they 4 year BE degrees or 1 year Science Honours degrees. The aim of the projects is for you to deeply explore a topic and project that interests you under the supervision of an academic(s), or an academic and industry supervisor.

Course content

This course is designed for in-person study, and students are strongly recommended to attend lectures, tutorials and labs on campus. In particular, some assessment items or practical hands-on labs will require in-person attendance, although exceptions can be made under special circumstances.
Queries about any such exceptions can be sent to
COMP/ELCO projects are based on the creation of new knowledge through research. Such projects should aim at making novel contributions to the academic research literature. COMP/ELCO students are expected to demonstrate mathematical rigour (where appropriate), and use scientific experimentation to make critical observations. The literature survey for COMP/ELCO projects will typically draw on research papers in journals and conferences. Students should consult with their supervisor(s) and/or the course coordinator if they are unsure as to whether their projects are appropriate COMP/ELCO projects.

Withdrawal from Course

Withdrawal dates and process:


Dr Hoai-Bach Nguyen (Coordinator)

Teaching Format

A schedule of lecture topics will be available online. Regular meetings will be held nearly every week (in consultation with your supervisor).

Dates (trimester, teaching & break dates)

  • Teaching: 27 February 2023 - 02 June 2023
  • Break: 10 April 2023 - 23 April 2023
  • Study period: 05 June 2023 - 08 June 2023
  • Exam period: 09 June 2023 - 24 June 2023
  • Teaching: 10 July 2023 - 13 October 2023
  • Break: 21 August 2023 - 03 September 2023
  • Study period: 16 October 2023 - 19 October 2023
  • Exam period: 20 October 2023 - 04 November 2023

Class Times and Room Numbers

27 February 2023 - 09 April 2023

  • Monday 14:10 - 15:00 – LT118, Laby, Kelburn
24 April 2023 - 04 June 2023

  • Monday 14:10 - 15:00 – LT118, Laby, Kelburn
10 July 2023 - 20 August 2023

  • Monday 14:10 - 15:00 – LT118, Laby, Kelburn
04 September 2023 - 15 October 2023

  • Monday 14:10 - 15:00 – LT118, Laby, Kelburn


There is no textbook. But there is a handbook (available on the course Wiki).

Mandatory Course Requirements

In addition to achieving an overall pass mark of at least 50%, students must:

  • Deliver the final oral presentation.
  • Submit the final report.
  • Maintain a current copy of all work on University-approved storage systems.

If you believe that exceptional circumstances may prevent you from meeting the mandatory course requirements, contact the Course Coordinator for advice as soon as possible.


Your grade will be determined through an assessment of the various reports and presentations.

  • Preliminary Assessment - 20%
  • Final report and oral presentation - combined 80% (indicative)
The Preliminary Assessment grade is indicative, and may be replaced entirely by the final report/presentation mark.

Assessment ItemDue Date or Test DateCLO(s)Percentage
Preliminary report (approximately 8 pages), worth up to 20% of the final gradeReport on Week 12 of T1.CLO: 120%
Final report and presentationReport on Week 12 of T2, Presentation in the T2 assessment periodCLO: 180%


Late submissions will be penalized and extensions will not be given without prior arrangement with supervisors and the course coordinators. You should expect a penalty of one grade per day of lateness (i.e. A- would be reduced to a B+).


Individual extensions will only be granted in exceptional personal circumstances, and should be negotiated with the course coordinator before the deadline whenever possible. Documentation (eg, medical certificate) may be requested.

Submission & Return

Assignments and reports to be submitted using the ECS online submission system, accessible through the course web pages. Marks and comments will be returned through the ECS marking system, also available through the course web pages.

Group Work

Where appropriate, team projects are permitted. In such case, all reporting items must still be individually prepared and, ideally, each student will do a distinct part of the project (distinct being judged by the project supervisor and course coordinators).


In order to maintain satisfactory progress in CGRA/COMP/ENGR/ELCO 489, you should plan to spend an average of 10 hours per week on this paper, spread over the 30 weeks that the course runs (i.e. including mid-trimester breaks). During term time, a plausible and approximate breakdown for these hours would be:

  • Lectures/tutorials: Will be notified as and when needed..
  • Project work: 10 hours per week.
NOTE: It is very important for you to ensure that you put enough time in your project. Your supervisor can give you warnings if your progress is slow due to lack of efforts. After three warnings, the associate dean will arrange a meeting with you to discuss your progress and ways of improvement.
NOTE: Time spent for writing research papers (both conference and journal papers) will usually not be counted for your project. If you plan to prepare a research paper during this project, please seek consent from your supervisor. An approval from Associate Dean of Students and  Head of School is also necessary.

Teaching Plan


Communication of Additional Information

All online material for this course can be accessed at

Offering CRN: 1027

Points: 30
Duration: 27 February 2023 - 05 November 2023
Starts: Trimester 1+2
Campus: Kelburn