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How To (survive a) Design Informatics MSc Dissertation (in data visualization)

As well as this page, you should read the Masters Project Guide (Design Informatics) on the School of Informatics website.

What is the purpose of an MSc thesis?

The idea of an MSc thesis is to show that you are capable of individual intellectual work. It should be an original piece of work, addressing an specific problem and discussing solutions or lessons learnt in deadling with this problem. A thesis can range from more practical work to more theoretical and data collection work (more on possible contributions here).

A thesis wants to assess

Who “owns” a Dissertation?

You. You are the sole author and everything you write should be your own thougths and ideas. Your supervisor will help you and can propose you problems and solutions but there are no specific checkboxes or to-do lists prepared for you.

Components of a Dissertation

A Design Informatics MSc thesis consists of largely 4 components that you should cover in your write-up.

Project planning

An MSc dissertation is usually between 3-4 months. This is very short. Below is a possible outline how you should place your milestones.

See general information on how to plan a project and contribution here.

Writing up

You are well familar with your project, and ideally your supervisor is, too. However, All that the (other) grader of your thesis will see is your writing.


You need to describe each of these in your thesis. More information on technical writing here.

What is a ‘good dissertation’?

A dissertation grade gets (significantly) lowered for the following reasons:

Also, check the below marking scheme for self-assessement.

Marking Scheme

Dissertations are marked against the following scheme: (unsatisfying, poor, fair, good, very good)

See also the MSc Project Marking Guidelines.