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Guidelines for MCS proposals

The MCS proposal is an important milestone in the student's progress. It provides a roadmap for the research and is an opportunity for feedback from the faculty (other than the supervisor). It should be completed at the beginning of the research process, normally after the courses have been completed.

Every proposal needs to contain the following sections:

  • Introduction
  • Background
  • Objectives
  • Proposed work
  • Schedule
  • Bibliography

Individual supervisors may suggest variations (particularly for objectives/proposed work) that are more suitable for their type of work. It still needs to cover these basics in terms of content.

The MCS proposal is supposed to be about 4-5 pages long (possibly not including schedule and bibliography). It is not intended to be particularly onerous, and should be done as soon as the student knows what they will be doing, have sufficient background to explain why it is a good thing to do, and know how it will be done (in general).

Background: Should contain just enough background to motivate the problem and show that the context of related work is understood.

Objectives/proposed work: Outlines problems that will be addressed, and how they will be addressed. There is room for flexibility, and the student is not expected to have everything figured out already.

Schedule: Gives a timeline for the research work, beginning with the proposal and ending with the defense, with relevant stages in the research (e.g. background reading, algorithm development, implementation, testing) in between.

Submission process: The proposal is submitted to the graduate secretary, with the supervisor's approval. The proposal is made available electronically to all FCS GAU members. An oral presentation may be scheduled upon the supervisor's request. The MCS proposal is not pass/fail. FCS GAU members may give feedback on the proposal, including suggestions for improvement of the problem, plan, and scope.