BSc Project: Structure and Proposed Timeline

The Center for Cognitive and Decision Sciences (CDS) aims to understand human decision-making and contribute to improving decision-making through evidence-based practices and guidelines. 

The BSc project helps students write their BSc thesis while improving knowledge of psychological theorymethodsproject management, and communication skills that are central to careers in business and the pursuit of a MSc in Psychology or related fields.  

We offer below a diagram and information concerning the structure and timeline of the BSc project in Cognitive and Decision Sciences. For the specific research topics offered see Bachelormatch (Dozent: Rui Mata).

BSc Timeline

The figure above illustrates the timeline for students writing their BSc thesis at the Center for Cognitive and Decision Sciences. Across 2 semesters, students are offered a combination of group meetings, individual meetings with their advisor, and opportunities for feedback on oral presentations (oral pitch, progress report) and written deliverables (exposé, thesis draft) that are geared to support students conduct independent research and writing a BSc thesis. You can find more information about each of these components below. 

Please note that the working language of the center is English, consequently, group meetings are typically held in English; however, advisor meetings, thesis writing, and student presentations can be conducted in either English or German.

Students meet as a group with the advisor on a regular basis (e.g., weekly) for the first few weeks of a semester to discuss a number of topics central to writing a Bachelor thesis, including expectations about the work (“What is a BSc thesis?”), and to develop literature search (“Systematic literature review”) and writing skills (“Proposal writing”, “Academic/thesis writing”).

Students in the group learn about each other’s plans and provide mutual feedback once per semester (“Oral pitch”, “Progress report”; ca. 10 min presentation + discussion). 

Students meet their advisor individually at least twice per semester (additional meetings are possible and scheduled as a function of student needs). Individual meetings aim to help each student construct a research plan tailored to the specific research question identified by the student in close collaboration with the advisor. 

Before each individual meeting students are expected to prepare/update 1) an exposé detailing the research proposal (see section "Written deliverables" for further detail) , and 2) a list of outstanding questions, and email these along with any supporting materials (results of literature search, background readings) to the advisor at least 5 days before the scheduled meeting.

The BSc project is geared to help students write a BSc thesis. A BSc thesis is a scientific document that is expected to follow the common guidelines and standards of empirical manuscripts submitted for publication in the psychological sciences. The thesis can consist of any of the following contributions: research synthesis (qualitative or quantitative review based on a systematic literature search), an empirical analysis of existing data (secondary data analysis), or development and analysis of an original empirical study (observational/experimental). 

Before submitting the thesis, students are given an opportunity to receive feedback from their advisor on parts of their written material (students are asked to submit their work for feedback about 3-4 weeks before the final submission deadline).     

At the end of the first semester, the student and advisor sign a Studienvertrag that represents a commitment to a specific research plan. The Studienvertrag is based on a written Exposé of 1 to 2 pages in which the student details 1) a specific research question, 2) background knowledge and key literature, 3) proposed methods, and 4) expected results.