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Does your faculty/professors provide research topics for Masters' thesis ?


User: ashady - 12 February 2021 14:05

Hello, all.
Long story short, I've been enrolled in master's program since Feb 2018. Took a year off to go to the obligatory military service.
Right now I have more two exams in the end of Feb. to finish all courses.

Right now, I am required to choose a research point before the end of March. I am kinda interested in Deep-Learning (DL), especially in Natural language processing (NLP). But I don't have enough experience to pick up a point. What I've been trying to do is to study DL foundations, then go to NLP, but I don't think I will have enough experience within the time frame to pick a topic.

I've been asking professors in my Country, they seem have nothing to provide. They ask me to bring them a topic and they might supervise it.
Looks like my university - which is supposed to be one of the highest ranked in country - doesn't have a research center for most fields in computer.

I wonder if it's the same with you all over the world, you have to do everything by yourself ?

I've thought the master's is designed to teach you significantly about a specific sub-field, but even the courses were available not related to anything. they seemed very general and chaotic to me, maybe 2 courses out of the 8 I took were related to DL. Am I wrong on this ? or there is another perspective/paradigm I am missing?

I would be grateful, if you would advise what to do with this small time-frame, noting that I have 2 exams upfront and full-time job.

N.B: I don't have the luxury to quit my job or lower the hours to be free to my graduate studies, most of us in my country like that except if you are born in a very rich family.

User: Alienok - 12 February 2021 19:11

I've chosen the topic myself; I mean the main idea and what the thesis should be about. I think that it's more convenient as you can select topic that is interesting for you.

User: abababa - 13 February 2021 00:50

The general concept of research is that it's investigator-led; i.e. if someone tells you what to do 'by numbers', you're not being (or training to be) a researcher, you're training to be a lab assistant.

That said, you would be right to complain if they have not trained you sufficiently to select a topic and pose an informed question. I think a reasonable expectation is they should not tell you what to do, but should provide timely and insightful feedback on what you are proposing.

The fundamental thing here is research needs to be self-driven. Whilst at undergrad level, the expectation is you will learn the content and pass the exam, at masters it (without much notice, typically), relies on you defining the content and requirements. At PhD even moreso.

I can certainly say, from experience, if you want to do good research, yes, you have to do it all yourself. This is based on all the good researchers I've spoken to who seem to universally arrive at the conclusion if you need to do a good study, you end up doing 95% of the work. Miracle supervisors/teams who will appreciate all the nuances exist, but they're very rare.