MSc Research Proposal



The Faculty ITC Research Programme is formulated as a number of the following interlinked
research themes:
* 4D-Earth
* Acquisition and quality of geo-spatial information (ACQUAL);
* Forest Agriculture and Environment in the Spatial Sciences (FORAGES);
* People, Land and Urban Systems (PLUS);
* Spatio-temporal analytics, maps and processing (STAMP);
* Water Cycle and Climate (WCC).
These research themes and activities of the six scientific departments form the subject
framework and organizational structure in which Master's students conduct their individual
The purpose of modules 14 and 15 is i) to deepen the knowledge and skills of the students within
the research activities of the scientific department, and ii) to help the students to define their own
MSc Research Proposal.
Each scientific department offers a specific research project or a set of specific research support
activities (lectures; hands-on sessions; specific survey techniques) during modules 14 and 15.
Although the general structure is the same, the content will be specific to the department's
research themes and activities.
Departments are free to fill this in within the boundaries described in this module description.
The research projects or research support activities can be inter-disciplinary.
A large part of the modules is spent on finalizing the MSc Research Proposal with support and
feedback from staff and peers. At the end of module 15 the MSc Research Proposal will be
assessed by a Proposal Assessment Board based on a written proposal, a presentation and an oral
defense. The Proposal Assessment Board decides if the proposal is acceptable, as one of the
conditions to be admitted to the MSc Research phase (modules 16-23). Through the MSc
Research Proposal the students should demonstrate the ability to undertake independent research.
The students have to make a choice of the envisaged MSc research topic during Block 2 of the
course. This choice for the MSc research topic has to be made before the start of module 11
(exact date will be announced in due time)
For more information about the content and scope of the Faculty ITC Research Programme,
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Upon completion of these two modules, the student will be able to:
1. Undertake and reflect upon a specific research project or a set of specific research support
activities typical for the research theme in which the student undertakes the research;
2. Critically review MSc Research Proposals from peers;


3. Define ways to tackle a scientific problem and structure research;


4. Place the research project in a wider scientific and societal context;
5. Structure the proposed scientific research to the specifications of the scientific discipline;
6. Meet quality standards and excellence in research;
7. Present scientific information in written English at a standard acceptable to the scientific
Learning outcomes 1 and 2 refer to module 14 and learning outcomes 3 to 8 to module 15. Please
note however; the activities of module 14 and 15 will run parallel and are interrelated.





 In a plenary session at the start of module 14, the Research Theme will be further introduced.

Two main activities run parallel in modules 14 and 15:
A research project or a set of specific research support activities;
Developing the MSc Research Proposal for the individual Thesis with feedback from staff
and peers.

  Research project or a set of specific research support activities

 The small research project or specific activities to support the research of the domain which are

typically part of the student's MSc research gives the students an opportunity to practice part of
the research.
These activities are considered an important preparation for conducting the individual MSc
research in the MSc Research phase, as well as for the student's future professional academic
working practice.
The projects and research support activities are defined by the scientific departments with a view
to catering for a variety of research approaches and interests, as well as the relevance of these to
society and the research field.


 Finalizing MSc Research Proposal


The MSc Research Proposal is finalized by the student in mutual agreement with their supervisors, who are appointed in module 11. The MSc Research Proposal should be a logical and ordered exposition of the envisaged research (as introduced in module 11), including data
availability, (fieldwork) methods, a flowchart, and time planning. In the last week of module 15, the MSc Research Proposal is presented before a Proposal Assessment Board. The research proposal is assessed based on the written MSc Research proposal, a presentation and an oral
defence. Assessment criteria refer to the scientific scope and depth, scientific method, the reporting, the presentation and defence, and the process.
At least 70% of the modules will be allocated to self-study. This time is mostly for finalizing the MSc Research Proposal.
When presenting the proposal, the student must also show the Proposal Assessment Board that
all the required data is available or, if not, that steps (including fieldwork if appropriate) will be taken to acquire these data in time. Likewise, requirements for hardware and/or software should  be specified to ensure that these can be made available as required.
Acceptance of the proposal is one of the prerequisites for the start of the individual research (modules 16- 23). The student will draft a supervision plan in consultation with the supervisors.


Peer review and critical reflection

The students will critically review and comment upon the progress of their peers. This could be
related to the research project and/or to the development of their MSc Research Proposal,
depending on setup of the modules as defined by the specific scientific department.
A tutor will be appointed to guide the student or a student group during module 14-15 . The
tutors will convene plenary sessions to critically exchange experiences among peers and monitor
the progress of all participating students.
The student should be able to reflect on what they have learned from the research project or
various research support activities and the peer review sessions in relation to their MSc Research




At the start of module 14 students should have an accepted MSc research topic and have
elements of a first draft of their MSc Research Proposal. Students should have discussed this
draft with their assigned supervisors.
To prepare an acceptable proposal and carry out the subsequent research work, it is necessary to
have a sufficient level of knowledge in the chosen research field. Consequently, if the student
wants to undertake research in which the focus differs from that of the domain modules followed
in Block 2, the student will have to provide satisfactory evidence that the student has the relevant
background, knowledge and skills.




To be specified by the responsible scientific department. 



Teaching / learning method

Allocated Hours


Supervised practicals

Unsupervised practicals

Individual assignment

Group assignment








The first two learning outcomes (1 and 2) are assessed through a combination of:
A report on a specific research project or a set of specific research support activities;
A individual written reflection report;
Active participation in group and/or peer review activities.
The module 14 assessments result in a "Completed"or "Fail". The student will be informed at the
start of the module 14 about the set-up and details of the assessments.
The remainder of the learning outcomes (3 to 7) are assessed through the MSc Research
proposal. Assessment will be done by a Proposal Assessment Board based on a written proposal,
a presentation and an oral defense.
The MSc Research proposal assessment will lead to a "Completed" or "Fail" on the course record
for module 15.


K.N.Toosi University
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