The project abstract is a formal document, not a slip of paper with a few vague ideas on it about what the student thinks would be interesting to do. In order to receive approval for a project, the student will present a proposal outlining the following:

  • The project's focus (e.g., examine artificial intelligence and speech synthesis, investigate microcomputer security, examine the importance of documentation (human factors), etc.).
  • The project's objectives in terms of the topics that the theoretical portion of the IS thesis will cover, the software or documents that the project will produce, and the learning that will result from accomplishing the project.
  • The efforts that will contribute to the project: programming, interviews, special library research, trips, and needed materials (languages, machines, documentation, etc.).
  • Potential problems in the project that might become trouble spots. Identify the challenges the student might encounter in accomplishing the project. The student should investigate whether these trouble spots could make the rest of the project impossible if they cannot be surmounted.
  • A suggested timetable specifying the points throughout the two semesters at which the various phases of the project will be complete.
  • A minimum of five references (journal articles, technical reports, books) on your proposed topic. Online references are not, generally, acceptable.

Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography is a bibliography in which each entry includes a description of the entry’s content and the role it might take in the research. This description is not a copy of the entry’s abstract.

Thesis Outline

The thesis outline is a proposed table of contents for the thesis. The table of contents should include a project title and a specification of chapters and sub-sections, each annotated with a title.

Project Research

The project should begin with a substantial amount of library research. The description of this research should involve a clear exposition of the problem or research area, an annotated bibliography, and an outline for conducting the research.

Completed Chapters

In mid-October, the student will reach an agreement with his/her advisor about which chapters are to be completed as a prerequisite to satisfactory completion of the first semester of Senior IS. These chapters must be submitted by the date given on the timeline later in this document. A completed chapter is not an outline or a draft, but a chapter that has been through at least one review by the advisor. Satisfactory progress in the first semester should result in approximately 25-30 well written pages that are free of grammatical errors and that contain proper citations in the ACM format.

Preliminary Software

In mid-October, the student will reach an agreement with his/her advisor about the software component that is to be completed as a prerequisite to satisfactory completion of the first semester of Senior IS. The software component may consist of a prototype showing proof of principle, a set of software modules, data analysis using a software tool, etc.

Digital Submission

The I.S. in LaTeX format as a pdf file, the I.S. abstract in text format, source files and results are provided in digital form, on a CD, DVD, USB, or other digital media, to the advisor before the oral defense.


This document represents the I.S. in poster form and must be presented during the Senior I.S. Symposium. The student must register for the symposium. The Dean of Faculty Development typically announces, in mid-February, the registration deadline and requirements for symposium presentations.