Unit 1 Course overview

Learning outcomes

By the end of this unit you should:

  • be able to name at least one classmate
  • know the name and contact details of your teacher
  • understand the structure of this course
  • know the length, format and deadlines for your graduation thesis
  • be aware of the four types of graduation thesis
  • have examined the structure of graduation theses

Activity 1: Introduction to classmates

Work in groups of three or four. Take it in turns to introduce yourselves by stating your name and your supervisor. Describe your research field, and give reason for selecting your lab.

Useful phrases

  • I'm [ name ]. My supervisor is [ name ].
  • In our lab, we focus on [ research field ].
  • I choose this lab because [ reason ].

Remember the information your classmates tell you for the next activity. Feel free to ask and answer questions. Get to know your classmates.

Activity 2: Meeting more classmates

Work in pairs with a partner from a different group. Introduce yourself and then introduce one of your previous groupmates to your new partner. Ask and answer questions. If there is time, repeat with another partner. Get to know your classmates.

Activity 3: Get to know your teacher

Work in pairs or small groups. Write FIVE questions to ask your teacher. Do not write “What is your name?” or “How old are you?”.

Some ideas are given below.

  • How often do you.....?
  • Have you ever....?
  • What is your....?
  • Can you....?
  • Do you prefer.....or.....?
  • Could you tell me....?

Ask these questions and any follow-up questions when given a chance.

Activity 4: Introduction to course

Read the course syllabus to answer the following questions.

To help you write your graduation thesis

Three blocks (thesis writing; workshops/consultations; and presentations)

Thesis writing

Three sessions. Your teacher may increase or reduce the number sessions based on needs.

Accuracy, Brevity, Clarity, Objectivity, Formality and Completeness.

Language skills, which includes grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation; and Presentation skills, which includes content, slide design and body language

Ask your teacher to tell you about:

  1. attendance requirement - 80%?
  2. procedure for absences - email?
  3. final exam - yes?
  4. in-class writing - every class?
  5. writing submissions - online?

Activity 5: Assessment


The official syllabus states the assessment criteria used to evaluate your work. However, for the first half of this course, your main focus should be on developing the content for your graduation thesis. Minor grammar and other language errors can be solved once the content is finalized.

In the early stages of this course, you will learn about the genre of a graduation thesis and start to develop your ideas of what to write in particular sections of your graduation thesis. As the course progresses, you will spend more time working direcly on your own thesis.

To increase the likelihood of completing your graduation thesis on time, this course included a number of assigned tasks. These tasks are submitted via the learning management system ( ELMS ). In general, each assignment or task is awarded either zero or 100%. Most assignments involve writing content that may be included in your final thesis.

This emoticon is used to remind you of tasks that are assessed. The final writing assignment is to submit the actual graduation thesis you will submit (or have submitted) to your supervisor. The final speaking assignment is to deliver a slideshow presentation of your graduation thesis. This should be the same presentation you plan to use for your supervisor.

Activity 6: Introduction to graduation theses

Read the General information first, and then read Guidelines for the UoA Graduation Thesis in English and/or Japanese . Work in pairs to find the answers to the following questions.

In general, no. There are a few exceptions, but this is decide on entry to a special program.

The official university-wide submission date is mid-January. You will receive an email with the exact date. However, most supervisors will ask you to submit a draft in December or the first week in January.

The university guidelines state that 4 to 8 pages is an appropriate length. The most common length is 6 pages. You should follow the specific advice given by your supervisor on the number of pages appropriate for your research.

The average graduation thesis contains 350 words per page, and so the average this contains a total of about 2100 words.

Many students write in LaTeX, but some professors allow students to use Word. You should ask your supervisor to confirm whether you should use LaTeX or not.

In general, two - your supervisor and your referee. If you are taking EN08, your tutor will also read it.

Activity 7a: Four types of graduation thesis


The UoA graduation thesis for undergraduate students takes the format of a short research article. There are four general types of graduation thesis. It is a good idea to find some example theses in the same category as the thesis you will write.

  1. applied, practical application of knowledge, e.g. developing and evaluating software
  2. empirical, understanding the experience, e.g usability (UI and UX) and accuracy studies
  3. experimental, e.g. studies that test hypothesis using control and experimental groups
  4. theoretical, e.g. mathematical proofs

Activity 7b: Discovering the format of graduation theses

The Feature Visualizer is a tool that is designed to help you become more familiar with the structure and language used in graduation theses.

Access the Feature Visualizer and discover for yourself by showing and hiding various features. Pay close attention to the sections within the thesis, and the moves within the introduction.

Activity 8: Mid-term poster presentation

Complete and submit your poster.

A graduation requirement for the University of Aizu is to submit a mid-term research poster. Your supervisor must approve the poster prior to submission to the university administration. When you have submitted the poster, upload a copy to the learning management system ( ELMS ). This will help your tutor better understand your thesis project.


Do you know:

  1. the name of at least one classmate
  2. your teacher's name and contact details
  3. how many pages you need to write in your graduation thesis
  4. what type of thesis you will write
  5. whether you will use LaTeX or Word

If you do not, make sure that you do before your next class.