ELEC ENG 7078A - Masters Project (Electrical) Part A

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2019

Masters Project (Electrical) Part 2 must follow Masters Project (Electrical) Part 1 in the immediately following semester. The two-semester masters project aims to give students experience in solving advanced engineering problems and the opportunity to apply the knowledge gained during the course. Through the project students will gain experience in project planning, in teamwork and in communication with management and support staff. The project will also develop skills in design, verification and research.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code ELEC ENG 7078A
    Course Masters Project (Electrical) Part A
    Coordinating Unit School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering
    Term Semester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Contact 300 hours project work and research skill development
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Incompatible ELEC ENG 7076A/B, ELEC ENG 7077A/B
    Assumed Knowledge ELEC ENG 7057 or equivalent: experience in professional & academic communication & analytical thinking
    Assessment Performance during project work, assessment of written reports, seminar presentations
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Hong Gunn Chew

    Email: HongGunn.Chew@adelaide.edu.au
    Office: Ingkarni Wardli 3.52
    Phone: 8313 1641
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

    1 Independently locate sources of information that will assist with the understanding of a technical problem that has not previously been encountered.
    2 Critically evaluate the validity, coverage and gaps in such sources of information.
    3 Develop a statement of a research question or hypothesis, identifying an issue of which there is incomplete understanding.
    4 Design and execute an investigation, experiment or theoretical study to answer the research question.
    5 Present the background and findings of the research investigation in a thesis, in a seminar and at poster exhibitions.
    6 Apply an advanced level of technical understanding in multiple areas of technical specialisation to devise solutions to complex technical problems.
    7 Work cooperatively and flexibly as a member of a team, contributing to team leadership as the situation requires.
    8 Demonstrate the ability to communicate, in writing and verbally, advanced technical concepts to both technically informed and technically uninformed audiences.
    9 Apply project management techniques to devise and synthesise engineering solutions to complex, open ended problems.

    The above course learning outcomes are aligned with the Engineers Australia Stage 1 Competency Standard for the Professional Engineer.
    The course is designed to develop the following Elements of Competency: 1.1   1.2   1.3   1.4   1.5   1.6   2.1   2.2   2.3   2.4   3.1   3.2   3.3   3.4   3.5   3.6   

    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    1, 6, 7
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
    5, 7
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Students should purchase an exercise book to use as a project workbook.
    Recommended Resources
    Guidelines and resources to assist with undertaking a project are provided in the Project Resources folder on the course MyUni site.
    Online Learning
    Extensive use will be made of the MyUni web site for this course (http://myuni.adelaide.edu.au). All announcements will be posted on MyUni and emailed to all students and supervisors. Project resources will be available for downloading. The gradebook will be used to communicate continuous assessment marks. A discussion board will be available for project-related discussion. Group tools will be available for communication to and within project groups.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    Groups of students will undertake a project under the guidance of an academic supervisor and co-supervisor. Groups can expect to meet regularly with their supervisors. Between meetings groups are expected to make independent progress with their project.

    The table below summarises expectations on project students and their supervisors.

      What supervisors can expect from students What students can expect from supervisors
    Meetings Regular, punctual attendance at project meetings. A regular group meeting with the supervisor and co-supervisor at least once a week.
    Contribution Consistent effort throughout the year totalling around 600 hours work. Prompt advice and guidance on general and technical project issues.
    Assessment Timely submission of assessed items satisfying the requirements in the course profile. Marks posted on MyUni within 2 weeks of submission and verbal feedback to justify marks and explain how they might be improved.
    Conduct As befitting professional engineers.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The Masters project is an important element of an undergraduate engineering education. It represents a substantial body of work and it is expected that students will spend 600 hours per year on their project. Note that if this effort is confined to the 12-week teaching semesters, then it amounts to over 25 hours work per week.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Activity Semester Week
    Project briefing A 1
    Literature search training A 1/2
    Proposal seminar A 5
    Research methods workshop A 1-12
    Project work A 1-12
    Project exhibition B 12
    Project work B 1-12
    Final seminar B 13
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    The Project provides the platform to challenge each group of two to eight students to work together to produce a novel engineering project. The project supervisors will be able to mentor the students and monitor their progress through the two semesters.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Weighting (%) Individual/ Group Formative/ Summative
    Due (week)*
    Hurdle criteria Learning outcomes
    Part A - Research methods workshop participation 2 Individual Formative Semester A Weeks 2-12 1. 2. 8.
    Part A - Progress seminar 4 Group Formative Semester A semeester break 5. 8.
    Part A - Thesis (draft) 20 Individual Summative Semester A
    Week 12
    Min 50% 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 8.
    Part A - Mid project performance 5 Individual Summative Semester A
    Week 12
    1. 4. 7. 9.
    Part B - Honours Thesis 40 Individual Summative Semester B
    Week 12
    Min 50% 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 8.
    Part B - Project exhibition/Final seminar 14 Group Summative Semester B
    Week 13
    5. 6. 8.
    Part B - Final project performance 15 Group Summative Semester B
    Week 13
    1. 4. 7. 9.
    Total 100
    * The specific due date for each assessment task will be available on MyUni.
    This assessment breakdown complies with the University's Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy.
    This course has a hurdle requirement. Meeting the specified hurdle criteria is a requirement for passing the course.
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Each student must:
    • attend a literature search training session.
    • attend at least 3 final seminars other than their own on the seminar day.
    • submit exhibition requirements before deadline.
    • update projects wiki before exhibition.
    • complete project closeout by week 13, semester B.
    • all other administrative requirements as announced during the semester.
    Each infringement will incur a 4% penalty in the final project mark.
    Assessment Detail

    The assessment will be based on the components outlined in the table above. The rubrics used to assess the components are available on MyUni. Students are encouraged to consult these rubrics as they plan their deliverables.

    The detailed requirements for each of the components are provided in subsections to follow. Note that when a component is designated as “Group”, all members in the group will obtain the same mark for that work. If a deliverable is designated as “Individual”, each member will be assessed individually.

    The assessment of the project exhibition will be performed by a panel of members of academic staff from the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. The remaining components will be assessed by the project's principal advisor in consultation with the co-advisor.

    Assessors will use a customised rubric (available on the course MyUni site) for each component. This will allow them to rate each student’s (or group’s) performance on several facets at one of five grades. They will then provide an overall mark for each component. The assessors will notify the students of their marks and provide feedback indicating the reasons for the assessed mark.

    The final mark for the project will be determined by combining the marks for each of the components using the weightings indicated in the assessment table as a guideline.

    Progress Seminar

    Seminar Time, Location and Equipment

    The progress seminars will take place in the first week of the Semester A break except due to advisor availability restrictions. A schedule for seminars will be published on the course MyUni page. Seminars are 30 minutes long including 10-15 minutes for questions. Sessions should start and finish on time as staff must move between streams, but sessions should not start until all staff members are present.

    Note that proposal seminars are 30 minutes long irrespective of the number of students in the group. Groups need not use all the time available provided they express the essential elements of their proposal. Large groups should take extra care with their preparation to ensure that each member speaks but that the presentation does not run over time.

    Digital projectors will be available in every seminar room. Students must submit their presentation slides to MyUni before the seminar day.


    At the first meeting, the project advisors will explain the aims of the project. The progress seminar is a chance for the group to clearly explain back to the advisors what they think is required. The group should clearly state the aims and objectives of the work, the required tasks, and state as precisely as possible what the desired final outcomes of the project are. It should also give a list of milestones with corresponding dates and clearly separate the required tasks into individual roles. Other plans, such as a budget and risk management plan may be appropriate for some projects.

    The proposal is a critical part of any project as it ensures that the project team understands what the “customer” (in this case the supervisor) really wants and provides a clear set of specifications.  The progress of the project should follow for the remainder of the seminar.

    Seminars should be aimed at the technical level of the student audience. As the audience may be unfamiliar with the topic, clear explanation should be given to the overall background, nature, scope and aims of the project. Even distribution of load, logical order of presentation and cohesion are part of the assessment criteria. Careful preparation will be necessary to ensure that this is successfully achieved in the time allocated.

    The seminars will be presented in a group with each group member presenting an approximately equal section of the talk. The first speaker should introduce themselves and the other group members. It is preferable that each group member speaks on only one occasion.

    Thesis draft

    An Thesis draft should be submitted by each student.


    The proposal should:

    • include a title page and list of references;
    • use a 12 pt font and 1.5 line spacing;
    • be submitted in electronic form in pdf format; and
    • be succinctly written to cover required topics as outlined below.


    The draft should carefully and succinctly state the proposed project. It should introduce the project and the requirements. The literature survey should form the bulk of the draft. The body of the report should include details of designs, experiments and results and should explain how these fit within the context of the project as a whole. The progress of the project should be reported together with any results and analysis that contributes to the final Thesis.


    An individual Thesis must be submitted by each student.


    The report should:

    • include a title page, executive summary, table of contents and references;
    • use a 12 pt font and 1.5 line spacing;
    • be submitted in electronic form in pdf format; and
    • be succinctly written to cover required topics as outlined below.


    The aims of the thesis are to:

    • provide a detailed summary of the aims, methods and results of the project for its advisor/customer and other interested parties. It is thus important to give a clear background to the project for non-specialist readers.
    • allow your supervisor to make an assessment of its author’s efforts on the project. Authors thus need to show the breadth of what they accomplished as well giving technical details to show the depth of their understanding.
    • allow future students continuing or extending the project to understand the background to the project, what approaches were used, what results were obtained and what future work remains.

    Final Seminar

    Seminar Time, Location and Equipment

    The final seminars for all projects will be presented on one day in Week 13 in the second semester of the projects. A timetable will be published on MyUni prior to seminar day, with seminars scheduled in groups.  Students are required to attend the seminars throughout the day.

    Seminars are up to 30 minutes long that includes 15 minutes for the presentation and 15 minutes for questions. The scheduling for seminars is usually very tight. It is a matter of professional courtesy to not use up more of other people’s time than they have been asked to commit. It is therefore very important that your seminar starts on time and that you do not run overtime. Any significant deviations from your allocated time will be penalised.

    Project teams with more than 3 members may request additional time before Week 9. Groups need not use all the time available. Large groups should take extra care with their preparation to ensure that each member speaks but that the presentation does not run over time.

    Digital projectors and computers will be available in every seminar room. Students will need to submit a copy of their slides on MyUni one working day before the seminar.  Students may not use their own laptops to connect to the digital projectors. 

    Presentation Information

    The project supervisor will chair the presentation session. They will introduce the group, ensure that speakers do not go substantially beyond the allotted time, call for questions and ensure that seminars finish on time.

    It is preferable that each group member speaks on only one occasion. This produces a smoother presentation.

    The seminar should be aimed at a general electrical engineering audience (that is, fellow students) who have no specialist knowledge of the project’s topic area. Groups should provide a clear explanation about the background, nature, scope and aims of the project. Various aspects can then be described concisely and the results of the investigation presented. Even distribution of load, logical order of presentation and cohesion are part of the assessment criteria. Careful preparation will be necessary to ensure that this is successfully achieved in the time allocated. No project management material should be presented unless it is relevant to the outcomes of the project.


    Project advisors will determine a performance mark for each student at the end of each semester of the project. This assessment is based on the advisors’ observations of the student’s progress, participation and outcomes. The quality of the project workbooks will also be taken into account in this assessment.

    Project Workbooks

    Each student must maintain a project workbook. This should be a daily diary of progress and should include notes from all meetings, problems encountered, decisions made, design ideas and sketches, references to data sources, calculations, equipment settings, experimental results etc. A good workbook forms a valuable record that is useful later parts of a project and as source of information for the final report.

    Supervisors may ask students to submit their workbooks so they can be taken into account in assessment. Workbooks should always be brought to the project meetings.

    Project Exhibition

    The project exhibition is held in Week 13 of Semester B. The exhibition is a public event where groups exhibit their project outcomes to members of the University as well as visitors from industry and the general public. Students are expected to dress and present themselves as befitting professional engineers.

    Each group will be provided with desk space and a pin-up board. Power and data connections and extra space can be arranged where necessary. The exhibition co-ordinator will ask groups to specify their requirements in the early weeks of the second semester of the project.

    Groups should prepare:

    • a poster (a template will be provided) that will be printed and pinned up at the exhibition;
    • a demonstration of their project; and
    • a 3-minute verbal overview of their project.  Students should prepare different speeches targeted for different audiences (professionals, general public, high school children)

    The exhibition will be assessed by panels of independent assessors.

    Project Closeout

    Closeout is the last phase of the project lifecycle. During closeout the final outcomes are delivered to the project’s sponsors and customers, project resources are released, and the project documentation is updated and compiled so that it can be handed over to a subsequent project team.

    At the end of the project, groups must:

    • submit an archive CD containing all the project reports, presentation slides, software and other documentation to their supervisor;
    • return all borrowed equipment to the final-year store;
    • clear all parts, equipment and rubbish from their workbench;
    • empty project lockers, and return key to the lock
    • either delete all user files from the project PC or notify the computing manager that the project will be ongoing and the PC should be left for the next project group; and
    • return hardware produced as a part of the project to the supervisor or, if the project will be ongoing, neatly pack the hardware in a box, label the box and deliver it to the workshop manager for storage.

    Students will not receive a final performance mark until their supervisor and lab technician confirms the project has been closed out.


    All project reports must be submitted in pdf form using MyUni. Clear instructions will be provided explaining how to submit assignments using MyUni and how to verify that an assignment has been successfully submitted. Extensions will not be granted for reports that miss the deadline because they were not correctly submitted.

    For each report each student must complete as Assessment Cover sheet. These are in the Course Information folder on MyUni.

    Software (TURNITIN) may be used to verify the originality of reports.

    Students can expect the marks from assessment components to be available on MyUni within two weeks from the submission deadline.

    Assessors will use rubrics to determine marks for the assessed components. Copies of the rubric will be sent to project supervisors so they can provide feedback to their project groups. Students are encouraged to seek feedback from their supervisors.


    Deadlines are an integral part of an engineer's professional life, and the discipline of getting workfinished on time is an essential one to acquire.

    The School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering’s policy on Homework Submissions (https://www.eleceng.adelaide.edu.au/policies/homework-assignment-policy.pdf) will apply to the Proposal Seminar and Project Exhibition. Under this policy, students missing an assessment deadline will receive a 0 mark for that component, unless the student provides documentary evidence of an unavoidable reason for the delay (e.g. a medical certificate) which is approved by the Head of School. If the delay is approved, the student will be assigned a mark for the component according to the School’s policy on Supplementary Exercises for Continuous Assessment Components (https://www.eleceng.adelaide.edu.au/policies/continuous-assessment-exercises.pdf).

    The Research Proposal and Master Thesis will be subject to the School’s policy on Assignment Submissions (https://www.eleceng.adelaide.edu.au/policies/homework-assignment-policy.pdf). The marks for reports submitted after the deadline will be reduced by 20% of the final report mark per day (24 hours) or part thereof. Exceptions may be made, with approval of Head of School, if a medical certificate or other documentary evidence of impairment is provided covering a significant period of the project.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    NOG (No Grade Associated)
    Grade Description
    CN Continuing

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines

    This section contains links to relevant assessment-related policies and guidelines - all university policies.

    Project allocation

    Two weeks before the start of semester, students will be given an opportunity to specify their 5 preferred projects in order of preference. Allocation of students to projects will take this preference into account; however no promises can be made and some students may be allocated to projects for which they have not expressed a preference. Project allocations will be completed on the Monday prior to the start of semester and students will be informed of their project, group and supervisor via MyUni.

    Industry Sponsored Projects

    Industry sponsored final year projects can be of great benefit to students, the industry sponsor and the academic supervisors. Students are encouraged to talk to their employers and contacts about sponsoring a project. Students who successfully initiate a project in this way will be given the option of taking a place on that project.

    Before an industry sponsored project can go ahead, some agreements must be signed to protect the interests of the University and the sponsor:

    1. An agreement between the sponsor and the University
    2. A student project participation agreement between the students and the University.

    The School also charges a small sponsorship fee of $500 (+GST) at the outset of the project and $2000 (+GST) at its successful conclusion. Costs of production of substantial items and test equipment must also be met by the sponsor. However, equipment already available in the School can generally be used for the project free of charge.

    There are several reasons for these fees and why we think that they are of benefit to industry as well as our students. They include the following:

    • Sponsor gets a large share of the IP developed.
    • Sponsor gets regular meetings, short reports and a final report.
    • Academic staff time is provided at no charge.
    • Student time is provided at no charge.
    • University facilities and equipment are provided at no charge.
    • Sponsor gets early access to good potential employees.
    • Agreement to pay the relatively small fee indicates a certain commitment from the sponsor that the project is important to them and is worth doing.

    Provision of Resources


    Each project group will be allocated an equipment purchase budget and a technical support budget.

    Purchase of equipment

    Supervisors have been provided with a budget equivalent to $500 per student. In a groups’ planning for the project they must develop a costed proposal for approval by the supervisor. If the proposed costs exceed the School budget allocation, then the supervisor may approve additional funds from other sources. Note that the project budget may not be used for printing expenses.

    The storeman can provide commonly needed electronic components. If a special purchase is required, groups will need permission from their supervisor. Requests for a special order are submitted using the component request form on the store website.The Store website, http://store.eleceng.adelaide.edu.au, can be accessed from computers within the University network only.

    Technical support

    Each group will be given a technical support budget that allows access to the technical support staff for specialised training and advice.  Each group has 40 hours, plus 10 additional hours for each student, for each semester.  Unused budget in Semester A cannot be carried over to Semester B.  Initial contact should be made with the Workshop Supervisor to organise work requirements.


    Under some circumstances the final year project budget can be used on large printing jobs.To use your project budget for printing:

    1. check you have funds available
    2. send your supervisor an email stating: what you would like to print; why it is necessary; the number of pages; b&w or colour; cost ($0.01 per page for b&w, $0.10 per page for colour)
    3. if your supervisor agrees the printing is necessary, ask them to forward your email request to Stephen Guest (cc it to you) and provide a statement that they approve the expense
    4. Stephen Guest will reply with an email explaining how to print your file in EM418


    Students have access to a pool of general purpose test equipment kept in the store. This equipment must be booked through the storeman (http://store.eleceng.adelaide.edu.au/). Certain equipment in heavy demand may only be booked for short periods of time. Supervisors may also allocate specialized equipment for which groups will not need to make a booking.

    Computing: General purpose computing equipment is available in the school computing laboratory EM211. This equipment normally has specialized software packages such as compilers, PCB CAD and simulation tools. For general purpose computing students should use the CATS. Students have a free printing quota sufficient for the project reports. The project budget cannot be used to increase the printing quota.

    Workshop support: Workshop staff

    Accommodation and PCs: Groups may request a bench or table in one of the laboratories for their project. They may also request a dedicated PC with specialized packages installed such as compilers for DSPs, FPGA tools, etc. Requests are made by the form at http://www.eleceng.adelaide.edu.au/students/undergraduate/infrastructure-request.html.

    Other Resources: Groups should discuss other special needs with their advisor. If the equipment is available in the School, groups should contact the laboratory manager for access permission. He will require permission from the advisor and the nominal "owner" of the equipment.

  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.