It gives me great pleasure to guide students on their academic journey. As far as my resources allow, I am open to supervising both Bachelor and Master theses. I am also happy to supervise theses developed in collaboration with industrial partners or companies.
Before initiating contact, please make sure the following conditions are met:
I believe in specialisation and therefore only supervise theses in areas where I have deep expertise - primarily in cybersecurity.
Prospective students should demonstrate a thorough understanding of cybersecurity. This means that, in addition to attending basic lectures, you should have explored and learned about cybersecurity topics on your own.
So, if you would like to write your thesis in the field of cybersecurity and you have a solid grounding in the field, I am awaiting to hear from you.
The following sections on this page outline the roadmap to a successful thesis under my supervision, summarising both my expectations of you and what you can expect from me.
If you are a representative of a company and would like to do joint research and thesis work with me, I would be happy to hear from you as well.
Your Initial Contact
Before reaching out to me for supervision, it is imperative that you thoroughly go through and understand the guidelines and expectations I’ve outlined on this page. Additionally, if you’ve previously sent me an unsolicited application, you may have been directed to this page for clarification.
👉 In your initial contact, please confirm that you have read, comprehended, and are in agreement with these instructions. This ensures we begin on the same page, streamlining our collaboration.
To distinguish yourself and showcase your genuine interest in cybersecurity, I’ve designed a set of challenges. While they are optional, successfully tackling them will offer a glimpse into your commitment and enthusiasm for the subject. Please find them on the Challenges 🎁 page.
👉 In your initial contact, please state what experience you have already gained in the field of cybersecurity and what motivates you to write your thesis in this area. Also include the passcodes obtained from any challenges you’ve solved. The more challenges you conquer, the more you demonstrate your dedication to writing a thesis in the realm of cybersecurity under my supervision. Please note that I may also ask for your solution paths 😉
Capacity and Preferences
I am always eager to mentor passionate students; however, there are times when the number of requests may exceed my resources and the slots available in a given semester. In such cases, to ensure quality guidance and attention to each student, I will prioritize requests based on the number of challenges tackled and passcodes provided. This allows me to gauge your commitment and align my resources most effectively.
Choosing your Topic
Identifying an impactful thesis topic is often a challenging yet crucial step. Here are a few pathways to arrive at one:
Propose your own Ideas: If you have a unique thesis proposal or special interests, I am more than willing to discuss your ideas.
Seek My Input: I maintain a catalog of potential topics which can be reviewed to align one with your expertise and interest.
Industry Collaboration: Browse company advertisements or approach companies directly to explore topics and potential collaborations.
While specific use cases may catch your interest, for the purposes of your thesis, you should strive to extrapolate a broader problem statement. Try to generalize your specific use-case to a more general question.
It’s important to choose a topic that really interests you - remember, you’ll be dedicating a significant part of your academic journey to it. Choosing the right topic is often half the battle.
Writing your Exposé
Before you start writing your thesis, you need to write an exposé - essentially a condensed plan of 4-5 pages describing your project. This document should include:
Preliminary Title: The title is not final. It can be changed later.
Problem Statement: Define the specific issue or challenge you aim to address.
Current State of Science: A brief literature review, highlighting existing solutions or studies.
Goals and Research Question: State clearly what you want to achieve or discover. Be clear about the research question you want to pursue and the contribution you want to make.
Methodology: Outline the approach or methods you’ll employ to address the problem.
Rough Outline: A tentative structure of your thesis, indicating main sections.
Rough Time Table: An indicative timeline, plotting major milestones.
You’re free to draft your Exposé in either German or English. You can freely choose your typesetting system. Endeavor to write your Exposé in such a manner that significant portions can later be incorporated into your final thesis. The Exposé will serve as a shared reference, ensuring we are aligned on your thesis objectives. Lastly, ensure your goals are realistic; label any objectives as “optional” if their attainment remains uncertain.
Regulations and Registration
Study and Exam Regulations
All theses are governed by our university’s study and exam regulations, referred to as the “Studien- und Prüfungsordnung” (SPO). Please follow this link and read through the specific SPO that applies to your degree level before beginning your thesis. This will help you understand all the requirements and guidelines you’ll need to follow.
I am always happy to supervise theses in collaboration with companies. Please feel free to contact me and discuss the topic with me. We will then arrange a joint meeting with the supervisor at the company.
☝️ Please note that any contracts you may sign, including financial compensation and non-disclosure agreements, are between you and the company and are strictly your personal matter. Please note that I will not sign any non-disclosure agreements. In general, try to generalise your research and thesis to a level of abstraction that does not require the inclusion of confidential company information.
Remember that while I am here to guide you throughout your thesis journey, the task of finding a second examiner falls squarely on your shoulders. This is a crucial step in the process and you should be proactive about it. Get in touch with other professors or research assistants within our faculty and ask them if they would be willing to act as a second examiner for your thesis.
If your thesis is being developed in collaboration with a company, it is common for your main contact within that organisation to act as a second examiner. Their first-hand knowledge of the industry can enrich the feedback you receive, ensuring that your work remains relevant and applicable in a real-world context.
An essential aspect of the registration process is that both reviewers - myself and your chosen second examiner - are confirmed. Without the confirmation of a second assessor, the registration of your thesis cannot proceed.
Registration of your Thesis
Thesis registration is done through a special form that you fill in after we have agreed on your Exposé. You will then send the form to me. I will sign it. Once completed, you must submit the form to the relevant examination office.
☝️ It is your responsibility to submit the form and ensure that the application is successful.
Below I will provide some guidelines and tipps to help you ensure that your work is organised, insightful and meets academic standards.
Independent Work: Your thesis is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your independent thinking and research skills. While I’ll provide guidance, I expect you to work largely independently.
Duration: From the point of registration, you have a four-month (Bachelor) or six-month (Master) window to complete your thesis. If you encounter exceptional circumstances, like illness, that are beyond your control and prevent you from completing your thesis on time, you can apply for a two-month extension. This special allowance is granted at the discretion of the responsible examination board, which will review your application and make the final decision.
Communication: We will establish a dedicated Webex space to facilitate constant communication throughout your thesis journey. This platform will be your go-to for any queries or clarifications.
Meetings: Regular check-ins are a must. We’ll schedule periodic virtual meetings to discuss your progress, address any questions, and plan your next steps. It’s crucial for keeping the momentum going and ensuring alignment in your work.
Open Door Policy: Should you face any issues or have questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out via our Webex space.
Early Beginnings: Initiate the writing process as soon as you can. Procrastination is not your ally.
Document as You Research: Continuously update your thesis template with notes and findings as you delve into your research. This practice ensures that no insights are lost and provides a solid foundation to expand upon.
Writer’s Block: If you find yourself staring at a blank page, step back. Sometimes, a brief walk or sport activity can reignite your creativity.
Typesetting System: Choose a system you’re comfortable with, be it LaTeX, Word, or other platforms like Typst.app. Different variants cater to different needs, so pick what suits you best.
Template Creation: There’s no one-size-fits-all template. While I personally recommend the “Template and Thesis Writing Guide” by Dominik Herrmann, feel free to adapt it or create your own specialized template for Heilbronn University.
Collaboration: If you wish to share your work-in-progress, platforms like Git or overleaf.com are excellent choices. This enables me to occasionally take a look at your work during our meetings.
Citation Style: Your citation style should be consistent and clear. While I have a preference for IEEE, choose one that aligns with your content. For those unfamiliar, the IEEE style typically lists references numerically in the order they appear in text and utilizes square brackets.
Engaging Narration: Your thesis should tell a compelling story. Keep the narrative engaging. When introducing basics, remain focused on pertinent information relevant to your thesis topic. Your audience comprises fellow computer scientists, so you can safely bypass foundational concepts, like explaining what an HTTP request is.
Backup: I cannot stress enough how important it is to back up regularly. Losing weeks or even days of work can be devastating. Using version control systems such as Git can also serve as an effective backup strategy.
Feedback and Revisions
Drafts: My commitment is to guide you in the right direction and ensure your work aligns with academic standards. To this end, while I typically do not delve into detailed feedback on drafts, I am available to skim through your work once during the course of your thesis. I will provide overarching feedback, highlighting any major areas that may need attention. This is to give you an opportunity to rectify potential pitfalls before your final submission.
Peer Review: The journey of thesis writing can greatly benefit from collective intelligence. I strongly encourage you to engage your peers in reviewing your work prior to its submission to me. A fresh perspective can unveil nuances, inconsistencies, or areas that may not be immediately clear to those deeply involved in the project. This not only refines your work but also simulates the real-world scenario of collaborative research and the process of peer review.
In sum, your thesis is a culmination of your academic pursuit in the domain of cybersecurity. Approach it with enthusiasm, dedication, and rigour. Happy writing!
Submitting your Thesis
Timely Submission: One of the most important components of your thesis journey is ensuring that it is submitted on time. It is essential that you submit your work to the relevant examination office on time. Delays can have academic consequences, so keep an eye on the clock.
Office Hours: Familiarize yourself with the opening hours of the examination office. This knowledge will prevent any last-minute hassles or missed opportunities due to the office being closed. Remember, it’s your responsibility to ensure the timely delivery of your work.
Physical Copy Requirements: The examination office requires a printed version of your thesis. While the binding method doesn’t hold importance, the quality of the print does. Ensure it’s legible, formatted correctly, and represents the hard work you’ve put into it.
For Me: A simple PDF version of your thesis suffices for my records. Ensure the document is formatted properly, free from errors, and accessible on common platforms.
Second Reviewer Preferences: It’s also important to get in touch with your second reviewer. Their requirements may be different, so initiate a conversation early on to gauge their preferred format, be it physical or digital. Tailoring your submission to each reviewer’s preferences will streamline the review process and demonstrate your proactive approach.
Evaluating your Thesis
Thesis Walkthrough: Once you have submitted your thesis, we will arrange a meeting, either in person or virtually. This session is designed to explore your thesis in depth. Rather than a traditional presentation, our focus will be on going through your written document, with you guiding me through its content, structure and conclusions.
Interactive Dialogue: Think of this as an engaged conversation rather than a formal defense. I’ll be actively participating, asking questions to probe deeper into your thought processes, methodologies, and findings. This interactive dialogue will provide clarity on certain points and ensure comprehensive understanding on both ends.
Evaluation Criteria: The basis of my evaluation will be based on this specific Thesis Evaluation Sheet. This document details the critical elements I’ll be looking at and the relative weight of each in the final grade.
Foreknowledge: Reviewing this criteria and their weightings even before you begin can give you valuable insights into what I prioritize. Crafting your thesis with this understanding can streamline your work and make it more aligned with the evaluation metrics.
Feedback and Final Grade: Following our presentation session, I will take some time with the second examiner to reflect on your work and analyse it against the assessment criteria.
Final Grade Submission: Once your grade has been determined, I will communicate it to you directly and also ensure its official submission to the examination office. Rest assured, this process will be prompt and transparent, ensuring you’re always informed.
Remember, the journey is as important as the destination. While the grade is a significant outcome, the knowledge and skills you acquire during this thesis journey hold lifelong value.