FC3P01N Final Year Project
For students starting their project September 2011.
FC3P01N is a double module which runs throughout your final year and is taken by all
students in the Computing subject area and the Communications Technology Subject Areas.
You must have passed six intermediate (second year) modules in order to be eligible to start
your project. If you do not think you should be taking this module, see the project co-
ordinator and your PAA as soon as possible.
The Final Year Project is a substantial individual project and a chance for you to demonstrate
the full range of technical and academic skills you have learned during your course.
Depending on the exact specification for your project you may find that you employ
techniques from a number of modules you have studied on the course, together with new
skills learned specifically as part of this project.
The aim of this document is to give you a general overview of the project, and provide useful
At the start of the project you will be provided with a number of documents including, your
project specification and the project itself. Additionally, engineering students who are
required to construct a circuit as part of their project will be given information about
procedures such as ordering components, and guides to standard components
The time allocated to your project amounts to one quarter of you final year’s work. As such
you should anticipate spending about 1 to 1½ days per week actively engaged in your project.
This is equivalent to about 45 days work.
Although, in the majority of cases, the project title has been allocated to you, you should very
much consider the project to be yours. It is your responsibility to ensure that the project is
completed on time and it is your responsibility to drive the project forward in order to achieve
the stated objectives. Your supervisor acts as a mentor through this process, using their
experience to ensure that you keep on course and don’t get distracted from the task in hand.
You should aim to complete the project on time, and to the highest of professional standards.
Contained alongside this module guide is a project specification which details the exact title
of your project. This document sets out the requirements for your project and the objectives
or deliverables required at the end.
2. What you will need
One of the biggest issues with a project of this size and duration is keeping track of the
information generated. As you progress through the project you will undertake literature
searches in the library or on the Web, design hardware or software, perform simulations,
produce documentation and so on. In addition, it is not always clear at the time what
information will be of relevance later on. It is therefore desirable to have all information
clearly organised. This not only helps during project tutorials because both you and your
supervisor will be able to clearly follow your progress but also when you come to writing up
because you will quickly be able to look up what you have done, and follow through the
mental processes which led to the final solution. If you have to spend time hunting for a
relevant piece of information whilst writing your report it can both slow progress and
interrupt the flow of the report.
Before you start any work on your project you should obtain the following:
• Lab book- ALL INFORMATION related to your project should be kept in a properly
bound lab book. You should not keep anything to do with your project on loose
sheets of paper as these can easily get lost or out of order. Every entry should be
dated so that you can follow through your progress in the project and review it at any
time. You will be required to submit this alongside your final report and this will be
used as supplementary information for grading your continuous assessment.
• Computer project folder- A lot of the information you gather relating to your project
will be computer-based but the same principles apply in the virtual world. You
should set up a final year project folder and use this to store all your computer-based
information. This may include:
o Information and searches from the Web
o Copies of reports and submissions
o Simulation files
o Circuit and PCB designs
o Software programmes
o Email correspondence with your tutor
Remember that computer storage can be volatile, so make sure you back up
anything you store on disk on a regular basis.
You will need to burn this folder on to a CD-ROM and submit it alongside your final
report at the end of the project. This will be used as supplementary information for
grading your continuous assessment.
• Lever-arch or box file- You may have printouts of references or from simulators
which you need to keep. Use a lever arch or box file to keep these tidy and organised.
It is not necessary to bring this file on to campus with you every week, but you may
find a pocket file would be useful to carry current documents around. Again, you will
need to submit this alongside your final report and this will provide supplementary
information for grading your continuous assessment.
If you are undertaking a hardware-based project you will also require:
• Tools- If you are working on a project which requires you to build a circuit you will
need a set of tools. Something like the Electronic Tool kit from Maplin (QE93B) at
around £19.99 (3
May 2011) http://www.maplin.co.uk/precision-electronic-tool-kit-
3. The Project
It has been variously stated that design is ‘…the antithesis of accident’ , that ‘…design is
the systematic activity necessary… to satisfy that need…’  and that design is:
The act by which, within a framework of bounding constraints, and by the
arrangement of a suitable selection from a set of available component parts
and including invention, intentional progress is made towards the realisation of
a vision resulting from a situation found to be wanting; and the result of that
This applies not only in the world at large, but also in terms of your final year project. You
have been presented with a problem by way of your project specification and you need to
produce an authoritative solution to that problem by the use of some structured approach.
The structure of the project, and the documentation you provide as you go through, is all
designed to fit alongside that methodology. The project can be broken down into a number of
• Understand the problem as specified.
• Determine a process by which you will solve this problem.
• Search for alternative solutions to the problem.
• Select the most appropriate solution to the problem in such a way that the selection is
quantifiable and defensible in the final report.
• Develop the selected solution.
• Test the selected solution to prove conformance to the specification.
• Evaluate the selected solution. 
Alongside this there is an ongoing review process to ensure that you maintain progress
against your plan.
The easiest way to understand how the project works and what is expected of you is by going
through the project in order. In this section we will follow through the project timetable,
highlighting general activities during each period, and submission dates. In order to prevent
this document getting too long, separate documents have been produced to give guidance on
what is required for each of the submissions.
As Part of a ‘Project Preparation’ Module
The start of the project module this year will be slightly varied depending on what has
Many of you will have done some preparation for the final year project in your second year,
and may have been allocated a supervisor, and/or a project title. For example, students in the
communications technology subject area have already been allocated a project title and
supervisor as part of the CT2039N module, and although the project module has changed,
nothing resulting from that change will conflict with the information you have already been
given in regard to your project. The same is true for those students in the computing area
who have been given information already.
You should take note of the assessments for the new module, however, as some of these will
have changed as we have worked to harmonise the assessment across the various projects.
You should double-check dates also, since these may have changed.
FC3P01N Week 1
It is anticipated that this will be the first one-to-one meeting with your supervisor. You will
have absorbed the information on the project specification and undertaken the tasks directed
for the summer, and so should have identified any areas about which you are unclear. You
can use this session to find answers to these questions and your supervisor will be able to give
you more detailed information about your project.
Having understood the project specification, you should also be giving thought to the process
by which you will tackle the project. Since it is important that you have this process in place
before undertaking any substantive work on the project, your first task is to develop a project
Since a number of changes are occurring as we move to the unified project module, it is
proposed that a lecture will take place in week 1 to introduce students to the structure of the
Submission of project plan- deadline 1pm Wednesday, submit electronically.
The project plan can be developed using any standard project management technique, for
example a Gantt chart, critical path analysis and so on. It will form the benchmark against
which both you and your tutor will assess your progress throughout the module.
A separate document gives guidance on producing your project plan.
Having submitted your project plan, your tutor will discuss it with you and highlight any
immediate areas of concern. You will then set to work in earnest with your project.
Weeks 4 to 10
During this period you should meet with your tutor as arranged and continue work on your
project. Keep in mind your project plan and ensure that you are making consistent progress
towards your final objectives.
Submission of interim report- Deadline Wednesday 5pm, Undergraduate Centre
A separate document gives guidance on producing both the interim and final reports, and
there are report templates on WebLearn for both, which you should use, together with
detailed guidance both as to what the report should contain and on how to use Word
efficiently in the production of the report. Your interim report details progress to date,
assesses progress against your project plan, discusses work still left to do and amends the
project plan as required to take account of any slippage to date.
Over Christmas/ Summer break
As part of your final project you are also required to continue work on your PDP and start to
reflect on life after graduation. If you start your project in Semester 1 you should use the
Christmas break to do this, if your start in Semester 2 you should use the summer break to do
Reflect on your strengths and weakness, how you have developed both intellectually and as a
person, where you wish to go next and what steps you need to take to get there. From this
you can formulate a plan which may involve discussions with the careers centre, looking
through trade journals or searching company websites for opportunities. You are required to
collect these thoughts together and present them as a piece of reflective writing which is
submitted and marked but can then form another chapter in your PDP.
Week 16- the first week of your second semester
Submission of PDP document- Deadline Wednesday 5pm, Undergraduate Centre
Return of Interim report with mark and comments
Week 16 is important because students lose a lot of time at the start of the second semester of
their project. Remember that you only have ten weeks in which to complete and submit. You
should meet with your supervisor this week to review your interim report, and discuss any
changes to your project plan which result. Take time before your meeting to refresh your
memory of where you were with your project so that you are ready to take the project on
Weeks 17- 23
During this period most of your detailed work on your project should be carried out to
Final practical work completed, start writing final report.
Final submission- Deadline Wednesday 5pm, Undergraduate Centre
What to submit:
• Final report- 2 copies, bound
• Interim report- if this has been returned to you (generally we keep hold of the hard
copy and return feedback via WebLearn)
• Log Book
• CD-ROM containing project folder from computer
• Project file containing any printouts relating to the project
• Final circuit if appropriate.
During the exam period, the project will be marked by both your first and second supervisors
and you will then be called for a viva. This will usually take place shortly after the end of the
exams, and you must attend the viva before your marks can be released.
There are a number of assessment instruments used in this module. These are detailed in the
project timetable above and are summarised in table 1 overleaf.
Details of the exact requirements for each of these submissions are given in separate
To pass this module you must achieve at least 40% in the continuous assessment, the final
report, the Personal Development Portfolio, and in assessment group 1 (the oral and poster
presentations and the interim report). All of these four elements must be passed in order to
pass the module.
You will notice that some of the elements do not contribute directly to your final module
mark. The project plan and the additional items under ‘Final submission’ which you submit
with your final report, are used to moderate your continuous assessment and if you do not
submit these items on time, it may affect your continuous assessment mark. The project viva
is a final moderation tool, which you have to have attended before your mark can be
submitted to the exam board. Failure to complete these assessments may result in your mark
Note that in order to gain IET accreditation for your degree, you MUST pass the
project at the first attempt, not at reassessment, or having previously taken the project
If you are studying a BCS accredited degree, you MUST consider the social, legal and
ethical implications of your project as part of your final report.
Deadline Assessment Weighting Submit to Comments
19/10/11 Project Plan 0% Tutor
Contributes to continuous
14/12/11 Interim Report 20% TB2
Assessment group 1
9/5/12 Final Report 40% TB2
9/5/12 Final Submission 0% TB2
CD-ROM of computer-
based project work
Contributes to continuous
Project Viva 0% Class-based
Date confirmed by tutor
Table 1: Summary of Assessments.
TB2- Undergraduate centre
The regulations governing reassessment have changed considerably in recent years. As a
result it is not possible to give clear guidance at this stage regarding the reassessment of a
module in the summer of 2012. You are advised, however, that the best policy is always to
submit work on time. Non-submission, no longer entitles you to a reassessment in that
component. Also, this may affect your eligibility for IET/BCS accreditation.
During the course of your project, you are expected to have six formal meetings with your
supervisor at which progress to date is discussed and goals for the next period are set.
Traditionally, these meetings have taken place on Wednesday mornings. That having been
said, you can, by mutual agreement, meet at any time during the week which is convenient.
You may well find that meetings will happen more frequently early on in the project.
6.1. The Staff Perspective
The main concern of staff in meeting with you is to ensure that you are making appropriate
progress towards your final objectives. One of the requirements of the project is that your
supervisor marks you on your performance throughout the duration of the project and that is
primarily assessed through the tutorials.
During the meeting, your tutor will be interested to know:
a. What progress you have made since the last meeting
b. Any problems or issues which have arisen and with which you might need
c. What you intend to do between now and the next meeting.
During the discussion, your tutor will make notes of what is said in a logbook, which will
then be used as an aide memoir when generating the continuous assessment mark.
Finally, a date for the next meeting will be arranged.
6.2. The Student Perspective
The meeting is the confirmed contact you have with your tutor and the time should be used as
efficiently as possible. Make sure you are prepared before the meeting. Make sure you know
what goals were set at the previous meeting and be ready to discuss your progress against
them and against your project plan. Bring all relevant information with you so that you can
show your progress to your supervisor. Be prepared with any questions you have, and with
ideas of what you should be doing before the next meeting. You should also keep a record of
the meeting in your logbook for future reference and any documentation with which you are
provided at your meetings should be stored in your project file.
Remember that staff will generally allocate 30 minutes per student. If you arrive late for your
tutorial meeting, you will waste the time available to you and this may in turn impact on other
students also with that supervisor.
It is possible that you may need to postpone a meeting through illness or other cause. In this
case email your supervisor as soon as possible to arrange another time. If your supervisor
should need to postpone a meeting, they will endeavour to contact you similarly.
If you miss your slot or arrive too late, don’t assume that your tutor will be able to see you.
Many tutors fit other sessions around project tutorials, and may be booked up already.
As I have said before, remember that it is your project and you are responsible for driving it
forward. Using time with your supervisor to best effect is part of that and can make the
difference between an average and excellent project in many cases.
WebLearn is the University’s on-line learning system. It contains an FC3P01N area and you
are automatically registered for that site when you register for the module. Copies of all
documentation relating to the module plus other useful information are available via
WebLearn. There is one site for both Semester A and Semester B starters, but please note
that the site changes over the summer, so you will start on one project site, and finish the
project accessing a different site. I will ensure that all data is correctly transferred over the
The project co-ordinator is:
Dr Richard Walters, email: email@example.com
However, you should normally refer to your project tutor in the first instance.
9. What if…
… I want to change project?
Once the project specification is issued, there is no facility for changing your project. The
objectives set out in the project specification document are those against which you will be
… I want a different supervisor?
Project supervisors are allocated based both on availability of staff (in order to ensure that all
staff have an equal workload, those with more timetabled teaching will have fewer project
students, as will those with other departmental responsibilities) and their expertise. Once you
are assigned a supervisor, it is not possible to change supervisors.
… I want to restart my project?
The only way of doing that is by withdrawing and reregistering for the project. If you wish to
look at this course of action it may have other side effects such as changing your status as a
student, or affecting your financial or visa status. If you are considering this, you should
consult your PAA in the first instance who will either be able to advise, or point you in the
direction of the authority qualified to advise on the implications of that decision.
… My objectives have become impossible to achieve?
The response to this will depend on the type of project you are engaged in and the reasons
behind the problem. If the project is a research-based project where unforeseen issues have
arisen preventing achievement of the initial objectives, then, in negotiation with your
supervisor, it may be possible to modify your objectives. In this instance you must, as part of
your final report, clearly explain the nature of the problem and the reasons for the change in
objectives in order to achieve a good mark. If you do not, you will still be marked based on
your initial objectives.
If, in the view of your supervisor and in discussion with your second supervisor and the
project co-ordinator, it is felt that lack of effort is the cause of the problem, then your
supervisor may advise a focus on a reduced number of the objectives, but you will still be
judged based on the full set of original objectives.
In any case a change of objectives is a formal process which cannot be undertaken
… I miss a deadline?
You will be reassessed according to the requirements of the undergraduate scheme and in
accordance with the reassessment information provided in this module guide.
… My tutor is never there?
If you have a problem with your tutor constantly missing appointments, contact the project
co-ordinator who will seek to resolve the problem.
 Barber V., as Quoted by Baynes K., About Design, Design Council Publications 1976, p30
 Pugh S., Total Design, Addison-Wesley, 1991, p5
 Walters R., The High Level Design of Electronic Systems, Lancaster University 1996, p12
 After French M. J., Conceptual Design for Engineers, Design Council Publications, 1985, ch1