Site Tools


CM3203 One Semester Individual Project

This is the main page for information about the 40 credit one-semester individual project module CM3203 for third year BSc Computer Science undergraduate students, including all specialisms. Everything related to this module is managed via PATS. Deadlines and general tasks to complete are visible when you log into PATS (once you are set up).

  • CM3203 Guide: The complete guide for CM3203 on a single page for printing/saving as PDF.

Project Coordinator: Frank C Langbein at

Project Selection (Autumn Term)

The setup of the module and project selection takes place in autumn term. This includes setting you up on PATS, creating proposals and selecting a project.

Further video recordings from the lectures are available on learning central/panopto for this module.


Before project selection starts, you will get an account on PATS linked to your Cardiff University account. You will receive a notification to your university e-mail address when this is done. Once setup:

  • Check your PATS profile. You can edit some fields yourself. Change of e-mail address must be confirmed (check the confirmation e-mail to the new address). You can use the profile field to provide general information about the projects you are interested in and your background. Potential supervisors can view this during project selection with your proposals.
  • If any information you cannot edit is wrong, contact the project coordinator; in particular, check your course/specialism.


You can select a staff proposal or propose your own project:

  • You can submit project proposals on PATS as soon as you have been set up. The proposals are only visible to potential supervisors if you make them available and project selection has been opened (you will get a notification by e-mail when this happens; you are also not able to see staff proposals before then).
  • If you propose your own project, you must find a supervisor for it. There is no guarantee that this will be possible, even if we try to support all feasible projects. It depends on the expertise and availability of supervisors, the required resources and the suitability of your proposal. Discussing your proposal with some supervisors and the project coordinator may help.
  • Supervisors may add more proposals during the selection period, and you can also add your own proposals later, edit them, etc., until selection deadline.

See Project Proposals for further details.


Project selection usually takes place from autumn week 5 to 11. Details will be sent to your e-mail registered in PATS, and there will be a lecture introducing the module, including project selection and suitable project topics at the start of the selection period. You will only be able to see proposals and available supervisors and agree on supervision once selection has been opened, which usually happens during or right after the introduction lecture. You will also receive a notification once this has happened.

  • Project selection runs via PATS, and you must agree on a proposal with a supervisor before deadline (usually by the end of autumn week 11). The selection deadline cannot be extended due to limited supervision slots. Once this has been completed, you will see your project on PATS and cannot select another project anymore. If you do not select a project, you will get a random supervisor and must agree on a project with them.
  • Once you have selected a project with a supervisor, the selection is final. This can only be changed in exceptional circumstances with the help of the project coordinator.
  • Your project must be related to your degree, particularly if you are on one of the specialisms. You only see staff project proposals that they marked as relevant to your specific degree, but if you propose your own project, you have to make sure it is suitable. If you are unsure about the suitability of your own project or a staff project, please discuss this with potential supervisors. If queries remain, get in touch with the project coordinator.

See Project Supervision for further details.

Ethics and Other Issues

Your project may require ethics approval. All projects involving human participants, human material or human data (Human Research), including surveys and user tests, must be subject to ethical review before the work commences. If you are unsure, discuss this with your supervisor and potentially a School Research Ethics Committee member. You cannot proceed with the work on your project without this. Sometimes it may only be an optional part of the work, but some projects crucially depend on it. You must clarify this as early as possible to ensure the project can be done. So this is an issue already to consider during project selection, even if approval may only be possible to obtain later on. The student and supervisor are responsible for ensuring the project can be done under the School's ethics regulations, including alternative project directions, should it not be possible to ensure this during selection.

Please watch the “Ethics for Dissertations” video in the panopto/learning central CM3203 folder [PDF Slides] with further details. If you need ethical approval there are two options:

  • Simplified ethics, i.e. approval by a supervisor:
    • You can use this if you are running one of the approved study types: anonymous survey (to gather requirements for the system you are developing); usability evaluation (questionnaire, interview, think aloud).
    • And you are not meeting the full review criteria (i.e. you are not working with vulnerable participants and your dissertation does not focus on a potentially sensitive topic).
  • Regular ethics application:

The CM3203 ethics framework with the dissertation project ethics form for simplified ethics:

  • CM3203 Ethics Framework (approved until 29/11/2026); supervisors should send the approved form by e-mail back to the student and the module leader.

with the following templates/exemplars for adoption by the students:

Other issues, such as required resources (e.g. special hardware or software) or legal issues (e.g. intellectual property and licensing), must also be considered for the proposal when agreeing to supervision and during execution, with proper risk management in place.

It is the student's and supervisor's responsibility to ensure that the project is, in principle, feasible to execute and suitable for the module/degree scheme.

Project Execution (Spring Term)

The project is executed in spring term, from week 1 to week 12. Regular supervisor meetings will happen in that period and are to be arranged individually with each supervisor. As the student is expected to manage the project, they are also responsible for ensuring these meetings occur. The supervisors may follow up on students not attending, but this is not guaranteed. On average, the meetings are expected to be 30 minutes per term week, but the time can be distributed arbitrarily across the 12 weeks. It may include group sessions as suitable for the project. Specific arrangements should be agreed upon between the student and supervisor. If the student cannot get hold of the supervisor within the agreed schedule, they should contact the project coordinator (considering that usually, it can take up to a week for the supervisor to respond, even if often they are faster).

The work on the project is towards the two assessments for the module:

  • CM3203 Initial Plan: You must submit an initial plan (by the beginning of spring week 2, at most 2,000 words, worth 5%).
  • CM3203 Final Report: A final report must be submitted at the end of the semester (by the end of spring week 12, at most 25,000 words, worth 95%).

You also find the required deliverables with their exact submission deadlines under your PATS project details. The word limits are a maximum for the main body of the report, not a target. Enough information such that a competent computer scientist can understand and reproduce the work should be given in the report, and any appendices or supplementary material (both do not count towards the word limit). More guidance and details about the coursework are in the corresponding sections above.

Extenuating Circumstances

If you have any extenuating circumstances, Cardiff University's rules for undergraduate coursework apply (do not confuse these with the regulations for postgraduate dissertations). You can either obtain an extension or a deferral to the next possible time (usually in the resit period over the summer or the following academic year). Generally you would submit this in the two weeks before deadline.


If you do the project in the summer resit period (for any reason), you would usually work on the same project with the same supervisor and moderator. This will automatically be set up, and you will get details on deadlines, etc., after the year exam board. If the supervisor is not available, another supervisor will be found.

If you repeat the project (for any reason) during term, this will not be automatic. It will be an internal repeat of the module (external is not possible), taking you through the complete process. You must select a project/supervisor again in the autumn term to execute the project in the spring term. Still, you can agree on the same/adjusted project with the same supervisor if they are available.

cm3203.txt · Last modified: 2024/03/18 13:26 by scmfcl