Students, especially at the undergraduate level, have varying aspirations post their degree. Most would like to look for a job upon completion of their undergraduate degree, many pursue a Master’s programme (sometimes in their own discipline or in another discipline including a professional one) and a few pursue graduate study leading to a doctoral degree. Academic programmes wish to ensure training that prepares their students for a career or further studies but which also defines the culmination of their learning in the programme. Often an Undergraduate Thesis or a Capstone Project or a Bachelor of Technology Project is used meet such diverse career requirements and preparation.
All undergraduate students at Ahmedabad University complete an Undergraduate Thesis or Capstone Project or Bachelor of Technology Project with a writing component in their final year at the University. The number of credits for the Undergraduate Thesis or Capstone Project or Bachelor of Technology Project can be 15 credits for full semester engagement, within or outside the University, and 6 or 9 credits, spread over one or two semesters, in other cases.
An Undergraduate Thesis is a scholarly document that examines a focused or a narrow issue or a problem and evaluates, analytically and critically, the issue or problem at hand in depth and often suggests a suitable direction for a solution. It could also be an analysis of a situation or a perspective or a point of view that deepens our understanding of the area and issues under study. An Undergraduate Thesis could be a critical analysis of a book(s) and ideas, testing of a hypothesis with data that involves a review of related literature and development of an analytical solution, development of a theoretical model, an engagement with a scholarly debate in the discipline, etc. An Undergraduate Thesis should be done individually and it prepares the student to undertake independent research and teaches them about methods of enquiry. It helps build deep knowledge in one narrow domain. An Undergraduate Thesis is suitable for a student who wishes to pursue graduate studies leading to doctoral education and perhaps build a research-oriented career.
A Capstone Project is a broad, multifaceted, application oriented project where the student gets an opportunity to apply what she has learned to a practical situation or integrate real world experiences and draw inferences, build a product or service, address important community issues or historical issues based on data and evidence, etc. The Capstone Project involves structuring of an unstructured problem, research, collection of data, development of options and their critical analysis, generation of recommendations and insights, and a convincing presentation (written, oral, and/or using other media). The Capstone Project provides a significant value in training a student for professional life. These projects may be sponsored by an organisation (whether governmental/non-governmental or non-profit/for-profit) and are often motivated by a real problem or issue. A Capstone Project is a group project, preferably an interdisciplinary group across Majors, Programmes, and Schools. It is also meant to train young leaders in problem solving and working in teams.
The Bachelor of Technology Project, or the BTech Project, is the culmination of the learning in the programme for engineering students where they integrate all they have learnt to address a technological issue. It provides an opportunity for students to design, develop and implement systems involving relevant aspects of engineering and its applications. Students work under the guidance of a faculty member or an industrial expert to identify a societal need and develop a comprehensive solution, while also addressing trans-engineering aspects, such as those related to the business model, costing, human interfaces, environmental impact and societal impact.
The number of credits for the Undergraduate Thesis/Capstone Project/BTech Project is 15 credits for full semester engagement, within or outside the University, and 6 or 9 credits, spread over one or two semesters, in other cases.
In the case of an Undergraduate Thesis/Capstone Project/BTech Project of 6 or 9 credits, all students majoring in a discipline will register for the same number of credits, as stipulated by the discipline.
The Undergraduate Research Programme (UGRP) is to encourage undergraduate students to experience the joy of research and what it means to be a researcher. Through the Undergraduate Research Programme, UGRP, the University provides several opportunities to students to deeply explore issues or ideas by either working on it independently under the supervision of a faculty member or with a faculty member in their laboratory or on their research projects. This programme tenders valuable preparation for graduate school and imparts exposure to a research-oriented career. It also provides an opportunity to work closely with a professor.
Students are encouraged to approach faculty to work with them on research projects.