COMP 499A/B: Honours Project

COMP499A and COMP499B are two linked courses required for computer science  MAJ   majors who have been accepted into the honours program. These courses are taken in consecutive semesters and together they constitute the honours project. 

Students should register for COMP499A/B during their last two semesters in their program.


Students must have secured a supervisor and chosen a thesis topic before they will be given permission to register for these courses.


USRA/SURA Notice:  Students may not be working on a 499A/B during the semester for which they hold an USRA/SURA, and the research must be distinct from their honours thesis.

Students registered for these courses should consult the Computer Science Honours Handbook for fuller guidance.

Prerequisites: Admission to the honours program and permission of the Head of the Department. All required core courses must be completed.

Availability: These courses are usually offered in Fall, Winter and Spring semesters, depending on supervisor availability.

Course Objectives

To introduce computer science honours students to research activities, to familiarize them with a special problem in computer science and to provide independent study on an advanced topic under the direct supervision of a member of the computer science faculty.

The topic is chosen in consultation with the supervisor. The research project and type of work required will depend on the project and can involve literature review; developing methodologies; collecting, analyzing and presenting data; writing code; interpreting results and determining the significance of findings. Deliverables include a research proposal, a final presentation and a final thesis.

Representative Workload and Evaluation
  • Students are expected to spend as much time on each of these courses as is spent on a regular 4000-level computer science course.
  • An honours student should meet regularly with their chosen supervisor to discuss the progress of their work and the future direction it should take.
  • Students are required to produce a research proposal, a written report on the completed project, known as the final thesis, and to present their work in a seminar.
  • The final grade received will be based on:
    • Research, discussions and work with the supervisor during both semesters (40%)
    • Final Presentation (25%)
    • Final Thesis (35%)
  • No grade will be submitted until all of the required work has been completed.
Expectations and Timeline

First Semester of Honours: COMP499A
COMP 499A is graded with PAS/FAL and is worth 0 credit hours. There are no classes as part of this course, rather, it consists mainly of self-directed and supervised research. Students and supervisors should meet on a regular basis while the student is enrolled in 499A, and the student should be progressing with their research and thesis writing.

As part of this course, students will submit a Research Proposal. The Research Proposal is a short specification of the proposed thesis work and should be written in consultation with the supervisor. It should provide a broad summary of the work that the student proposes to complete for their Honours Research Project.

The Research Proposal should include, where appropriate:

  1. A short Introduction providing a background outlining the rationale of the research.
  2. The Research Question and Hypothesis.
  3. Procedures: a summary of the proposed methods and procedures.
  4. Time-line: anticipated time to complete the research and final thesis.

The proposal must be completed before classes end for the semester.

Second Semester of Honours: COMP499B
COMP 499B is graded with a letter grade (A, B, C, D, F) and is worth 6 credit hours. Deliverables for this course include:

  • A Final Presentation. The presentation will last about 10 to 20 minutes. It will include an overview of the student’s research question, hypothesis, methods, results and discussion.
  • A Final Thesis. Please see the Computer Science Honours Handbook for guidance on its structure and content.

The presentation and thesis must be completed before classes end for the semester.

  • Details of the previous, three-credit hour COMP4780 program, which this replaces, can be found here.
  • For the degree Honours in Computer Science (Software Engineering), the honours project must be in the area of software engineering.
  •  ⚠ The Honours in Computer Science (Software Engineering) is not currently available.