Scientific Writing for MSc in Computer Science

No subprogramme
Other studies
The course focuses on skills needed in scientific writing: searching, selecting and reading scientific articles, making notes during reading, organising your material, and writing scientific article itself. We also discuss some writing-related ethical issues, like stealing, cheating, and plagiarism, which are not tolerated by the academic community. You will write an approximately 10-pages long scientific article on a topic given by the instructor following the department"s guidelines for master thesis and seminar papers. You will also practice reviewing articles. This course is only for MSc students majoring Computer Science! You are not allowed to participate if you have already passed the course!
Year Semester Date Period Language In charge
2016 autumn 08.09-20.10. 1-1 English Pirjo Moen


Time Room Lecturer Date
Thu 14-16 C222 Pirjo Moen 08.09.2016-20.10.2016

Exercise groups

Group: 1
Time Room Instructor Date Observe
Mon 14-15 A319 Julien Mineraud 12.09.2016—21.10.2016
Group: 2
Time Room Instructor Date Observe
Fri 16-17 A319 Chen He 12.09.2016—21.10.2016
Group: 3
Time Room Instructor Date Observe
Fri 16-17 A307 Mats Sj√∂berg 12.09.2016—21.10.2016

Information for international students

The course is compulsory for students who are doing only their Master's degree in English at the Department of Computer Science. This means that students with a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from the University of Helsinki do not participate to this course, because they have already completed course Kandidaatintutkielma, which has a similar content to this course.

This course is only for first-year master's degree students. Second-year students can participate the course, only if there are place in the groups. Upgrading the grade is not possible. 


Compulsory lectures of the course are held on Thursdays at 14-16 in C222.

In addition to the lectures, students must participate weekly small-group meetings during the course. These weekly meetings will contain discussions about the progress of the work, peer-reviews of the draft versions of the reports, and guidance by the group leader. These meetings with the small group leaders begin on week 37 (12.-16.9.2016). 

Small group leaders of the course are the following:

  1. Chen He,
  2. Julien Mineraud,
  3. Mats Sjöberg, and
  4. Johannes Wallner


Completing the course

During the course, you will write a 10-page scientific report about a given topic. The paper will graded using the normal grading scale 0-5. 

The report must be written following the best scientific practices, like using proper references and citation techniques, as well as, proper scientific style and good written presentation. See the table about factors affecting the grades (PDF) and the evaluation subpage.


Literature and material

Zobel, J., Writing for Computer Science: The art of effective communication. 2nd edition, Springer-Verlag, 2005 or similar book about scientific writing. The 1st edition of Zobel's book from 1997 can also be used. Some copies are available in the campus library.

The support material page contains links to some useful online materials and services.