Undergraduate Thesis

3 credits


This course is intended as a vehicle to provide undergraduate students with research experience. Students can take on a research effort for 3 credits or for 6 credits. The undergraduate thesis typically can be used to satisfy technical elective requirements. This document summarizes some of the procedures for this course and is intended as a guide for students and faculty members.

Who is eligible to register for CPEN/ELEC 499?

Students with excellent academic qualifications (typically an average of 80% or A-) can register for an undergraduate thesis after finding a suitable research advisor (a faculty member in ECE). In special cases, students not meeting the suggested minimum grade may register for EECE 496 when the research advisor provides suitable justification.

What are the procedures for registering and completing CPEN/ELEC 499?

  1. Undergraduate students interested in gaining research experience must find a research advisor and discuss their eligibility for the undergraduate thesis as well as potential research topics.
  2. Typically the undergraduate thesis should be taken for 3 credits. The 6-credit version of the course should be chosen only under exceptional circumstances with strong justification from the research advisor.
  3. The 3-credit undergraduate thesis should be completed over the course of one academic term. It is possible for the 6-credit version to span two terms.
  4. Whereas the research work and the grading are the responsibility of the research advisor, the Associate Head for Undergraduate Programs will ensure that the appropriate procedures are followed and that documentation is maintained for the thesis effort (including justifications for deviations from the norm.)
  5. After the student and research advisor agree to work together, the student should:
    • Register in the waitlist for either the 3-credit or the 6-credit version of the course;
    • Submit a registration request by sending an email to help@ece.ubc.ca with information about: the research advisor, the proposed research topic, and the number of credits of work.
    • The Associate Head for Undergraduate Programs will seek confirmation from the research advisor and obtain the necessary justifications (if needed), and the student will be moved from the waitlist to the regular list.
  6. After registration is complete, the student and the advisor can pursue the research effort in a mutually acceptable manner.
  7. The thesis should be completed by the last day of regular classes of the appropriate term. Successful completion of the thesis should be accompanied by the submission of a suitable manuscript describing the research effort. This manuscript should be made available via UBC ciRCle. In particular, this should be done for all theses that are awarded a grade of B- or higher. (See the next point for grading guidance.)
  8. On submission of the thesis, the research advisor should assign a grade. A guideline for grading is as follows:
    • A+ (95%): outstanding work that exceeds expectations;
    • A (88%): research work of high quality that suggests a high probability of success in a graduate program;
    • A- (83%): research work of high quality that meets expectations and suggests the possibility of success in a graduate program;
    • B+ (78%): research work that meets expectations but suggests that the student may need additional support and effort to succeed in a graduate program;
    • B (73%): research work that is adequate at the undergraduate level but does not reflect the standards that may be expected of someone entering graduate school;
    • B- (70%), C (60%), F: varying levels of work that does not meet expectations as deemed appropriate by the research advisor with suitable justification.
  9. The research advisor should submit a grade by sending an email to help@ece.ubc.ca within two weeks of the last day of regular instruction. This email should include a link to the thesis manuscript on UBC ciRCle (if applicable).
  10. The Associate Head for Undergraduate Programs will submit the grade to UBC Student Services after the grade recommendation is received from the research advisor.

More Information

UBC Course Page – CPEN

UBC Course Page – ELEC