Final Degree Project (FDP): The Beginning of the End

@Edgardo Schiena

I myself, as a 4th year Bachelor in Communication student, just completed my Final project and recently presented it.

The last year of a Bachelor is the closure of a fantastic adventure. Many students face it with joy, eager to start their professional careers, whilst many others just find it harder to say goodbye to their university life. Despite this division of emotions, all of the students have to face one last challenge before they can say it’s over: the Final Project.

I myself, as a 4th year Bachelor in Communication student, just completed my Final project and recently presented it. As much as this project has been a complete challenge, it also provided me with the opportunity of learning what it takes to write a long paper. The experience has been really fulfilling!

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The Final Degree Project gives the possibility to put into practice conceptual, practical and academic skills acquired throughout the Bachelor studies. It is divided into two different formats: a written project and an oral presentation. Both of the projects present different requirements that the student has to follow depending on the Bachelor, for this reason I recommend to every student to read the syllabus carefully before starting the project. Despite this, there are certain tips and recommendations that every student from each Bachelor can follow in order to ease the path.

1) Start thinking about your final project since 3rd year.

The FDP is a long term project that will occupy your entire 4th year. It is best if you start thinking and planning out your Final Degree Project towards the end of your 3rd year in order give you more tranquillity to develop it by following each requirement correctly.

2) Base your research question on something that you are passionate about.

The main objective of the final project is to answer a specific research question. In order to make the process less painful try to base your research question on something that you are really passionate about, something that pushes you to expand your knowledge. Writing a final project can be fun if YOU make it fun!

3) Constantly be in contact with your advisor.

The first step before starting your project is to choose your advisor. Your advisor will be your guide throughout your entire project. They will closely follow you to ensure you meet all the criteria’s required and help you with any kind of questions you could have throughout the process. I recommend to meet with your advisor on a weekly base, face-to-face, in order to make the communication process more direct and reliable and keep a steady working pace.

4) Set up deadlines and respect them (especially for your Literature Review).

Writing a quality FDP takes a lot of time, dedication and effort. An FDP is divided into 5 different sections, each of them has its own specific purpose; introduction, literature review, methodology, results/discussion and conclusion. Each section contains specific elaborate content, for example the results/discussion section, reserved mostly for graphs, tables, interviews and many others. Despite most students are capable of carrying out such task without any problem, it is important to keep in mind that it is a major time-taking process, and the more time you have available the better the quality of your project will be. The literature review, in this case, is the process that takes the most to produce. In order to give more credibility to your research question, it is compulsory to research what previous academics have written on the same topic and use it in order to support your research question. In this process you will spend most of your time in researching and reading extended academic papers, books and articles and include the most relevant authors in your literature review. This is definitely the most time-taking process specifically for two reasons. The first reason is that every academic article that you select has to support the specific topic or research question you are answering in your FDP. The second one is that you can include an article ONLY if it has been fully read. For this reason, in order to produce a high quality piece of work and take advantage of all the time you are given, I recommend the student to adopt a strict and regular working plan, by following a specific calendar with deadlines decided from both you and your advisor and ALWAYS respect them.

5) Prepare your presentation and practice it beforehand.

As soon as the written part of the FDP is sent and approved, many students tend to believe that the presentation is a piece of cake. WRONG! It is important to keep in mind that the presentation is as important as the written part of the project. Save enough time to prepare your presentation and spend quality time in practicing it. The presentation, depending on the Bachelor, can only be presented under a specific amount of time; this year was 10 minutes for BBA and 20 minutes for Communication for example. Generally, the panels of the FDP oral presentations are very strict regarding time, so it is extremely vital that your presentation sticks to the specific time frame, if not the panel will stop you as soon as the time is over.

It is understandable that each student has its own method of working and organizing academic life. But, as I personally experienced what it takes to write a FDP, I can strongly recommend to follow these 5 steps I explained above. This will be probably the most critical project you will face at this stage of your life, but if you work hard and constantly, I can confirm that you will succeed without any doubt!

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