Dr. Niall McMahon

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MCM Practicum Proposal Notes


These are some notes and references to documents that might help you with preparation for the MCM project proposal presentation in January.


The next important dates are January 17th - 21st. You will submit a Project Proposal/Approval Form by the 17th (this date for submission has to be confirmed) and and then present and present a 5 minute oral summary of your project proposal between the 17th and the 21st.

Groups will have been busy with examinations until today; now, it'd be a good idea to try to get a draft version of the project proposal ready before Christmas and then take a break!

I will be unavailable except for truly urgent things from December 23rd until January 7th inclusive. Don't expect any emails from me in this period! For the truly urgent, you can find my personal contact details here.

Important Project Dates and Targets

Official Information

Proposal Document

General Notes


The proposal document could contain the following sections:

  1. Overview of the topic with references, e.g. supply-chain attacks.
    • Discussion or analysis, e.g. categorisation of attack types.
    • Interesting developments or questions, e.g. Log4j attack.
  2. Specific area or possible research questions, e.g. Log4j attack.
    • What caused it?
    • How can it be exploited?
    • What systems are vulnerable?
    • What lessons can be drawn from it?
    • Etc.
  3. Research question: stated clearly.
  4. Outline plan, i.e. main tasks and approximate timetable.
    • Literature review.
    • Conducting research, i.e. coding, building, analysing etc. - what, how and why!
    • Compiling results.
    • Discussing results.
    • Conclusions.
  5. Conclusion: recap of introduction - what we're doing.

Notes About Writing and Research

I have some notes about PhD theses at my website. I will update this and write some more about research at some point.

Some of the references are about PhD level research, so the same depth is not expected of you. Still, they're useful, so take a read. Two worth looking at are:

You can use Word or another wordprocessor for writing. Other possibilities include LaTeX - this is a really nice system if you're familiar with it and worth reading about. I'll post some links at some point. Stick with what you know for now!

Practical Proposal/Approval Form

Structure of the Form

The Practical Proposal/Approval Form is a re-statement of the proposal document I'm encouraging you to write! If you have written the proposal document, then you can take the content and work it into the Practical Proposal/Approval Form.

Structure of the Form

Section 1: Student Details

Project Title:
Student ID:
Student name:
Student email:
Chosen major:
Date of Submission:

Section 2: About your Practicum

Please answer all questions below. Please pay special attention to the word counts in all cases.

Oral Proposal Presentation