We had a job fair at our university recently, and there were renowned IT companies like Cisco, for example, who offered us topics for our bachelor/masters theses (I'm double major in physics and math, they were interested in math students mostly).

The question I have is, are "industrial" theses made under big IT companies worth it in fields of applied math/machine learning, in case I would like to continue to do my Ph.D. in future? Or is it better to do some "academical" thesis with this aim?


  • I would think that the two go hand-in-hand because both influence each other.
    – Michael
    Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 14:41

1 Answer 1


This is a common and healthy practice around the world. Companies are usually facing difficult problems that can potentially have many different solutions and are looking for the most innovative and efficient ones. Offering these projects to masters and PhD students saves money for the company and helps make the student more experienced in solving real-world problems. In addition, if you do a good work in your masters, it's not unlikely that the company may offer you a scholarship to do your PhD in the same field, which is extremely important. Not to mention that you can establish contacts with people from the industry.

There is really very little difference between what you call "industrial" theses and "academical" theses. In both cases, you have to do literature review, problem motivation, implementation, and evaluation. All of that has to be in the thesis. Also, both pave the way to do your PhD in the same or similar fields.

  • 1
    To add to this answer, (which I agree with) I'd like to point out that the companies you reference are seeking to have someone select their problem as an academic topic. The company doesn't judge the result or set up the requirements for either graduation or publication. The standard gatekeepers do all that.
    – The Nate
    Commented Apr 22, 2017 at 13:38

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