Offered MSc Thesis topics

We welcome students interested in software engineering, empirical research and modern software technologies to do their thesis with our group!

General writing Instructions

We have written some instructions to help the students in writing their Master's theses, and seminar papers and B.Sc. theses as well. Please, read the guide before starting your thesis work: Scientific Writing – Guide of the Empirical Software Engineering Research Group

Master's Thesis Topics

Software engineering and technology are very popular areas for thesis at the Department and there are many candidates asking for thesis topics every academic year.

We provide guidande for selecting a suitable topic and provide the supervision and support needed for completing the work. Please contact Antti-Pekka Tuovinen or Tomi Männistö if you are interested. You can also contact the group members to ask about the subject areas they are working on.

We also welcome companies to suggest potential topics for Master's thesis. The topics can be general, based on existing research, or they may require original research and problem solving. We will help to evaluate and fine tune the proposals. Depending on the topic, you may also need to be prepared to provide some guidance and assistance during the thesis project. Please contact Antti-Pekka Tuovinen or Tomi Männistö if you have an idea for an industrial thesis and if you need further information.

The listing below introduces our current areas of research and potential topics for thesis. Each topic has a short description and the names of the researchers working on the topic. Please contact them for more details about the research and the actual thesis work. Note that you can also suggest and discuss other topics within the general area of software engineering research.

MSc Thesis in the OpenReq research project (funded)

OpenReq is an EU Horizon 2020 framework project that aims to provide better requirements engineering to your organization. We are driving for improvements in the areas of requirements identification, classification and decision making support. The improvements we are looking for can be achieved through improved processes, methods and tools. OpenReq is also looking at hot topics like Artificial Intelligence methods to help with managing requirements and requirement extraction from natural language like social media posts.

ESE/University of Helsinki focuses on the contexts that altready contain a large number of existing and dependent requirements, such as large distributed open source projects or large systems engineering projects. In particular, we work in co-operation with the Qt Company. We represent the entire body of requirements in a single "requirements model" as a declarative representation. A requirements model can also include planned releases, thus representing a release plan. On one hand, the open problems are related the analyses and inferences for such a requirements or domain model. On the other hand, the problems are related to understanding practical needs and testing the developed technical solutions empirically.

The project in on-going and progressing, and the potential topics change. Ask for up to date details or see the

Contact: Mikko Raatikainen (

Creatively self-adaptive software architectures

We have recently started exciting research in the intersection between the research fields of self-adaptive software and computational creativity, with the goal of developing novel software architectures that can creatively adapt themselves in unforeseen situations. This initiative is a new research collaboration between Discovery Group of Prof. Hannu Toivonen and ESE. There are different options for thesis work with either of the groups. To get a better idea of the topic see, Linkola et al. 2017. Aspects of Self-awareness: An Anatomy of Metacreative Systems.
Contact: Tomi Männistö

Robotics software and software architectures

We are building an interesting line of research in the area of software and software architectures for robotics. This area is an intersection of software engineering and artificial cognitive systems, and takes into account knowledge from different domain areas where robots perform tasks in the physical world. Thesis work in this area can range from more technical and practical to theoretical. The perspectives include both questions about traits of the robotics platform architecture that make development of robotics applications easier and questions about implementing software for robotics systems in different kinds of physical environments.

We are currently looking for an MSc thesis writer who is interested in implementing software for a cleaning robot for construction sites. In this project, we cooperate with Pulurobotics (a Finnish startup providing the robotics platform), NCC, and Palmia (together providing a real-world use case). The project includes both investigating the use case requirements and programming the robot. There is an opportunity for a funded thesis position.
Contact: Fabian Fagerholm


Software product and service companies need capabilities to evaluate their development decisions and customer and user value. Continuous experimentation, as an experiment-driven development approach, may reduce such development risks by iteratively testing product and service assumptions that are critical to the success of the software. Experiment-driven development has been a crucial component of software development in especially in last decade, companies such as Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Amazon and many others often conduct experiments to base their development decisions on data collected from field usage. The topic is one of the most active research field for our research group and some recent publications are on introducing the concept and the RIGHT model
Contact: Sezin Yaman

Open Source Software Development

Open Source Software development is characterised by openly available online collaboration and communication systems. There is a growing body of work examining the data accumulating in such systems. Descriptive studies have examined, e.g., how the development process unfolds and how the social communication structure corresponds to technical actions in the code. Other studies have tried to leverage the the repository data for improving software quality, easing communication, or automating development tasks. Theses in this area could focus on, e.g., analysis of communication patterns using Natural Language Processing techniques, collecting and using software metrics, automated development process support, or methods for analysing specific kinds of repository data.

References: Guzzi, A.; Bacchelli, A.; Lanza, M.; Pinzger, M.; van Deursen, A. (2013). Communication in open source software development mailing lists. 10th IEEE Working Conference on Mining Software Repositories (MSR), pp.277-286.

Keywords: Mining software repositories, Open Source Software
Contact: Fabian Fagerholm


How should digitalization be taken into account in software development processes? What is the role of customer/user involvement in software-intensive systems development (e.g., digital services)? What are the key quality attributes? What new software engineering skills and competencies may be needed? What is the role of software (and IT) in general in different digital transformations (e.g., vs. business process development)? How is digitalization related to traditional software engineering and computer science disciplines in different contexts?
Contact: Petri Kettunen

Programmable World 

The emergence of millions of remotely programmable devices in our surroundings will pose signicant challenges for software developers. A roadmap from today’s cloud-centric, data-centric Internet of Things systems to the Programmable World highlights those challenges that haven’t received enough attention.
See e.g., A Roadmap to the Programmable World: Software Challenges in the IoT Era
Contact: Tommi Mikkonen


How is (high) performance defined and measured in software development (e.g., productivity)? Which factors affect it - either positively or negatively - and how strongly (e.g., development tools, team composition)? Can we "build" high-performing software teams in systematic ways, or do they merely emerge under certain favorable conditions? What are suitable organizational designs and environments for hosting and supporting such teams? See this link and this link for more info.
Contact: Petri Kettunen


How is innovation and creativity taken into account in software development processes and methods (e.g., Agile)? What is the role of customer/user input and feedback in software(-intensive) product creation (e.g., open innovation)? How to define and measure 'innovativeness' in software development? What makes software development organizations (more) innovative? See here for more about the topic. How can Open Data Software help innovation?
Contact: Petri Kettunen