There is no first-come first-serve for projects. It does not matter at all who registers interest in a project first; as long as you are marked suitable you will be a potential candidate for that project.
Read the details of all projects that seem interesting, paying attention to "Essential Skills" and "Completion Criteria". We try hard to make sure you get a project of your choice, but this is not always possible. Some projects are extremely popular, but many can only be allocated to one student. We also cannot guarantee that you will be assigned a project in your specialism area.
In the DPMT system you can register interest in projects. Start by registering interest in 5 projects. You can always rank your choices in order of preference. Later you may need to register interest in a few more projects (see below).
If you register interest in a project, then you must contact the supervisor (and, ideally, the co-supervisor as well if there is one) and ask to discuss the project. Just clicking a button in DPMT alone achieves nothing.
This will give you a chance to learn more about the project and about the supervisor(s). It will also give the supervisor(s) a chance to assess if you have the right skills to do the project. Some supervisors may not be able to meet with you in person -- in that case, you will need to discuss the project via telephone/SKYPE or email. Some supervisors also hold pre-tests or group meetings to assess candidates.
Even if you proposed a self-proposed project (and found a supervisor for it), you still need to do the following steps. We try to accommodate all self-proposed projects, but sometimes load-balancing constraints make it impossible. Thus you need fallback options.
The supervisor will then mark you as either "very suitable", "suitable" or "unsuitable" for the project in the DPMT system. Normally, the only reason for being "unsuitable" is that the student does not have the "Essential Skills" to undertake the project.
At the end of the selection process, you need to be marked "suitable" (or "very suitable") for at least 5 projects. Thus, if you get marked "unsuitable" for some of your first 5 projects of interest, then you need to register interest in a few more until you are "suitable" for 5. Do not register interest in large numbers of projects, because you'd be wasting everybody's time.
You can rank your projects in order of preference. We try to take these into account as far as possible, but remember that you might be assigned to any of your "suitable" projects, including your last choice. So choose carefully.
To maximise your chances of getting a project you want:
If you do not register interest (resp. not attain "suitability") for 5 projects, then you get de-prioritized in the allocation. This means a significantly higher chance that you don't get assigned to any project, and will have to choose from whatever projects are left over at the end.
The deadline for the project selection phase is: see Timetable. The final project allocation will be made shortly after that (see timetable).
If you have questions, look for answers at the course page and the FAQ there.
When choosing projects, some issues you should consider are:
Do not choose five very popular projects or you may find that you get none of your choices and will have to choose from whatever is left over. This does sometimes happen. Most projects can only be allocated to one student. Do not choose five projects that are closely related, e.g., all graphics or all the same supervisor; spread your choices out. Otherwise, because of the popularity of certain project topics and supervisors, you risk getting none of your choices.