MSc Thesis: general information and deadlines (Spring 2019)
To ensure timely completion of the Master thesis, it is essential for students to follow the steps as described subsequently and as shown in the time table below. Attendance is compulsory in all meetings of the thesis seminar. It is strongly recommended that students start thinking about the topic of their MSc thesis at an early stage.
The MSc Political Science program requires the writing of a thesis (20 ECTS points) as the final product of a thesis seminar, in addition to successful completion of the five courses. In general, the number of words of the thesis must be between 8,000 and 10,000, including tables, footnotes and bibliography.
Working on the MSc thesis starts with writing a research proposal. The research proposal must include a problem statement, theoretical foundation, conceptualization and, if applicable, operationalization of key variables, and present the methodology and techniques for data collection and analysis.
The MSc thesis needs to comply with high standards of academic research and writing. It is important that the thesis is consistent, clear and original in the sense of constituting an own contribution to ongoing research. In various courses offered in this program, students learn how to conduct research and how to write academic papers. Among the criteria used to evaluate the thesis are its originality, consistency, academic (and, if applicable, societal) relevance, the choice of an adequate theoretical framework, the correct application of analytical methods, the quality of the data collection, and the presentation of the text.
The first and final versions of the thesis should adhere to the following formatting and layout requirements:
The thesis should include a cover page stating the title, the student’s name, student number, course specialization, word count, submission date, and the names of the supervisor and of the second reader.
The thesis should include a short abstract (maximum 200 words).
The thesis should be typeset in an appropriate font, such as Times New Roman, size 12, double line spacing. Pages should be numbered. The layout of the text and formatting of tables and figures should conform to standards for political science research articles.
The thesis should use a consistent style of referencing throughout.
The thesis seminar instructor can provide additional advice, requirements and/or guidelines regarding layout and formatting.
Working on the research proposal
During January, students are expected to read the literature for their thesis seminar as announced on Blackboard by their thesis seminar teacher. Students should also individually search for literature and background information concerning their specific research topics. Students must use the assigned literature to start working on their research proposal that will be further developed in the first part of the thesis seminar.
Thesis seminar classes
Attendance is compulsory in the thesis seminar classes. Participation in the thesis seminar classes, the assignments for these classes, and the final version of the research proposal constitute the ‘practical part’ of the course and are all mandatory and a condition of entry to the examination for the thesis (i.e. writing the thesis itself). The final grade for the thesis seminar is based on the grade received for the thesis. It is of utmost importance that students attend all seminar classes and have a thesis proposal of high quality and academic standards finalized during the first part of the thesis seminar.
Submitting final version of research proposal
The deadline for submitting the final version of the research proposal (through Turnitin and in print) is stated below. An approved proposal is essential for the start of the thesis-writing process. Although students may continue working on their thesis without a formally approved proposal, they are then doing so ‘on their own’ (thesis seminar teachers are no longer obliged to provide supervision). The proposal must be approved by the supervisor and by a second reader. The second reader will be designated by the Director of Studies. Once the supervisor and second reader accept the research proposal, a copy of the proposal, signed by the supervisor and the second reader, is included in the student’s file of academic records. If a proposal is not completed in time or not approved, a record of this will be deposited in the student’s file of records.
Working on first complete version of the Master thesis
After the approval of the research proposal by their supervisor and the second reader, students work on their thesis for about seven weeks. During this phase, students have individual and/or group meetings with their supervisor. A number of meetings and subsequent revisions may be needed before the thesis is considered to meet the required academic standards. The deadline for submitting the first complete version of the thesis (through Turnitin and in print) is stated below.
Submitting final version of Master thesis
In the days following submission, the thesis seminar instructor will read the first complete version of the thesis. During this period, students can double-check various aspects of their thesis, such as references, bibliography, data or facts, preparing for last corrections on their work. After the supervisor’s comments on the first complete version have been received, students revise their thesis. The deadline for submitting the final version of the Master thesis (through Turnitin and in print) can be found in the below overview. Students submit this final printed version to their supervisor and to their second reader. The supervisor and second reader (both members of the departmental faculty) first independently grade the thesis using the thesis assessment form and subsequently decide together on the final grade for the thesis. This final grade is communicated to students within 15 working days.
Final meeting with supervisor
Students get the opportunity to review the thesis assessment forms and, if they so wish, receive feedback from the supervisor in a final meeting. All assessment forms are submitted to the Student Service Centre by the supervisor and are added to the student’s file of academic records.
As a pilot, in this academic year we allow supervisors and students, under strict conditions, to ask the Examination Commission for permission to rewrite and resubmit a failed thesis. The student uses the comments given by both readers to do this, but there is no further supervision during the rewriting. The deadline for this resubmission is on 31 August. The rewritten thesis will be graded by the first and the second reader again, but there is no supervision in the meantime and students will receive their grade 3 weeks after the deadline.
Note that the implication is that students have to re-enroll and register in the new academic year for a month. Note also this new option can be chosen only if:
a) A full and complete final thesis was submitted on the set deadline in June.
b) That thesis was not graded below 5 and the supervisor thinks that there is a good chance that rewriting will produce a pass.
c) The supervisor requests the Examination Commission to allow a rewrite.
Students can take the thesis seminar only once in their academic year. If the thesis (seminar) is not finalized with a passing grade, students will have to retake the complete thesis seminar in the next Spring. Requests for an exception must be addressed to the Exam Committee.
If the student is unable to complete the master thesis by the deadline due to circumstances beyond his/her control, a suitable solution will be sought by the Exam Committee after consultation with the student.
Time Table MSc Thesis Seminar Spring semester 2018/2019
Students study literature list (announced on Blackboard) and start working on their research proposal.
Monday 4 February 2019
Start of thesis seminar classes and actual supervision.
Monday 18 March, 12 noon
Deadline – Students submit final version of research proposal to the supervisor and second reader.
Monday 25 March – Friday 29 March
Final version of research proposal approved by supervisor and second reader. Supervisor discusses any comments with the students.
Saturday 30 March – Monday 13 May
Time period devoted to individual work on the thesis, including individual and/or small group meetings.
Tuesday 14 May, 12 noon
Deadline – Students submit the first complete version of their Master thesis to the supervisor.
by Friday 24 May
Feedback and comments on first complete version of the thesis by supervisor.
Saturday 25 May – Sunday 9 June
Revision of the thesis.
Tuesday 11 June, 12 noon
Deadline – Students submit the final version of the Master thesis: two hardcopies (one addressed to the supervisor, one to the second reader), PDF version by e-mail to the supervisor, Word/PDF version via Turnitin and the signed Publication Form to the supervisor.
by Friday 28 June
Supervisor and second reader decide on the grade for the thesis and inform the student about this outcome.