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Tampere University Student's Handbook

Master's thesis

Tampere University

Master's Thesis is a part of Master's degree in other fields than technology and Master's thesis in technology / architecture is a part of Master of Science in Technology /Architecture degree.

The aims and place of the thesis in degrees

During the studies, students gradually gain the skills they need to write the thesis. In order to graduate, you should master the learning outcomes set for your degree and thesis.  

The aim of the Master’s thesis is that 

  • the student is well familiar with his/her field and especially the field of his/her thesis topic  
  • the student possesses the skills necessary for applying scientific knowledge and methods or the knowledge and skills required for independent and demanding artistic work 
  • the student has good communication and language skills that can be applied in his/her field and other applicable fields 

Students mainly complete the Master’s thesis during the second year of studying for the Master’s degree; it is part of the advanced studies in the degree programme. You must have graduated with a Bachelor’s degree or your Bachelor’s thesis must be approved before you can start working on the Master’s thesis and drawing up the supervisory plan with your supervisor.  

The goals of theses based on learning outcomes. As you work on your thesis, your research skills, knowledge of the subject matter in the field, academic language and communication skills as well as your scientific debating skills are enhanced through peer learning and supervision, and via the discussion you conduct with previous research. Working on the thesis means practising independent research in accordance with good scientific practice. Your faculty or degree programme defines the form of the thesis more closely (see the section on your faculty).

 

The stages of the Master’s thesis are outlined below

 

Responsibilities of students during a thesis process

Responsibilities of supervisors and examiners during a thesis process 

consider potential topics in advance (1st year of M.Sc studies), become familiar with the institutional repository and look into available thesis placements

discuss potential topics and the student's areas of interest (academic tutor)

complete training integrated into the curriculum to develop your research skills and become familiar with the principles of good scientific practice 

 

enrol on the thesis stage or thesis seminar

The seminar is implemented according to the curriculum of the student's degree programme/field of study.

agree on the topic and the supervisor(s) and prepare a Thesis Supervision Plan within one month of starting work on the thesis. Delivers a copy of the Thesis Supervision Plan (first 2 pages) to the faculty’s Student Services.

Thesis supervision plan

The Thesis Supervision plan is prepared in collaboration between all the parties. The plan must be prepared within one month of starting work on the thesis

attend a possible thesis seminar and complete information literacy training as part of the seminar (if the student has not yet completed such training)

Seminar framework or other support for the thesis process, agree on a schedule for the regular submission of written work

regularly submit written work to the supervisor as agreed, maintain effective progress, make adjustments based on feedback provided by the supervisor. Use the Turnitin originality check during the writing process of your thesis. You may ask for guidance from your thesis supervisor

maintain regular contact with the student, review the written work submitted by the student and provide feedback; peer activities

give an oral presentation on the topic of the thesis and provide constructive feedback to peers (if included to your curriculum)

Students present their thesis to their peers at the thesis seminar and serve as opponents when another student presents his or her thesis.

The abstract of the thesis serves as a maturity test.

The supervisor assesses the content of the maturity test.

 

No later than this stage, the supervisor nominates at least two examiners for the thesis by sending a proposal to the faculty that administers the student's degree programme. The Dean appoints the examiners.

The student must be informed of the appointed examiners.

 

Submit your thesis to Turnitin originality check through the supervisor's Turnitin Moodle platform. The thesis undergoes an originality check

The supervisor examines the originality report generated by plagiarism detection software Turnitin

The thesis is deposited to the Library repository. Student sends the link of the manuscript to the examiners for assessment purposes. Read more from Library guide

The examiners review the thesis and prepare a statement in which they propose a grade for the thesis.

 

The examiners deliver their joint statement to the faculty that administers the student’s degree programme within 21 days of the submission of the thesis. The three-week countdown begins when the student submits the link of his/her thesis to the examiner.

The student will have the opportunity to submit a rejoinder concerning the grade proposed by the examiners.

 

The thesis is released into the public domain after it has been approved. If you do not give convent to publish the thesis online, it will be available publicly in the University Library    

Academic guidance and counselling

Writing a Master’s thesis starts with participation in the thesis seminar and deciding on the topic. You will be assigned at least one supervisor – the responsible supervisor – who supports your work in matters related to the content and research process throughout the thesis process. The responsible supervisor is familiar with the assessment criteria of theses and discusses them with you. If the thesis has two supervisors – the responsible supervisor and the other supervisor – at least one must be well familiar with the topic of the thesis and both should hold degrees at least on the same level as the thesis in question. A person who is not a member of the University community may also act as a supervisor based on his/her expertise in the field.

The supervisor(s) and the student draw up a supervision plan that defines the rights, responsibilities and duties of the parties and the duration of the supervisory relationship. In the supervisory situation, a common understanding of the academic requirements of the thesis and of good scientific practice is also formed. The timing of supervision and the stages of the thesis process are also agreed upon. The supervisory plan also defines the target time of completing the thesis, which also gives an indication of the length of the supervisory relationship.

Your work process is the core of the supervision process. Supervision supports your learning process and your growth as an academic expert. You are in charge of your motivation and working and the way the thesis process advances. Faculties take care of the equal distribution of supervision work and including supervision in the teachers’ work plans.   

The faculty also defines the practices applied if any changes, conflicts or problems arise in the supervisory relationship.

Theses done in pairs or groups 

Doing the thesis with another student or in a group is agreed with the supervisor. If the thesis is undertaken by a pair or a group, each student must be able to demonstrate his/her share of the work because the thesis is fundamentally about practising independent scientific work. The thesis is assessed for each student individually. 

Language of the thesis

The language of the thesis is either Finnish or the main language of the student’s degree programme. The supervisor of the thesis decides on the use of other languages than the ones mentioned above. 

A student studying in an English-language degree programme may write his/her thesis in Finnish. However, if the student wants his/her academic record to show that he/she has earned the degree in English, it may be required that the thesis is also written in English. 

If the student has not demonstrated language and communication skills in his/her field in the Bachelor’s degree, they are demonstrated in the maturity test related to the Master’s thesis. The demonstration of language skills in relation to the thesis is described in more detail in the section on the maturity test.

The thesis seminar

To support working on the thesis, a thesis seminar or other teaching and activities that aid the thesis process are organised.   

In the thesis seminar, students especially gain peer supervision and peer learning skills as well as those on academic writing, information seeking and scientific debate. The seminar guides and supports working on an independent thesis and the parts it consists of, such as defining the research problem, outlining the topic, and structuring and reporting the research results. In the seminar, students also learn about the assessment criteria of the thesis. As far as possible, you should strive to complete your thesis in the seminar. 

If the curriculum of the degree programme does not include a seminar on the Master’s thesis in the fields of technology, other means of supervision must ensure that students receive sufficient support for writing the thesis and learning research skills. 

Adherence to good scientific practice

Learning outcomes related to good scientific practice are included in all theses. Review the guidelines on good scientific practice and consult your supervisor if you need further guidance. As part of the process of facilitating the writing process, the supervisor should ensure that you are familiar with good scientific practice and able to work accordingly. 

The originality checking of a thesis 

During the writing process, you may use the originality check tool found on your supervisor’s Turnitin section on Moodle. It will give you a comparative report on your text that will help you evaluate the appropriateness of your citation practices. You can always ask your thesis supervisor for advice on interpreting the comparison report.

The student and the thesis supervisor agree about the point when the thesis is ready for the official originality check and the subsequent actual assessment. You enter the text of your completed thesis in the originality checking software after which the supervisor reviews the originality report. After the supervisor has checked the originality report, you may submit the thesis for the actual assessment process. 

 

Finding a thesis placement - Commissioned theses  

You may do your Master’s thesis as a commissioned study for a principal that can be a company or another body. A thesis is a scientific study that is assessed on the basis of academic criteria and it must be completed within the target time. The supervisor and examiners at the University are responsible for the academic guidance and assessment of the thesis. The principal may appoint a contact person who may also participate in the supervision of the thesis. The principal must also be aware of the academic nature and publicity of the thesis. You, the reponsbile supervisor and the principal agree on the topic, schedule and objectives of the thesis.  Make a written agreement with the principal on any fee paid to you. 

The University has drawn up a checklist for the first meeting on a commissioned thesis on issues that should be covered in the meeting.

 

Copyright of the thesis 

Copyright issues are also related to the publicity of the thesis. The student is reponsible for the contents of the thesis and ascertaining his/her rights to it. The author of a thesis that is intended for publication must have full copyright to the thesis, including any pictorial material, tables or other material, or have the right to publish such material online. 

Further information on copyright is available on the Library’s Open Access guide and on the following websites:  https://libguides.tuni.fi/opinnaytteet/julkaisuluvat_tekijanoikeus

Publicity of the thesis and processing confidential information

Under law, the thesis is a public document (1999/621). A thesis becomes public as soon as it has been approved. After a thesis has been approved, it cannot be modified in any way. Confidential information cannot be included in a thesis. Publishing the thesis or its parts elsewhere, eg as articles, does not change the publicity requirement.  

If confidential information is processed in relation to the thesis, its use should be agreed with the supervisor and the possible principal in advance. The actual thesis should be written in a manner that allows publishing all of its parts. The possible confidential information should be incorporated in the appendices or background data that are not published. The separate data is not archived at the University.   

Other advice and support during the thesis process

Visit the Library website for more information on the Library’s support for information seeking. You may even book a place at an information searching workshop for students.
 

The Library also provides various online resources which may be used as self-study materials. For example: 

 

Maturity test

Purpose of the maturity test 

With the maturity test, the student demonstrates his/her familiarity with the field of the thesis and his/her Finnish or Swedish language skills. (Government Decree on University Degrees 794/2004). See below for information on other languages.  

If the student has already demonstrated his/her language skills in the Bachelor’s degree, he/she only demonstrates his/her familiarity in the field of the thesis in the maturity test.  

Language of the maturity test 

If Finnish or Swedish language skills are to be demonstrated in the Master’s degree studies, the language of the maturity test is defined as in the Bachelor’s degree. 

If a student is not required to demonstrate his/her language skills in the Master’s degree, he/she takes the maturity test in the language of the thesis.  

Form of the maturity test 

In a Master’s degree, the abstract of the thesis serves as a maturity test. 

 

Submitting the thesis for assessment

When the thesis is nearing completion, the student discusses the final stage with his/her supervisor. The student and the supervisor agree on the pre-examination of the thesis and any corrections that are still needed. After the pre-examination and the final corrections, the supervisor gives the student permission to submit the thesis for assessment. The student feeds the final version of the manuscript to the originality checking software in a manner provided by the supervisor who will check the originality report. The originality check of the thesis should be completed before the thesis is submitted for assessment.  

When you submit your Master’s thesis to assessment in the publication archive Trepo you also ensure that the originality check of the thesis has been done and that your supervisor has given you permission to submit the thesis for assessment. The student also decides what kind of a publication permission he/she gives to the thesis. Note that you must be registered as present in order to submit a thesis on Trepo.

The student should let the supervisor know when the thesis can be retrieved from Trepo. The student receives a message from the Library within a few days of submitting the thesis for assessment. The assessment deadline is calculated from the date of the email sent to the supervisor. 

Assessment and grade of the thesis

The responsible supervisor proposes examiners either at the start or the end of the thesis process. Use this form to make the proposal 

Thesis supervision plan (Master’s thesis) and proposal of examiners

Examiners of a Master’s thesis
 

The supervisor(s) of the thesis may also act as the examiners of the thesis if they fulfil the requirements stipulated in the Tampere University Regulations on Degrees.  According to Section 28 “At least one of the examiners must be employed by Tampere University”. Both examiners must have completed at least a master’s-level degree. For special reasons, the dean can appoint a person from outside the University as the second examiner.” 

The thesis examiners have 21 days to review the thesis after it has been submitted for evaluation.  The results on theses submitted for examination during the period from 1 June to 31 August may take longer to be published. For justified reasons, the dean may make an exception to the deadline. Such exceptions must be communicated to the students in advance.   

Master’s theses are assessed with a grading scale from 0 to 5.  The grades are 1 (sufficient), 2 (satisfactory), 3 (good), 4 (very good) and 5 (excellent). Assessment criteria given by the faculties can be found at the bottom of this page.

Students will receive the examiners’ statement and grade proposal by email to their tuni.fi email address. Students will then have seven (7) days to provide a written response to the examiners’ statement. The countdown begins when the email is sent to the student. A possible written response is addressed to the student’s faculty and will be reviewed by the dean. The dean will assess whether there is reason to reconsider the grade or whether he or she will confirm the final grade based on the examiners’ statement. The dean can also appoint an additional examiner to review the thesis or bring the matter before the Faculty Council.  

If a student does not provide a written response, the dean will confirm the final grade of the thesis based on the examiners’ statement. If a student is satisfied with the assessment outcome, he or she can expedite the process and the entry of the thesis on his or her academic record by immediately informing the faculty thereof by email. The procedure for providing a written response does not apply to theses counted towards the degree of Licentiate of Medicine.

A student cannot submit a new thesis to replace an already approved one.  

Appealing against thesis assessment

A student dissatisfied with the assessment outcome of a master’s thesis (or equivalent) can submit a written appeal (request for rectification) to the relevant Faculty Council within 14 days of receiving the results.

An appeal can be delivered in writing or by email.

Postal address: Tampere University, FI-33014 Tampere University, Finland

Street address: Kalevantie 4, campus information desk, 33100 Tampere, Finland

Email: tau [at] tuni.fi

 

Electronic archiving and publishing of the thesis 

According to a decision by the National Archives of Finland (AL/11085/07.01.01.03.02/2016) on the permanent electronic preservation of universities’ theses and Tampere University’s information control plan that is based on it, Tampere University’s Master’s theses are permanently archived. All theses are electronically archived. The Library is in charge of archiving theses and dissertations on the University’s publication database. 

All theses are public and saved in the University’s publication database. According to the University’s strategic alignment on open science, all theses and dissertations are openly published unless the publisher’s conditions prevent it. All theses may be read with the Library’s computers and online if the student has granted permission to publish the thesis on the internet.     

After approval, all theses are stored in the comparison database of the originality checking software.  

 

Created: 25.2.2019
Updated: 23.6.2022