Master's Thesis

Thesis writng - other programmes at Facuty of Arts

The Master’s thesis is normally the final part of the Master’s degree programme.

You will be registered for the Master’s thesis automatically, so that you can complete your degree programme within the stipulated time of study (22 months (+ 6 months for students with an extension)). Registration for the Master’s thesis is compulsory and cannot be withdrawn. This applies even if you have not passed all prior elements of your degree programme.

The Master’s thesis must be submitted by the relevant deadline: 

  • 1 June for students enrolled on a two-year Master’s degree programme starting in the summer
  • 2 January for students enrolled on a Master’s degree programme starting in the winter or with an extension

Students who have been admitted before September 2016 will be registered for the Master’s thesis with a deadline for submission six months before their maximum period of studies.

Read more about maximum period of studies

Please be aware of the relevant deadlines during the thesis writing process.

Step-by-step guide to thesis writing

1. Preparing for the thesis process well in advance (third semester)

During the third semester of your Master’s degree programme, you should start defining the topic you are interested in for your Master’s thesis. It is a good idea to start looking for material already to ensure that you have it when you need it in the thesis process. Help is available for searching for information at the AU libraries and at the State and University Library.

It is also a good idea to start thinking about who you would like as your thesis supervisor.

2. Applying for a thesis supervisor

The procedure for appointing supervisors varies, depending on which degree programme you are in.

In the overview of deadlines you can see when you (if you have applied on time) can expect an answer to your application for a thesis supervisor.

Please note: Thesis supervisors must be members of department staff (a professor, associate professor or assistant professor). If you wish to work with a supervisor or co-supervisor who is an external lecturer, in a different job category or attached to a different department, you need to apply for exemption

3. Starting the process of thesis supervision

Once a supervisor has been assigned to you, you can start the supervision process. It is a good idea to discuss your topic and working title with your thesis supervisor as soon as possible because these have to be confirmed by the time the thesis contract is signed. It is also a good idea to discuss how the supervision should proceed to ensure that it suits both you and your supervisor. 

For inspiration on points to discuss, see Inspiration for the supervision plan.

4. Plan for thesis supervision

Fill out the supervision plan in collaboration with your supervisor. Once it has been completed, the supervision plan must be signed by you and your supervisor. 
Form: Plan for thesis supervision

Students at the School of Communication and Culture and the School of Culture and Society must scan and upload the form here.

Students at the Danish School of Education must submit the form to the Study Center Arts in the opening hours or by email. 

Writing your thesis in a group

If you write your thesis with one or more other students, each of you has to fill out a contract, writing each other’s name(s) and student registration number(s) in the space provided.

Please note: Students of anthropology may not write their thesis in a group.

5. The thesis process

During this period you work on your thesis. You should keep in touch with your supervisor along the way. See Inspiration for your thesis if you need additional support and supervision during the process.

Specifically for students of Journalism (cand.public.) : If you choose a thesis with a journalistic product (exam form 3), and if you want to produce something that is not a printed article, the design and scope must be discussed with the journalistic co-supervisor and is subject to the final approval of the programme director.

6. Acknowledgement of submission of the thesis

For the sake of the planning of the thesis exams, it is important that you submit the form "Acknowledgement of submission of the thesis" before you submit your thesis. If you do not submit the form at least 6 weeks before you submit your thesis, we will not have a co-examiner ready to assess your Master's thesis in due time.

  • Submission by the deadline
    If you are planning to submit by the specified deadline, you can find the deadline for submission of the " Acknowledgement of submission of the thesis Acknowledgement of submission of the thesis" form here: Deadlines in the thesis process
  • Submission earlier than the deadline
    If you are planning to submit (substantially) earlier than the specified deadline, you must write the planned submission date in the form and submit it 6 weeks before you are planning to submit your thesis.
  • No submission
    If it is clear to you even before the submission deadline for the " Acknowledgement of submission of the thesis Acknowledgement of submission of the thesis" form that you will not be able to submit your Master's thesis by the specified deadline, please do not submit a preliminary title. Instead, you should follow the guidelines set out in Clause 9.

Form for students at the School of Communication and Culture and the School of Culture and Society: Acknoledgement of submission of the thesis - CC and CAS

Form for students at the School of Education: Acknoledgement of submission of the thesis - School of Education

7. Submitting your thesis

As of January 1 2017 all theses is to be submitted on our digital examination platform.

We recommend that you read the 'Guide to Digital Exam for students', and that you start uploading in good time before the deadline. 

Please note that your Master's thesis must be uploaded and submitted by 14.00 at the submission date.

Publication of your thesis

When you submit your thesis, you will be given the the option to publish an electronic copy of your thesis via AU Library.

Product thesis

If your Master's thesis includes a physical product, the physical product must be submitted to your study centre. All other parts of your thesis must be submitted digitally.

The physical product must be submitted to Study Centre Arts, Tåsingegade 3, building 1442, ground floor, during office hours from 10.00-14.00.

Please note: If the submission deadline falls on a Saturday, Sunday or public holiday, the deadline is automatically extended to the next working day.


8. Assessment of your thesis

The university must announce the assessment no later than four weeks after your thesis has been submitted.

Preliminary approval

Due to the fact that your master’s thesis will now be assessed within four weeks, the university no longer supports the possibility of applying for a preliminary approval for the unemployment benefit office.


You are entitled to receive feedback on your thesis once it has been assessed. Please arrange when and how to do this with your supervisor. This feedback may be in writing, but it no longer constitutes part of the assessment. You cannot complain about the feedback – only about the mark given.

Thesis with oral defence

The defence takes place within the four week assessment period, which starts on the date where the thesis is submitted.



9. If the thesis is not submitted on time or does not pass

If your thesis is not submitted

If you fail to submit your thesis by the prescribed deadline, this will count as one out of three examination attempts. Your second examination attempt starts automatically, giving you three extra months starting from the original submission deadline.

You must submit a new supervision plan no later than 14 days after your original submission deadline. The new thesis statement must fall within the same subject area as the original. 

If you fail to submit your thesis by the new deadline, you will have used the second of the three examination attempts. You are entitled to a final examination attempt, in accordance with the rules applying to the second examination attempt. In other words, you are entitled to a total of three examination attempts.

If your thesis does not pass

If your thesis does not pass, this counts as an examination attempt. You will be informed of the fact by your supervisor. Within 14 days of being informed of the assessment, you and your supervisor must sign a supervision plan regarding the submission of your second or third attempt. The three-month period starts on the day you were notified that your thesis did not pass.

Form: Supervision plan (2nd and 3rd attempt)

When the supervision plan is completed and signed, you must submit it to the thesis administration in your subject.

Students at the School of Communication and Culture and the School of Culture and Society must scan and upload the form here.

Students at the Danish School of Education must submit the form to the Study Center Arts in the opening hours or by email. 

Please note that you only have to obtain a signature from your supervisor. The signature from the head of department will be filled in later.

10. Diploma

The diploma issued to you after finishing your Master’s degree programme is the only origi­nal documentation of your completion of the programme.

Therefore, it is your responsibility to contact the university immediately if you do not receive your diploma within two months after the announce­ment of the result of your final exam. Likewise, you must contact the university if you suspect any errors in your diploma.

Please note, that the month of July is not included when calculating the two-month deadline.

The university can issue a new diploma provided that you contact the studies administration at your main academic area within three months of the announcement of your final exam result. Again, the month of July is not included when calculating the deadline.

You are welcome to print a transcript of the exam records from (Self-Service) and use it until you receive your certificate. 

Special circumstances

If you wish to submit your thesis before the deadline

If you do not need the full thesis period, you are welcome to submit your thesis earlier. You must still submit your preliminary title at least six weeks before you wish to submit your thesis.

Exemption from the submission deadline rule

If exceptional circumstances prevent you from working on your thesis (illness or maternity/paternity leave, for instance), the board of studies may grant you exemption from the submission deadline rule. Read more about applying for dispensation.  

Changing supervisor

You can only change your supervisor in exceptional circumstances, and you must submit an application for dispensation to do this. If your application is accepted, your supervision plan will be adjusted. However, the original deadline for submission will remain unchanged.

Leave of absence during the thesis period

The general  leave of absence rules apply during the thesis period, which means that students may apply for leave of absence with the result that the submission date is postponed by a period equivalent to the duration of the leave. During periods of leave, students cannot receive supervision or the government student grant.
Please note: You may not submit your thesis in the semester in which you have been on leave. If you want to take leave of absence, you should do so in the semester prior to submission.

Maternity/paternity leave and pregnancy

As a consequence of the new rules in study progress reform II, the guidelines for dispensation in connection with parental leave are currently being revised. The new guidelines will be published on this page as soon as possible.

General rules on pregnancy

It is important to distinguish between maternity/paternity leave and pregnancy. Pregnancy does not qualify as exceptional circumstances and therefore cannot be used to justify the postponement of the thesis submission deadline. As a general rule, postponement of the thesis submission due to maternity/paternity leave or pregnancy is granted from the day of birth of the child (must be documented by a maternity record, birth certificate or the like). 

If you experience discomfort/illness related to your pregnancy and it affects your thesis work, you can apply for dispensation specifically for such circumstances in relation to the submission date. However, this requires documentation of exceptional circumstances (read more about the definition of 'exceptional circumstances' on the exemptions page).