Bachelor's thesis

The purpose of the bachelor's thesis is to give students an opportunity to demonstrate their ability to independently formulate a business-related problem statement within a given topic, select relevant literature, apply methodologies, collect and process data, make critical assessments, conduct analyses and conclude on the question raised in the problem statement.

On these pages, you will find relevant information, links and dates regarding the bachelor's thesis in the sixth semester for BSc(B) students.

Before the registration deadline

Introduction Meeting

On Thursday 12 October 2017 at 15:15 at Fuglesangssalen you are invited to an introduction meeting regarding the Bachelor's thesis with a presentation by BA coordinator at Department of Management, Christian Waldstrøm. The meeting will be followed by a fair where you can ask former bachelor students for advice when writing the bachelor’s thesis and get inspiration for your thesis. 

If you missed the introduction meeting in 2016, we will recommend that you watch the slides from the presentation by Christian Waldstrøm.

Writing on your own or in a group?

A bachelor's thesis is a comprehensive written paper, and you must decide whether you wish to write it on your own or in a group (groups of up to four persons are allowed). The most important thing to remember when choosing whether to write on your own or in a group is that you should do what is right for you. 

There are advantages of writing a bachelor's thesis in a group, because you will have someone to be your partner to discuss and reflect on theories and ideas with. This will usually be a great advantage, because different angles on the thesis will often provide a better result. But a bachelor's thesis requires a lot of work and will often involve many hours spent together in the group and sometimes compromises. For this reason, it is important that the group members both work well together and are socially compatible. A good tip is therefore to know the expectations of the person(s) you are writing the thesis with, as it is important that everyone in the group agree on the objective of the thesis. You should note that it is not possible to change groups during the process. On studentwelfare.au.dk you will find information and inspiration on how to work in study groups.

If you are looking for a writing partner or a member for your bachelor project group, you can sign up for BachelorBuddy in Blackboard. BachelorBuddy is a platform, where you can contact other students who are searching for study partners for their bachelor project on the 6th semester. You log in to Blackboard and go to 'Courses', where you make a 'Course search' using the course name 'BachelorBuddy'. You should now be able to subscribe for BachelorBuddy where you can create a 'thread' and make contact with other bachelor students.

Choice of topic

The topic of the thesis is typically based on an existing real-life problem, that is, an issue within the academic fields of the bachelor’s programme. It may be problems in a given organisation (private or public company, interest group, etc.), an industry or the community. You choose/define the topic for your bachelor's thesis yourself, as long as it stays within the academic frames of your programme. When choosing the topic, you might be inspired by a problem, an observation or a phenomenon that you find interesting or by models and theories from courses you have had. It might be helpful to discuss ideas for topic(s) with a possible supervisor for your thesis. 

It is a good idea to search for inspiration in the links below: 

  • AU Library:
    The library's e-archive contains all publicly available bachelor's theses from 2009 on the portal.
  • The Career Centre:
    The Career Centre cooperates closely with the business community, which makes it very relevant for Bachelor's theses. 
  • The news/Companies' own websites:
    Use the news, the newspapers or the companies' own websites to find problems that may be relevant for a bachelor's thesis. You have access to news media and company information through the library's databases.
  • You can also be inspired by the available supervisors and the topics on the supervisor lists (please find the lists under 'Registration').

Types of theses

The majority of theses contain an empirical element e.g. by using existing data from databases, questionnaires, interviews, simulations or experiments. This can take the form of a case study based on a specific occurrence or process in an actual company/organisation. 

In case you do not want, or do not have the opportunity, to use empirical data, you can do a theoretical thesis, which builds on a theoretical model or a generic problem. Often a theoretical thesis is based on existing literature studies in which a theoretical problem is analysed. This type of thesis is less common than empirical theses.

No type of thesis is superior to others and no topics guarantee a high grade. Irrespective of the topic chosen, the use of relevant theory and literature is fundamental to the thesis. The grade is based solely on whether the topic is thoroughly analysed, the results clearly presented and whether you are able to demonstrate your knowledge of current theories and analyses, competent application of methods as well as independent, critical judgement.   

Registration

Before you register a supervisor and a title for your bachelor's thesis you must contact a potential supervisor who will commit to give you supervision within your chosen topic. The registered title will typically be a draft for your problem statement rather than your final problem statement.

All supervisors are specialised in each their different field. Below you will find a complete list of supervisors in the individual departments and their individual fields of expertise.   

All supervisors may be contacted through the links below:

Please only contact ONE supervisor at a time and await this supervisor's reply before you contact any others. 

You must register the working title of the thesis and the name of the supervisor no later than 1 December.

The registration must be done online by using the registration form (the form is now closed and will be available again for registration after the introduction meeting).   

If you are unable to find a supervisor as the deadline approaches, you must register your thesis with a working title and description of the project before the deadline. You will then get a supervisor appointed to you by the department after the deadline.

If you are enrolled at Economics and Business Administration, HA and wish to write your bachelor's thesis with a student from Economics and Business Administration, BSc you must be aware that your thesis must be written in English.

In addition, you must both do the following:

1) In the registration form under 'Comments' you must write that your group is interdisciplinary.

2) Send an email to Gitte Nielsen(giln@au.dk) or Anne Svendsen (anne@au.dk) in which you write that you wish to write an interdisciplinary bachelor's thesis. Please remember to state your names and student numbers ind the email.

The writing process

The supervision process

You are responsible for your bachelor’s thesis, including the ability to structure your thesis and plan the working process in a suitable way. Therefore, you must be able to argue for all your choices, assumptions and delimitations (problem statement, theories, methods, analyses).

The primary task of the supervisor is to act as an academic sparring partner, play the devil’s advocate and challenge your work along the way – not to approve of your individual choices and work along the way. At the first supervision meeting, you and your supervisor should also discuss and agree upon how the supervision is to take place subsequently. This includes frequency of meetings, preparation before meetings (typically based on written inputs from you), planned absence by the supervisor (holidays, conferences, etc.) during which supervision is not possible.

Please note that the supervisors are not expected to read or assess the whole or larger parts of the thesis before it is handed in – but they are expected to read specific parts as part of the ongoing supervision process. Supervisors are not expected to give you indications of the projected outcome (grade) of the thesis – mainly because it is the external examiner who has the final say on the grade. However, the supervisor should inform you if your level of ambition or the expected outcome of the thesis is likely to be insufficient for the thesis to get a passing grade. 

Summary

The thesis must feature an executive summary in English (regardless of the language of the rest of the thesis) of 3,000-4,000 characters excl. blanks. The executive summary is included in the overall evaluation of the thesis, and it must be placed in the beginning of the thesis, before the introduction. 

Number of characters

The maximum size allowed for the thesis is defined by the number of characters excluding blanks and dependent on the number of students:

  • 1 student = 110,000 characters excl. blanks
  • 2 students = 154,000 characters excl. blanks
  • 3 students = 187,000 characters excl. blanks
  • 4 students = 220,000 characters excl. blanks

Please note:

  • All parts of the main thesis (front page, executive summary, list of contents, footnotes, references, bibliography, etc.) count towards this total. Only the appendices are excluded from this total.
  • Figures, tables, illustrations etc. inserted as pictures count as 800 characters regardless of their size. This does not include any front page illustrations.
  • There are no minimum limits for the thesis.
  • There are no “+ 10 % rules” for these size limitations, and your supervisor cannot give you permission to write more than the maximum limit. It is part of the academic qualification that you can organise and adjust the topics within the size limits. Therefore exceeding the limit will negatively influence the evaluation of the thesis.

If the thesis was written by a group (two-four students), you DO NOT have to indicate which parts were written by the individual group members.   

Front page

The front page of the thesis must include the following information:

  • Name of student(s)
  • Month and year
  • Name of the department (‘Department of Management’ or ‘Department of Economics and Business Economics’, depending on which department your supervisor belongs to).
  • Title of thesis
  • Name of supervisor
  • Number of characters excluding blanks in the thesis

Language and layout

All BSc(B) students must write their thesis in English, but for these students and all other students writing their thesis in English, the oral defence can be in Danish, if the supervisor is Danish-speaking and accepts it.

There are no formal requirements to layout regarding elements such as line spacing, margins, fonts, header or footer – as long as your thesis is readable.

Tables and figures

Tables and figures should be numbered consecutively. They must be easily readable/understandable and accompanied by an explanatory note, including a citation if they are referenced from another source. In principle, the notes should allow the tables to be studied and understood independently of the text. However, analyses and interpretations of the tables and figures must be given in the text. 

Appendices

You can enclose appendices where you find it necessary to include extra material such as (but not limited to): 

  • Supplementary information about the empirical setting
  • Interview guides, transcriptions of interviews, questionnaires, etc.
  • Reports used as secondary data sources 

The thesis is evaluated solely on the basis of the contents of the main thesis and therefore the main thesis must be a complete and meaningful document independent of the appendices.

If you use interviews as data collection, there are no formal requirements that you transcribe interviews. However, transcribing interviews will often lead to significantly better analyses of the data.

 

 

Citations/references

Accurate and comprehensive references/citations are very important because they mark the foundation of your knowledge. Your reader must also be able to use your references to retrieve the sources you use.

Direct use of quotes, paraphrases or directly translations without precise indication of source are perceived as plagiarism. Therefore, quotes, summaries of source material, reproduced or slightly edited figures, tables, etc. have to be accompanied by a precise reference to the source.

You must use the Harvard Referencing System to indicate your sources to cite your references.
This means that you have to write the references in the text and not in footnotes.

Read more about the Harvard Referencing System and see examples of how you can list your references in the text.

Reference list

At the end of your assignment (but before possible annexes), you should enclose a comprehensive reference list, which contains all the sources you have referred to in your text (and only those!).

You have to place your sources in alphabetical order by first author's surname. The exact layout of your reference list is up to you. The most important thing is simply that you organized your reference list by the author/year method (Harvard Referencing System) and that your sources on your reference list are complete (author, year, title etc.).

If you refer to several sources from the same author, you have to place them in relation to the year of publication.

Do not divide your sources into primary and secondary literature, and do not divide your reference list into different types of sources (eg. books, articles, Internet sources, etc.).

Read more about the Harvard Referencing System and see examples of how you can list sources in your reference list.

Reference management tools

A reference management tool can help you organize your sources/references and help you to create the references/citations in your text and generate a comprehensive reference list. It will save you a lot of time at the end when you have to create your reference list. Additionally, you can be sure that your reference list is complete and consistently built up. Using the reference tool you are most comfortable with.

AU Library provides training and support to the reference tools EndNote and RefWorks.

Harvard Referencing System and reference management tools

If you use a reference management tool, you can choose a standard (output style), which is based on The Harvard Referencing System (author/year method). For example Chicago 16th, APA 6th, Harvard or the like.

The important thing is that your references in the text and your reference list are consistent in their structure and that your reference list is extensive.

Confidentiality

When you contact external parties (organisations or individuals) about a possible cooperation in connection with your thesis, you might need to use a confidentiality agreement between you and the company, which can be found here:

Confidentiality agreement

Note that your supervisor and the external examiner (censor) both have implicit confidentiality through their jobs. However, some companies might still ask for a confidentiality agreement between AU and the company.

Note: When handing in your thesis, you can choose whether it should be ‘open shelf’ (i.e. accessible to others in the future). Choosing ‘closed shelf’ will ensure that only your supervisor and the external examiner will ever see your thesis.    

Special situations

If you have any problems, such as personal or health problems which will affect your ability to complete your thesis, or you have unsolvable problems with fellow students in your group, contact the Student Counsellor’s Office to get information on how to handle this.

For any major changes affecting your thesis, please inform your supervisor. In the rare instances of problems between you and your supervisor, first try to sort it out with the supervisor by mentioning your concerns or issues to the supervisor. If this is not possible or the problem persists, you should contact the Programme Coordinator at the department where your thesis is registered:

  • Christian Waldstrøm at Department of Management (MGMT), cwa@mgmt.au.dk
  • Anders Grosen at Department of Economics and Business Economics (ECON), gro@econ.au.dk.

It is important that you do not wait until you have handed in your theses or until after the defence to address these issues, as misunderstandings or issues about the supervision process are not grounds for a subsequent complaint about the final grade.

Cheating and plagiarism

Cheating and plagiarism is a serious offence that can lead to a number of sanctions including exclusion from Aarhus University. If you copy parts of other sources in your thesis, make sure to identify it explicitly as quotes with clear reference. Be aware that self-plagiarism is also plagiarism. If you copy text (verbatim or paraphrasing), ideas or structure from your own previous assignments you need to identify it explicitly. For all rules regarding plagiarism and other forms of cheating refer to the official rules at AU.

Handing in the thesis

Handing in the thesis in WISEflow

The bachelor's thesis must be submitted on 1 May.

The bachelor’s thesis must only be uploaded in respectively WiseFlow and Theses@bss. You are not allowed to hand in a paper copy of the thesis, as it is the uploaded version that is legally binding. When you have handed in the thesis in WiseFlow it will automatically be send to supervisor and external examiner.

WISEflow

You will receive an e-mail from WISEflow when it is possible to upload your thesis. Deadline for handing in the thesis in WISEflow is 1 May at 14:00.

Once you have uploaded your thesis it is not possible to withdraw it. Therefore, you must make absolutely sure that you upload the correct version. 

If you have not previously tried to upload an assignment in WISEflow as a group, please read and follow the instructions on how to submit as a group.

The thesis including appendixes must be saved as one PDF-file and uploaded under “Paper”. You will receive information regarding upload via BlackBoard.

Under the category “Extra material” you can upload material like movies, sound, programs (Excel, SAS mv.). The extra material does not have to be a pdf-file and you can hand in more than one file up to a maximum size of 1 GB. If you need to hand in more than 1 GB as extra material you can send this directly to your supervisor on a USB-stick. 

Theses@bss

You must also upload your thesis to Theses@bss. This is Aarhus BSS’ archive where all digital theses are stored. Even though your thesis is confidential, you must upload it to Theses@bss  .

When handing in your thesis, you can choose whether it should be ‘open shelf’ (i.e. accessible to others in the future). Choosing ‘closed shelf’ will ensure that only your supervisor and the external examiner will ever see your thesis. 

The oral defence

The department will contact you by e-mail or by Blackboard with information about when your thesis defence will take place (at the latest 6 weeks after it is handed in). 

After handing in the bachelor’s thesis, you will receive an e-mail from the department with information about where and when the thesis defence will take place (at the latest eight weeks after it is handed in).

The oral defence is an evaluation of each individual student regardless of whether the bachelor’s thesis is defended in a group defence (when two or more students have written the thesis together) or in an individual defence (if you have written the thesis by yourself). The oral defence is held with your supervisor and an external examiner. After handing in the bachelor’s thesis, you will receive an e-mail from the department with information about where and when the thesis defence will take place.

The oral exam starts with a presentation of the thesis (approx. 5 min. per thesis). There are no formal requirements for the initial presentation, but it can profitably be a quick presentation of the purpose and results of the thesis, but it can also be beneficial to use the time for selecting one or two areas in the thesis which you want to emphasise, e.g.:

  • A discussion of some of the selections and delimitations which have been made
  • Considerations concerning how the topic could be examined further
  • Correction of essential mistakes, clarifications of unclear parts or pointing out defects in the thesis
  • Relevant additions which have become available after the thesis was handed in (e.g., from the media, literature, feedback from the case company, etc.).

If you are part of a group, there are no requirements concerning the division of content in the first 5 minutes.

There are no requirements concerning how to make the presentation (poster, cue cards, presentation on your laptop, etc.). It is not recommended to use a projector for the presentation as this always ends up taking time away from the presentation. After your presentation, the supervisor and the external examiner will take over with questions and comments as the basis of a discussion with you about the thesis.

Afterwards you will be asked to leave the examination room, while your supervisor and co-examiner are deliberating. Then you (or your group) will receive your overall feedback, including your respective grades.

The total duration of the oral examination (incl. deliberating, grading and feedback) depends on the number of students:

  • 1 student = 45 minutes
  • 2 students = 60 minutes
  • 3 students = 75 minutes
  • 4 students = 90 minutes 

Competence and grade description

The Bachelor’s thesis is assessed by the supervisor and an external examiner based on a overall assessment of the written thesis and the oral defence according to the Danish 7-point grading scale. The final grade is based on your ability to:

  • Identify and describe the topic of the thesis
  • Provide a precise and fitting problem statement
  • Argue for all choices made, including theories, methods and source material for answering the problem statement
  • Write a well-structured thesis with clear arguments, delimitations and concise language
  • Account for the content of the thesis and being able to discuss various elements related to the thesis at the oral defence. 

Re-exam

If you do not hand in or fail the Bachelor Project in May/June, you can register for the reexamination in September or December 2017. Registration for the reexamination in September or December must take place no later than 1 July.

The deadline for submission of the Bachelor Project at re-exam is 1 September or 1 December.

In agreement with your supervisor you can choose to hand in a Bachelor Project within the same topic but with a modified problem statement. 

Students who do not pass the reexamination in September or December must register for a new Bachelor Project with a new topic according to the general rules for ordinary exams.

You register for the reexam of the bachelor's thesis by filling out the web form before 1 July (the reexam web form opens again in the spring semester 2018).

It is possible to attend the re-exam only if you have been registered for and thereby used an attempt at the ordinary exam.

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