Master's thesis

These pages contain general information and guidance about your thesis writing process.

Please note that there can also be thesis requirements that are specific to your degree programme. It is therefore a good idea to familiarise yourself with this and related pages in the menu to the left and in the academic regulations, so you know what is expected of you in relation to your thesis.

Registration of your thesis

As a Master’s degree student, you will be administratively registered for your thesis with no option of withdrawal. The registration is adapted to allow you three examination attempts within the framework of the maximum study time for your Master’s thesis.

In connection with your thesis, you will be administratively registered for both ordinary examinations and first and second reexaminations.

You can still complete courses you have not passed concurrently with your thesis within the framework of the Study Progress Reform’s active enrolment requirements and the maximum study time. If you choose to postpone courses within the thesis period, you are not able to defer the end date of your thesis.

However, the thesis does not have to be the final examination activity of your Master’s degree programme.

In addition to checking that you are registered for the thesis, you must ensure – prior to the formal start date of the thesis – that you have:

Thesis periods and important deadlines

Students following the prescribed study plan

The following deadlines apply from January 2015 regarding registration and submission of a thesis:

  • You commence a thesis amounting to 60 ECTS credits no later than 1 September the year after commencement of studies. You must complete your thesis (including assessment) no later than 30 June the year after commencement. Your thesis contract must be completed and approved by 1 September.
  • You commence a thesis amounting to 45 ECTS credits no later than Q2 the year after commencement of studies. You must complete your thesis (including assessment) no later than 30 June the year after commencement. Your thesis contract must be completed and approved by 1 September.
  • You commence a thesis amounting to 30 ECTS credits no later than 1 February a year and a half after commencement of studies (i.e. February 2017 for Master’s students admitted in summer 2015). You must complete your thesis (including assessment) no later than 30 June the same year. Your thesis contract must be completed and approved by 1 February.

Please note that the submission deadline is typically 2–4 weeks prior to the assessment deadline. Check out the specific deadline with your programme coordinator. Your thesis contract must be completed and approved by the formal start date.


Students not following the prescribed study plan

Here the thesis is completed within the time frame stated above, which means:

  • A thesis amounting to 60 ECTS credits must be completed in ten months. If you begin your thesis on 1 February, it must be completed (including assessment) no later than 30 November the same year. Your thesis contract must be completed and approved by 1 February.
  • A thesis amounting to 45 ECTS credits must be completed in seven and a half months. If you begin your thesis in Q4, it must be completed (including assessment) no later than 30 November the same year. Your thesis contract must be completed and approved by 1 February.
  • A thesis amounting to 30 ECTS credits must be completed in five months. If you begin your thesis on 1 September, it must be completed (including assessment) no later than 31 January the following year. Your thesis contract must be completed and approved by 1 September.

These time frames include assessment. No extensions are granted due to summer holidays.

The official start date for a thesis that does not follow the prescribed study plan is always either 1 September or 1 February – even if you first commence your thesis in practice in Q2 or Q4. The assessment deadline does not take parallel course activities into account.

You can read much more about your thesis and Master’s thesis contract in the academic regulations.

Master’s thesis contract

Common to all Master’s degree programmes at Science and Technology is that you must sign a Master’s thesis contract prior to commencing work on your thesis. This regulation is described in the academic regulations for the Master’s degree programmes. You must therefore make sure that your thesis contract is completed and approved by the set deadline. You can find the deadline for your thesis contract under ‘Thesis periods and important deadlines’ on this page.

The thesis contract is drawn up by you and your prospective supervisor, and it must be approved via the contract generator by you, your supervisor and your degree programme coordinator. The contract generator also contains instructions for how to fill in the thesis contract.

Fill in the Master’s thesis contract here

Once the contract has been approved in the generator, ST Studies Administration records the agreement and processes a binding examination registration. In this regard, it is possible that we contact you if we have any questions about your degree programme, or if you need to update your Master’s contract. You will be notified by e-mail once the thesis registration is in place.

Good advice regarding your thesis process

Make an early start on your considerations about the thesis

You should perhaps start as early as the commencement of your Master’s degree – think about possible directions for your thesis and make enquiries about a potential main supervisor and co-supervisors. Please note that your main supervisor must be tenured at Aarhus University, and that your thesis must be completed at Aarhus University.

To clarify the direction of your thesis, you can look for inspiration in courses you find interesting, and talk to selected course coordinators or your degree programme coordinator. You can find more inspiration for your choice of topic at Generating ideas.

You should also make up your mind as to whether the thesis will be business-oriented and completed in collaboration with a company, and whether you would like and are able to work on a group thesis.

Clarify the formal framework of the thesis

  • Find out whether there are special guidelines for the thesis at your department as regards scope and structure, and the option of office space and/or a laboratory. Your prospective supervisor can tell you whether there are specific guidelines at your department.
  • You can also read about the formal requirements regarding university assignments at Standards for academic papers.
  • Ask your programme coordinator where and how your thesis should be submitted.
     

Ensure a clear match of expectations with your supervisors

  • How many meetings can you expect during the course of the thesis (note that there are no rules for the number of meetings, etc.)?
  • Are there particular stages of the thesis that make it likely to meet frequently/less frequently?
  • What type of guidance do you need and what can your supervisor offer?
  • What part and how much of your text will the supervisor read?
  • What preparation does each meeting require of you (e.g. agenda, draft of text, specific matters of dispute, etc.)?
  • Preferably discuss a draft of a schedule, frequency of meetings and table of contents, so you know whether you agree on the direction and allocation of time.
  • Clarify the aim of the thesis – what would you like to achieve in terms of both the process and the result?
  • Determine whether there are periods during the course of the thesis when your supervisor is absent and thereby unavailable for guidance.
     

Remember to regularly consult your supervisor and co-supervisor(s)

Your supervisor is there to provide assistance with your thesis as regards the academic content and the process. It is therefore important that you are open and honest with your supervisor as far as any challenges, questions or problems are concerned during this period.

Clarify whether there are other relevant people who can provide feedback in addition to your main supervisor and co-supervisor(s)

Preferably find out whether there are others working in the same area such as fellow MSc and PhD students, etc.

You can find more good advice regarding collaboration with your supervisor here (download PDF file in Danish only), or in the student counselling pamphlet about the Master’s thesis (download PDF file in Danish only).

Are you having problems with your Master’s thesis?

Is the collaboration with your supervisor not working?

First of all, go and talk to your supervisor. Find out whether you have the same expectations to the supervision process. Many problems arise if there has not been a clear match of expectations right from the start.

You are also welcome to contact a student counsellor and get inspiration on how to go about the challenges, or you can contact the programme coordinator for your degree.

Will you be delayed?

It is important to react immediately if you find your thesis is not running according to plan. If you experience challenges at an early stage of your thesis, you and your supervisor can still manage to make adjustments so you can reach your goal on time. You can contact both your supervisor and a student counsellor if you need to discuss your options.

In case of illness or other unusual circumstances during the thesis period, it is possible to apply for exemption to extend the prescribed period. Submit your application to ST Studies Administration via mit.au.dk (self-service) under ‘Exemptions’. However, you need to be able to prove the unusual circumstances with a medical certificate or other form of public documentation. Contact your supervisor or student counsellor and find out about your options in consultation with them.

What happens if you do not submit your Master’s thesis on time?

If you are unable to submit your Master’s thesis by the deadline, it counts as an examination attempt. You must subsequently have a revised problem formulation approved, after which you will be granted an additional period of three months. If you have still not completed your thesis after these three months, it means you have used one more attempt and the deadline is extended by a further three months to the third and final attempt.

The three-month extension period starts the day after the previous submission deadline has been exceeded. If the original submission deadline was 1 June, for example, the next period begins on 2 June and you must submit your thesis by 1 September at the latest.

In connection with your thesis, you will be administratively registered for both ordinary examinations and first and second reexaminations.

Are you dissatisfied with the completion/result of your Master’s thesis?

As with other courses, you can lodge complaints and appeals about the thesis examination. Contact your supervisor initially and clarify the reasons for the result. After this, you can go to your study portal to find more information if you still wish to lodge a complaint or appeal. See more at Examinations.

Who can help?

Help is available if you have any academic or personal problems during the thesis period. You can search for feedback here:

Do you have questions regarding your thesis?

Send an e-mail to studieservice.st@au.dk

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