Supervisor

Your master thesis supervisor must be a member of the department's permament teaching staff, although PhD students do not supervise master theses. You can request a specific supervisor by completing the online formula within the deadlines below. It is a good idea to contact the supervisor before the deadline to clarify whether it is good match, but your request is not registered until you complete the online formula.

It is not necessary to have a detailed thesis problem or research question in advance, but you must indicate the broader field or topic that your thesis will likely fall within in order to give the supervisor a chance to consider the right match. This topic is not binding and can be changed later.

The supervisor request formula also enables you to indicate 1-2 alternative choices for supervisor. Adding alternative choices is optional and there is no guarantee that alternative choices can be accommodated.

If unsure about who can supervise on your topic, you can search in the catalogue of supervisor competencies in the right column of this page and you can also contact several possible supervisors for a short talk about your thesis idea. If you are more students writing together, please also contact supervisors and fill out the fomula together.

These are the deadlines to observe:

Procedure for choosing a supervisor when writing in the spring semester:

  • 15th of November- 5th of December: Short talks with potential supervisors. Write to the supervisor(s) with whom you are interested in having a short discussion of your thesis idea. In this period, you may talk to several possible supervisors to clarify who is the best match for your thesis.
  • Deadline, 5th of December: Fill out the online formula with your supervisor request and preliminary thesis topic. Here, you can only request one supervisor, although with the option to specify 1-2 alternatives.
    The formula can be found here.
  • After the deadline, the study administration and the supervisors determine whether all requests can be accommodated. If your request is not fulfilled in this first round, the director of studies will find you an alternative competent supervisor in the field.
  • 15th of December: You receive a notification at your AU email address whether your request has been fulfilled, or alternatively who can supervise you instead.
  • Write to your new supervisor and make an appointment for the first meeting.

Procedure for choosing a supervisor when writing in the fall semester:

  • 15th of May- 5th of June: Short talks with potential supervisors. Write to the supervisor(s) with whom you are interested in having a short discussion of your thesis idea. In this period, you may talk to several possible supervisors to clarify who is the best match for your thesis.
  • Deadline, 5th of June: Fill out the online formula with your supervisor request and preliminary thesis topic. Here, you can only request one supervisor, although with the option to specify 1-2 alternatives.
    The formula can be found here.
  • After the deadline, the study administration and the supervisors determine whether all requests can be accommodated. If your request is not fulfilled in this first round, the director of studies will find you an alternative competent supervisor in the field.
  • 15th of June: You receive a notification at your AU email address whether your request has been fulfilled, or alternatively who can supervise you instead.
  • Write to your new supervisor and make an appointment for the first meeting.

The role of the supervisor

The role of supervisor

Before choosing a supervisor for your Master’s thesis, you should consider the purpose of the supervision. Should your supervisor primarily be:

  • An academic expert well-acquainted with the research and literature in your field?
  • An expert on the type of data and methods which you will be using in your thesis?
  • A process supervisor who can help you structure the process and set deadlines, but who is not necessarily specialised in your field of research?

Often, the supervisor will offer a combination of the above, but it is important that you reflect on your core supervision needs to succeed with your thesis. The chemistry between the student and the supervisor is important, but it is also very much about balancing expectations.

That is why it may be a good idea to write down what you expect from a supervisor during the Master’s thesis process. It is your own responsibility to find a supervisor among the permanent lecturers at the Department of Political Science. In this connection, it’s common practice to contact a few potential supervisors before you make the final decision. To actually “shop around” for a supervisor by contacting several lecturers - perhaps even several times - before you make up your mind, is not advisable. However, making introductory contact to two or three lecturers about the possibility of Master’s thesis supervision can be a good way of finding a supervisor. 

Supervision plan

The Degree Programme Order specifies that the university is responsible for setting up a Master’s thesis supervision plan for the student.

When you have found a supervisor, the two of you need to balance your expectations and plan the process.

  • When is supervision necessary?
  • The meeting intervals
  • The type of supervision (e.g. process supervision or just constructive dialogue)?
  • How much and what parts of the Master’s thesis will the supervisor read during the process?

The division of roles between the thesis writer and the supervisor:

The thesis writer

Makes the decisions, does the work

Supervisor

Acts as consultant, assessor

 
  • Comes up with ideas
  • Makes choices
  • Structures
  • Produces

 

 

  • Challenges/faciliates/limits
  • Makes the student aware of the consequences of his/her choices
  • Provides an overview and specific feedback
  • Marks the thesis in collaboration with the co-examiner
 

Remember that the thesis will always be “work in progress”, and that a good thesis process is concluded with a thesis which is handed in on time. 

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