Master's thesis

The Master’s Thesis is part of the last year of your Master’s programme.
In the following you can find information about the thesis process, guidelines, and what to do after completing your thesis.

Registration for your Master’s thesis

You are automatically registered for your Master's thesis

The Study Administration will administratively register you for your Master’s thesis. Both the ordinary exam and any re-exams, without possibility of withdrawal.
Your registration will be adjusted, so it is possible for you to complete three examination attempts within the maximum completion time of your programme.

Dates for the administratively registration

  • If you start your Master's thesis in the autumn, you will be registered for the thesis starting on 1 September.
  • If you start your Master's thesis in the spring, you will be registered for the thesis starting on 1 February.

Before starting your Master's thesis, you have to...

What if I still have courses to pass after completing my Master's thesis?

The thesis does not have to be the final exam activity on your Master's programme. You can still complete any remaining courses within the maximum period of study, either concurrently or after your Master’s thesis.
If you postpone courses to the Master's thesis period, the period for your Master's thesis will not be extended.

Thesis periods and important deadlines

Thesis periods and deadlines, if you follow the prescribed study plan

THESIS OF 30 ECTS CREDITS
Commencing in Fall 2021
Registration of thesis contract (in the Digital Exam System) 15-06-2021
Commencement of thesis, no later than 30-08-2021
Submission of thesis (in the Digital Exam System, latest 12:00 noon) 04-01-2022
Last examination date 25-01-2022
Commencing in Spring 2022
Registration of thesis contract (in the Digital Exam System) 17-12-2021
Commencement of thesis, no later than 31-01-2022
Submission of thesis (in the Digital Exam System, latest 12:00 noon) 08-06-2022
Last examination date 29-06-2022
Commencing in Fall 2022
Registration of thesis contract (in the Digital Exam System) 14-06-2022
Commencement of thesis, no later than 29-08-2022
Submission of thesis (in the Digital Exam System, latest 12:00 noon) 03-01-2023
Last examination date 24-01-2023
Commencing in Spring 2023
Registration of thesis contract (in the Digital Exam System) 16-12-2022
Commencement of thesis, no later than 30-01-2023
Submission of thesis (in the Digital Exam System, latest 12:00 noon) 07-06-2023
Last examination date 28-06-2023

THESIS OF 45 ECTS CREDITS
Only relevant for Biotechnology and Chemical Engineering
Commencing in Fall 2021
Registration of thesis contract (in the Digital Exam System) 15-06-2021
Commencement of thesis, no later than 30-08-2021
Submission of thesis (in the Digital Exam System, latest 12:00 noon) 08-06-2022
Last examination date 29-06-2022
Commencing in Spring 2022
Registration of thesis contract (in the Digital Exam System) 17-12-2021
Commencement of thesis, no later than 31-01-2022
Submission of thesis (in the Digital Exam System, latest 12:00 noon) 03-01-2023
Last examination date 24-01-2023
Commencing in Fall 2022
Registration of thesis contract (in the Digital Exam System) 14-06-2022
Commencement of thesis, no later than 29-08-2022
Submission of thesis (in the Digital Exam System, latest 12:00 noon) 07-06-2023
Last examination date 28-06-2023
Commencing in Spring 2023
Registration of thesis contract (in the Digital Exam System) 16-12-2022
Commencement of thesis, no later than TBA
Submission of thesis (in the Digital Exam System, latest 12:00 noon) TBA
Last examination date TBA

Thesis periods and deadlines, if you do not follow the prescribed study plan

If you do not follow the prescribed study plan, the period for your Master’s thesis will mirror the ones stated above.

  • Theses of 30 ECTS credits: 5 months
    • The period includes the time used for assessment (0.5 month), which means the thesis should be submitted no later than 4.5 months after commencement.
  • Theses of 45 ECTS credits: 7.5 months
    • Only applies for Biotechnology and Chemical Engineering
    • The period includes the time used for assessment (0.5 months), which means the thesis should be submitted no later than 7 months after commencement.

Starting date

The start date may be before the above (latest) start dates.

Submission deadline

The submission deadline is 2-4 weeks before the assessment deadline.
If necessary, please ask your programme coordinator for the specific deadline. (Find your programme coordinator under 'Contact and Study Service > Programme coordinators ' in the menu.

Assessment deadline

The deadline for assessment is fixed. It requires an exemption to change it. (Find more information under 'Student counselling > 'Exemptions ' in the menu.
If the thesis period covers holiday periods, the thesis period is not prolonged.

Examination

Your thesis exam will take place at Aarhus University as an individual, oral exam. The exam follows the guidelines stated in the thesis’ course description in the Course Catalogue.

Master’s thesis contract

Who has to fill out and approve the thesis contract?

The thesis contract is made by you and your future supervisor.
The thesis contract must be filled out by you and approved by your supervisor and your head of degree programme via the Contract Generator.

Guidelines for filling out a thesis contract

You can find guidelines in the Contract Generator.

After your contract has been approved

When your contract has been approved, the Study Administration will register the contract. If there are any questions to your programme or your need to update your Master’s programme contract, we will contact you.

Deadline

Your Master's thesis contract must be completed and approved via the Contract Generator before the above-mentioned deadlines.

Group assignments

You have the possibility of doing your Master's thesis as a group assignment together with maximum two of your fellow students.

What is a group Master's thesis?

A group may consist of a maximum of three people.

You can choose between two types of group assignments:

  • You can do a joint report in which everyone is equally responsible for all parts of the report. The final grade for each of you will be an overall grade for your individual oral examination and the entire thesis report.
  • You can do a report, where it is stated who of you has done the individual parts of the report and is responsible for them.
    Parts of the report may be produced together.
    It must be stated in the table of contents who is responsible for the individual parts of the report.

The bibliography of the report can be divided into a common part and a part for each group member. The final grade for each of you will be an overall grade for your individual oral examination, and the individual and common parts of the report.

Master’s thesis contract

Each member of the group must fill out a thesis contract in which the other members of the group are listed. If you do not do this, you will not be able to submit your thesis as a group in the Digital Exam System.

Examination

Your Master's thesis exam will take place at Aarhus University and is an individual, oral exam. The exam follows the guidelines stated in the thesis’ course description in the Course Catalogue.

Non-disclosure agreement

Non-disclosure in relation to MA thesis or other projects in cooperation with a company 

Standard non-disclosure agreement

Students often cooperate with private companies and organisations in relation to theses and projects. In certain cases, the external collaborator/company may wish to enter into a non-disclosure agreement.

For this purpose, jurists at AU’s contract unit have produced a standard non-disclosure agreement, which you can use with advantage.

Among other things, the standard agreement takes into account:

  • That as a student, you do not risk that the company demands that part of your thesis is removed by the company
  • That as a student, you are not required to hand in your thesis to the company long before the submission deadline and thus have your time to finish the thesis reduced
  • That as a student, you are not sanctioned harsher than what follows the rules of Danish law, if the company argues that you have violated the non-disclosure agreement.

Once you have printed the agreement, please do as follows:

  1. Sign the agreement and acquire the signature of the company and your supervisor
  2. Send the agreement to your department (bce@au.dk cae@au.dk ece@au.dk or mpe@au.dk), who will acquire the Head of Department’s signature
  3. Hereafter, the agreement will be returned to you, and you can send it to the company and your supervisor.

Changes to the standard agreement

It can be necessary to make changes to the standard agreement, or the company may have their own agreement that they wish to use. In such cases, please contact your department (bce@au.dk cae@au.dk ece@au.dk or mpe@au.dk). Hereafter, they will make sure that the revised agreement is processed at the contract unit.

Submission and defence of thesis with non-disclosure

If you have entered into a non-disclosure agreement with a company in relation to your thesis, submission and defence is conducted as follows:

  • The thesis is submitted in the Digital Exam system like other theses, however, you need to tick off in the Digital Exam that the thesis is subject to a non-disclosure agreement
  • Examiner and supervisor are under an obligation to maintain confidentiality in relation to the information they receive through your thesis and examination
  • The exam will often take place behind closed doors - meaning that guests are not allowed at the defence

Please be aware of this if you enter into a non-disclosure agreement

It is important that you as a student know that the contract, regardless of whether it is a standard agreement or an individually negotiated contract, is only examined on behalf of AU. The contract unit at AU tries to take you as a student into consideration when developing the non-disclosure agreements. If you need supervision regarding the content and how the agreement positions you as a student, it is your own responsibility to seek out guidance.

Moreover, it is important that you as a student know that AU cannot necessarily approve the non-disclosure agreement of a company. Therefore, it is a good idea to begin the process well in advance.

Please make sure not to talk about the things you obtain knowledge about at the company. This includes small talk with fellow students, as informal conversation can be perceived as a breach of the agreement, if you talk about things subject to non-disclosure. Have a talk with the company about what they consider to be sensitive information to make sure what you are and are not allowed to share with others.

If you have any questions, please contact (bce@au.dk cae@au.dk ece@au.dk or mpe@au.dk)

Submission

The thesis must be submitted via the Digital Exam System.
You can read more about the Digital Exam System under 'Exam > Digital Exam'.

When can I access the exam in the Digital Exam System?

Your exam will be available no later than one week before the submission deadline.
You can find relevant information about Master's thesis submission under the exam information in the Digital Exam System.

Submission deadline

The thesis must be submitted before 12.00 on the submission date on your thesis contract.

It is your responsibility to submit your thesis in due time.
Therefore, we recommend that you upload and submit your thesis in good time before the submission deadline. If you submit your thesis too late, it will not be assessed.

Submission format

Generally, your Master's thesis should be submitted as a single PDF file.
However, if you need to hand in any appendices in other formats than PDF, you can do so.

Confidentiality

If your thesis includes confidential information or material, it should still be submitted in the Digital Exam System. When submitting you have to state that it is confidential.

Both supervisors and external examiners have a duty of confidentiality in relation to the information they receive during your report and examination.

What happens if I do not submit my thesis?

If you do not submit your thesis by the deadline, it will count as using an examination attempt.

2nd examination attempt

You have to fill out a new thesis contract with a revised problem statement, which must be approved and thereafter, you will get a three-month supplementary deadline.

3rd examination attempt

If the thesis is still not completed after these three months, one additional examination attempt is registered as used, and the deadline is extended again by three months – to the third and last attempt. Once again, you have to fill out a new thesis contract with a revised problem statement, which must be approved.

Registration

In connection with your thesis, you will be administratively registered for both the ordinary exam, the 2nd, and 3rd examination attempt.

Good advice for your thesis process

When should I start planning my Master's thesis?

We recommend that you start early on your reflections on your thesis, perhaps already at the beginning of your Master’s degree programme.

  • consider possible directions for your thesis
  • find potential main and co-supervisors

Who can I choose as a supervisor?

Your main supervisor must be a permanent employee at either Natural Sciences or Technical Sciences.

What direction should I choose?

You can seek inspiration in the courses you find exciting, talk to your lecturers or the head of programme.

You can find more inspiration for your choice of topic at Studypedia.au.dk.

Decide if you wish to do your thesis in collaboration with a company, or perhaps as a group assignment.

Are there any special guidelines for the Master’s thesis at my department?

Find out whether there are any special guidelines at your department – for example regarding scope, structure, possibility for a study seat and/or laboratory space.
Your future supervisor will be able to tell you whether there are any specific guidelines at your department.
You may want to check with your programme coordinator, where and when the thesis is to be submitted. (Find your programme coordinator under 'Contact and Study Service > Programme Coordinators' in the menu)

Main Supervisor – what to expect and be aware of?

The purpose of your main supervisor is to assist you in your thesis in relation to the academic content and process.
Therefore, it is important that you are open and honest with your supervisor in relation to any challenges, questions, and problems during the thesis period.
Your principal supervisor will also take part in your Master's thesis examination.

Alignment of expectations with your supervisors

  • What type of supervision do you need and what does the supervisor offer?
  • Clarify the goals for the thesis – what do you want to achieve both regarding process and assesment?
  • Discuss a draft schedule, frequency of meetings, and table of contents, so you know whether you agree on the direction and disposition of time.
  • What and how much of your report will your supervisor read before submission?

Find out whether there are periods during the thesis, where the supervisor is absent and thus not available for thesis supervision.

Meetings with your supervisor

  • How many meetings can you expect to have during the Master's thesis period? (Please note that there are no rules for the number of meetings etc.)
  • What kind of preparation does each meeting require of you? (For example agenda, draft text, specific questions, etc.)
  • Are there any special phases in the thesis process where you want to meet often/less often?

Partners for discussion

Clarify whether there are other relevant partners of discussion for you, in addition to your main and co-supervisors. Please check to see if others are working within the same area, for example, fellow students, PhD students, etc.

Find more good advice about collaborating with your supervisor at Studypedia.au.dk.

If you experience any problems

Is the collaboration with your supervisor not working?

First and foremost, talk to your supervisor yourself.
Find out whether your expectations of the supervision process are aligned. Many problems arise if the expectations have not been clearly aligned from the beginning.

You are welcome to contact your student counsellor and find inspiration on how you can approach the challenges, or you can contact your head of programme.

Are you delayed in the process?

It is important that you react immediately if you discover that your thesis process is not proceeding as expected. If you discover the challenges early in the process, you and your supervisor can still make sure that you are able to reach your goal in due time.

You can contact both your supervisor and a student counsellor if you need to discuss your options.

Illness or other exceptional circumstances

If illness or other exceptional circumstances occur during the thesis period, you can apply for an exemption to prolong your thesis period. Applications should be submitted to Nat-Tech Study Administration via MyStudies.au.dk under "Exemptions". However, this requires that you are able to document the exceptional circumstances with a medical certificate or other official documentation.
Contact your supervisor or student counsellor and, in consultation with her/him, check your options.

Are you dissatisfied with the end/result of your Master's thesis?

Like other courses, you can submit a complaint over your thesis examination. First, contact your supervisor and clarify the reasons for the result. After this, you can find more information about exam complaints under 'Exam > Examination appeals' if you still wish to submit a complaint.

Resource persons – who can help you?