Master Thesis Guideline
This page provides general information on master’s theses at WU. Please note that not all aspects of master’s theses are centrally and uniformly regulated. Requirements and applicable standards vary among WU’s master’s programs due to their high degree of specialization. For this reason, academic directors are required to provide students with comprehensive information on the thesis supervision process and the formal and academic requirements master’s theses have to fulfill.
Master’s theses are academic papers intended to demonstrate that the author is capable of independently dealing with scientific topics in a factually and methodologically correct manner. In master’s programs, the thesis accounts for 20 of a student’s total ECTS credits. This is roughly equivalent to 500 hours or 55 working days. Students should select a topic that can be completed within a period of 6 months. Previously written papers that are less comprehensive than a master’s thesis (e.g. seminar papers or bachelor’s theses) can be further developed and submitted as a master’s thesis under the condition that the required workload is met and the supervisor approves. Longer, more comprehensive papers (e.g. dissertations or PhD theses) cannot be condensed and submitted as master’s theses, as the amount of work required in this case would be minimal. Pursuant to the Universities Act 2002, no specific level of academic progress is required before a student can start working on his or her master’s thesis. It is recommended, however, to write the thesis in the final semesters of the master’s program. In any case, students must comply with any program-specific regulations that may apply.
Selecting a topic and a supervisor
In principle, students are free to select both their thesis topic and their supervisor themselves. The topic must be selected from one of the compulsory or elective subjects specified in the program’s curriculum. Students are permitted to change supervisors up until the date of submission of the thesis. Two or more students can work on a joint topic for their master’s thesis, as long as each student’s individual contribution can be clearly identified and graded separately. The supervisor has the final say on whether a topic is suitable for a joint project.
Prerequisites for supervising master’s theses ·
Master’s theses may only be supervised by full professors who hold a venia docendi at WU and by retired full professors. ·
Suitable faculty members without a venia docendi can supervise master’s theses at WU upon approval by the Vice-Rector for Academic Programs and Student Affairs. ·
Visiting professors may supervise and grade master’s theses during their time at WU. They can complete existing supervision agreements after their term at WU expires. ·
Each master’s thesis can only have one supervisor and one co-supervisor.
If you would like to request special authorization to supervise a master’s thesis, please contact Student Support well ahead of time (allow about 2 months for processing).
The guidelines for the Grading of Master's theses can be found here.
Thesis submission and evaluation
All theses have to be submitted online using the LEARN portal (thesis module). You will automatically be notified by email as soon as a thesis has been uploaded for you to evaluate. All master’s theses must be subjected to plagiarism detection using the software Turnitin. The following requirements must be met when the final version of a thesis is submitted for evaluation:
The cover page must be filled out and signed by the student and included at the very beginning of the thesis document. ·
The student must hand in one hardcover copy of the master’s thesis when picking up his or her graduation documents. (The Examinations Office will forward this copy to the WU University Library.) ·
The copy of the master’s thesis to be shelved in the library must be bound in hardcover with a glued spine. The library cannot accept any theses with metal clamp binding on the inside of the spine.
The supervisor has two months after the date of submission to grade the thesis and write an appraisal. The supervisor is also required to give the student feedback on his or her work and explain the reasons for the grade assigned, either during a face-to-face meeting or in writing. All bachelor’s and master’s thesis supervision agreements must be registered online. The data entered online is required for the evaluation of all academic theses because printed evaluation sheets are being phased out. You can find the new function online under the menu item “Betreuungen” in the BACH LV-Admin tool.
Academic theses can only be graded online and the thesis supervision process can only be completed online.
If you have any questions, please contact student support.
Students can not apply to have their master’s thesis placed under embargo until the grade has been entered into the system. A master’s thesis can be placed under embargo if it uses in-house data provided by a business enterprise or organization that should not be made available to the public immediately. Usually, an embargo expires after one year. Pursuant to the applicable legislation, the maximum permissible embargo period is five years. The appropriate academic director must provide grounds for embargo periods of more than one year. Students can request an embargo by filing an application with the Examinations Office. When the student comes to collect his or her graduation documents/hand in a hardcover copy of his or her master’s thesis, an official notification of thesis embargo will be issued and an embargo notice will be stamped on the thesis.
Rates for supervising a master’s thesis
The applicable rates for evaluating a master’s thesis are specified in an operational agreement negotiated between WU, in its capacity as employer, and the Academic Staff Council.
Please note: The information provided above is based on the Universities Act 2002, the WU By-Laws, and the WU Examination Regulations.