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Faculty of Social SciencesUniversity of TampereFaculty of Social Sciences

Writing theses

Bachelor's thesis

Bachelor’s thesis is a small independent research project carried out by the student during the thesis seminar. The work is guided by the supervisor of the seminar group. The required length of the thesis varies between subjects, but usually it is between 20 and 30 pages long. In connection to the thesis seminar, students take the maturity test. The Bachelor’s thesis and seminar are graded on the scale 1-5.

The thesis process usually starts with the student choosing the topic and familiarising themselves with relevant scientific discussion on it. The next step is to write a more detailed research plan. Based on their knowledge on relevant research literature, students will be able to formulate a specific research question and relate it to existing research. Students will also have to determine what kind of research material is best suited to address their question and make decisions as to how to compile that material.
The actual analysis will be based on a limited set of research material. After having gone through that material, all the time keeping in mind their main research question, students will be able to reach conclusions of their own. The thesis has to be outlined from a certain perspective, thought and analysed independently. In addition it must fulfil the terms of academic writing.

More precise information on the requirements in each major subject will be given in the thesis seminar.

Master's thesis

The Master´s thesis is an independent piece of work by the student. Its meaning is to train the student to scientific work in the field of her/his programme and major subject. The thesis should show familiarity with the subject matter, mastery of appropriate research methods and capability for scientific expression. The extent of the Master´s thesis is 40 ECTS credits. The thesis must be a minimum of 60 pages in length.

The topic of the thesis is usually decided at latest during the seminar studies. Usually a Professor or an Associate professor from the major subject acts as a supervisor of the thesis writing. The work-in-progress is presented and discussed in obligatory thesis seminars. After the submission of the thesis, the student is required to take a maturity test before the thesis can be assessed.

Maturity test

After you have submitted your thesis, you are required to take a maturity test before the thesis can be assessed. The maturity test is a written examination, which is taken on the general examination day or as an electronic exam of the major subject concerned. Registration is at least 10 days beforehand, using a normal registration envelope; or with electronic exams, in the electronic exam service. Registration is not possible before the thesis has been handed in. The maturity test questions are given by the main examiner of the thesis.

The maturity test requires an essay-type answer. Two or three alternative questions (which are used as the title of the essay) are given on the general theme of your thesis - you choose one of them. When writing the answer it should be kept in mind that the reader is a person familiar with the scientific discipline in general but not necessarily the specific subject of the thesis work. The maturity test answer must be an independent entity which can be understood without any previous knowledge of the actual thesis. The maturity test is examined by the examiner(s) of the thesis.

You should pay special attention to the language as the maturity test is also examined by an English language examiner. The students in the programme with Finnish/Swedish as the language of their elementary school education will write the test in Finnish/Swedish, and it will be examined by a Finnish/Swedish language examiner.

The maturity test must meet the following minimum requirements (adapted from the instructions given by the maturity test examiners from the University Language Center).

  1. Select one of the given topics. Write an essay with clear handwriting, the length should be approximately four pages. Remember to leave margins on the page. Do not forget the title.
  2. Writing should be well structured and form a coherent whole. Division of chapters must be indicted clearly. Do not use subtitles, pictures or charts.
  3. Stylistically the maturity test should be written according to the standards of academic writing. Pay attention to the legibility and clarity of the text.
  4. Write your maturity test to an expert reader who is not familiar with your thesis. Give enough information for the text to be understandable, but avoid unnecessary repetition. Writing is not a memory test: do not just list the things you remember but contemplate on your subject matter. Remember that the command of both the entity and the language is evaluated.
  5. Proofread your text.
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Last update: 23.11.2011 12.52 Muokkaa

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