1. What do I need to know about the thesis project?
Your thesis has a scope of 60 ECTS, which equals the workload of a full-time student during one academic year.
Generally speaking, a thesis is made up of three elements:
- An experimental or theoretical research project
- A written report in Danish or English
- An oral exam
The projekt work itself consists of literature search and review, possibly experiments, processing of results etc.
The thesis is assessed on the basis of a overall evaluation of the written report and the oral exam.
2. Your supervisor
As a student, you are responsible for finding and contacting a supervisor from your department in due time. However, before thinking about a supervisor, you should make sure that you are committing to the topic area that interests you the most. You should ask yourself whether you are enthusiastic enough about the topic to sustain your enthusiasm over the period of time it will take to complete the thesis.
All permanent academic staff (Professors and Associate Professors) can serve as principal supervisors. Additionally, Assistant Professors can serve as principal supervisors, provided that their period of employment covers the entire time span of your thesis project, including the grading. PhD students and Postdocs can serve as co-supervisors only.
Your thesis supervisor is responsible for guiding you through the process of your thesis project, by helping you with aspects such as formulating research questions and analysing your data. Your supervisor will help and guide you, but neither do the actual work for you nor mark your report before you submit it. Your supervisor also acts as examiner in the concluding oral exam.
If you do your thesis project in collaboration with a company or organisation, you will usually have an external supervisor from the company or organisation in question. In such case you must also have an internal supervisor at your department, who will be responsible for ensuring that your thesis project complies with the guidelines for thesis projects at the Faculty of Science. The exact division of work between the internal and the external supervisor must be specified in the thesis project contract.
A thesis project can be done by two of more students together, provided that the supervisor understands and accepts it. In such case, it should be clearly indicated in the thesis report, which student is responsible for which part(s).
3. Thesis collaboration with a company/organisation
You can to write your thesis in collaboration with a company or organisation, typically based on a practical issue. Collaborating with a company/organization on your thesis project strengthens your network in the labour market and can be a stepping stone to further your career.
If you do your thesis project in collaboration with a company/organisation, you will typically have a supervisor there, a so-called external supervisor. However, you must also have an internal principal supervisor from your department at SDU. All supervisors must enter into a work-sharing agreement specifying the responsibilities of each supervisor. The internal principal supervisor must ensure that the thesis project meets the formal guidelines for thesis projects and academic norms for research.
The external supervisor in the company/organisation and the internal supervisor at SDU often have two different agendas. The external supervisor is often mostly interested in your practical findings, whereas the internal supervisor must ensure that you are able to identify and apply relevant academic theories and models.
How do you find a collaboration partner?
There are several ways of finding a relevant collaboration partner:
- SDU Jobbank: Here you can get an overview of companies/organisations offering Master's thesis projects. Click on ’Jobs’ at the top of the page and select ’Thesis’ as job type.
- Individual counselling: Contact a career adviser at SDU RIO if you need someone to talk to help you with contacting companies.
It can also be helpful to let yourself be inspired by the following examples of companies and organisations that previous students have collaborated with on Master's thesis projects:
- AbbVie (USA)
- Aviation Cloud
- Bispebjerg Hospital
- Bollerup Jensen
- Brühl & Kjær Sound & Vibration
- Brøndbyernes IF Fodbold A/S
- Children's Medical Research Institute (Australia)
- City of Odense
- ContiTech Antriebssysteme (Germany)
- Danish Cancer Society
- Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (Germany)
- Givskud Zoo - Zootopia
- MTA-ELTE Protein Model. Res. Group and Laboratory of Structural Chemistry and Biology (Hungary)
- Municipality of Kolding
- Newtec Engineering
- Novo Nordisk
- Odense University Hospital
- Odense ZOO
- Sanovo Biotech
- Seaborg Technologies
- Statens Serum Institut
- Statistics Denmark
- Natural History Museum (England)
- Universitätsklinikum Hamburg Eppendorf (Germany)
- Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (Australia)
4. Registration and submission of contract
Registration for the thesis project takes place along with registration for other courses via the SDU Student Self-Service. You will receive an e-mail when the time for registration approaches.
As soon as possible after registering - no later than one week after the semester has started - you must submit a thesis project contract along with a project description, which you should draw up in cooperation with your supervisor.
When the contract has been approved by all relevant parties, or if problems occur during the processing of the contract, you will be notified by e-mail.
5. Submission of report
You must submit the report electronically via the system Digital Exam.
The report must be submitted as one PDF document. Any appendices must be submitted as one or more separate documents. By default, all appendices must be combined in one PDF document. If you have any special appendices which cannot be submitted in PDF format (such as programme code, video clips etc.), these documents can be uploaded as separate appendice files. You must name your thesis report "Thesis Report" followed by your full name. Any appendices are simply named using unique names. If you collaborate with other students on your thesis project, you must each submit a copy of the report.
Once you have submitted your report, you will receive an electronic receipt via e-mail. It is important that you keep your receipt as it is your proof of timely submission.
The submission deadline for the report is evident in the course description for the thesis project in question. The deadline for submitting the thesis report is fixed. In case you miss the submission deadline, it will count as one examination attempt. You must then submit a modified project statement within the same topic area no later than 14 days after the original submission deadline. The modifications must correspond to a workload of three months.
If any exceptional circumstances prevent you from observing the submission deadline, you can apply for a postponement of the deadline, as long as the postponement is substantiated in unusual circumstances, e.g. illness, the death or close relatives or a force majeure situation (See more under "Changes to the thesis project" below).
When you have submitted you thesis, you must also submit the electronic lending form (log in with your SDU username and password). Here you must state to what extent the thesis can be borrowed from the University Library.
6. Oral examination
The oral examination begins with you giving a lecture, either on a given topic within the subject area of the thesis project or on the thesis report. After the lecture, your supervisor and an external examiner will ask you questions about the report and lecture. The questions may be general and/or more specific. The examination also includes a more open dialogue on topics related to your thesis project.
Immediately after the exam, you will receive your grade, which will be based on an overall evaluation of your thesis report and the oral examination.
The assessment of the report is based primarily on its academic content. However, your accuracy of expression and spelling will also be taken into consideration, though it is given limited weighting unless there are major deviations from normal academic language usage. If you have any documented, relevant disabilities, e.g. dyslexia, you may be granted an exemption from this provision.
In the event of a not-passed grade, you must draw up a modified problem statement within the same subject area as your original thesis, to be submitted to the Head of Studies no later than 14 days after the examination. The modifications must correspond to a workload of three months.
As a general rule, you have a maximum of three attempts to pass your thesis project.
7. Changes to the thesis project
If you find out during the process that your thesis project is heading in a different direction than first planned, you may apply for a change of title.
The Study Board may also approve an extension of the submission deadline in case of exceptional circumstances, e.g. illness, death among your close relatives or a force majeure situation.
Any such applications must be submitted no later than four weeks before the submission deadline.
The Counselling Centre's Thesis pages provide information and good advice on how to get started, other students' experiences with the thesis project and their recommendations.
Individual thesis process counselling
The Councelling Centre offers counselling and competent feedback concerning the non-academic challenges you may encounter during the thesis process.