For Pro gradu (40cr) Assessor

Formal examination

A student submits the Master’s thesis for formal examination electronically (as a PDF document) to the E-Thesis system. Instructions for assessors can be found on the here.

All Master’s theses go through the Urkund plagiarism and detection system. The system compares the text written by a student with texts on the internet, published material and other student writings and reports possible similarities to the examiners of the thesis. See the Älä kopsaa, be a good writer web pages for further information on the Urkund system for teachers.

A Bachelor of Arts degree (or a previous academic degree if a student has been admitted directly to MA level studies) must be completed before submitting the Master’s thesis for formal examination.

The head of the degree programme appoints two examiners for each Master’s thesis who must be professors or persons with a doctorate. In certain rare cases, the head of the degree programme can allow an exception to be made to this rule.

During teaching periods, the thesis examiners must submit their grade proposal within three weeks of receiving the assignment if the thesis was submitted for formal examination on a separately notified due date. Students receive the grade proposal and a written statement electronically no later than seven days prior to the Faculty council meeting at which the grade will be decided.

If the two appointed examiners cannot agree upon the grade to be proposed, the head of the degree programme will appoint a third examiner. After the third examiner has submitted his or her written and reasoned grade proposal, the matter will be submitted to the faculty council for decision.

The grades of Master’s theses are made available after the Faculty council meeting in the manner specified by the faculty.

Examination timetable

The examination timetable can be found in Instructions for Students, Thesis and Maturity test for a master’s degree.

Grading and objectives

The following seven-tier Latin-language grading scale is used for approved Master’s theses: laudatur, examia cum laude approbatur, magna cum laude approbatur, cum laude approbatur, non sine laude approbatur, lubenter approbatur, approbatur. Master’s theses may also receive a fail grade, improbatur.

The grade of the minor subject thesis of a joint Master’s thesis in two subjects is determined as follows: laudatur = 5, eximia = 5, magna = 4, cum laude = 3, non sine = 2, lubenter = 2, approbatur = 1.

The objective of a Master’s thesis is to develop the basic skills necessary to conduct research. The most important of these skills is the ability to seek information independently, to analyse and assess existing information critically, and to produce and apply information independently.

The purpose of the thesis is to demonstrate that the student possesses the following knowledge and skills:

  • The ability to define and discuss the chosen research problem
  • Knowledge of the necessary theories and research methods
  • Familiarity with the topic of the thesis and with the literature in the field
  • The ability to communicate scientifically
  • The ability to work consistently and to develop an overview of the issues

The following main issues are considered in the assessment:

  • The objectives of the thesis and the definition of the topic
  • The material and methods
  • The theoretical background and its application and assessment
  • The structure of the thesis and the discussion of the topic
  • Language, style and presentation
  • The presentation and assessment of results
  • Originality

The characteristics of each grade are typical of a thesis of that level, but all the characteristics do not have to be identified in a given thesis. All approved theses must be at least somewhat successful research entities.

More detailed descriptions of the grades can be seen in the Pro Gradu grading instructions.

The master’s thesis is registered into the Oodi system at Metsätalo Student Services.

Abstract (maturity test)

An abstract that describes the content of the thesis is attached to the Master’s thesis. The abstract also functions as the maturity test at the Master’s level. Unlike the Bachelor’s level maturity test, only the content of the abstract is assessed. In some cases, if the student has not had the language of an abstract checked in conjunction with a previous degree (for example a BA degree completed abroad), the Master’s thesis abstract will be checked for its content and its language (see Maturity test). Students studying according to the old degree requirements need to have the native language studies (YY11/HUM-TIKI and YY12/KK-PUVU1OP) included in the degree completed before this time. Students who are going to transfer to the new degree system can find information on how to prove their Finnish language skills in Instructions for Students.

A basic guideline for abstracts is that they must not include anything that cannot be found in the thesis itself. The abstract is a “product description” of the thesis. Abstracts should be mainly written in the present tense: they describe an existing text rather than the process that resulted in that text. The writer of the thesis must consistently be referred to in either the passive or the first person singular.

The abstract must explain the objective and theoretical background of the thesis, the material used (nature and scope), the key results, and the research methods used (e.g., interviews, statistics). The abstract should conclude with a short description of any conclusions, applications or generalisations presented in the thesis on the basis of the results. Due to the short length of the abstract no bibliographies, figures or tables should be included.

The abstract must be an independent text intelligible also to someone who has not read the thesis. Consequently, the abstract must not contain abbreviations or terms that cannot be understood without reference to the thesis. General terminology in the field can, however, be used because the reader is expected to be familiar with the field.

The abstract is always a public document and must be written without disclosing any confidential information. The abstract (maturity test) is appended to the electronic version of the thesis immediately following the title page.

Abstracts must fit on one page (Arial, Calibri or Times New Roman 10–12, line spacing 1). The language of the abstract must be the language in which the student received his or her secondary education (standard Finnish or Swedish). If that language is not Finnish or Swedish, the language of the abstract must be that of the thesis.

Under “Keywords” on the abstract form, the writer should include the most important keywords for database searches. Under “Whereare deposited” should say City Centre Campus Library.

One of the thesis examiners also examines the abstract. The examiner must represent the student’s major subject. Abstracts are assessed on a Pass/Fail basis. If a student’s abstract is not accepted, the student must promptly be given the opportunity to write another abstract.

A Master’s thesis cannot be approved until the abstract has been accepted. The examiner must notify about the acceptance or rejection of an abstract (maturity test) at the same time as the grade proposal is submitted, no later than the due date.