Master´s Thesis

For the second-cycle (Master’s) degree, students write a Master’s thesis in their major subject or specialist option. The thesis must demonstrate the students’ ability for scientific thought and communication in their field, their command of the necessary research methods and knowledge of the thesis topic. The scope of the Master’s thesis is 40 credits. The thesis topic and supervisor must be agreed in accordance with the department’s practices.

Coordinating professor and the supervisor

The coordinating professor overseeing the examination of a Master’s thesis is the professor whose field of research and teaching covers the Master’s thesis topic. The coordinating professor also supervises the students’ studies as a whole. The main responsibility for thesis supervision is held by the professor in charge of the discipline. Supervision duties and responsibilities may also be divided by delegating the responsibility for thesis supervision to the primary supervisor. The jointly agreed supervision practices should be recorded in the planning form for thesis supervision.

Master’s thesis examiners

Master’s theses are examined by two examiners appointed by the coordinating professor, one from the department and the other usually from outside. Ideally, the coordinating professor serves as one of the examiners.

Submitting the thesis for examination

The Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry adopted an electronic thesis examination process on 1 August 2014. Instructions for submitting the Master’s thesis

Students must have registered as attending students before submitting their thesis for examination. Theses may not be submitted without the coordinating professor’s agreement. Reserve approximately four weeks for the examination process. All theses will be processed through the Urkund plagiarism recognition system during their examination.

The last Faculty Council meeting in the 2014–2015 academic year to discuss theses will be held on 9 June 2015. In order for it to be discussed at the meeting, the examination must be ready by 1 June 2015. Please factor in enough time for the examination. The first Faculty Council meeting in the 2015–2016 academic year to discuss theses will be on 25 August 2015. In order for it to be discussed at the meeting, the examination must be ready by 14 August 2015.

A list of the Faculty Council’s other meetings can be found here.

Grading of the Master’s thesis

The grading of Master’s theses is based on the Faculty’s joint assessment matrix for Master’s theses. The theses are graded on a seven-tier Latin scale. The examiners prepare a written statement on the evaluation, including a proposal for the grade. The statement is prepared on the basis of the evaluation matrix. The Faculty Council decides on the acceptance and the grades of theses. Around a week before the grading performed by the Faculty Council, the student will be notified of the grading criteria and the proposed grade. If there are well-founded reasons, the student may interrupt the grading process at this stage.

The maturity test for the Master’s thesis

Students who have demonstrated their proficiency in their native language (Finnish or Swedish) for the first-cycle (Bachelor’s) degree need not take a maturity test for their Master’s degree. In this case, the abstract of the Master’s thesis serves as the maturity test, with which the student demonstrates his or her knowledge of the thesis topic.

Students who have not demonstrated their proficiency in their native language in the first-cycle degree must take a maturity test to demonstrate their knowledge of the thesis topic, as well as their proficiency in Finnish or Swedish. Students take the maturity test before their thesis is graded by writing an essay on a thesis-related topic, without access to reference materials. The essay is then submitted for language revision. The student’s department arranges the maturity test.

Students in English-language Master’s programmes write a thesis-related essay (maturity test) in English, which is submitted for language revision.

Submitting the Master`s thesis

The new academic year will see changes to the administrative process for assessing Master’s theses in the Faculty.

The Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry has adopted an electronic thesis examination process. This means that students submit their thesis in PDF format for examination through the E-thesis system. No changes can be made to the thesis after this. Before submitting their thesis for examination through E-thesis, students must agree on this with the coordinating professor.

The thesis moves through the process from examination to grading and is finally published online, if approved by the author. The process is part of Helsinki University Library’s E-thesis service, which has been used for many years to publish theses and dissertations. All Master’s theses are automatically stored in the Library’s E-thesis database. After the thesis has been graded, the student may choose to make it public on Helda so that it can be read online. If not, the thesis will be publicly available only at the Library.

Urkund process for theses

As of the 2014 autumn term, all Master’s theses written at the University of Helsinki will be checked with the Urkund plagiarism recognition system. Theses submitted for examination will be forwarded to Urkund. As the copyright holders, students have the right to decide whether their documents can be used for comparisons in Urkund. After saving their document in the system students receive an email with instructions for allowing the document to be used.

Students save their theses in E-thesis

Students make a PDF version of their thesis as explained in the conversion instructions Read the instructions before you begin converting your thesis. After converting your thesis into PDF format as instructed, you can save it in E-thesis .

NB! If you wish to save your previously accepted thesis in E-thesis, complete the Master’s thesis form in E-thesis and submit a signed publishing agreement (in Finnish) to the Helsinki University Main Library.