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FAQ Thesis

General thesis related questions

  • How much contact with my supervisor is normal?

    In the thesis' guidelines of your programme, you can find the what number of contact moments is normal. At the start of the supervision period, make good agreements with your supervisor about e.g. the number of contact moments and the respond time and preferably document these. For the average student the following applies:

    •    Two 'face to face' meeting (in consultation/by request) possibly a maximum of four);
    •    One 'face to face' meeting about the thesis proposal and one about the final version;
    •    Possibly one or two times an extra 'face to face' afspraak meeting;
    •    Written feedback in between (often by chapter).

  • What can I do if my supervisor does not reply to my emails?

    Generally this situation can be avoided by making good agreements with your supervisor at the start of the supervision period. Discuss the number of contact moments, the respond time of your supervisor and possible absences due to obligations abroad or holidays of your supervisor. Preferably document everything you agreed upon together. A week response time is reasonable.

  • Can I combine my thesis with an internship?

    The oppertunity to combine an internship with a thesis, depends on your programme. Check the internship website for possibilities within your programme. In general, combining a thesis with an internship demands a tight planning, a lot of discipline and effort.

    > more information: Internships

  • Is it possible to write my thesis while I am abroad?

    In most programmes, the thesis is linked to a thesis seminar with compulsory attendance. Therefor following the thesis course while you are abroad, is not possible. If you are in the finishing phase of your thesis, you could possibly finish it abroad. Always check the option with the thesis coordinator and your supervisor in advance.

  • My semester abroad will start in January and coincides with the last weeks of the thesis period. What to do?

    In principle, there are three option. Always check the option with the thesis coordinator and your supervisor in advance. 

    1. You can hand in the thesis before departure. The deadlines are tight already, so in practice for most students this option is not achievable.
    2. You can finish your thesis during the beginning of your exchange and hand in digitally. In practice, this is a difficult option because the (beginning of the) exchange period is demanding.
    3. You can re-enroll for the thesis in the second semester, finish the thesis during your stay abroad in this semester and hand it in digitally before the deadline.
  • What happens if I miss the thesis deadline? Is it still possible to graduate Cum Laude?

    If you miss the first deadline, a NA (=not attended) will be registered in SIS. This means that neither a grade nor an attempt is registered and you are allowed to hand in your thesis on the resit deadline. In this case it is still possible to graduate Cum Laude (if you meet all the other requirements as well), see here. NB: For students who started before 1 September 2017, different Cum Laude rules apply. 
    If you miss the second (resit) deadline, also a NA is registered in SIS. In this case it is not possible to graduate Cum Laude anymore, because you don't meet the requirement of completing your programme within the nominal study duration. NB: For students who started before 1 September 2017, different Cum Laude rules apply.

  • How long do the assessment of the thesis and the registration of the grade in SIS take?

    The assessment of your thesis by the supervisor and the second reader takes 15 working days. After the receival of the grade  by the UvA EB administration, it takes 3 more working days before the grade is registered in SIS.

    Please notice: Due to business during Summer (June, July en August), the registration of the thesis grade could take longer. 

Getting started 

  • How can I find a topic for my thesis?

    Start looking for a topic that really interests you. What courses did you enjoy during your studies? What subjects were interesting to you? Which economic news gets your attraction? In addition, start looking for literature about this subject. 

    More information: Getting Started

  • How do I find appropriate literature?

    Via UvA catalogue you can search and request for books, e-books en e-journals. Via Google Scholar it is possible to search for articles. 'Scopus' and 'Web of Science' are two UvA databases that show the popularity of an article or a subject. The large publishers (Elsevier, Springer, Tailor & Francis) have several good articles on a specific discipline. 

    More information: Getting Started

  • How do I find appropriate research data?

    You can use old theses of similar topics to decide which databases  you should use. Most of the databases are available via the UvA library. is a website specialised in providing scientific data.

    More information: Getting Started

  • How can I demarcate my research question?

    Try to specify the research question, by deepening parts of it. 

    Imagine the original research question is: Does the Balanced Scorecard provide advantages in practice?

    Which practice?  For example:
    at financial institutions / multinationals or
    at Dutch / American companies.

    What advantage? For example:
    advantages after 5 year of implementation / 20 years afterwards;
    advantages in the field of customer satisfaction / finance.

    The restriced question could change to: 
    Does the Balanced Scorecard provide more customer satisfaction in American multinationals?

  • How do I make a realistic planning?

    Be sure to agree with your thesis supervisor on the following issues:
    •    the date that you send in a part of your thesis;
    •    in which way and how often you communicate; 
    •    how much response time your supervisor needs;
    •    the absence of your supervisor due to vacancies or work obligations abroad;
    •    If possible, set a specific date for the following contact moment.

    In this way you set sub deadlines to archieve. Please ask for help if you run into obstacles! 

    More information: Getting Started and Overcoming Obtacles

The Writing Process

  • How do I structure my texts?

    If you start putting some ideas or words on paper, please notice it is just a rough draft. It is always possible to adjust (parts of) the content and order in a later stage. It is convenient though, to be able to stick to a rough structure from the beginning.  

    •    You can start with the content;
    •    Sum up what components / chapters you are going to discuss;
    •    Make sure each component / chapter is a part of the answer to the research question; 
    •    Always refer to the research question in your conclusions.

    The UvA Writing Centre offers personal feedback on  your academic writing style and structure. 

    > more information: Writing

  • How can I improve my academic writing skills?

    Refresh your knowledge by going again through the information about this topic during the course Principles of Economics and Business 2 (or Academic Skills). Analysing the writing style used in scientific articels can help you as well. Besides the UvA offers several courses for improving your academic writing skills.  

    > more information: Writing

  • How do I manage to put anything on paper?

    Sometimes you don't know how to get started. Realise that it doesn't have to be perfect straight away. Try any of the following methods...

    'Write down whatever you know about a subject, before you start doing any reseach. You know a lot more than you might think. Realise that you found a way to come up with this subject or this question. Can you explain this process and write it down?'


    'Take a piece of paper. Write down a number of research questions that come up and strikethrough the ones you don't favour. Note the 'ingredients' you need. Where can you get these? Explain how they link or cohere.'

    Hopefully the first step is made!

  • How do I prevent plagiarism and fraud?

    A lot of information on preventing plagiarism and fraud is available. This subject is discussed during your studies in previous couses. Make sure you refresh the information about this topic if you lost is. Please read some tips and tricks:

    •    Close your books before  you start writing and add source references later on;
    •    Realise that anything you write down has to be your own. This shows how you pu the puzzle pieces together;
    •    Explain everything in your own words; what sentence works for you? What language fits to you?

    > more information: Writing

  • How do I use the correct source reference?

    Refresh your knowledge of the course Principles of Economics and Business 2 (or Academic Skills) by going through the subject-matter again.
    There are several methods of source reference available. You are not obliged to use one particular method, but discuss the method you use with the seminar coordinator or your thesis supervisor. A highly used method is APA (useable via References in Word). Furthermore it is possible to adapt one of the methods that is used in the articles that you consult during your research.

    > more information: Writing

  • How to I manage to put enough effort on my thesis?

    A major difference between following a course and writing your thesis is the independancy of the latter. You don't have any midterms or assignments. You have your own responsibility how fast you progress. Some tips you might want to use:

    • Don't underestimate the time you need for your thesis;
    • Get started straight at the beginning;
    • Make a planning;
    • If you have difficulties with discipline, then try to think what you need to get to work. What works for you? (e.g. arranging 'study dates' or study at home, promise yourself a reward after spending hours on studying...)
    • Discuss your planning with your thesis supervisor;
    • Start looking for help if you experience any obtacles! 

    > more information: Writing and Overcoming Obtacles

Overcoming Obstacles