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Thesis and defense

Thesis and defense

Master's International Development Studies

The thesis is not just a long paper. It is an academic project, but for most students it turns out to be a personal project as well.

Next to academic skills it will take self-discipline and good planning to complete your thesis in a satisfactory way. Please find below all relevant information for writing your thesis and organising your graduation.

Manual for Writing a Thesis

The manual on how to write a thesis will be available soon.

 

Defense

The thesis defense

The thesis defense takes place after the final draft of your thesis has been submitted and read by both your supervisor and your second reader. It is best if you, your supervisor and your second reader select a date for the defense on your own, based on your own availability. There is no official scheduling. The only thing to keep in mind is that the defense should take place sometime in the two weeks after the thesis deadline so that grades can be submitted on time for you to graduate. If you foresee any problem with this (such as you can only find a date when all are available for the defense a few days after grades need to be submitted), please let the study advisor know. It is not likely to be a problem, but we do need to be aware and get the final grade as soon as possible.

 

Contrary to how it sounds, the thesis defense is not an interrogation of the thesis, but most often an inspiring conversation about it. It gives the students a chance to clarify certain points, or say more than what they could include in the written text. The thesis defense takes one hour and is structured in the following way:

  • Students get five minutes for opening statements regarding their thesis. This can be a summary, highlights, reflections, etc. – whatever you deem most important at that time. You should not do this as a powerpoint presentation, but simply at the table, with notes if needed.
  • After the student makes the opening statements, the second reader takes the lead in the defense. The second reader will have read the thesis and prepared a number of questions to ask you related to relevance, theory, data collection, data analysis, findings, recommendations, etc. In other words, they can ask a wide range of questions. The question/answer time usually lasts between 35-40 minutes. The first supervisor may also have input or ask questions, but most of the defense should be left up to the second reader.
  • After the students have finished the answering the questions, they will be asked to leave the room for 5-10 minutes while the first supervisor and the second reader fill out the Thesis Evaluation form and decide on the final grade.