Thesis and maturity test in Master's and Licentiate's Programmes

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By selecting a degree programme you are able to see the general content as well as the possible degree programme-specific content. You do not have to select a degree programme to see the Open University's instructions.

An academic degree always includes a written thesis. As a student at the University, you are a full member of the academic community and an expert in your own field. In your thesis, you will examine a research question or questions of interest to you and generate new scientific knowledge in your field for the benefit of the academic community. Typically, the thesis is written independently, but, depending on the situation, the related research may be conducted as part of a project or research group or in collaboration with a company or an organisation.

You can see the possible additional instructions for your own degree programme by selecting your degree programme in the menu above. You can clear the selection of the degree programme by clicking on Clear the selection in the menu.

Thesis in Master's and Licentiate's Programmes

As part of their advanced studies, Master’s level students write a thesis of 30 credits in scope. The thesis written by students of medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine, however, is 20 credits in scope.

In the thesis, you must demonstrate your familiarity with the thesis topic, mastery of the necessary research methods, the ability to think scientifically and proficiency in academic writing. The thesis workload, including the collection and processing of the research material as well as the writing process, corresponds approximately to one term of full-time study.

The thesis is assessed on a scale of 0–5.

Before embarking on the thesis project, or at its initial stages at the latest, you must draft a thesis plan, which will be discussed and approved in the manner specified in the degree programme curriculum. The plan must also indicate the supervisor(s) of the thesis.

You can complete the thesis independently or in a group or a wider research project, provided that your independent input can be clearly demonstrated and easily assessed. You can also complete the thesis as a commission. However, write your thesis independently. You can write the thesis as pair work with a fellow student only if your degree programme has separately decided to allow this. In such cases, the independent contribution of both students must be clearly demonstrable.

The thesis must contain an abstract. You can use the University's abstract document (a word document). Fill in the needed information on each line and write your abstract at the end. The length of the abstract is usually 1 page. The degree programmes and/or faculties can give more detailed instructions in the matter, please see also the degree programme-specific instructions. Attached is also a model document as a pdf. If needed, you can write the abstract also in other word processing programmes with the help of the model document.

If you give permission to publish your thesis in the University's open publication repository, please make sure the document is in an accessible format. See instructions on how to create accessible documents.

If you are dissatisfied with your grading, you can lodge an appeal with the University’s Academic Appeals Board. Read more on the page Legal protection of students.

Maturity test in Master's and Licentiate's Programmes

The maturity test has the status of an independent study attainment, but does not, however, yield credits. The maturity test must demonstrate your command of the topic of your thesis. The maturity test can be, for example, a section of the thesis or its abstract or another written assignment.

The thesis supervisor approves the maturity test, unless otherwise specified below. The maturity test is assessed on a scale of pass/fail and will be registered in the Student Register only after the thesis has been approved.

Thesis Instructions in Your Degree Programme

Master's Programme in Data Science

The master’s thesis will focus on a data science problem and on applying the knowledge the student has learned during the MSc courses to solve that problem. Thesis topic and content is negotiated with the supervisor. A master's thesis should contain a definition of the research questions, a review of the relevant literature, and theoretical, constructive or empirical parts developing answers to the research questions. The grading scale and criteria follow the general University level regulations.

Your MS thesis starts by you finding a suitable supervisor and agreeing on a topic with the supervisor. In most cases, your supervisor must be a professor or someone with a doctorate. If you are interested in writing your thesis on a topic related to a course or seminar, the respective teacher is often the best first contact. In the MSc thesis Moodle you can find lists of possible supervisors for master's theses in Data Science. If you are looking for a thesis topic or supervisor, you can contact the programme in Moodle. Describe your ideas or preferences regarding the topic, and we will get back to you with ideas about who might be a good person to approach for supervision.

The pre-requisite for starting the thesis is that you have completed all of the courses relevant to your master's thesis topic, including most of the other courses. We recommend starting your thesis work during the second autumn, or possibly already during the summer. This gives you sufficient time to complete the thesis during the 2nd year of your studies.

You should prepare a topic description of about 1-2 pages in collaboration with your supervisor. The topic description should indicate the general problem area, the particular research questions you plan to focus on, methodologies (literature survey, experimental, …) and provide a few key references. It is your responsibility to write the topic description, discussing it until both you and your supervisor are satisfied with it. This is important and serves to ensure that you have a shared understanding of the topic, scope and methods of the thesis. 

You also need to provide the names of the responsible professor and the second reviewer of the thesis. If your supervisor is a professor (full, associate, or assistant) associated with the Data Science program, s/he will be the responsible professor. The second reviewer must have a doctorate, so if your supervisor is not a professor, s/he is the second reviewer. In this case, you should agree with your supervisor who is the responsible professor for the thesis.

Make sure you include your name and student number in the topic description. You can send it in the MSc thesis Moodle for approval. Please include all information in a single PDF file; there is no special form. After sending the email, you can start working on your thesis and we will be in touch with you in case there is any need for further clarifications.

Agree with your supervisor on the schedule for completing the thesis and the planned steps during the process. Also, agree on how often you will meet and what other communication between you two is expected. 

It is possible to apply for a thesis grant.

During your thesis process

There are no official checkpoints during your thesis writing process. Keep regular contact with your supervisor according to what you have agreed regarding meetings and ways of working.

There is a template for master’s thesis which you should use in writing the thesis. This is available in Moodle.

Grading the thesis

When you have finished your thesis and your supervisor agrees that it is ready for grading, you should submit the thesis to the reviewers for grading. The reviewers have one month of time to provide their statement about the thesis and submit the statement to the Data Science program steering group for official approval of the thesis. The final version of every master's thesis must also undergo the Ouriginal (Urkund) plagiarism check. You can find more information in these instructions and your supervisor will tell you which address to use for the check.

The supervisor will upload the thesis and review statement to the thesis tool Grappa. The reviewers will inform you of their statement and the grade they propose you for your thesis. They submit their report through the Grappa system where you will also need to acknowledge the report. You will receive an email from the system with instructions.

The thesis is accepted by the Steering Group of the Data Science Master’s Program in their monthly meeting. For a thesis to be accepted in a meeting, all of the grading steps must have been completed a week before the Steering Group meeting. To ensure your thesis grading proceeds to the board meeting, click the link in the Grappa email to submit your approval of the process, and submit your thesis to E-thesis.

The grading scale and criteria

Academic year 2021-2022

The thesis and review statement have to be returned to Grappa by this date Steering group meeting
24.8. 1.9.
20.9. 28.9.
18.10. 26.10.
15.11. 23.11.
13.12. 21.12.
24.1. 1.2.
21.2. 1.3.
21.3. 29.3.
18.4. 26.4.
16.5. 24.5.
13.6. 21.6.

The language of the maturity test

The language of the maturity test is determined by the language studies of your previously completed first-cycle degree, your degree programme and the language of your secondary education.

  • If the language of your secondary education was Finnish or Swedish and you have completed your first-cycle degree in Finland and have accordingly demonstrated your language proficiency by passing a maturity test, as specified in the Government Decree on University Degrees, you need not demonstrate your language proficiency again. You may write the maturity test in Finnish, Swedish, English or in the language in which you wrote the thesis.
  • If the language of your secondary education was Finnish or Swedish but you have not demonstrated your language proficiency by passing a maturity test for your first-cycle degree, as specified in the Government Decree on University Degrees (because, for example, you completed your degree at a university abroad), you must demonstrate your language proficiency by writing the maturity test in the language of your secondary education.
    This also applies to students pursuing their degrees in English in English-language and multilingual Master’s programmes. See the other language requirements for your degree.
  • If the language of your secondary education was other than Finnish or Swedish and you are studying in a Master’s programme offered in Finnish and Swedish or completing studies in Finnish and Swedish in a multilingual Master’s programme, you may write the maturity test in Finnish, Swedish, English or in the language in which you wrote the thesis.
  • If the language of your secondary education was other than Finnish or Swedish and you are completing studies in English in an English-language or multilingual Master’s programme, you must write your maturity test in English.

Tiivistelmälomake / Abstract form

Bachelor's Programme in Mathematical Sciences
Bachelor's Programme in Physical Sciences
Bachelor's Programme in Chemistry
Bachelor's Programme for Teachers of Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry
Bachelor's Programme in Computer Science
Bachelor's Programme in Geosciences
Bachelor's Programme in Geography
Master's Programme in Mathematics and Statistics
Master's Programme in Life Science Informatics
Master's Programme in Theoretical and Computational Methods
Master's Programme in Particle Physics and Astrophysical Sciences
Master's Programme in Materials Research
Master's Programme in Atmospheric Sciences
Master's Programme in Chemistry and Molecular Sciences
Master's Programme for Teachers of Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry
Master's Programme in Computer Science
Master's Programme in Data Science
Master's Programme in Geology and Geophysics
Master's Programme in Geography
Master's Programme in Urban Studies and Planning
Bachelor's Programme in Science
Nordic Master Programme in Environmental Changes at Higher Latitudes

Tiivistelmälomake / Abstract form (pdf, docx)

Abstract form for theses in the Master’s Programme in Urban Studies and Planning (pdf, docx)