Active participation in the thesis seminar is required. This includes presenting own work, opposing fellow student's work and other types of participation depending on the supervisor. Thesis seminar consists of two parts (part I and part II) where each part lasts in most cases for one semester. If you do the thesis faster, please discuss with the thesis advisor that you can complete the seminar faster too.
Part I, requirements (25 % of the finished work):
- research problem
- aims and objectives for the research
- structure of the thesis; content of the chapters
- choosing method(s)
- research plan
- preliminary table of contents
Part II, requirements (75 % of the finished work):
- draft of the thesis
- detailed table of contents
Evaluation of master's thesis
Evaluation of master's thesis is based on common criteria in School of Business. It is recommended to familiarize yourself with the evaluation rubrik when planning and writing your thesis.
Please see page Thesis for instructions on general guidelines for writing your thesis.
Font f.e. Times New Roman. Line spacing 1,5, font size 12, marginals 2,5 cm (if you want to print then 3 cm on the left side is better). The most important thing is that the structure of the thesis is readable and clear. You can also check the detailed guidlines for stucture and design of the thesis (in Accounting): Instructions for finalizing master's thesis or Instructions in Finnish.
Submitting the thesis
When the thesis is completely finished your supervisor allowes you to submit it. Thesis will be submitted only in electronic form. You can find a template for cover page and abstract as well as instructions for submitting the thesis in MyCourses in page Thesis. Please make sure you have enrolled as attending student for the ongoing semester when submitting the thesis.
Please contact the seminar group leader or planning officer for any questions. Before that please check the frequently asked questions below if there already is an answer to your question.
Frequently asked questions about master's thesis and seminar
- Does the seminar meet once a week?
How a seminar operates depends much on the group itself and on the seminar leader. Groups meet generally once a week at most, with longer breaks between meetings for certain times, such as during the thesis writing stage.
- Does the seminar have a minimum attendance requirement?
Seminar meetings are compulsory as they are important for making progress with your thesis. The meetings cover the different stages of thesis work and provide students with feedback on their own work. The dates for presenting your thesis and acting as a thesis opponent are arranged in advance.
- Does the seminar take a whole year?
The seminar consists of two parts, which together add up to one academic year. The first part goes through the process of beginning the research for a thesis, formulating the aims of the work as well as the research problem. The second part goes through writing the thesis, research findings, etc., and concludes with a presentation of the work when it is nearly finished. The work includes presenting your own thesis and acting as opponent for someone else’s thesis.
- Can I complete the seminar in half a year?
Sometimes a student may make faster progress with his or her thesis and complete it in less than a year. In such cases, it is recommended to discuss with the thesis advisor in advance about your goals and to agree on how to complete the seminar work.
- Shall I choose a thesis advisor myself? But how can I do so if I haven’t chosen a thesis topic yet?
A list of thesis advisors and their fields of specialisation is given for this academic year on this Into page.
Students should look for a thesis advisor whose speciality matches their own interests or planned thesis topic or topic area. You don’t have to have a topic when the seminar begins. You may discuss topic ideas with a thesis advisor before you register for the seminar or before it begins. The advisor may propose you see some other advisor whose area of competency is closer to your topic.
- I would like to start writing my thesis in the summer, but is there a seminar in the summer?
No thesis seminars begin in the summer. If you know that you will be able to concentrate on your thesis full-time during the summer, you might consider starting the seminar in the spring (January). Alternatively, you could contact the thesis advisor early enough to inquire if it is possible to start in the group later during the spring semester and how to get your thesis underway during the summer. This might vary depending on the advisor.
- Can the seminar be taken through distance learning, for example, if I am abroad for half a year and write my thesis during that time?
As a general rule, that is not allowed; however, it depends on what stage your thesis is in, the procedures followed in your seminar group, and the length of your time abroad.
- Is it common for students to write their theses as commissioned work? What are the pros and cons related to this?
Roughly every fourth student writes his or her thesis as a commissioned work. Sometimes with commissions, the company’s objectives and wishes for the thesis work are different than the aims set for it by the university. University theses are public documents, and this may sometimes raise a conflict from the commissioning company’s point of view. Optimally, a thesis with its theoretical perspective may provide the company with a deeper understanding of some practical problem. The student’s motivation may also be enhanced by seeing that the thesis has a direct benefit or immediate applicability. If the student receives compensation for the thesis, this may serve as an incentive for getting the work done on time.
- Will writing the thesis take up all my time or will I have time for other things?
You should leave plenty of room in your calendar for the thesis and be prepared to make it your first priority until it’s done. While working on your thesis, you can take e.g. one course, which ideally should be connected to the topic of your thesis. You shouldn’t, however, take too many courses, because they may have more deadlines than you expect and eat up the time you had planned to use on your thesis. Combining master’s thesis writing with a full-time job is not recommended, or at least you should consider taking a few weeks off work, if possible, to focus on your thesis – for instance, when you are halfway or nearly finished with the thesis process.
- Should I have a topic for my thesis before the seminar begins? How do I find one?
Although you don’t have to have a topic ready before you start the seminar, it is worth thinking about possible topics beforehand. When you register for the seminar, you will also have to choose your thesis advisor. To be able to choose the right thesis advisor, you should have some idea of the topic. You may formulate your final thesis topic during the first sessions of the seminar. Alternatively, the thesis advisor may suggest a topic for you or you can discuss possible topics together.
To narrow down your thesis topic options, you can start with the following questions:
- Which accounting courses have you taken and which topics interest you the most? Have you attended any interesting courses in an area other than accounting? Maybe your topic could be something associated with that course? You can also think of a research method you would like to learn more about and come up with a topic that could be studied using that method.
- Have you noticed a research gap in the literature or in practice? In other words, have you identified an area or perspective that no one has studied before? Is there a current phenomenon in the world of business that has not been studied enough yet?
- Have you gained practical experience of something through a summer job or an internship that you would like to know more about or examine from a theoretical viewpoint? Could you do your thesis for a company and thus benefit an employer? Remember to discuss your choice of topic with your academic advisor in good time to make sure that your topic is suitable for a master’s thesis.
- Do you already have an idea about your future career goals? Perhaps your topic could involve an area in which you want to develop. Deepening your knowledge of a topic of interest for the purposes of the master’s thesis may also broaden your career options. Although you shouldn’t worry too much about your master’s thesis determining your future career, choosing your topic carefully can give you an opportunity to gain expertise that can benefit you later in life.
- You can also get started by browsing through earlier master’s theses on accounting in the library. Consider the topics and research scopes of the theses. Could your topic be similar to one of the earlier ones, but looked at from a different perspective, or with a different method or on a slightly different theme? The earlier master’s theses may also include ideas for further research on the same topic.
The most important thing, however, is to find a topic that is at least to some extent interesting to you. When you find a motivating topic, writing the thesis will be much easier.