Master's Thesis Procedure 2021 - 2022

The Master’s thesis is an important part of your Master's Programme. The thesis is written individually and in English.

Below you can find information about the time schedule and deadlines, the regulations, the U.S.E. thesis award, and some tips.

Period 2

Kick-off event for each MSc programme will be organised, usually between 16 and 27 November (details will be provided by your programme’s thesis coordinator). You will be informed about:

  • Potential thesis topics
  • Potential supervisors and co-readers
  • Guidelines in case you want to propose your own topic
  • Opportunities for a research internship in combination with your thesis

A second supervisor (‘co-reader’) will be involved in the process specifically for the following tasks: (i) to approve the research proposal and set up of the thesis, and (ii) to read the final manuscript as approved by the first supervisor, and to determine the thesis grade in consultation with the first supervisor.

Matching with your supervisor and co-reader is usually done in December 2020, and no later than January 2021.

 

Period 3 (5 ECTS)
At the end of period 3 you are supposed to have written a full research proposal. This implies you have done initial literature research, addressed a research gap, drafted research questions, and develop a plan for empirical data analysis.
You are usually also supposed to have collected the empirical material for your thesis, or at minimum, developed a plan for data collection.

April 6 - 9

You present and/or discuss your research proposal in a meeting with your supervisor and co-reader.

You submit a request for assessment of your research proposal via OSIRIS Student (tab Cases > Thesis Assessment (U.S.E.)). As of April 6 you can upload your research proposal. Note: make sure you mention your correct thesis supervisor and co-reader.
After submitting your case in Osiris, you will receive a confirmation and you can check the progress of the assessment.
The deadline to request the assessment of the research proposal is April 9.

The proposal will be graded (weight 10%, see the evaluation form 10%). If you upload the research proposal after April 9, or not at all, the research proposal will be graded with a 1 by default. When your progress is insufficient at this point, you will have to put in substantial extra effort in period 4 to be able to finish your thesis in time. 

April 16

Deadline for supervisor to finalise the assessment and determine the grade via Osiris.

 

Period 4 (10 ECTS)
Writing process. You collect any remaining data and missing literature, analyse data, and write your thesis.

June  21-25
You present and/or discuss your draft thesis in a meeting or final seminar organised by your supervisor and co-reader, and receive final comments. 

July 2
Deadline to upload the final version of your thesis to your supervisor and co-reader via OSIRIS Student (tab Cases > Thesis Assessment (U.S.E.)).
After submitting your case in Osiris, you will receive a confirmation and you can check the progress of the assessment.

The thesis will be graded (weight 90%, see the evaluation form 90%).

July 9
Deadline for supervisor to finalise the assessment and determine the grade via Osiris..

 

Number of meetings
You will usually first meet your supervisor in January (or as soon as possible after the matchmaking process). A co-reader (second supervisor) will also be involved in the process. Depending on the topic and common type of research that is applicable (e.g, quantitative, qualitative), thesis supervisors may apply different formats regarding number of meetings, deadlines, etc. The typical thesis process includes around 7-8 meetings with your supervisor during period 3 and 4, but deviations are possible.

Theses need to be handed in via OSIRIS Student (tab Cases > Thesis Assessment (U.S.E.)) to the thesis supervisor and co-reader. The supervisor checks the thesis on plagiarism, grades it, and digitally fills in the two evaluation forms (evaluation form 10% and evaluation form 90%). You can check the evaluation forms in OSIRIS Student (after your supervisor finalises the assessment and determined the grade in Osiris).

For the research proposal (10%) no retake is possible. For the final thesis (weight 90%) a retake is possible. Conditions: your unrounded final score (10% proposal +90% thesis) is less than 5.5, but at least 4.0. This opportunity is provided only once. Your supervisor will provide you with one-time feedback of what should be improved. The new deadline to hand in the thesis is August 9, after which the grade will be handed in by the supervisor at the latest by August 16. In the meantime, no additional feedback or guidance can be claimed from the supervisor (holiday season). Moreover, the new (final) grade cannot be higher than a 6; this is only to be fair to students who finish their finish in shorter time. If your thesis is graded with a 4 or less, no opportunity is offered to revise and re-submit.

In some circumstances the June 25 deadline may be extended. See ‘Regulations’ (hereafter).

  1. All theses must be written and finished within semester 2.
  2. All theses will be checked on plagiarism.
  3. In agreement with the second supervisor, the thesis supervisor will determine the final grade and fill in the Thesis Evaluation Form, which is then presented to you.
  4. The supervisor grades the thesis within 10 working days from receiving the material, and makes sure the results are processed administratively.
  5. In case of special personal circumstances, the Board of Examiners may grant a postponement of the deadline, following consultation with the MSc coordinator.
  6. When you have stopped working on your thesis during semester 2 for other reasons than special personal circumstances, or do not hand in your thesis on time, or when you received an insufficient grade, you will have to start again in the next academic year (at the kick-off event in November), with a new thesis subject and new supervisor.
  7. For the research proposal no retake is possible. For the final thesis (weight 90%) a retake is possible. Conditions: your unrounded final score (10% proposal +90% thesis) is less than 5.5, but at least 4.0. The retake is a once-only possibility for an additional test: the opportunity to adapt the thesis in a few weeks. The new deadline to hand in the thesis is August 9, after which the grade will be handed in by the supervisor at the latest by August 16. The new grade for your thesis cannot be higher than a 6.
  8. In addition to the cum laude classification in art. 6.2 of the Education and Examination Regulations: if you do an external research in combination with your thesis and this prevents you to graduate in one year, and as a consequence you do not qualify for a cum laude graduation, the Board of Examiners may apply a special (leniency) regulation.

It is not mandatory, but we recommend you submit your thesis to the Students Theses Archive.

Each year the top Master's thesis from all Utrecht University School of Economics 1-year MSc programmes is recognized with the U.S.E. Master's Thesis Award. The thesis needs to be written and completed in semester 2 and is chosen for its relevance, academic merit, and particularly for its integration of a ‘real world perspective’ into an economics issue. The author of the winning thesis is awarded with a certificate and cash prize during the Master’s Graduation ceremony.

Please check our Studentsite for other thesis awards.

Tips and tricks about academic research, writing skills, etcetera you can find in the Thesis Manual and Toolbox (this is not available yet)

For workshops, courses and individual writing tutoring see the Skills lab and Libguide for an overview on much consulted information sources Economics

We have also created four YouTube tutorials to help you organize and write the thesis:

  1. Finding references and including them efficiently in your thesis
  2. How to structure the master thesis
  3. Tips and tricks of managing the thesis and communicating with your supervisor
  4. How to convert your STATA output automatically into nice Word Tables.

When you write a thesis, you are dealing with Research Data Management: processing data and possibly also personal data, for example when you conduct interviews. In the latter case, you are then dealing with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). You also need to secure your data properly at all times. It is therefore important that you know what you have to comply with in terms of legislation and university frameworks. Please figure this out before you start writing your thesis. Your thesis supervisor can help you with this, ask for the guidelines. More information can be found on the following websites:

U.S.E. has acquired subscriptions to Wharton Research Data Services (WRDS), Compustat, Bank Focus, and Eikon. Compustat covers financial information and executive compensation data for publicly listed companies in the United States. WRDS provides access to Compustat and other free databases using a Web interface, SAS, Matlab, Python and R. Furthermore, WRDS offers a cloud environment with a SAS 9.4 installation. WRDS and Compustat can be accessed through http://wrds-web.wharton.upenn.edu/ and are available to all U.S.E. staff and students. Bank Focus is accessible through Bureau van Dijk (see http://bibe.library.uu.nl/zoek/biblio; select Economie and then Amadeus).

Nicola Zaugg is the student assistant who can be approached by staff and students for questions related to these data. If you need help with one of the databases, please visit https://uufinancedata.wordpress.com/help/ and fill in the contact form.