This is the starting point for any MBI student about to begin the graduation project. For questions that are not covered here, send an email to the graduation coordinator (Dr. Gerard Wagenaar).
The MBI Graduation Project consists of a 15 EC project proposal phase (INFOMMBI1) and a 25 EC thesis phase (INFOMMBI2). The thesis project takes about 8 months: 40 EC are gained through the two phases, and 3 EC through the MBI Colloquium. The set up phase that is necessary to arrange your project is excluded from the EC count.
The thesis project requires a good project idea, a graduation supervisor, and a graduation project facilitator. The project facilitator can either be a company or the university. Original ideas from the students are welcome, as long as they are aligned with the research interests and/or proposed projects by the supervisors: see the KonJoin system. Companies can propose ideas by contacting the graduation coordinator.
MBI colloquium. While conducting their MBI thesis, students are expected to actively participate (and present once) in the MBI colloquium, a gathering that usually occurs every other week, and in which MBI students present and discuss their thesis projects.
When can a thesis be started? When the courses are successfully completed. An exception can be given by the graduation coordinator for students with one pending course.
Timing. Take into account that your supervisors will need sufficient time to review the different chapters of your thesis. It is wise to deliver individual chapters as they are ready.
Previous theses. To get an overview of how an MBI thesis looks like, you can consult previous theses online.
This preliminary step is executed before the official start of Phase 1. The duration largely depends on how quickly a supervisor is found and a topic is agreed upon. This part is excluded from the duration of the thesis project.
1. Define a topic: the topic has to be agreed with the department member who will act as a first supervisor. Arrange meetings with staff members to discuss possible options, based on their research interests (look at their webpages, their google scholar profile, the KonJoin system, or remember interesting courses). Students can also try to arrange a project that fits within an internship with a company. Staff members to act as supervisor are most likely found in one of the two groups most heavily involved in the MBI: ‘Organisation and Information ‘ and ‘Business Process Management and Analytics ‘ or being lecturer of one of MBI’s primary electives, but this is no rule in itself.
2. Define your project: together with the first supervisor, describe your project's title, problem, aims, and research goals. Come up with a textual description, which should not exceed 3800 characters.
3. Work placement agreement: If you conduct a project outside UU, a "work placement agreement" should be filled in, and signed by the student, company supervisor, and the Science Research Project Coordinator. Deviations to the standard contract shall be discussed with the Science Research Project Coordinator.
4. Formalize the graduation request: use OSIRIS to submit your research project; if applicable, you will also submit the signed work placement agreement. Beware: Contradictory to enrolment for other courses your request is registered in Osiris Zaak. Please select ‘My Cases’, ‘Start Case’ and then ‘Research Project GSNS’. Your request will be checked by the student administration, your supervisors, the graduation coordinator, and the Board of Examiners. You may be asked for modifications, should they find any problems with the form.
5. MBI Colloquium enrollment: To sign-up for the colloquium and start collecting tokens, join the MBI Colloquium and write an email from your UU email address to the MBI colloquium coordinators with your name, the (working) title of your thesis, your student id, and your thesis supervisors. Make sure your graduation request is approved in Osiris before you write the email. Regular and active participation in the colloquium is compulsory part of the MBI thesis project; exceptions can be made for students conducting their thesis project outside the Netherlands (presentation is still compulsory, see the MBI colloquium section of this page for the details). Participation in colloquiums is possible at any time earlier, but collecting tokens can only start after your graduation request has been submitted. For questions on the colloquium, please consult the MBI Colloquium page and/or contact the MBI colloquium coordinators.
The student defines the research method for the thesis, and conducts a scientific survey of the literature in the field of study. The intended learning outcomes are that the student should:
- Be able of designing and developing a research plan, and
- Demonstrate a thorough understanding of the relevant literature.
The proposal contains at least the following elements:
- Title page, which should include at least working title, student name and number, university name, faculty, master’s name, and the names of the first and second supervisor.
- Research plan, consisting of:
- Problem statement: gap in the literature and/or practice
- Research question and subquestions
- Outline of and justification for a chosen research method
- Literature research protocol
- Milestones for the key phases of the project
- A review of the literature that confirms that the gap exists and that the proposed research method is suitable and can lead to interesting scientific insights. The literature review can be performed using any technique spanning from an enumeration of related work at the one extreme, and a systematic literature study at the other.
The work for this phase will not be graded but only marked as "Voldaan" (pass). Phase 1 is finalized with a presentation in the MBI colloquium, which describes the context of the thesis, research questions, envisaged method and artifact(s), and the findings from the literature. The evaluation of the first part should consider the following factors: project's context, research approach and presentation. The first supervisor will handle the grading through Osiris.
Delays. Part 1 should be finalized within 3 months since the beginning of the project. When this part is ranked as not satisfactory, a retake project proposal should be handed in. For details, see the protocol delay at the end of this page.
This phase concerns the actual execution of the research according to the approach defined in Phase 1.The second part is passed when the student thesis is approved by the two supervisors, and a final thesis presentation has been successfully made. The learning outcomes for the student are the following:
- Conduct sound scientific research according to a predefined plan,
- Contribute to the scientific body of knowledge,
- Critically review the research and its plan,
- Give a convincing presentation about the work, and
- Write a scientific report about the conducted research.
The grade of Phase 2 will take into account the following artifacts
- The thesis report
- The final presentation
- For grades of 8 or above, a scientific paper based on the thesis’ results is required
The grade is calculated using the criteria defined by the graduate school of natural sciences.
Cum-laude graduation. To obtain cum-laude, Phase 2 should obtain a grade of at least 8.5 .
Delays. The student will receive a grade after 8 months since the beginning of the entire project. In special cases, when students have achieved all the ILOs, the graduation can take place before the 8 months. For retake rules, see the delay protocol at the end of this page. For an MBI thesis, the maximum grade for a retake is 8.0.
When approaching the finalization of the thesis and the scientific paper (i.e, when the supervisors think so!), it is time to wrap up the project and graduate.
- Set date for graduation: both supervisors should agree on the date, including the time. Please be aware that results have to be registered in OSIRIS before the 15th of the month so that the file can be send to the Board of Examiners and the student can graduate that month. If the grades are in after the 15th, the student cannot deregister from Studielink and (s)he has to pay for another month.
- Ask for MBI Colloquium EC: obtain 3 EC for the MBI colloquium by sending a message including your student number to the MBI colloquium coordinators.
- Thesis defence arrangements: Always agree on the date and time of the defense with your supervisors first.
On campus: Arrange room and beamer: send an e-mail to the department's secretaries to arrange for a room and a beamer (if not included in the room), where the defense will take place. Please make sure to include the time, date, name of the thesis, supervisor, and the number of expected attendees. Also enter a calendar entry in MS Teams as described below, to make your defense visible to all colloquium participants and to allow hybrid online participation (if you agree to it). Please print and hand-out the paper-based attendance list with your name on top and the date of your defense to record the attendances, and later send this list or give it on paper to the MBI colloquium coordinators.
Online: Please proceed as follows in organizing the defense:
• Enter the meeting yourself in the MS Teams calendar and use the channel "Thesis defenses" in the MBI Colloquium class for this. (The channel can be selected when you create the calendar entry.)
• Also, when you create the calendar entry, add your first supervisor as "required participant" and your second supervisor as "optional participant".
• In the text field of the calendar entry, enter the title of your thesis (in bold if you like!), the supervisors, and a short abstract of your thesis.
• After your defense meeting, please don’t forget to download the attendance report and send it to the MBI colloquium coordinators. A link to the attendance report will be shown in your MS Teams meeting chat after your defense meeting has ended.
- Deliver printed copies of the thesis to the supervisors: at least one week before the defense; this is compulsory, unless the supervisors explicitly say they don't want the printed copies.
- Thesis defense: the student gives a presentation of 25 minutes, followed by a question-and-answer session that typically lasts about 15-20 minutes. A grade will be decided and probably announced afterwards.
Online setting: Please remind your supervisors that they are asked to send the list of participants (may be a screenshot, or the MS Teams attendance/participants list) to the MBI colloquium coordinators after the defense. The students who are enrolled in the MBI colloquium will then receive attendance tokens.
Offline setting: Please use this template attendance list for keeping the attendance in your defence session and send it to the MBI colloquium coordinator after the defense. The last signature of the attendance list should be the signature of your first supervisor. The students who are enrolled in the MBI colloquium will then receive attendance tokens.
- Upload your thesis through ‘Osiris Case’
- Graduation ceremony: an official ceremony, held in the Academiegebouw in Domplein, where the diplomas are handed out. The dates are available here.
What happens when a student gets an insufficient result after part 2, even after the retake? The student has to start a new project from scratch.
No part-time thesis
The MBI programme is full-time. As such, thesis projects should not be seen as a side project next to a part time job. Professors are entitled to reject a student's request for them to be a supervisor, if the student wants to finish a graduation project next to a job.
The scope of the final thesis project shoud fit the interests of the lecturers from the department. For an overview, either check the websites of the group members, or KonJoin. Note that internships offered by companies do not automatically constitute a thesis topic; an internship without a supervisor is NOT a thesis.
In principle, admission to start the final thesis project officially is permitted when all courses are passed and is confirmed by the (likely) supervisor of the student, after the supervisor has approved the short proposal. Exceptions can be granted when only one course is pending and close to completion; however, expectations are left to the discretion of the MBI programme coordinator.
Doing your thesis outside the Netherlands
It is possible for highly-motivated students who aim at high-quality projects to conduct their thesis outside the Netherlands, either at a company or in a university. Students who intend to spend time abroad are welcome. The same rules on the quality of the project and the availability of a first supervisor apply to projects abroad too. A supervisor may decline to serve as supervisor for a project abroad, whenever (s)he finds the risk of project failure too high. Students doing their thesis abroad are exempted from attending the MBI colloquium.
What is a bad time to apply for an internship?
Summer is a bad time: generally people are on holidays throughout July and August, slowing down the process by a month or two. If interested in starting in September, please contact companies in May or June.
Within all Master's programmes one or more research projects are mandatory. Please see ‘Study programme’ for general information on such projects in your curriculum. In many cases, a research project may be carried out outside of the university, in the form of an internship at a company, research institute, or another university. This can be in the Netherlands as well as abroad, with the exception of ADS (see also: ‘study abroad’).
You are required to apply for approval of your research project by submitting a request via OSIRIS Student. Please select ‘My Cases’, ‘Start Case’ and then ‘Research Project GSNS’. Important: in order to apply completely and correctly, you must have discussed the project setup with your intended project supervisor beforehand! We advise you to study the request form previous to discussing it with your supervisor, or fill it out together, to make sure you obtain all of the information required.
After submitting your request, it will be forwarded to your master’s programme coordinator, the board of examiners and student affairs for checks and approvals. After approval of your project it will be automatically registered in OSIRIS. If something needs to be amended, you will be notified by email. Please DO NOT register yourself in OSIRIS for the relevant research project courses. You will be automatically registered upon approval of the Research Application Form.
- Please note that this protocol (English version) applies when a project is delayed
- In case of a project or internship outside of Utrecht University, please make sure you fill out the Work Placement Agreement in OSIRIS Student / my cases. This agreement will be available for filling out in OSIRIS Student / My Cases after you have submitted your initial request for research project approval