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MEGIN - Thesis
The Final Master Thesis is a document of approximately 10,000 words in length. It is the work that complete the Master studies. The main purpose of the Master Thesis is to demonstrate the intellectual capacity of students in the area of study of their choice as well as their research skill and ability to present a complex set of ideas.
The Master Thesis must meet the following requirements:
- Clear specification of objectives
- Effective planning
- Effective search of literature
- Critical use of data
- Selection and application of appropriate methods of analysis
- Interpretation of results and comparison with pre-existing knowledge
- Limitations of the results obtained and possible future developments of the research work
- Presentation of the work according to academic criteria with regard to language, quotations, bibliographic references, etc.
Instructions to produce a Final Master Thesis
First step: choosing topic and advisor
Students who are enrolled for the entire Master must send an e-mail to the Program coordinator stating their chosen subject together with a proposed advisor selected among professors of any of the three universities who must have been previously contacted and confirmed as such. Those students who have selected a topic but have not yet confirmed an advisor will be assigned one by their university coordinator. For those students who are not clear about proposing either a topic or an advisor the coordinator of their university will meet with them to ensure that both issues are solved. The process must be completed by 15 May. Lists of students, topic and advisor will be closed that day.
Second step: Draft of the work validated by the advisor
Within the following three weeks, namely before 4 June, students must have drafted the basic outline of the Master Thesis which will be endorsed by their advisor.
Completion of the work
The term to finish the work ends in September by the deadline posted by each university. Students who are not able to present their Master Thesis within this period must present it in the following calls to be established by the university at which they are registered.
Characteristics of the Master Thesis
In formal terms, the work must include paginated index, synopsis, and bibliographic references. Tables, charts, and graphs must be correctly titled and listed. Appendixes will not be counted towards the above-mentioned words total but should not be over used. The Master Thesis must include a presentation front cover showing the author’s name, the title of the Thesis, and the name of the Program. The Master Thesis must be double-space typed with reasonable margins and printed on both sides. Three paper copies together with a disc copy, as well as an abstract of approximately 1,500 words must be provided. One copy and the CD must be delivered at UAM, irrespective of the university in which the student is registered. The other two copies and the abstract must be given to the advisor. The advisor will then appoint a second Thesis reviewer, should the student obtain the qualification of Outstanding.
Showing the interrelation between the subject area and what has been learned in the courses taken during the Master is important. An adequate research design and methodology need to be defined. Reviews of the existing literature tend to become listings instead of critical reviews. Very often, only a list of the various books and articles that have been read is included. Students must be able to demonstrate what they have learned through the research process, showing that they have assimilated the concepts and are capable of reasoning in their own words.
Evaluation process of the Master Thesis
The Master Thesis is assessed by the Professor agreed upon or assigned to direct it. When the grade received is Fail, Pass or Remarkable, the Professor’s grading is sufficient for inclusion in the records.
If the rating received is Outstanding, the Master Thesis must undergo a second evaluation by a professor from a university different from that of the advisor. The Thesis advisor is responsible for proposing the new professor and providing a copy of the Master Thesis for evaluation. Should both professors agree on the grade of Outstanding, that rating will appear in the corresponding record. In case of disagreement, both professors will agree on a new grade.
Possible grades for the Master Thesis are: Outstanding, Remarkable, Pass, Fail.
Characteristics of a Master Thesis that does not meet the requirements to pass are as follows:
- Unclear specification of objectives
- Incoherent or disjointed text
- Poor writing or writing that gives proof of confusion
- Inappropiate citation of sources
- Unclear methodology
- Lack of connection with the topic
Characteristics of a Master Thesis that meets the requirements to pass are as follows:
- Evidence of a critical approach to a relevant area
- Clear, orderly writing related to the objectives and the literature
- Occasional gaps or inaccuracies in the general presentation
Characteristics of a Master Thesis that meets the requirements to be graded Remarkable are as follows:
- Strong evidence of critical thinking in a specific area
- Clear and orderly writing related to the objectives and the literature
- Proper presentation of references, bibliography, chapter headings, etc.
- There may be minor errors, inaccuracies or small defects. It may also be too long or too short.
- Proven understanding and assimilation of topics and theories introduced throughout the Master courses
Characteristics of a Master Thesis that meets the requirements to be graded Outstanding are as follows:
- Like for Remarkable, but with less errors and inaccuracies
- Piece of work well constructed. Theory, main ideas, and evidences properly related
- Strong indications of independence as well as intelligent research and analysis
- Original and creative
- Potentially publishable
Too many or too few words –under 5,000 or over 15,000- do not receive the Outstanding rating.
There are many different ways of writing and presenting a Master Thesis and many of them are valid. In any case, a good Master Thesis must include an introductory chapter describing the scope, goals, and methodology of the work and introducing the subsequent work. In the conclusions chapter, the arguments used must be gathered but no new material must be introduced. The conclusions must reflect the implications of the issues addressed in the work. The conclusions chapter is the opportunity to reflect on issues concerning both the content and the method.
Ethical guidelines and plagiarism
Copying without permission of the author is plagiarism. Using exact quotes and expressions found in books and reviews is acceptable, although it should not be done frequently. When using exact quotations, it must be stated that they are taken from another work and they must be shown in italics or enclosed in quotes. Likewise, the quote’s source must be carefully stated. If it is not specified who was the first to develop an idea plagiarism is occurring. It is easy to detect when something has been copied as there is a significant difference in styles. Sanctions against students who plagiarize are provided by all universities.