Faculty of Education

Master's thesis as a part of the degree of Master of Arts (Education)

The advanced studies for the degree of Master of Arts (Education) include a Master’s thesis. In the thesis, the students can study a phenomenon in education that they find particularly interesting in depth. The thesis is a written work that requires and develops independent problem-solving abilities. Its goal is to develop the students’ abilities to find and analyse information in their own field, provide reasons and assess matters critically, as well as the ability to generate and apply new knowledge. In the thesis, the students demonstrate their familiarity with the phenomenon being studied, a mastery of the key research methods in their field, and an ability to think and write scientifically.

The thesis can be either drawn up as a continuous dissertation (monograph), or as a whole consisting of texts discussing the same group of problems and a summary written on them (an article thesis). The thesis can also be drawn up as a group work by two students or as part of a research project or project studies. The thesis is nevertheless assessed separately for each author. In the degree programme, it is also possible to complete a so-called productive Master’s thesis as an alternative for a traditional thesis. A productive thesis consists of the planning of a pedagogical activity or event, the operational process and implementation of the pedagogical product, and a final report, which assesses the whole operational process in a way that is meaningful from a research perspective.

The total scope of the Master’s thesis studies is 40 credits.

Master's thesis seminars

The Master’s theses are written in thesis seminars. The seminars usually start in the beginning of the autumn term and last for two terms. The students have the right to participate in a Master’s thesis seminar for one seminar round. The main rule is that students must have completed their Bachelor’s thesis before starting the Master’s thesis.

The thesis supervision is divided into group and individual supervision. The students receive group supervision at the Master’s thesis seminars, in which questions of planning and implementing the research process that are common to all participants are discussed. In addition, the students present their own work, learn by following the presentations of others, and give and receive constructive feedback. The group is an important resource for learning and supervision, which means that every student must commit to the seminar work and participate in it regularly.

In addition to the group supervision, the students have the right to receive a reasonable amount of individual Master’s thesis supervision and feedback at appointments with the supervisor and in written comments. In order to make the supervision more effective, the supervisor and the student can agree that the student submits the text to be discussed at the appointment in advance and draws up a memo on the issues agreed upon during the supervision, for example. The documentation is also important in case the supervisor changes for any reason.

The students receive credits (ECTS) for their Master’s thesis at three different stages. The supervisor of the work records the work as completed during the different work phases.

1. Work phase I, 10 ECTS.
Completing the first seminar requires writing a research plan in addition to participation and presenting your own work.

2. Work phase II, 10 ECTS.
A research plan is a requirement for participating in the second seminar. The requirements for completing the second seminar also include participation and presenting your own work as well as completing a part of the Master’s thesis manuscript, usually at least the data analysis.

3. Completing the thesis, 20 ECTS.
The thesis has been submitted, finished and ready for publication. The student has completed the required maturity test (HUOM! LINKKI MENEE SUOMENKIELISELLE SIVULLE). The thesis has been checked with the plagiarism detection system. The thesis has been graded.

Choosing the topic for the Master's thesis

Students can prepare for the thesis during subject studies by thinking about what kind of topics they are interested in. The Bachelor’s thesis is an excellent opportunity for testing a potential Master’s thesis topic, too. It is a good idea to follow the current discussion on education during the studies and reflect on the choice of topic compared to the phenomena in education both in theory and in practice.

The more a student has thought about the topic before coming to the Master’s thesis seminar, the easier it is to start the work. You can prepare for the seminar work by answering the following questions and making notes about them:

  • Which topic are you interested in?
  • How is it related to education?
  • What makes the topic current and important with regard to education?
  • What do people already know about the subject, and how has it been studied?
  • What is the research question that you would like to study, and what kind of material could you use to answer the question?
  • In what kind of a schedule could the research be completed? What are your resources, goals and opportunities with regard to the use of time?

Instruction on submitting a Master's Thesis

In order to submit the thesis, the student needs a basic user account and a PDF version of the thesis. The student agrees with the supervisor on submitting the manuscript of the Master’s thesis to the Turnitin plagiarism detection software (LINKKI VANHOILLE OPISKELUSIVUILLE). The student submits the completed PDF version of the Master’s thesis that has been checked by Turnitin and approved by the supervisor by using the NettiOpsu submission form, thereby submitting their thesis for assessment. The student states the e-mail address of their supervisor in the NettiOpsu submission form. In this way, both the supervisor and the School are notified that the thesis has been submitted for assessment. A separate abstract, 1–2 pages in length, is attached to the thesis. It contains information on the research problem, material, research methods used and the most important research results. See Guidelines for submitting Master’s thesis on the library’s website.

Grading of the thesis

At least two reviewers, appointed by the Dean of the School, provide statements on the thesis. When the abstract of the thesis serves as the maturity test, the reviewers of the thesis must provide statements within three weeks after the thesis has been submitted for assessment. For an especially weighty reason, the Dean of the School can grant an exception on the deadline. The reviewers must provide a statement on a maturity test in essay format within four weeks of the date of taking the maturity test, unless the Dean of the School has granted an exception on the deadline. The student receives the statement of the reviewers and a grade proposal as an e-mail attachment in the student.uta.fi address. At the same time, an opportunity is reserved for the student to submit a rejoinder to the statement by the deadline given. The rejoinders are addressed by the Dean of the School, who can forward the matter to the School Board for discussion, where necessary. Unless the student presents a rejoinder, the Dean of the School makes a decision on the grading of the thesis based on the statements.

The criteria for grading Master's theses (LINKKI PDF-TIEDOSTOON VANHOILLA SIVUILLA) since 1 January 2013 (approved by the School Board on 13 June 2012).

An assessed and approved thesis, which is included in a university degree, cannot be retaken (University of Tampere’s Regulations on the Assessment of Studies, 11 §).

Request and procedure to rectify the assessment

Students who are dissatisfied with the grading of their Master’s thesis can lodge a written appeal for rectification with the School Board within 14 days of the date on which the students have had the opportunity to receive the decision on the grade and the reviewers’ statements. The appeal for rectification is delivered to the University Registry.

Instructions and documents