M30-ECON Master's Thesis
Showing course contents for the educational year 2021 - 2022 .
Course responsible: Roberto Javier Garcia
ECTS credits: 30
Faculty: School of Economics and Business
Teaching language: EN, NO
Teaching exam periods:
Autum parallel or spring parallel
Course frequency: Annually
First time: Study year 2014-2015
Master students in Economics are required to write a master's thesis on a topic within the field of economics approved by the student´s supervisor. The thesis is expected to be written in English. The student can choose from among a broad spectrum of economic theories and methods that are part of the master study program. The master's thesis is an independent or jointly produced academic work. The gathering and analysis of data (primary and/or secondary data) are key elements of the thesis. In some cases, students may also conduct fieldwork or develop a survey questionnaire. The student is supervised in developing a research proposal. If the student is conducting fieldwork, the research proposal must be approved by the supervisor prior to the fieldwork. The approximate length of the master thesis should be a minimum of 10 000 and a maximum of 20 000 words. Students may, after prior agreement with the supervisor, write their thesis in a journal article format.
A master's thesis is a comprehensive working process. When completed, it provides the student with in-depth knowledge of a specific topic and relevant methods and theories. The student will have independently searched for and assessed various sources. The thesis will have been structured according to academic standards. The student will have gained experience in planning and implementing a project over a period of more than six months. Throughout this process, the student will have gained specific knowledge, skills and competence: (1) The student will have experience in searching for various sources, reading and assessing them in the relation to a specified issue within economics (and to the particular problem identified); (2) Through supervision and independent work, the student will have gained insight into the various steps of a research process, including methodological and ethical concerns; (3) If the student has gathered primary data by surveys and/or fieldwork, practical experience will have been gained in assessing sources and collecting data in the field, in addition to the analysis and explanation of research results; and (4) The student will have gained experience in processing feedback and critically reflecting on the results of the research and the working process.
The master's thesis is written independently by a student or in some cases by two students working jointly on the project. It is assumed that the efforts of the two co-authors are equally distributed. When an assignment is prepared by two authors, a more comprehensive final product is expected, compared with a the output of a single author.
The thesis is written under the supervision of at least one faculty person on the staff of the School of Economics and Business. The supervisor is appointed by the School of Economics and Business based on the candidate's topic of choice. School of Economics and Business reserves the right to reject topics that are not within its subject area, or which are of a form or extent that make it unrealistic for the student to come to terms within six months of full-time work. If the candidate does not propose an adequate topic for study, the School of Economics and Business will submit topics from which the student can choose. It is expected that the candidate regularly communicates with his/her supervisor and actively participates in relevant seminars and meetings organized by the supervisor or by the School of Economics and Business.
The thesis process consists of both a written thesis, structured in a manner consistent with an academic style, and an oral defense (a presentation of the written work followed by questions related to all aspects of the work). For students writing jointly, the oral defense can be arranged in two manners: (1) The students give a joint presentation of the thesis (about 20 minutes) followed by independent defenses of the written work; or (2) each student gives a separate presentation of the thesis (about 10-15 minutes) which is followed by the defense of the written work (about 20 minutes). The process is to be agreed between the advisor and the student.
Preparatory course: ECN305 and ECN306 are mandatory courses in the M-ECON programme. Students write a research proposal for their master's thesis, normally with advice from their prosepctive supervisor. The choice of topic in ECN305 is not binding, but an opportunity to get a head start on the writing of the thesis.
Information meeting: Students attend an information meeting about the master's thesis. Choice of topic and allocation of supervisors: The process of selecting your master's thesis topic should start at least six months prior to the submission deadline. Check if the topics suggested by the School of Economics and Business are of interest. Each student is entitled to 40 hours of supervision. Students sign a contract with the supervisor. The supervisory relationship is guided by the contract, as well as a common understanding of supervisory responsibilities. The student has a responsibility to stay in touch with the supervisor. The main supervisor should be a staff member at the School of Economics and Business. A co-supervisor from the School of Economics and Business or another department at NMBU or at another university may be arranged and shall be approved by the main supervisor.
Based on independent search for literature and consultations with the supervisor.
Prior to the full-time research and writing of a master's thesis, the student shall have completed (or is in the process of completing) all course requirements related to the candidate's chosen specialization within Economics or the general program which the student has tailored according to their interest. In general, the student must have satisfied the course requirements before a supervisor is assigned to work with the student. In exceptional cases, approval may be granted if and when the lacking credits are being earned in parallel with the work toward the master's thesis.
It is recommended that students, who have not previously attended a writing course, e.g. LNG240 Academic Writing, do so in the second semester.
The student must arrange a work plan with the advisor regarding submission of drafts and for follow-up consultation sessions. The written thesis is to be structured according to an academic style agreed upon with the advisor. The composition of the thesis is typically comprised of several chapters (or sections) that include:
Problem identification and specification of objectives (formulation of a hypothesis in some cases)
Research, literature review and discussion of relevant theory
Data collection, variable selection and model specification
Analysis, reporting and interpreting the results, discussion of important insights of the findings
Conclusions, limitations and suggestions for future work
Bibliography: referencing and citations
The master's thesis is evaluated and graded on a scale from A-F. Evaluation of the master thesis has two elements: First and foremost the grade is based on the written thesis which is evaluated by the advisor and an external examiner. In addition, there is an oral defense of the thesis. This includes the student preparing a presentation of the written work, followed by an individual discussion with the external examiner and advisor. The performance during the oral defense can result in a minor adjustment of the final grade for the thesis.
Masterstudents at NMBU's master program
The School of Economics and Business will at all times refer to the current regulations of NMBU, and remind the students that it is their responsibility to learn and deliver by adhering to all mandatory guidelines. Such as reporting, contracts, registration, deliveries and eventual applications for delayed submissions (requires documentation). Follow the information at the homepage of Student information Centre (SiT) and contact the supervisors for questions.
The supervisor and an external examiner read the written document and are present for the final oral defense. The examiners jointly asses the written work and agree tentatively to a grade. The presentation and the oral defense of the thesis can result in a marginal adjustment in the final grade.
Examination details: Term paper: Letter grades