Course code MAST300

MAST300 Planning the Master Thesis

Norsk emneinformasjon

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Showing course contents for the educational year 2015 - 2016 .

Course responsible: Nikolai Kristoffersen Winge
Teachers: Elin Børrud, Nikolai Kristoffersen Winge, Timothy Kevin Richardson
ECTS credits: 5
Faculty: Department of Landscape Architecture and Spatial Planning
Teaching language: NO
(NO=norsk, EN=Engelsk)
Limits of class size:
Teaching exam periods:
Autumn term
Course frequency: Annually, autumn term
First time: Study year 2009-2010
Preferential right:
Course contents:

The aim of the course is to prepare a plan for implementation of the thesis (the "MA plan"). Work on the MA plan continues throughout the semester. Initially the MA plan describes the topic and background to the research, as well as a few words about research design, key sources and methods. During the course, candidates will gain greater insight into what it means to plan and conduct a research study, as well as how to write a master's thesis. The final output from the course is the MA plan. The aim is that the plan lays a good foundation for the study and the writing that will follow, so that the candidate enters the study semester well prepared.

The course will provide a broad overview of what is involved in planning and carrying out a research study, and in thesis writing. This includes:

  • How to make the topic and issue well focused and manageable;
  • How to design a good project;
  • What is actually meant by methodology in a master's thesis , as well as different methodological approaches;
  • How to write good scientific text;
  • How to find, analyse and apply relevant sources, including research literature;
  • The ethical requirements for research;
  • How to overcome potential obstacles, such as writer's block, and challenges with interviews;
  • How to work with the master thesis in study groups;
  • How to get the most out of the guide.

To support the work on the MA plan, and the subsequent implementation of the thesis, students should:

  • Read a curriculum that will provide an overview of research design and master thesis writing;
  • Conduct exercises in research design and academic writing; and
  • Carry out critical reading of completed theses, with consideration of the theoretical, methodological, ethical and technical aspects.

The course has two compulsory exercises :

  • After about four weeks a preliminary draft MA plan will be submitted.
  • After about eight weeks groups will present a critical analysis of two theses. It is required to be present during all presentations.

If the two compulsory exercises are approved, candidates will, after about 12 weeks, submit an MA plan as their examination work.

The MA plan must include:

  • A presentation of the topic and problem to be investigated (what) .
  • Brief description of the background for the study, and its timeliness (why).
  • Brief description of the research design and methods to be used (how) .
  • An overview of any ethical problems one can encounter in the thesis, as well as thoughts on how they should be handled.
  • A preliminary overview of relevant literature. The list will demonstrate the correct use of literature references.
  • A preliminary sketch of the work schedule for the spring semester.
  • Copy of the "Contract between the student(s) and supervisor(s), including project and schedule for degree tasks."
  • Copy of the report form to the Privacy Ombudsman for Research, if it is intended to gather data from identifiable individuals (also indirectly identifiable individuals).
Learning outcome:
Look at the course description
Learning activities:



 Individual study

Teaching support:
Academdic guidance

Two alternatives:

1. "Masteroppgaven i juss - Kort forklart" av Tuseth og Winge.


2. "Masteroppgaven - hvordan begynne og fullføre" av Everett og Furuseth.

Admitted for MA level studies
Recommended prerequisites:
Mandatory activity:

The course has 2 mandatory exercises:

A) After aboutfour weeks, the candidates shouldsubmit a draftto the MAplan.

B) After about 8 weeks the candidates shall hand in groups will present results from their critical reading of 2 master theses. It is requied of group members to be present during all group presentations.


The MA plan will be read and evaluated by the external examiner. Criteria for a pass grade on the MA plan is 

1) that the MA-plan conforms to the requirements outlined in the section on "Content of the course",

2) that the candidate demonstrates knowledge of technical requirements of scientific writing, and 

3) that the responsible teacher and the external examiner believe the plan can lead to a finished MA thesis within the stipulated time frame. 

Nominal workload:
Lectures, group excersies, seminars ca 40h. Individual study (incl. supervision): ca 110 h.
Entrance requirements:
Qualified for MA-level studies
Reduction of credits:
Type of course:
Lectures: ca 16 h, Group presentations: ca 10 h over 2 days, Seminars: ca 6 h
An external examiner will evaluate submitted work.
Examination details: Continuous exam: Bestått / Ikke bestått