Course code PAE304

PAE304 Master Thesis Seminar

Norsk emneinformasjon

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Showing course contents for the educational year 2021 - 2022 .

Course responsible: Anna Marie Nicolaysen
Teachers: Geir Hofgaard Lieblein, Tor Arvid Breland
ECTS credits: 5
Faculty: Faculty of Biosciences
Teaching language: EN
(NO=norsk, EN=Engelsk)
Limits of class size:
Teaching exam periods:
Spring parallel and June block.  The lecures will be given in the Spring parallel with submission of thesis prosal in end of May.
Course frequency: Annually
First time: Study year 2017-2018
Last time: 2022V
Preferential right:
M-AE, subsequently M-PV and other if available seats
Course contents:

In this course students will prepare a master’s thesis research proposal. The course focuses on the introduction to a thesis research project, choice of topic, research questions, methods for data collection and annotated bibliography.

Attention is given to:

  • the research process;
  • how to schedule the work, resources;
  • basic understanding of epistemological and methodological issues; 
  • the strengths and weaknesses of different methods for data collection and analysis;
  • challenges of doing research.
Learning outcome:

After completion of this course students are expected to have the following knowledge, skills and general competences:


  • Can design a thesis research proposal using the range of qualitative and quantitative methods and techniques introduced in the course
  • Know how get an overview of an area of research and present relevant literature related to this
  • Can describe the topic of the master’s thesis research within this area
  • Can describe the purpose of the topic and why it is relevant
  • Can develop research questions and argue for this choice of questions


  • Ability to describe the research strategy and methods
  • Ability to define the core terms in the work and explain how they will "measure" them
  • Ability to describe what kind of research this is, what the data sources are, what methods will be used for data collection, and why?
  • Ability to assess the strengths and limitations of a range of qualitative and quantitative research methods and their complementarity in research contexts
  • Ability to assess the use of different research field methods, techniques and procedures of analysis  
  • Ability to discuss the reliability and validity of the investigation and the results

General competences

  • Ability to take the proper steps for handling of personal data in research and data management plans
  • Ability to give your fellow students peer feedback in a positive and constructive way
  • Ability to write a master’s thesis proposal.
Learning activities:
Course contents are conveyed through presentations and workshops combined with individual and group work, with a strong emphasis on discussion and exercises. The exercises are scheduled as part of the preparation of the thesis research proposal, in order to facilitate an active learning process. Students will in this process deal with research design, methods for data collection and literature review. The course ends with a presentation of the thesis research proposal.
Teaching support:

Presentations and workshops, practical exercises and other information will be made available for those attending online from abroad.

During the course students will share and present their work in groups and in plenum and get peer- and teacher feedback.


Lynn P. Nygaard. 2017. Writing Your Master's Thesis. SAGE Publications


Additional course readings will be made available in class.

Bachelor's degree or equivalent
Recommended prerequisites:
Mandatory activity:
Participation in class and group work, assignments, peer review, submission of a master thesis proposal and a final presentation of thesis research project. All activities are compulsory.
Participation in class and group work, presentation and submissions of master’s thesis proposal. The thesis proposal must be approved before a passing grade is given.
Nominal workload:
125 hours
Entrance requirements:
Minimum requirements for entrance to higher education in Norway
Type of course:

Lectures/workshops: 20 hours / 2 hours per week

Practical exercises: 30-40 hours, individually or in groups with other students

Work with master thesis proposal, presentations and self-study: 55-65 hours

An external evaluator will contribute to the appraisal of the master thesis proposal
Examination details: Portfolio assessment: Passed / Not Passed