M60-ECOL Master's Thesis

Credits (ECTS):60

Course responsible:Richard Bischof

Campus / Online:Taught campus Ås

Teaching language:Norsk, engelsk

Course frequency:Annually

Nominal workload:1500 hours

Teaching and exam period:The master thesis is written during one year. The thesis is delivered according to guidelines in either May or December.

About this course

The master thesis is an independent work written and structured according to academic standards. The student should write a scientific report on a specific ecological subject based on a research question developed together with the supervisor(s). The work includes data processing, statistical analysis and evaluation of the results in light of relevant literature. Data can be collected in the field or at the laboratory. Use of existing dataset is also possible. Suggested subjects of master theses can be found on the faculty website.

Learning outcome


The course provides students with comprehensive knowledge of a specific topic and the various steps in a research process.


The student obtains skills in independent problem solving, gathering and evaluating sources of information, scientific reasoning, statistical analysis as well as critical assessment of their results.

General competence

After completing the course, the student is able to assess the quality of research carried out within their own and neighboring disciplines

  • The student undertakes research which will result in a scientific report (master thesis).
  • Instructions, information on deadlines and links to suggested topics are available at the website of the Faculty «For våre masterstudenter».

    Information about choice of thesis topic, the writing process, deadlines and guidelines are presented for the students during the first year

    Participation in a mandatory method course provides necessary skills for planning and undertake the master thesis (literature search, problem statement, choice of theory and method, data collection, analyses etc.).

    The student is encouraged to benefit from courses and information from the University Library and The Writing Centre at NMBU.

    Each student has the right to 80 hours of supervision from a supervisor with competence in the subject. The supervisor should be available for the student to an extent that provides the appropriate support within given timeframes.

  • Passed a relevant methods course, and solid knowledge within the subject of the thesis.
  • The master thesis is completed with an oral examination which should be undertaken within 6 weeks from delivery of the thesis. At the examination, the student will give a 20 minutes long presentation of the work, followed by questions from the external examiner and supervisor (45-90 minutes). The outcome of the oral examination (presentation/discussion/answers) can impact the final grade of the thesis. The grading follows a national system for studies in mathematics, science and technology.

  • The examination committee comprises an internal and an external examiner. The internal examiner is usually the supervisor.
  • A contract between the student and the supervisor(s), including a time plan, should be delivered to the faculty before the work with the master thesis can start.
  • Supervision is undertaken based on agreements between the student and the supervisor(s).
  • Students enrolled in the Master´s program in Ecology.
  • Students enrolled in the master program in Ecology, and students enrolled in other master programs at NMBU, writing a thesis with thematic focus on ecology and being supervised by a MINA employee.