Assessment Criteria for Master's Theses

The assessment of Master’s theses pays attention to general assessment principles on the one hand, and on the special features of different types of research on the other. The general assessment criteria cover the following issues:

  • theoretical background of the research and familiarization with literature
  • research problem and its justification
  • selection and use of research methods
  • data collection and analysis
  • presentation and interpretation of the results
  • evaluation of the validity of the research
  • conclusions
  • discussion and evaluation of research ethics
  • linguistic form and use of sources

A Master’s thesis that has been given a pass is assessed on a scale from 1 to 5:

1=sufficient (approbatur, lubenter approbatur)

The theoretical background is quite narrow, one-sided and unstructured. There is a lot to remark on the thesis on all levels, with deficiencies and obvious errors. The presentation of the research results is superficial, summarizing and enumerative. The discussion does not reach the level of independent interpretation. The whole is rather weak and unfinished.

2=satisfactory (non sine laude approbatur)

The theoretical background is loosely connected with the research problems, and the use of empiry is mechanical and deficient. There is a lot of good in the thesis, but also major shortcomings. The use of research methods is formalistic and unstructured. There are errors in the analysis, and the language and form of the thesis also have major flaws. Although discussion as a whole is quite scanty, it does include pointers to possible applications.

3=good (cum laude approbatur)

The student has familiarized her/himself in depth with the theoretical background. The data has been processed well and almost faultlessly. There can be some uncertainty in some central part of the thesis. The results are clearly consistent with the goals set for the study. The language and form of the thesis is good and consistent.

4=excellent (magna cum laude approbatur)

The student has familiarized her/himself well with the theoretical background, and her/his use of literature is diversified and critical. S/he has used methods in an expert way. The results have been interpreted consistently and at a high quality. The student is in control of scientific publication practices, appearance and language of the thesis and ethical discussion. Her/his discussion is independent, analytical and creative.

5=excellent (eximia cum laude approbatur, laudatur)

The thesis is very clear in structure and shows a highly advanced knowledge of the discipline of science. The theoretical background is meritorious and diversified and has a high quality. The connection between theory and empiry is very strong. The methodological analyses have a high quality, they are independent and well justified. The use of sources is selective, plentiful and critical. The concepts have been defined well, and they have been used correctly and clearly. The research data matches the study purposes. The data has been well classified and analyzed, creatively and without any faults. The main results have been gathered exceptionally well, and they have been assessed critically. The thesis shows an independent grasp and it follows good scientific practices. The thesis includes lots of new observations. As a whole, the thesis is stylistically excellent and consistent.    

Last updated: 29.5.2012