FAQs Master's Thesis

FAQs about the Master's Thesis

The following overview is designed to help in the planning of your Thesis (Master's Thesis). Background of the questions and information are repeated requests to the academic advisor (currently Dr. Elke Hochmuth, a member of both audit committees).

Information given is based on:

The FAQ are divided into the following topics:

1. Basic information on the Master's Thesis
2. Selection of the Topic (before the official registration)
3. Registration of Thesis
4. Processing of the Master's Thesis (after registration)
5. Delivery of Thesis
6. Grading of the Master Thesis


All enrolled students from our Study Programmes study according to the new valid examination regulations (regardless of the start of their studies).

Since the winter semester 2018/19 there are new examination regulations. Major changes: The programme “Sustainable Urban Technologies” has been renamed in “Sustainable Urban Development”. Students of this programme who started their studies before the winter semester 2018/19 and still wish to have the title "Sustainable Urban Technologies" on their certificates must submit an application when registering their Master's thesis (cf. 34 (2)). Please ask Ms. Heckmann at the Examination Office.

In addition, changes have been made for both degree programmes: The overall grade of the certificate is calculated from all grades of all modules (cf. §27). This applies to all students who started their studies in winter semester 18/19 or later.

FAQ - Basic information on the Master's Thesis

Q1: How long is the processing time for the Master's Thesis?
6 months (26 weeks) after registration (written application) (see PO §20 (5)).

Q2: What text volume must have the Thesis?
The text volume of the Master's Thesis must have at least 28,000 words (excluding bibliography and annex) (PO §20 (9)).

Q3: In what language I have to write the Master's Thesis?
Students from "SUD" have to write their Thesis in English. Exceptions must be regulated by the Audit Committee. Students of UCSS can write the Thesis in English or in German (PO §20 (8)).

2) FAQ - Selection of the Topic (before the official registration)

Q4: How can I find a topic for my Master’s Thesis?
Certainly during your studies or during your internship you come across some topics, which are more interesting for you than others. You want to have in one of these areas deeper knowledge? So perhaps that might be a topic for your Thesis. If you have found such topic, please discuss it with a potential supervisor and clarify with him/her, whether it is a practicable for a Master’s Thesis. Afterwards please define it exactly under the supervision of your supervisor. Important is also, to have one central research question. Aterwards please register your Thesis at the examination office.

Q5: Can I from a / m lecturers / in a Master’s thesis topic get?
Yes of course. Please ask a lecturer of your choice, whether he/she has an idea for a topic for you. However he /she must be a lecturer of our Master’s Programmes (PO §20 (4) and (12)).

Q6: Who can supervise may Thesis ?
All lecturers from the Master's Programmes SUD and UCCS can supervise your Master's Thesis. The lecturer you have chosen should be informed and should agree with your chosen topic. Please discuss the topics with him/her and please consider the hints.

Usually, the first supervisor should be from the University of Duisburg-Essen and the second supervisor can be from outside (from another University or from a non-university institution (PO §20 (4) and (12)).

Q7: Can also external persons (i.e. non university members) supervise the Master's Thesis?
Yes, but external persons must have at least a university Degree (at least Diploma or Master’s Degree). However, they must be ordered from the respective audit committees. For this purpose, please contact the academic advisor.

Q8: Can I write my Master’s Thesis in another country?
You can write your Thesis abroad, but it needs to be registered at the University of Duisburg-Essen and supervised by a professor of the University of Duisburg-Essen. The other supervisor can be a foreigner, who has sufficient English Language skills and have an academic background (academic Degree necessary) (see Q7 and 8).

3) FAQ - Registration of Thesis

Q9: When can I register my Thesis?
The Master's Thesis can only be registered if you have acquired 75 credits in your Master's Programme (§20 (2)).

Q10: Where and how can I register for the Master's Thesis?
In the examination office; currently the contact person is Ms Heckmann (nicole.heckmann@uni-due.de). You will receive an application template from her in which you fill the topic and the name of both supervisors. (both supervisors need to be informed by you and have agreed to the topic). After filling you can hand in the template at the examination office. Then you will receive the deadline for submission. After handing in, you are registered for your Master's Thesis.

Please note that the topic on the template is completely identical to the topic of your finished Thesis ($ 20 (3)).

Please make sure that both supervisors were informed about the topic and they have already agreed to support that topic. Otherwise there could be problems after registration.

Q11: Is there a deadline for registration of the Master’s Thesis?

4) FAQ - Processing of the Master's Thesis (after registration)

Q12: Is there a possibility of extension of the processing time?
Yes, in justified cases, the processing time can be extended up to 6 weeks. An extension must be requested by writing and the student has to hand in the request to the examination office. The examination office must receive the request two weeks before the given deadline of the Thesis (latest) (§20 (5)).

Q13: What can I do if I get sick during the processing time of my Master's Thesis?
The processing time of the Master Thesis will be usually extended for the days of illness. The student has to verify the illness by a medical certificate and has to hand in it as soon as possible to the examination office, especially if the disease is directly related to the deadline of the Master’s Thesis. The Examination Office will calculate from the time of interruption and informs the students about the new deadline. The medical certificate must include a description of the health impairment (about the reference to specific pain). The exact name of the disease is advisable, but not mandatory (Section 20 (5)).

Q14: Can I change the topic of my Master’s Thesis?
The topic can only be returned/changed within the first four weeks after registration of the Thesis. The reasoned restitution must be requested and approved through the audit committee. After acceptance you can choose a new topic (§20 (6)).

Q15: Are there any guidelines on the format of the master's thesis?
The Master's Thesis must have at least 28,000 words (excluding bibliography and annex) (PO §20 (9)). In addition, please hand it in in a DIN A4 printed and bound (glue binding and no spiral binding) form as well as in suitable electronic form (§20 (8)).

Please select a common and well readable format such as (this is only a suggestion, please feel free to contact your first supervisor for clarifying the format and the preferred citation):

Left Margin: 3 cm;
Right margin: 3 to 5 cm;
Margin Top: 2.5 cm;
Border bottom: 2cm;
Footnotes: same page, numbered consecutively;
Line spacing (text): 1.5 spacing;
Line spacing (footnotes): one line;
Font Size (text): 12 point Times New Roman or Arial 11 points; Justified, hyphenation;
Font size (footnotes): 10 point Times New Roman or Arial.

5) FAQ - Delivery of Thesis

Q16: Where do I have to submit the Thesis?
In the examination office, currently to Ms Heckmann (examination office).

Q17: What exactly, I have to hand in to the examination office on the given deadline?
You have to hand in during the processing time three print versions of your Master's Thesis. The print versions must be in a format of DIN-A4 and the prints must be casebound (glue binding and no spiral binding). And please hand in additionally an electronic version from your Master’s Thesis (§20 (8)).

Q18: What should I consider when making?
You must hand in your Thesis latest at the given deadline. The Topic of the Thesis must be absolutely identical with the Topic of your application for registration. The Thesis must include a written declaration that you have written the Thesis independently and with no other than the specified sources and aids. And of course all citations have been marked (§ 20 (10)).

6) FAQ - Grading of the Master’s Thesis

Q19: When will I receive usually the grade for my Master's Thesis?
According to the examination regulations, the supervisors have to proof the Thesis within six weeks. The process of evaluation, however, can take longer due to the workload of the supervisors (§20 (14)).

Q20: Is there an oral exam for Master's Thesis?
The audit committees of SUD and UCSS have determined that students have to absolve only an oral examination, if the marks of the two supervisor of the Master's Thesis differs considerably (a whole or more than a whole grade).

Q21: It is possible to repeat a Master’s Thesis, when I have failed my first Thesis (grading of 5.0)?
Yes, once (§21).

Q22: Is my study finished with a successfully passed Master's Thesis (grading at least 4.0)?
Your studies will only be completed when you have received a total of 120 credits (incl. 30 credits for the Master's Thesis). So you have to absolve all examinations from all nine Modules.