SCI Master's Thesis
Welcome to the School of Science Master's Thesis workspace!
All School of Science students are required to complete a master's thesis, which is a research assignment with a workload corresponding to 30 credits.
This workspace contains all relevant information you need to know about the thesis process. The main section, "SCI Master's Thesis", consists of pages that explain how the Master's thesis is completed in the School of Science from finding the topic to submitting the thesis for evaluation. Scroll down to read the pages either on this page or open them to separate tabs.
On the left-hand navigation you can find specific information for your programme. Please read it as well.
The workspace is updated by the School of Science Learning Services, firstname.lastname@example.org. We are happy to receive feedback of how we can improve this workspace to meet your needs.
Table of contents
- Finding a thesis topic, supervisor and advisor
- Applying for thesis topic approval
- Research ethics and integrity
- Evaluation guidelines
- Publicity of a master's thesis
- Languages of the degree and the abstracts
- Thesis presentation
- Maturity essay
- The thesis is ready! Submitting the thesis
- Forms and a checklist
- Other regulations and instructions
Master's thesis is written on a topic usually related to the student's major and agreed upon between the student and a professor/university lecturer who specializes in the topic. On reasonable grounds, the school may also grant permission for the thesis to be written on a topic related to the minor.
It is student's responsibility to find a master's thesis position and topic. This may take time, and therefore it is highly recommended to start searching for the master's thesis position at the beginning of the second autumn at the latest.
Where to find a thesis topic
The thesis topics vary and they can originate either from the needs of businesses and industries or from the needs of the academic community. Master’s thesis positions and topics are available for example in Aalto JobTeaser and the webpages of the departments but students can find the topic elsewhere as well. No matter where the topic is discovered, the student must agree on starting the thesis with the faculty member in charge of the major or whose field of research best matches with the topic.
It is also possible to write the thesis on your own topic without funding, i.e. your thesis is not done in a company or university research group. However, you must still find a supervisor and an advisor for your thesis.
Note that according to Finnish legislation, a master's thesis is a public document and its contents cannot be confidential. Therefore, the material of the thesis must be chosen so that it does not include any information that could be classified as a business secret.
Thesis supervisor and advisor
The master’s thesis must have a supervisor and it may have one or two advisors. The supervisor can also act as an advisor. The supervisor is usually one of the professors of the School of Science. The thesis supervisor may also be another professor, university lecturer, or senior university lecturer of the school.
When a student finds a topic that interests them, the appropriate supervisor for that field of study can be found from the list of faculty members and their research areas on the department’s webpage. Often supervisor is one of the responsible persons of the student's major. Responsible persons for the majors are listed in the curricula at aalto.fi
Please contact the responsible teacher of your major if you want to do the thesis for your minor or you find a supervisor from another school. Remember to inform your programme's study secretary about the approval as well.
While the supervisor and the advisor(s) offer support, the thesis is written independently and the student is responsible for the successful completion of the master’s thesis.
The supervisor ensures that the thesis meets all aims and requirements set by the School of Science. After the student has returned their thesis for approval, their supervisor evaluates the thesis, writes an official statement and suggests a grade for the Degree Programme Committee.
The advisor is usually from an organization for which the thesis is written and holds at least a master’s degree. The advisor is an expert in the field of the thesis, and they can give advice on the content and writing of a thesis. The duties of the advisor are agreed on by the student, supervisor and advisor.
Neither the supervisor nor the advisor may be a relative of the student or biased in any other way.
Once you have agreed on the topic with the supervisor, you must apply for topic approval from the Degree Programme Committee. The Degree Programme Committee approves the topic, language, supervisor and advisor(s) for your thesis.
It is advisable to keep the topic compact and informative. The final title of the thesis can be changed later without a new approval as long as the topic remains the same.
Requirements for topic approval
You can apply for thesis topic approval if:
- you are enrolled as an attending student
- your B.Sc. degree has been registered
- your personal study plan (HOPS) is completed / approved in Sisu.
You should have a study plan (HOPS) for the total scope of your degree (120 credits) when applying for topic approval. The Learning Services will check your HOPS when handling your application.
Applying for topic approval
To apply for topic approval, submit the form "Approval of the master's thesis topic, supervisor, advisor and language" in eAge.
You must include a written agreement from your supervisor to the application form. Examples of a written agreement include a form linked below, an email conversation, signed memo from the thesis meeting or other written agreement.
It is recommended to use the form 206 Request for approval of topic of master’s thesis (pdf) as the supervisor's agreement.
Topic is approved at the Degree Programme Committee meeting
After the deadline is met, your application is handled by the Learning Services. We check your application and present it to be approved for your programme's Degree Programme Committee (DPC). When the DPC has officially approved your topic, we will send you an email confirmation.
The deadlines for sending the topic approval form in 2023 are listed on the Deadlines page.
Topic is valid for one year after approval
Your thesis topic is valid for one year from the date of approval. If the thesis is not submitted for evaluation during that period, the topic expires and must be applied for again.
Even though the topic is valid for one year, note that the target time for completing the thesis is six months. Time used for completing the thesis affects the thesis evaluation. This time period is not calculated from the approval date of the topic but from the actual start date of the thesis as agreed and judged by the supervisor.
If you have problems completing your thesis within the target time, please contact your supervisor as soon as possible. The thesis supervisor can extend the target time if there is a good reason for it.NB! The thesis topic and the completed thesis cannot be approved in the same Degree Programme Committee meeting. This is especially important to know if you are submitting your thesis for the last DPC meeting of the academic year and your study right is ending.
Thesis topic renewal
If your thesis topic is expired, you have to apply for topic renewal. This is done exactly the same way than your original thesis topic approval. Use the same form on eAge and attach an updated written agreement from your supervisor to the form.
- you are enrolled as an attending student
Master’s theses are research publications. Thus, both the research process and the published thesis must follow guidelines for responsible conduct of research. For a concise summary, see the guidelines of the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity (in English, pages 30-33). Mainly, it important to be honest about the methods, data and results, and about how much is your own work. There are specific requirements for experiments on human subjects and for handling personal data. When you have questions, talk with your supervisor and advisor.Turnitin
Turnitin is a tool for practising scientific writing. It is a submission box where an originality report is generated of the submitted texts. It is especially used to check scientific texts in terms of unacknowledged borrowing without citation.
Using Turnitin is not required when submissing Master's thesis. Discuss also with your supervisor how they view it as a tool in your thesis process.
All students can enrol in MyCourses to Independent Turnitin Originality Check for Academic Year 2021-2022.
When starting the thesis work, it is recommended that the student reads:
- Guidelines for master’s thesis evaluation (pdf) / Diplomityön arviointiohje (pdf)
- Typical characterization of theses grades (pdf) / Diplomityön arvosanojen kuvaukset (pdf)
These documents describe the evaluation of the thesis extensively. They help the student to write a good or even an excellent thesis.
According to Finnish legislation, a master's thesis is a public document and its contents cannot be confidential.
Students who are preparing their theses should keep in mind that the thesis is a public document. The thesis submitted for evaluation may not contain any secret information, as information about the thesis can be retrieved from the Aaltodoc portal. Archived copies of the theses itself may be viewed at the Learning Centre in either electronic or printed form. In addition, theses produced in a digital format will be electronically sent by the Learning Centre to anyone requesting a copy.
If a thesis is produced on commission for a business, any parts of the thesis containing commercial secrets must be left as part of the background material, and not be included in the actual thesis for evaluation.
Metadata and abstract
The so-called metadata (i.e. name of author, title of thesis, name of thesis supervisor and advisor, keywords) of each thesis is published in the Aaltodoc database. In addition, all approved theses are archived in the Aaltodoc publication archives.
With the student's permission, the thesis abstract and/or full text are published on the internet. Possible permission for electronic publishing is given on the same for the student applies for thesis approval.
It is possible to postpone the date of online publishing by a maximum of one year from the date of thesis approval, i.e. the date of the Degree Programme Committee meeting, due to reasons related to other publications, for example. However, the student should keep in mind that the thesis is always a public document from the date of the Degree Programme Committee meeting where it has been approved, and accessible soon after approval in the Learning Centre as mentioned above. Notably, a patent application claiming priority to any results reported in the thesis must be filed before the date of that Degree Programme Committee meeting.
Making changes to approved thesis and metadata
The PDF/A file of the thesis cannot be corrected or changed after the approved thesis has arrived in Aaltodoc.Consultation with the legal counsel of the Aalto University has contributed to this practice. However, the metadata of the thesis will be corrected according to the author’s wishes also after it has arrived in Aaltodoc.
The School of Science does not require using a certain template for the thesis. However, there are several available that you can use. See the links below for Aalto Word and LaTeX templates.
There are no strict rules for marginals, spacings or other document elements. Check approved master’s theses on Aaltodoc and in the library to guide your work.
Aalto thesis templates
Below are some older models and templates that show what information should be in the abstract page:
- Model of the title page: English, Finnish, Swedish (Word)
- Model of the abstract page: English, Finnish, Swedish (Word)
- LaTeX template (the result with hints as pdf, the template as zip)
The language in which the student writes their master’s thesis determines also the language of the degree. If the master’s thesis is written in Finnish or Swedish, the language of the degree will be Finnish or Swedish accordingly, and the student receives the degree certificate in either Finnish or Swedish and an English translation of the certificate. If the master’s thesis is written in English, the student receives two original degree certificates: one in English, and one in either Finnish or Swedish.
The language of student’s school education determines the required abstracts: if the student's language of school education is Finnish, the thesis has abstracts both in English and in Finnish. Similarly, if the language of school education is Swedish, the abstracts are both in English and in Swedish.
If the language of student's school education is other than Finnish or Swedish, the abstract is written in English only.
The master's thesis includes a seminar presentation or an equivalent presentation. The student should arrange the time and place for the presentation with the supervisor. The last possible date to give the thesis presentation is the deadline for submitting theses and applications for evaluation.
After the presentation, the student submits the thesis presentation form to the student services of the programme.
Thesis presentation form (pdf)
During the remote teaching: please agree the date, time and method for the online presentation with your supervisor. After the presentation, please ask your supervisor to send their approval for the presentation to course-sci(at)aalto.fi.
According to the Universities Act 794/2004, students are required to complete a maturity essay as a part of the thesis. The maturity essay demonstrates a student's language skills and competence in the study field of their thesis.
The abstract of your master’s thesis will serve as the maturity essay (except for Industrial Engineering and Management students, please see instructions below). When you submit your thesis with the abstract(s) in the required languages, the maturity essay is considered done. When your supervisor submits a statement approving the thesis, also the maturity essay is considered approved.
Languages for the abstract
Write the abstract in English and either in Finnish or in Swedish, depending on the language of your basic education (koulusivistyskieli). Students educated in languages other than Finnish or Swedish need to write the abstract only in English.
Students who received their general or upper secondary education in Finland but completed their bachelor’s degree abroad
Students who have not demonstrated their language proficiency in national languages during their bachelor’s degree must do so when submitting their master’s thesis. In practice, this means that Student Services will send the abstract of the master’s thesis in Finnish or Swedish (koulusivistyskieli) to language evaluation by the Language Center.
To avoid delay in the graduation process and to get feedback from the Language Center before submitting the thesis, students belonging to this small group should contact Student Services (email@example.com) early in the master’s thesis process.
Students in the Master's Programme in Industrial Engineering and Management
Please see section Industrial Engineering and Management for the maturity essay instructions.
When your thesis is ready, arrange a schedule with the supervisor for the evaluation and approval of the thesis. The supervisor needs about a month to read the finished thesis and write a statement. The Degree Programme Committee approves and grades the thesis based on the statement(s) given by the supervisor and the advisor. The supervisor and advisor may write either a joint statement or separate statements. When submitting the thesis, you should take into consideration the Degree Programme Committee deadlines and possible graduation deadlines.
The thesis can be approved when:
- The student is enrolled as attending.
- The topic of the master’s thesis is approved and valid.
- The thesis supervisor approves the thesis to be submitted.
- The student has given a seminar presentation and completed the maturity essay.
The last possible date to complete the thesis presentation and maturity essay is the deadline for submitting theses for evaluation.
The date of approval of the thesis will be the deadline for submitting the applications, although the approval of the thesis will not be processed by the Degree Programme Committee until after the deadline for submitting theses and applications for evaluation.
Even though the theses are submitted for approval only in electronic format, the supervisor might still require theses bound in black covers (binding model pdf). The student must agree upon this with the supervisor.
Submitting the thesis and applying for its approval
Submitting the thesis and applying for its approval is done on eAge:
- Fill the form 207 Approval and grading of the thesis according to the instructions in eAge
- Upload the final version of your thesis to the eAge form. The file must be saved in PDF/A format.
- The file name should not have any Scandinavian letters (e.g. ä and ö) or special characters. The name should be in the following format: school's abbreviation_publishingyear_lastname_firstname.pdf (for example student Jan Järvinen would name the file as sci_2022_jarvinen_jan.pdf)
The only valid and acceptable versions are PDF/A-1a, -1b, -2a and -2b. Instructions (PDF/A-format).
This table shows the important dates for thesis approval process. The deadline for submitting documents for the Degree Programme Committee is approximately 3 weeks before the meeting.
When you are planning for submitting your thesis for evaluation, consider these dates according to your graduation and study right. You need to be present as a student when applying for thesis evaluation. This is critical especially at the end of semesters in July and December.Submit your documents on the deadline date by 23:59 at the latest.
Deadlines for submitting applications 2023
Degree Programme Committee meetings 2023
Fri 30.12.2022 week 4 (23.-26.1.2023) Mon 27.2.2023 week 12 (20.-23.3.2023) Mon 24.4.2023 week 20 (15.-18.5.2023) Mon 29.5.2023 week 24 (12.-15.6.2023) Mon 31.7.2023 week 34 (21.-24.8.2023) Mon 25.9.2023 week 41 (9.-12.10.2023) Mon 20.11.2023 week 50 (11.-14.12.2023) Fri 29.12.2023 January 2024
Preferably, do not use MacOS Preview application to fill in the form, because it can cause problems with forms. Use Adobe Acrobat Reader DC instead.eAge
- Approval of the Master’s thesis topic, supervisor, advisor and language (CHEM, ELEC, ENG, SCI)
- Applying for master’s thesis approval and electronic archiving
Make sure you send exactly the same version of your thesis also to your supervisor for evaluation when applying for thesis approval!PDF forms
- Request for approval of topic of master’s thesis (pdf). Attach this form to "Supervisor agreement" on the eAge topic approval form.
- Thesis presentation form (pdf)
After you and your supervisor have agreed on the topic of the thesis:
- Document the supervisor's agreement, preferably using the PDF form above
- Submit the thesis topic application form in eAge.
When your thesis is almost ready:
- Check that your thesis topic is valid (it is valid for one year from the date of approval).
- If your topic is not valid, apply for topic approval again on eAge.
- Note that your topic cannot be approved in the same meeting with your thesis being evaluated!
- Present your thesis. The last possible date to complete the thesis presentation is the thesis evaluation application deadline.
- Check the guidelines for writing the abstract.
- Ask your supervisor if they want a bound copy of the thesis.
When your thesis is ready (your supervisor approves the thesis to be submitted):
- Fill the eAge form "Applying for master’s thesis approval and electronic archiving"
- Attach the thesis in PDF/A format in the form. Make sure it is the final version!
- Submit the form.
- Send exactly the same version of your thesis to your supervisor for evaluation.
- Check that your HOPS in Sisu is complete and apply for approval(s) if needed.
More information about graduation is available on the Into page Graduation (the information is common for all SCI master's programmes).
The request for graduation is made on Sisu. The graduation requests are based on students’ personal study plans (HOPS). This means that your degree certificate will include the studies that are on your primary HOPS when you apply for graduation.
Thesis approved after graduation deadline
If you have completed all other required studies for your master’s degree and they are registered in Sisu except the thesis, you can request for graduation and submit your thesis for evaluation at the same time. The thesis and the degree will be registered to the shared deadline date for submitting them, although the thesis evaluation will be processed by the Degree Programme Committee after the deadline for submitting the thesis.
Example: The deadline for both thesis approval and graduation is 31.12.2022. If all your studies except the thesis are registered in Sisu, and you have left your thesis for approval before 31.12.2022, It is possible for you to graduate on 31.12.2022 as the thesis will be registered in Sisu to the completed at the deadline date even though it will be processed by the Degree Programme Committee in January 2023. This makes the thesis the last registered course in your degree. The deadline for submitting the degree certificate request will also be the date of graduation date printed on the degree certificate.
Appealing against a thesis grade
Students dissatisfied with the grade of their thesis or doctoral dissertation may appeal against the decision in writing to the Aalto University Academic Appeals Board within 14 days of receiving notification of the decision. The appeal shall arrive at the university before the closing time of the Registry (at 15.00) on the deadline date. For more detailed instructions, please see Academic appeals (into.aalto.fi)
Errors in approved theses are corrected on an errata page
If the contents of your thesis, such as the text or a table, is found erroneous after the thesis has been approved, the errors can be corrected on a separate errata page (http://tieteentermipankki.fi/wiki/Tekstuaalitieteet:errata). Once your thesis has been approved, it cannot be altered or resubmitted to the eAge system. Instead, any errors found in it are collected on an errata page, which lists the page numbers of the errors and gives a corrected version of the text or item. The errata is attached to the thesis metatext in the Aaltodoc publication archive (aaltodoc.aalto.fi).
Please follow the instructions below.
- Write the errata and save it in PDF/A format (not PDF/A-3).
- You can download a Word-format errata template from Aaltodoc.
- The errata must include the following details: the thesis author and thesis title, page number of the error and a corrected version of the text or item.
- Please send the errata page to your thesis supervisor to obtain their approval for it.
- If you cannot reach your supervisor, send the
errata to the learning services.
- send the supervisor’s approval to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Append your approved errata page to the metadata of your thesis on Aaltodoc in accordance with the instructions given on Aaltodoc.
- If prompted, log into Aaltodoc using your Aalto username and password; you will find the link in the top right corner of the page.
- If you no longer have a valid Aalto username and password, request a one-time login link from email@example.com
- Append the errata page to your thesis in Aaltodoc using the form on Aaltodoc.
- Log out.
- The errata page is now be visible on Aaltodoc together with your thesis.