The overall process, from your (student's) point of view, can be summed up in several steps:
1 - Apply to a master thesis and agree on a topic (we pretty much did it, didn't we?):
The first option, the most common, is that students apply directly to professors, or directly to companies if they want to carry out their master thesis in industry. For a company thesis, students have to find the thesis on their own. For academic thesis, the student is invited to apply directly to a given professor. The students emails the professor so that they can discuss the thesis topic and then meet.
option is that professors can also open officially master thesis positions
through HR (in this case positions are advertised in the Aalto website).
If the master thesis topic is from a company, there is still a supervisor needed from the university side (in this case the student needs to find the closest professor to the student topic) and agree with the professor to supervise the thesis.
2- Organize an initial meeting between the student and the supervising professor
meeting is considered very important! Essentially, it consists of several points to make sure that
everything is clear before the thesis starts (e.g. when meetings happen, how
frequently, what is the exact thesis topic, what is expected in terms of work,
the schedule…). This meeting is also used to evaluate the motivation of the student and
what the student expects from the thesis. This meeting counts as the official
master thesis starting date, and needs to be agreed officially (for instance,
the professor sends an email to the school).If you want to look further at how guidance works in my team, please look at the following page in this section.
Talking about timing, the usual thesis time is normally 6 months, but according to certain circumstances this time can be extended (e.g. lots of parallel courses, health or personal reasons, etc.). Please do not hesitate to ask if you think you would need an extension (and that you have a valid reason for it).
3 – Apply for topic approval
official approval from the professor, the student needs to apply for the topic
approval by the school and the degree committee. Please note that the student needs to apply in time
(i.e. in the beginning of the project). There are now 7 deadlines per year
available at school level.
4 - Work !
Students carry our their thesis work (see the general guidance page for more details on how it works here)
During the thesis process, students can get external support:
- Special course on master thesis
process. where students make a research plan for the
thesis and can receive writing support to produce at least the introduction of
the thesis. This course is now a continuous enrollment course (starts as long
as a given number of people the course starts).
- The writing clinic. If needed, more help is also available from the learning center, in the form of one-to-one sessions with an English teacher for instance. This is called the writing clinic and every student is entitled to have sessions with one of the teachers there. It is strongly recommended to book some!
5 – Ask for thesis approval
In the end of the thesis, the supervising professor gives the green light for the thesis to be produced. Then, the student needs to ask for approval from the program committee (same application deadlines that step 3). At this time, the professor and student agree on the final time of the thesis. In addition, there is a public thesis presentation to be scheduled, where the student presents his/her findings. Here the professor is relatively free to choose how it is scheduled but presentation is a mandatory step in the process. For instance, there are seminar organized regularly, or it can be a standalone invitation.
6 – Submit the thesis and wait for evaluation
After revision with the supervisor, the thesis can be submitted to the school. The supervisor then receives a request from student services to provide an evaluation of the thesis, following school guidelines. Then, the program committee will review this evaluation and attribute the grade. If the student is not satisfied with the grade, he/she can make an appeal to the school and the grade can be reevaluated depending on the request.