Thesis Writing

Guidelines for Writing a Bachelor or Master Thesis under the Supervision of Prof. Bernecker (subject to change)

This overview summarizes some of the key points for writing a thesis under my supervision. Please note that it is your own responsibility to make sure you fulfill all requirements stated in the official regulations for your program of study. To inform about the administrative process, there are info sessions offered every semester by Maike Pauli (for GBE students) and by Mélanie Reinders (for business students). If you have any questions regarding my specific guidelines, please come and see me during my office hours.

A)    Prerequisites

1.    Fulfilling all requirements for starting a thesis stated in the official regulations of your program of
       study (such as having passed all core modules of the first four semesters)
2.    Ideally, having passed an elective course taught by me
3.    Having one or more (unfinished) ideas on what to write your thesis about

B)    Process

1.    Prepare one or more ideas on what to write your thesis about. For every idea formulate (in written
       form, at max. 1 page per idea) your hypotheses on:
       a. What is the question you want to answer in your thesis?
       b. What is some of the key literature on this question that already exists?
       c. Why is it still justified to write yet another text on this question?
       d. What are the sub-questions you will try to answer in your thesis?
       e. Which methods do you want to use (literature, data analysis, …)? How
           do you get the sources? How do you analyze them?
2.    Send your idea(s) to me via e-mail. If convincing, I will get in touch with you to schedule an office hours
      slot to discuss your ideas in person.
3.    If we agree on the question you intend to answer in your thesis, you are in the next step asked to
       a. a project plan (in written form, 1 page) showing when you plan to do what. Note: The bachelor
          project proposal has a time span of 11 weeks, a bachelor thesis 6 to 9 weeks, a
          master project proposal 4 weeks, and a master thesis 14 to 16 weeks.
       b. a first draft for the table of contents (in written form, 1 page) of your thesis
4.    Send your table of contents draft and project plan to me via e-mail. I will get in touch with you to
       schedule an office hours slot to discuss both in person.
5.    If we agree on the plan forward, you register your thesis with the administration
       (start at SAM). You will need my signature for this.
       Astrid Wolf in the examination office can answer all your questions regarding the administrative
6.    I suggest whom to pick as a second examiner for your thesis.
7.    Your time to work on the thesis starts when the examination board has officially informed you.
8.    Approach me to schedule a time for your Colloquium. During the 30min Colloquium you will have to
      defend your thesis and to answer questions by the second examiner and myself.     
9.    Work on your thesis. Make sure to follow all official regulations such as the
      “Guidelines for Writing Scientific Papers” of the department.
       The maximum length for a bachelor thesis written under my supervision is 50 pages,
       and 100 pages for a master thesis.
10.   If necessary during your work on the thesis, schedule additional office hours with me and/or consult
        me via e-mail. Note that one of the goals of the thesis is for you to show that you can work on a
        scientific endeavor independently. Thus, excessively relying on my advice may be taken into account
       when grading your thesis.
11.   Make sure you submit your thesis within the official deadline to both the administration (following the
        official rules regarding hardcopies etc.) and to me (to me, submit both a word and a pdf version of your
        thesis and also original data if you used any).
12.   The Colloquium typically takes place 2 to 4 weeks after the submission of your thesis.

C)    Evaluation Criteria

1.    Structure

  • Problem/main question is relevant and well defined
  • Problem/main question is structured into helpful sub topics/questions

2.    Content

  • Key Questions are adequately and completely answered
  • Answers rely on relevant literature, economic reasoning/modeling, data, examples

3.    Form

  • All formal rules such as the ones stated in the “Guidelines for Writing Scientific Papers” are followed (such as regarding formal structure, citation, bibliography, …)
  • Thesis is no longer than necessary given the content width and depth and is easy to read