Information for master’s students
This site contains practical information about the master’s degree programme.
Any master’s students at the Faculty of Humanities may apply for a study carrel by filling in an electronic application form. The application deadline is 25 August if you need a study carrel in the autumn semester and 25 January if you need one in the spring semester. The application is valid for one semester only, which means you should apply every semester.
How do you get a supervisor?
You will be assigned a supervisor, and this is organized in different ways depending on which study programme you are enrolled in. Contact the student adviser responsible for your study programme.
How many supervision sessions are you entitled to?
As an master’s student actively working on your thesis you are entitled to 60 hours supervision for a thesis equalling 60 or 52,5 credits, and a total of 40 hours for a thesis equalling 30 or 45 credits. These sessions comprise all reading and response work that the supervisor does. This type of work equals 3 working hours per 1 hour contact time.
Contact time is the time the supervisor spends in direct contact with the master’s student, either by means of meetings/conversation or email correspondence. This means that if you plan to write a 60 credit thesis, you are entitled to approximately 20 hours direct supervision (meetings and email correspondence). If you plan to write a 30 credit thesis, you are entitled to approximately 14 hours contact time. If the nominal length of study has been exceeded and an application for leave or part time studies has not been approved, you are no longer entitled to supervision.
It is important to use the contact time with the supervisor wisely
It is essential that you have thought thoroughly about what you wish to discuss with your supervisor, particularly in the case of email correspondence. Remember that in most cases answering an email takes a lot longer than writing it and that even a short question may cause the supervisor to spend a lot of time finding the requested information as well as structuring this information and replying to the email. Moreover, students usually demand more supervision time towards the final phase of the project when the text is ready for editing prior to submission.
The supervisor’s primary task is to respond to your text, which means you cannot expect that your supervisor will spend time replying to emails or answering a large amount of detailed questions. Neither can the supervisor be expected to always be available at a short notice or respond quickly. In order to benefit from the supervision, it is important to regard the master’s project as a research project where you are the driving force. (Thus, you are expected to show a much higher degree of autonomy in writing your master’s thesis as opposed to the assignments written earlier). It is your responsibility to spend available supervision hours in the best possible way - right up to the date of submission.
As soon as you have chosen a topic for your master’s thesis and fixed the limits of the topic in cooperation with your supervisor or another suitable academic, you are expected to submit a project description. The project description forms the basis for the master’s thesis.
The description typically consists of a short text which outlines the topic of the thesis, the problems you plan to look into and an outline of the scientific theories and methods you plan to use in order to address the enquiries and problems at hand. Also, you should outline which investigations will be carried out and/or a preliminary outline of relevant literature. Other guidelines may apply depending on which study programme you are enrolled in. In order to be able to continue working on your thesis, you must submit an approved project description within a fixed date.
Project description English
As a master’s student of English you are expected to write the project description during the semester prior to starting work on your thesis. Normally, this means you are asked to write the project description towards the end of the semester in which you are assigned a supervisor (the second semester of a two-year master’s degree and the eighth semester of the education as a secondary education teacher with a master’s degree). The deadline for submitting the project description in the spring semester is 15 June and for the autumn semester you are asked to submit within 15 December.
A project description for a master’s thesis in English should contain the following:
- A working title
- A short description of the chosen topic and the material and method you will be using to carry out your project
- A preliminary overview of relevant reading material
- Name of supervisor
The project description should be 4 - 6 pages in length.
The project description must be submitted to your supervisor for approval before it is submitted electronically to the student adviser at the department. Use the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Master’s Thesis
Front page and template
The required format is B5. This brochure provides information about printing and layout of the master’s thesis. The NTNU cover template for master’s theses must be used and you should ensure that your name, title of the thesis and course code is printed on the front page. Make sure your supervisor’s name is not printed on the front page. The department pays for 4 paper copies, but you may order and pay for as many copies you wish.
The Master’s Agreement
As a master’s student you are required to sign a master’s agreement before 15 September (spring semester) or 15 February (autumn semester), depending on which semester you are admitted. The agreement is a contract between you as a student and the department, which draws up your rights as well as your duties as a master’s student.
You are required to write a short summary of your thesis, in which you outline the essence of your work. The text should not exceed one page.
Relevance text for students who want to train as secondary education teachers with a master’s degree (applies only to this student group)
If you are training to be a secondary education teacher with a master’s degree, you are asked to include an apppendix at the back of your thesis in which you explain the relevance of your master’s project to the secondary education teacher profession. This text must not exceed one page. Use a heading like e.g. «The Master’s Project’s Relevance for Work as a Secondary Teacher With a Master’s Degree».
Submission of your master’s thesis
The date of submission of the master’s thesis is 15 November if you plan to submit in the autumn semester and 15 May if you are submitting in the spring semester.
The thesis must be submitted both digitally and on paper. NTNU is obliged to file submitted theses as digital documents. Whether they should be accessible to the public is up to the you as the author to decide.
Postponed submission of master’s thesis
You may apply for one semester’s postponement of submission of your master’s thesis. You must give grounds for your application. The deadline for applying for a postponement in the autumn semester is 1 November and 15 April in the spring semester.
What to do if you fail your master’s thesis defense
If you fail your master’s thesis defense, you may apply for one resubmisson. To qualify for a resubmission, you must submit a completely new master’s thesis or a thesis that is rewritten in such a manner that is may be considered new. In the application to the department you must clarify which alterations you are planning to make to the thesis. In order for the thesis to be considered new, you are required to bring up new problems for discussion and answer new problems, and/or
- Introduce new empirical material (sources/data) and/or
- present a radically altered analysis and interpretation of your original empirical data
You are also required to sit the exams which normally follow the submission of the thesis.
Once your thesis is approved, you may not resubmit in order to improve your grade.
Master’s graduation celebration
At the end of every semester, the department organizes a master’s graduation celebration to which staff and graduates are invited. The department posts information about this event in the course of the semester, and all candidates submitting their theses are invited to the event. Time and place changes from one semester to the next.
Oral exam and trial lecture
All candidates submitting their master’s theses in English (ENG3900, ENG3901 and ENG3920) are required to give an oral defense after submission. The oral exam is carried out with an internal and an external examiner present. The external examiner may participate via Skype or videolink.
You are asked to bring one copy of your master’s thesis (free of personal notes ) to the exam. You are not allowed to use Powerpoint or any other aid. The exam is held in English and the duration is 15 - 25 minutes depending on the length of the thesis. The examiners decide on a preliminary grade prior to the oral defense, and this grade may be altered after the oral exam. The final grade is normally given immediately after the oral exam is over, and will be conveyed to you in person.
The date for the oral exam is set after you submit your thesis, and you will be notified about the time and place for the defense via email. Usually, the oral defense is carried out within 3 – 4 weeks subsequent to submission. Normally, you will be notified 1 week ahead, although in some instances even closer to the exam date.