Guidelines for Master Thesis | University of Tartu
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Contacts of UT units

Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Faculty phone: 
(+372) 737 5341
Faculty address: 
Jakobi 2 - 116-121, 51014, Tartu
  • Dean's Office
    Faculty phone: 
    + 372 737 5341
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, rooms 116 - 121, 51014, Tartu
  • Institute of History and Archaeology
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5651
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, 51003, Tartu
  • Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5221
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, 51014, Tartu
  • Institute of Philosophy and Semiotics
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5314
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, III, rooms 309-352, 51014, Tartu
  • Institute of Cultural Research
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5223
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 16, 51003, Tartu
  • School of Theology and Religious Studies
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5301
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18-310, 50090, Tartu
  • College of Foreign Languages and Cultures
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 3, 51003, Tartu
  • Viljandi Culture Academy
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 435 5232
    Faculty address: 
    Posti 1, 71004, Viljandi
Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty phone: 
(+372) 737 5957
Faculty address: 
Lossi 36, 51003, Tartu
  • Dean's Office
    Faculty phone: 
    + 372 737 5900
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 36, 51003, Tartu
  • Institute of Education
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 6440
    Faculty address: 
    Salme 1a, room 29, 50103, Tartu
  • Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5582
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 36, roomm 301, 51003, Tartu
  • School of Economics and Business Administration
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 6310
    Faculty address: 
    J. Liivi 4, 50409, Tartu
  • Institute of Psychology
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5902
    Faculty address: 
    Näituse 2, 50409, Tartu
  • School of Law
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5390
    Faculty address: 
    Näituse 20, 50409, Tartu
  • Institute of Social Studies
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5188
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 36, 51003, Tartu
  • Narva College
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 740 1900
    Faculty address: 
    Raekoja plats 2, 20307, Narva
  • Pärnu College
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 445 0520
    Faculty address: 
    Ringi 35, 80012, Pärnu
Faculty of Medicine
Faculty phone: 
(+372) 737 5326
Faculty address: 
Ravila 19, 50411, Tartu
  • Dean's Office
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5326
    Faculty address: 
    Ravila 19, 50411, Tartu
  • Institute of Biomedicine and Translational Medicine
    Faculty phone: 
    +(372) 737 4210
    Faculty address: 
    Biomeedikum, Ravila 19, 50411, Tartu
  • Institute of Pharmacy
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5286
    Faculty address: 
    Nooruse 1, 50411, Tartu
  • Institute of Dentistry
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 731 9856
    Faculty address: 
    Raekoja plats 6, 51003, Tartu
  • Institute of Clinical Medicine
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5323
    Faculty address: 
    L. Puusepa 8, 51014, Tartu, Eesti
  • Institute of Family Medicine and Public Health
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 4190
    Faculty address: 
    Ravila 19, 50411 Tartu
  • Institute of Sport Sciences and Physiotherapy
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5360
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 5-205, 51014, Tartu
Faculty of Science and Technology
Faculty phone: 
(+372) 737 5820
Faculty address: 
Vanemuise 46-208, 51014, Tartu
  • Dean's Office
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5820
    Faculty address: 
    Vanemuise 46 - 208, 51014, Tartu
  • Institute of Computer Science
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5445
    Faculty address: 
    J. Liivi 2, 50409, Tartu
  • Estonian Marine Institute
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 671 8902
    Faculty address: 
    Mäealuse 14, 12618, Tallinn
  • Institute of Physics
    Faculty address: 
    W. Ostwaldi Str 1, 50411, Tartu
  • Institute of Chemistry
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5261
    Faculty address: 
    Ravila 14a, 50411, Tartu
  • Institute of Mathematics and Statistics
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5860
    Faculty address: 
    J. Liivi 2, 50409, Tartu
  • Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5011
    Faculty address: 
    Riia 23, 23b-134, 51010, Tartu
  • Institute of Technology
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 4800
    Faculty address: 
    Nooruse 1, 50411, Tartu
  • Institute of Ecology and Earth Sciences
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5835
    Faculty address: 
    Vanemuise 46, 51014, Tartu
Institutions
  • Library
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5702
    Faculty address: 
    W.Struve 1, 50091, Tartu
  • Youth Academy
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5581
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 38, 51003, Tartu
  • Estonian Genome Center
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 4000
    Faculty address: 
    Riia 23b, 51010, Tartu
  • Museum
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5674
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 25, 51014, Tartu
  • University of Tartu Natural History Museum and Botanical Garden
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 6076
    Faculty address: 
    Vanemuise 46, 51014, Tartu
Support Units
  • Administrative Office
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5606
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18a, 51014, Tartu
  • University Office in Tallinn
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 6600
    Faculty address: 
    Teatri väljak 3, 10143 Tallinn
  • Estates Office
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5137
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18a, 51014, Tartu
  • Finance Office
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5125
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 4, 51014, Tartu
  • Information Technology Office
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 6000, arvutiabi: 737 5500
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18a, 51014, Tartu
  • Internal Audit Office
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 17-114, 51014, Tartu
  • Marketing and Communication Office
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5687
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, ruum 210, 50090, Tartu
  • Office of Academic Affairs
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 6215
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, 50090, Tartu
  • Office of Research and Development
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 6192
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 3, III korrus, 51003, Tartu
  • Human Resources Office
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5145
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, rooms 302 and 304, 50090, Tartu
  • Rector's Strategy Office
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5600
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, 51014, Tartu
  • Student Council
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5400
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18b, 51014, Tartu
Other Units
  • University of Tartu Academic Sports Club
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5371
    Faculty address: 
    Ujula 4, 51008 Tartu
  • Tartu Student Village
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 740 9959
    Faculty address: 
    Narva mnt 25, 51013 Tartu
  • Tartu Students’ Club
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 730 2400
    Faculty address: 
    Kalevi 24, 51010 Tartu
  • University of Tartu Press
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5945
    Faculty address: 
    W. Struve 1, 50091 Tartu
  • Tartu University Hospital
    Faculty address: 
    L. Puusepa 1a, 50406 Tartu
  • University of Tartu Foundation
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5852
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, 50090 Tartu
  • View all other units

Contacts of UT units

Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Faculty phone: 
(+372) 737 5341
Faculty address: 
Jakobi 2 - 116-121, 51014, Tartu
  • Dean's Office
    Faculty phone: 
    + 372 737 5341
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, rooms 116 - 121, 51014, Tartu
  • Institute of History and Archaeology
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5651
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, 51003, Tartu
  • Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5221
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, 51014, Tartu
  • Institute of Philosophy and Semiotics
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5314
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, III, rooms 309-352, 51014, Tartu
  • Institute of Cultural Research
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5223
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 16, 51003, Tartu
  • School of Theology and Religious Studies
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5301
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18-310, 50090, Tartu
  • College of Foreign Languages and Cultures
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 3, 51003, Tartu
  • Viljandi Culture Academy
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 435 5232
    Faculty address: 
    Posti 1, 71004, Viljandi
Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty phone: 
(+372) 737 5957
Faculty address: 
Lossi 36, 51003, Tartu
  • Dean's Office
    Faculty phone: 
    + 372 737 5900
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 36, 51003, Tartu
  • Institute of Education
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 6440
    Faculty address: 
    Salme 1a, room 29, 50103, Tartu
  • Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5582
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 36, roomm 301, 51003, Tartu
  • School of Economics and Business Administration
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 6310
    Faculty address: 
    J. Liivi 4, 50409, Tartu
  • Institute of Psychology
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5902
    Faculty address: 
    Näituse 2, 50409, Tartu
  • School of Law
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5390
    Faculty address: 
    Näituse 20, 50409, Tartu
  • Institute of Social Studies
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5188
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 36, 51003, Tartu
  • Narva College
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 740 1900
    Faculty address: 
    Raekoja plats 2, 20307, Narva
  • Pärnu College
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 445 0520
    Faculty address: 
    Ringi 35, 80012, Pärnu
Faculty of Medicine
Faculty phone: 
(+372) 737 5326
Faculty address: 
Ravila 19, 50411, Tartu
  • Dean's Office
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5326
    Faculty address: 
    Ravila 19, 50411, Tartu
  • Institute of Biomedicine and Translational Medicine
    Faculty phone: 
    +(372) 737 4210
    Faculty address: 
    Biomeedikum, Ravila 19, 50411, Tartu
  • Institute of Pharmacy
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5286
    Faculty address: 
    Nooruse 1, 50411, Tartu
  • Institute of Dentistry
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 731 9856
    Faculty address: 
    Raekoja plats 6, 51003, Tartu
  • Institute of Clinical Medicine
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5323
    Faculty address: 
    L. Puusepa 8, 51014, Tartu, Eesti
  • Institute of Family Medicine and Public Health
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 4190
    Faculty address: 
    Ravila 19, 50411 Tartu
  • Institute of Sport Sciences and Physiotherapy
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5360
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 5-205, 51014, Tartu
Faculty of Science and Technology
Faculty phone: 
(+372) 737 5820
Faculty address: 
Vanemuise 46-208, 51014, Tartu
  • Dean's Office
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5820
    Faculty address: 
    Vanemuise 46 - 208, 51014, Tartu
  • Institute of Computer Science
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5445
    Faculty address: 
    J. Liivi 2, 50409, Tartu
  • Estonian Marine Institute
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 671 8902
    Faculty address: 
    Mäealuse 14, 12618, Tallinn
  • Institute of Physics
    Faculty address: 
    W. Ostwaldi Str 1, 50411, Tartu
  • Institute of Chemistry
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5261
    Faculty address: 
    Ravila 14a, 50411, Tartu
  • Institute of Mathematics and Statistics
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5860
    Faculty address: 
    J. Liivi 2, 50409, Tartu
  • Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5011
    Faculty address: 
    Riia 23, 23b-134, 51010, Tartu
  • Institute of Technology
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 4800
    Faculty address: 
    Nooruse 1, 50411, Tartu
  • Institute of Ecology and Earth Sciences
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5835
    Faculty address: 
    Vanemuise 46, 51014, Tartu
Institutions
  • Library
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5702
    Faculty address: 
    W.Struve 1, 50091, Tartu
  • Youth Academy
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5581
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 38, 51003, Tartu
  • Estonian Genome Center
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 4000
    Faculty address: 
    Riia 23b, 51010, Tartu
  • Museum
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5674
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 25, 51014, Tartu
  • University of Tartu Natural History Museum and Botanical Garden
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 6076
    Faculty address: 
    Vanemuise 46, 51014, Tartu
Support Units
  • Administrative Office
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5606
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18a, 51014, Tartu
  • University Office in Tallinn
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 6600
    Faculty address: 
    Teatri väljak 3, 10143 Tallinn
  • Estates Office
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5137
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18a, 51014, Tartu
  • Finance Office
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5125
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 4, 51014, Tartu
  • Information Technology Office
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 6000, arvutiabi: 737 5500
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18a, 51014, Tartu
  • Internal Audit Office
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 17-114, 51014, Tartu
  • Marketing and Communication Office
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5687
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, ruum 210, 50090, Tartu
  • Office of Academic Affairs
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 6215
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, 50090, Tartu
  • Office of Research and Development
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 6192
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 3, III korrus, 51003, Tartu
  • Human Resources Office
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5145
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, rooms 302 and 304, 50090, Tartu
  • Rector's Strategy Office
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5600
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, 51014, Tartu
  • Student Council
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5400
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18b, 51014, Tartu
Other Units
  • University of Tartu Academic Sports Club
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5371
    Faculty address: 
    Ujula 4, 51008 Tartu
  • Tartu Student Village
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 740 9959
    Faculty address: 
    Narva mnt 25, 51013 Tartu
  • Tartu Students’ Club
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 730 2400
    Faculty address: 
    Kalevi 24, 51010 Tartu
  • University of Tartu Press
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5945
    Faculty address: 
    W. Struve 1, 50091 Tartu
  • Tartu University Hospital
    Faculty address: 
    L. Puusepa 1a, 50406 Tartu
  • University of Tartu Foundation
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5852
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, 50090 Tartu
  • View all other units

Guidelines for Master Thesis

A Master’s thesis is a written result of a student’s independent research, wherein the research object under examination is treated and presented in a scientific manner. The latter means that the object of study is treated and presented according to a standard of quality which adheres to that of peer-reviewed academic or scientific publications. This standard includes clear argumentation, systematic thought, the ability to contextualise the problem, and so on. A Master’s thesis may be empirical or theoretical in terms of its type of research. Regardless, the author of the thesis must specify in precisely what way their contribution is original or novel.

The main body of text in a Master’s thesis — from the introduction until the section on references — is approximately 60 (maximum 100) standard pages, a standard page being 1800 characters (with  spaces).

A Master’s thesis is formally presented as either a bound manuscript, or as an article either published or confirmed for publication that is presented in bound form with both an introduction and conclusion added, as well as other complementary materials deemed necessary. The publishers of articles that fulfill the requirements mentioned in the Procedure for awarding doctorates of the University of Tartu (16) are acceptable for the purpose.

A Master’s thesis may be written in the Estonian, Russian, or English languages, or in another language on the basis of an agreement. A Master’s thesis must contain a summary written in a different language; in the case of a thesis not written in Estonian, the summary must be in Estonian. The Master’s thesis is to be written according to the criteria found in the Department of Semiotics’ Guide for formatting written papers.

See the guide for formatting written papers

1. Structure of the Master’s Thesis

1.1.Structure of the Master’s Thesis Draft

By the end of the third semester the written draft version (about 5 pages long) of the Master’s thesis to be defended must include the following components:

  • title of the thesis
  • explanation and delimitation of the research topic
  • research objective, research questions, and expected results
  • materials and methodology
  • introduction to the structure of the thesis as well as explanation of it (choice of chapters or sections, the expected size of the work, etc.)
  • a list of references or works cited

1.2.Structure of the Master’s Thesis

A Master’s thesis consists of an introduction, descriptions of the research object and methodology, analysis, results, a conclusion, a foreign-language summary, and a list of references (works cited). A Master’s thesis presented as part of one or multiple publications should follow this proposed structure to the extent possible.

The introduction clarifies the choice of research object, delimits it, gives an overview of the research done on it so far, opens up the thesis’s theoretical and methodological starting points, states the research objective, research questions and hypotheses of the thesis, and introduces and justifies the structure of the thesis. The introduction contains historiography, or references to most of the important and relevant research done on the specific object of study, including in recent years and in both Estonia and elsewhere.

The section on research object and methodology describes the methodology of the thesis, wherein the chosen research methods are explained and their purposes made clear. The object to be researched is described, as is the choice of materials, the data collected, and the methods of their subsequent treatment.

The section on analysis and results presents analysis of the material, as well as its interpretation (the way the analysis is understood by the author). It also presents the results and solutions arrived at in the thesis. The results of the analysis are to be connected to the proposed theoretical model and the proposed research questions of the thesis, and are to be debated in relation to the research objectives or hypotheses proposed at the beginning of the thesis. Also to be discussed is what these results may offer in terms of future ideas possible to formulate on their basis, possibilities for future research, and the place of these results in a wider context.

Depending on the type of thesis separate sections for materials and methodology may not be present, in which case the corresponding information must be clearly formulated in the introduction. Also, aspects of analysis and/or research may be presented in separate chapters. If a section explicitly devoted to results is lacking, the corresponding information must be clearly formulated in either the section(s) relating to analysis, or in the conclusion.

The conclusion gives a compact overview of the Master’s thesis as a whole, mainly concentrating on its central or primary results. The relation between the results and the objectives/hypotheses posed at the beginning of research are to be discussed, as well as what new perspectives these results allow for. The conclusion is meant to point out the new knowledge gained form the research.

References or works cited is a list of bibliographic date of all of the sources used in the Master’s thesis. A coherent formatting must be used for this list (see the guide for formatting written papers).

The summary is a very brief overview of the Master’s thesis written in another language than the thesis (in the case of a thesis not in Estonian  it is written in Estonian). The summary is not a translation of the conclusion, but a holistic and symbiotic overview of the thesis’s introduction, body, and conclusion. It includes an overview of the objectives, research problems, conclusions, results, etc., of the thesis. Also to be included is a translation of the title of the thesis.

A Master’s thesis may contain annexes (large-scale materials such as images, diagrams or schemes, interview transcriptions, etc.) which are not counted among the main body of the thesis. 

See the guide for formatting written papers

2. Master’s Thesis Defence Procedure

2.1. Stages of the preparation and defence of the Master’s Thesis

1st semester: choosing the topic and thesis supervisor

2nd semester (May): presentation of the topic and a draft version of the Master’s thesis in the Master’s seminar

3rd semester (November): confirmation of the research topic and thesis supervisor

3rd semester (the end of the semester): defence of a draft version of the Master’s thesis

4th semester (April): preliminary defence of the Master’s thesis

4th semester (May): defence of the Master’s thesis

2.2. The (primary) supervisor of the Master’s thesis is to be a member of the academic staff of the department. The supervisor is chosen by the student; it is possible to have additional supervisors, who may also be doctoral students. Thesis topic and supervisors are confirmed by the council of the Institute of Philosophy and Semiotics 6 months prior to the defence of the Master’s thesis.

2.3. During the defence of the draft version of the Master’s thesis at the end of the third semester  the student shall give an overview of his or her research so far. A written draft (about 5 pages long) must be sent to the department’s Secretary three days prior to the defence (Ulvi Urm ulvi.urm [ät] ut.ee). The defence of the draft consists of a 10-minute presentation followed by a 10-minute discussion. The primary purpose of this defence is to give feedback as well as advice for the future. This means that the draft version of the Master’s thesis may contain questions and doubts. Prior to the defence the draft must be discussed with the supervisor.

2.4. Preliminary defence of the Master’s thesis occurs at the end of April, a month before the actual defence. The thesis is accepted for pre-defence at the discretion of the supervisor. The student must present the thesis as a file in PDF format as well as a hard copy (single copy, soft binding) to the departmental Secretary Ulvi Urm (ulvi.urm [ät] ut.ee) and to the reviewer (either as a PDF file or a hard copy or both, according to the reviewer’s preference one week prior to the pre-defence at the latest. To be accepted for pre-defence, the thesis must be at least 75% complete, including historiography, sections on theory and methodology, collected materials, and at least a part of the analysis which allows for the evaluation of the theoretical point of departure, methodology, and the relevance of the analysis in relation to the formulated research questions. The missing sections (such as the introduction, the conclusion, part of the analysis, etc.) must be indicated and briefly described, so that the opponent and the committee are able to receive an overview of the thesis on which to give constructive feedback. The primary purpose of the pre-defence is to find areas that need changing. The procedure at the pre-defence is similar to the actual defence, but without the author’s overview of the thesis and the reviewer does not have to present the review in a written form. No grade is assigned to the Master’s thesis at the pre-defence, but it is  determined whether the Master’s thesis is allowed to the defence.

2.5. The precondition for being allowed to the thesis defence is successful completion of all other study subjects (courses), and passing the preliminary thesis defence. The Master’s thesis is to be submitted to the thesis defence at the discretion of the supervisor, who confirms their consent to have the thesis submitted to the thesis defence by signing on the back (verso) of the title page.

2.6. The dates of the thesis defence and  the membership of the board is confirmed by the head of the Institute of Philosophy and Semiotics at least two months prior to the actual defence. The defence board is composed of at least three members. If the board includes the supervisor of a Master’s thesis to be defended, the supervisor shall have the right to comment, but not to vote.

2.7. The reviewer of a Master’s thesis is appointed by the defence board. The reviewer must have at least a Master degree and must be competent in the given field of research.

2.8. The student shall present the Master’s thesis — formatted according to the requirements — in both PDF format as well as a hard copy (one hardbound copy) to the departmental Secretary Ulvi Urm (ulvi.urm [ät] ut.ee), as well as to the reviewer (either as a PDF file or a hard copy or both, according to the reviewer’s preference), one week before the date of the defence at the latest.

2.9. A Master’s thesis presented at the thesis defence also contains the following components: (a) a license, which gives consent on the part of the author to allow the University to reproduce the Master’s thesis (the purpose being electronic preservation of the thesis as well as electronic publication of it through the University’s web-based environments) as a separate document appearing at the end of the Master’s thesis; (b) the author’s signature on the back (verso) of the title page confirming that the Master’s thesis has been written independently; (c) the thesis supervisor’s signature on the back (verso) of the title page confirming that the Master’s thesis is allowed to the thesis defence.

2.10. The bound copy of the Master’s thesis stays preserved in the library of the Institute following its successful defence. The Master’s thesis and any multimedia components of the Master’s thesis are published electronically on the web-based environments of the University of Tartu. If the Master’s thesis presented at the thesis defence cannot be electronically published(because of copyright or the proprietary right of other authors, legal protection of personal data, state or business secrets, other secret information, etc.) the author must present the Vice Dean a validly justified application containing the reasons for the restriction of publication, prior to the thesis defence. These restrictions shall be enacted by the Vice Dean.

2.11. Three days prior to the thesis defence — or at the beginning of the thesis defence at the latest — the reviewer submits a written review to both the board as well as the author of the thesis. The review must elucidate the strengths and weaknesses of the Master’s thesis, characterise the Master’s thesis in terms of both form and content, and serve as the basis for a subsequent discussion with the thesis writer.

2.12. The thesis defence is public. In the interest of protecting personal data, state secrets or business secrets, technological secrets, and so on, the Vice Dean may — after receiving a validly-justified application on the part of the writer — declare the thesis defence a closed procedure. Both the thesis supervisor as well as the reviewer take part in the defence, except in cases in which they are not able to participate due to compelling reasons. The chair of the board may — on the basis of a validly justified application — allow the use of real-time bidirectional audiovisual connections  at the thesis defence. In the absence of the reviewer and/or the supervisor from the thesis defence, the chair of the committee is to read out their opinion(s).

2.13. The main stages of the thesis defence are: (a) a presentation on the part of the thesis author briefly introducing the main positions of their Master’s thesis (up to 15 minutes); (b) the reviewer’s assessment of the thesis, highlighting its strengths and weaknesses; (c) the reviewer’s questions to the author, followed by an academic debate between the author and the reviewer; (d) questions and comments on the part of the board members and other people present at the thesis defence; (e) the final statements of the author of the thesis; (f) a closed discussion of the board and decision made regarding the final grade. If necessary, the thesis supervisor will be given the right to speak or comment.

2.14. The final grade of the Master’s thesis shall be given by the thesis defence board  , who will take into account the assessment from the reviewer, the assessments of the board members, as well as the opinion of the supervisor. The defence board has the right to decide on a grade only if over half of the committee’s members are present.

2.15. The result of the defence of the Master’s thesis is made known soon after the formulation of the defence protocol, but no later than one workday after the actual thesis defence.

2.16. A second defence of the Master’s thesis is possible only in the next semester, at the earliest.

See the guide for formatting written papers