ECON4091 - Master's Thesis and Oral Exam

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

In this course students engage in the analysis of a substantive economic question. They do this by independently producing an original written piece of research at an academic level.

This involves formulating a research question, developing an approach that allows answering this question using economic methods, and implementing this approach in a scientific manner which leads to a structured analysis which is reported both in writing and orally.

The topic of the thesis can be chosen freely, although it is recommended to coordinate plans with a (potential) supervisor at an early stage.

Supervisors will be formally appointed in the 2nd semester of the 2-year master’s programme, or in the 8th semester of the 5-year master’s programme. This guarantees supervision throughout the process of writing the thesis.

Learning outcome

  • in-depth and comprehensive understanding of the research question
  • formulate a scientific research question develop a research design
  • conduct an economic analysis (theoretical and/or empirical)
  • use relevant economic literature
  • the ability to report orally and in writing
  • be able to critically reflect on research in a systematic and argumented manner
  • complete a project from idea to finish


Students must be admitted to one of the master's programmes at the Department of Economics.

A supervisor must be assigned before the student can start writing the master's thesis.


Access to teaching

Individual academic supervision is compulsory for all students who write their Master's thesis in Economics.


Master Thesis

Oral Exam

Students present the master thesis (15 min) which is followed by a questions and answers session (20 min).

The presentation may be held using slides, for example a PowerPoint presentation.

Immediately after the oral examination, the committee will set the grade. Students are then notified and given a short explanation for the result.The grade will be based on the thesis, but will also take account of the performance at the oral examination.

The purpose of the examination is threefold:

  • to confirm that students indeed wrote the thesis themselves;
  • to investigate students' understanding of the topic and research methods; and
  • to test their ability to critically reflect on the strength and weaknesses of the work.

Thus, the questions that will be posed during the oral examination will be linked to the thesis and will inquire about the relevant knowledge, skills and competencies of the student. They may, for example, relate to the research question, the structure of the thesis, comprehension of the relevant economic theory and methods and possible improvements of the thesis.

Language of examination

You may submit your thesis and attend the oral exam in Norwegian or English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Grading guidelines for Master's thesis in Economics

The examination committee will decide beforehand whether the thesis satisfies the minimum requirements to qualify as a master thesis in economics from the University of Oslo. If the thesis should not meet these requirements, the candidate will not have an oral exam.

The examination committee will consist of two examiners and at least one of them will be external, i.e. not hold a position at the Department of Economics.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

A master’s thesis that is not passed may be resubmitted only once, and then within the agreed time and in revised form. A master’s thesis that is passed may not be resubmitted in revised form.

If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course






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