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. 

In order to be assigned a supervisor, the student must have passed at least 190 credits (5-year master’s programme) / 20 credits (2-year master’s programme) in the programme. 

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.

All master students must hand in a project plan for the thesis and a contract of supervision one semester before they are to submit their thesis.

An overview with the specific deadlines for each semester can be found here


Access to teaching

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


The thesis and an oral exam. 

Master Thesis

See more information about rules and regulations, formal requirements, deadlines and submission

Oral Exam

  • The oral exams will be arranged after the submission of the theses
  • The date and place for the oral exam will be announced and sent to the students UiO-email at least 7 days before the date of the 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. Prepared manuscripts are allowed.

The purpose of the oral exam is threefold:

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

The questions that will be posed during the oral exam 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.

The oral exam is open to the Public.

How the master thesis is assessed

  • 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 University of Oslo
  • Prior to the oral exam, the examination committee will award a preliminary grade to the master thesis
  • The performance at the oral exam will be used to adjust the grade of the master thesis. Once the committee has determined the grade following the oral exam, the student will be notified of the final grade and given a short explanation
  • If the committee decides that the thesis do not meet the minimum requirements to qualify as a master thesis in economics from the University of Oslo, the student will be notified before the oral exam

Submit your thesis in Inspera and DUO

You submit your thesis in Inspera and to DUO.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

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.

Prior to the oral exam, a preliminary grade will be awarded to the master thesis. The performance at the oral exam will be used to adjust the grade of the master thesis.

Explanations and appeals

How the appeal against the grade is assessed

  • You can submit an appeal against the grade awarded on the written work (the thesis). You cannot submit an appeal against the grade on the oral examination.
  • Two new examiners will reassess the written work (the thesis).
  • If the new result differs from the original result awarded on the written work (the thesis), you will get a new oral exam.
  • If the new result does not differ from the original result awarded on the written work (the thesis), you will not get a new oral exam.

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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