ANTH4090 – Master thesis

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The master's thesis is an independent scientific product to be submitted for the final assessment of the master's degree program.

Learning outcome


  • Deep understanding of the anthropological research process
  • Experience-based knowledge
  • You will learn how your own data, collected during fieldwork, can be connected to analytical issues within social anthropological theory, and can be put in a comparative perspective.
  • You will be able to apply and reflect on key methodological and theoretical tools that allow you to analyze different types of data


  • To complete and present an independent scientific work in an ethically sound manner
  • Integration of your own research with the standards of scientific and analytical thought – i.e. you will be able to present your thesis results in a way that meets scientific criteria
  • Analyze, disseminate and present social and cultural phenomena in solid written form
  • You will learn how to find and put into context relevant literature
  • Through the work on your thesis, you will acquire dissemination skills

General competence

  • Learn to respect scientific values, such as openness, rationality and precision and will learn to distinguish between research-based knowledge, the importance of analytical model choices, practice-based knowledge and "perception"
  • Gain ethical awareness concerning the various problems that may arise during research and the writing up of research results
  • Learn how to adhere to the principles of academic honesty, integrity, and responsibility when it comes to your research and to other professional work


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

This course is not available for single course students.

Students must be enrolled in the master’s programme in Social Anthropology, and have to apply to take the exam in Studentweb. 


Formal prerequisite knowledge

You have to complete ANTH4010 – Advanced Anthropological Theory​, ANTH4020 – Academic Writing and Project Development,​ ANTH4030 – Advanced Anthropological Methods​ Methods, ANTH4200 – Fieldwork​ and two specialization courses before signing up for ANTH4090.


There is no teaching offered in this course, but you will receive a defined number of sessions of individual supervision when writing your master's thesis. No supervision will be given beyond the 4th semester. See Guidelines for Supervision and Suggestions for initial supervision meeting.

The master's thesis will be produced during the 2nd half of semester 3 and semester 4 – i.e. writing will start after you return from the field in semester 3 (autumn semester), with the exam taking place in the latter half of semester 4 (spring semester).


The final master's degree exam consists of a master's thesis and an oral examination.

Students in their final semester must fill in and submit a reporting form. This form is not used to register for the exam. You must already be registered for the course and the exam in Studentweb to submit your master thesis. The department uses the reporting form to prepare for the upcoming written and oral exams. The deadline for handing in the form is announced in Canvas. Usually the deadline is in March in the spring semester and October in the autumn semester.

In the spring semester the deadline for submission of master's theses is usually in May and the oral exams in June and August. In the autumn semester the deadline is usually in November with oral exams in Desember and January. 

The master’s thesis and the oral exam are assessed by an examination committee consisting of two examiners, and at least one of them will be external, i.e. not hold a position at the University of Oslo.

Minimum seven days before the oral exam, you will be notified via your student e-mail of the time and place for the oral exam, as well as who the examiners are. 

The master's thesis

The scope of the master's thesis must be 35,000 words (+/- 10 percent) including footnotes (references and appendices are in addition).
Front page, summary and preface are also included. Master’s theses that exceed this limit will be rejected.  

Sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the Use of sources and citations at UiO and Sources and referencing at the Faculty of Social Sciences. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

You must choose one reference style and use it consistently throughout the thesis.
Follow the instructions on how to cite: Referencing and Sources and referencing

Submission of the master's thesis

The oral examination

The oral examination will only be arranged if the master's thesis is given a passing grade. 

Before the oral exam, the examiners hold a pre-examination meeting where the supervisor is present to clarify ambiguities and answer questions the examiners may have. The supervisor leaves the meeting before the preliminary grade on the master's thesis is set. The supervisor does not attend the oral exam which normally takes place just after the pre-examination meeting, and which lasts for about an hour.

The examiners will inform you of the preliminary grade and give an explanation for it when you present yourself for the oral exam. You can choose not to be informed about the preliminary grade until after the oral exam is completed. 

The performance at the oral exam will be used to adjust the grade of the master's thesis. The final grade can differ no more than one grade from the preliminary grade; You can either keep the grade, get one grade lower or one grade higher. Once the committee has determined the grade following the oral exam, you will be notified of the final grade. 

Only the final grade is registered on your master's degree diploma.

Language of examination

You may write your master's thesis in English, Norwegian, Swedish or Danish .
The oral exam will be in English or Norwegian.

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.

Explanations and appeals

You can submit an appeal against the grade awarded on the master's thesis.
You can not submit an appeal against the grade on the oral examination.

Two new examiners will reassess the thesis if you appeal. You will get a new oral exam if the new result differs from the original result awarded on the thesis. If the new result does not differ, there will be no new oral exam.

Resit 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.

Withdrawal from an examination

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.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Every spring


Every spring

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