This course is discontinued

PECOS4091 – Master's Thesis

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Course content

The master's thesis is an individual research paper which should meet the general requirements to scientific publication. It allows for the treatment of empirical as well as purely theoretical or normative issues. You will be personally responsible for deciding the theme, problem for discussion and method of investigation and for undertaking the research.

The theme for your Master's thesis should lie within the boundaries of your disciplinary focus within the program. Your supervisor will normally have the same disciplinary background as yours, and at least one member of the evaluation committee will also normally do so.

The master's thesis shall normally comprise between 16.000 and 26.000 words (maximum 33.000 words). The text shall be legible. See also Guidelines for the Master's Thesis for more information.

Submission deadlines: Rules for master's thesis submission

How to hand in your master's thesis: Practical information

Learning outcome

The objective of the master's thesis is that you should carry out an independent piece of research on a peace and/or conflict-related theme in a scientifically sound manner. From the work you do for your master's thesis you should demonstrate your ability to address a specific theme in a scientifically sound, thorough and precise manner in the course of a given period of time. By means of obligatory academic supervision, you will gain insight into different stages in the research process and enhance your ability to see the relationships between choice of research question, theoretical perspective, research design and choice of method.

The time allowed for the work on a master's thesis is limited. A significant part of the challenge lies therefore in selecting a research question that can be answered in a scientifically sound manner within the given amount of time, and to work systematically so as to use that time effectively.
Students who complete the work on their master's thesis in the nominal length of time and meet the set submission deadline will receive a certificate confirming this.


The course is restricted to students that are enrolled in the Peace and Conflict Studies programme.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

No obligatory prerequisites beyond the minimum requirements for entrance to higher education in Norway.


Teaching for this course will consist of individual academic supervision over two semesters. You and your supervisor will normally meet ten times during the course of these two semesters.


Submission of the master's thesis and oral examination. Prior to the oral examination, the evaluation committee will award a preliminary grade to your master's thesis. You will be notified of the grade and given an explanation for it when you present yourself for the oral examination. The questions that will be posed during the oral examination will be linked to your thesis and may, for example, relate to the research question, the structure of your thesis, choice of theoretical perspective, research design, choice of method, sources, or structure of your argument, etc.

The Faculty of Social Science is responsible for the exam(s), and exam(s) are/is normally held at The University of Oslo, Blindern campus. Other locations in Oslo may be used.

Immediately after the oral examination, the committee will discuss whether your presentation justifies any adjustment to your preliminary grade. In other words, your performance in the oral examination will only be used to adjust the grade of your master’s thesis. Once the committee has determined the grade following the oral examination, you will be notified of the final grade.

You may include previously undertaken work in your master's thesis if this has not been used as part of any previous examinations or completed degrees. Such work shall be referred to in the same way as for other sources, and you should explain how it has been used as part of your master's thesis.
As is the case for other examination papers, you may not produce work for an examination or test more than once. This applies to papers previously used at Oslo University and at other institutions in Norway or abroad. It also applies to using parts of previous papers. Breach of this regulation shall be regarded as an examination offence.

The prohibition against reuse of work previously used for other examinations does not prevent you from developing ideas presented in those works or from using material that was collected in that connection. It is also permitted to use the results from previous work. You are permitted to quote excerpts from your own previous examination papers, but only to the extent to which this is permitted in the case of work done by others. All use of previous work shall be accounted for by the use of source citations.

This means that you may not copy course papers from obligatory or optional master's courses and enter them directly into your master's thesis. It is also permitted to use obviously re-written or heavily edited texts – with source citations. It is also desirable that you should build up your competence in the theme for your master's thesis by means of the obligatory and optional master's courses, and that your course papers to some degree serve as preparatory work for part of your master's thesis.

It can sometimes be useful for documentation purposes that previous works (or parts thereof) are included as appendices to the thesis. In such cases, it must be made perfectly clear that these are previous works. Nevertheless, the scope of the new work that is presented shall correspond to the number of credits assigned to the master's thesis, and it is the new work that shall be assessed by the examiners.

National guidelines for evaluation of master's theses in Political Science (currently only available in Norwegian)

Language of examination


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

Facts about this course






Autumn 2012


Autumn 2012

Teaching language