Tag: thesis

Alumni Chronicle: Master thesis defense experience

Gordon Musiige  Hedda graduate

Gordon Musiige
Hedda graduate

In second of the posts writing about their master thesis defense experiences, Gordon Musiige writes about his experience with defending his thesis at the University of Oslo. 

I am taking this opportunity to share with you my thesis defense experience, which is still vivid in my mind and I hope that prospective candidates will pick a few lessons from it.

On December 15th 2014, I defended my masters thesis. The defense was hold with a panel that composed of two examiners and my supervisor. My supervisor would have nothing to say all through the defence save for introducing the other examiners and reading out to me the rules and regulations of the defence process. After which, I and the other examiners would begin tussling it out until the very end. However, before I describe the actual defence process, I would like to state that before one thinks of the actual thesis defense, it is vital to put in mind that your level of preparation will contribute highly to your overall delivery and confidence at that defense table.

As a higher education master student, I was not required to prepare any form of power-point presentation apart from availing myself to the panelists on time and well-prepared to answer their questions. At this point, you need to ask yourself the following questions: What do I then prepare for? How much is expected of me in the defense? What is my role in the thesis defense process?

First and foremost, endeavour to read and reread your thesis and least twice, paying close attention to all the content in your thesis, bearing in mind that the examiners have closely read your thesis. Having all your thesis content on your fingertips exudes your authenticity as an author; you do not want to be caught off-guard in a position where you can not answer obvious questions about your own work especially to do with: why you selected certain methods or references. Despite the fact that the overall writing process can be a daunting and exhausting, one should reserve some energy and time for this last fight. If you while rereading your thesis you happen to find some concept that you think you can not explain comprehensively, it is worthwhile to consult your supervisor for guidance weeks before the defense.

Alumni Chronicle: Master thesis defense experience from abroad

Mohammad Abul Kawser (Hedda alumni)

Mohammad Abul Kawser
(Hedda alumni)

As spring is coming up and a lot of Master students are soon delivering their thesis and soon having defenses coming up, we have collected some insights from students who have experienced a defense. So what is it all about? In this post, a recent graduate Mohammad Abul Kawser writes about his experience.

Remember, these are the experiences at the Hedda master programme in Higher Education at the University of Oslo. If you are studying in another higher education, be sure to check the formal requirements at your institution!

It’s very exciting to have finished the thesis and oral defense successfully, and good preparation can lead to this end. Usually, oral defense is held face to face where examiners and the student meet in a close environment. But in my case it was different as I attended the defense using electronic media form Bangladesh which is thousands of kilometers away from Oslo.

I conducted my field study in Bangladesh and wrote my thesis from here, this allowed me to avoid commuting to Oslo for the defense, with the permission of the university. Then the whole arrangement was done through Skype. This online thesis writing experience did not deprive me of expert advices in the process. My supervisor, Prof. Monika Nerland was available all the time through electronic communications and I could also work closely with my local co-supervisor Dr. Zahid A. Choudhury by being here.

After the submission of the thesis, I was allowed more than a month to prepare myself. During this time, I reevaluated the decisions that I took in my thesis. I assessed how far these decisions were appropriate? In cases where they are not appropriate, what could I have done alternatively? I discussed these issues with my supervisors. Prof. Monika provided me with some more literature so that I could connect my findings with the broader perspectives in the field. In addition, I was prepared to say something about the formulation of my research questions, analytical framework, methodological choices, ethical issues etc.

Chronicles of our Students: Charisse’s Thesis Experience

Copy_of_08022009(003).jpgCharisse Nacionales-Reyes completed a degree in Commerce Major in Marketing Management at the College of the Holy Spirit and Master of Business Administration (MBA) at San Beda College in Manila, Philippines.Prior to this programme, she worked in the banking and financial services industry for six years.

What is your thesis topic? Where are you assigned right now?
“My topic is about the obligations of higher education institutions (HEIs) in a developing nation’s perspective, particularly focused on the role of entrepreneurial universities in the Philippines towards regional development. I have chosen a public university from the southern part of the Philippines as my case study.  This research aims to discuss the changing roles of HEIs as most of them are dealing with third stream activities that support a country’s regional development strategies.  Right now, I’m in Tampere, Finland for the final semester.”

How do you organize your schedule in terms of balancing your social life and thesis routine?
“I’m really forcing myself to wake up early during weekdays. Before writing, I have to deal with a bunch of readings and organize my notes. I have self-imposed deadlines to measure the progress of my work. We have thesis seminar every 2nd week, meeting with my supervisor almost every week and about my social life? Well, I’m trying to be away from thesis work every Friday:)”

What is the most important advice given by your supervisor/colleague?
“Here in Tampere, they always stress the importance of teamwork. We have our individual topics but the supervisors are emphasizing the advantage of working as a team in order to gain ideas and suggestions from our colleagues.  I believe that it’s also a way of supporting each other during the process, which is good because you also learn from other people’s work.”

Chronicles of Our Students: Laura’s Thesis Experience

Laura Ivette Ballesteros Mendoza is from Mexico and completed a degree in International Relations at the Universidad Autonoma de Baja California.

What is your thesis topic? Where are you assigned right now?
“My research will focus on the relational aspects of the Dutch quality assurance system and European developments in this area.  This topic is the result of a very lengthy process and it stems from my interest in the dialectical interaction between the international and national dimensions of higher education. For my thesis-writing semester I’ve been assigned to the Center for Higher Education Policy Studies (CHEPS) at the University of Twente in the Netherlands.  So far it has been a very gratifying experience filled with interesting people and conversations in a very productive and relaxed environment.”

laura.jpgHow do you organize your schedule in terms of balancing your social life and thesis routine? “Work vs. Social life. I’ve been fortunate enough to have my own working space here at CHEPS, and so I have an office-hours schedule.  Having a structured fixed schedule has proven quite beneficial in terms of allowing myself (my brain) to detach and relax after a long day at work.  That being said, I can never fully detach myself from my research and often find myself reading or writing ideas late at night, and always on the weekends.  So my first advice is to choose a topic that really interests you because you will be immersed in it for many months.  Believe me, if you like what you are doing the process will be much more rewarding. In terms of a divide between the social and working life, I don’t perceive work as being decoupled from my social life at this particular moment.  In fact, there are plenty of opportunities for socializing here in the office, which makes this working environment quite comfortable and rewarding.”

What is the most important advice given by your supervisor/colleague?

“Think of feasibility.  We all have personal desires and interests guiding our thesis topic choice, however we have to think realistically about the resources at our disposal and plan accordingly.  This has been the advice I’ve heard the most.”

Chronicles of Our Students: Sara’s Thesis Experience

Sara Margarida Alpendre Diogo finished her studies (Licenciatura) at
the University of Aveiro, Portugal. After graduation, she worked as a commercial
consultant in an exporter company of automobile parts and on the weekends she worked at a radio station. She is a second year Master’s student in the HEEM programme.

What is your thesis topic? Where are you assigned right now?
“My thesis topic is about the implementation of the Bologna process in Portugal. More specifically is about the way both the higher education institutions (HEIs) and the government reacted to the new legislation introduced by the Bologna framework. The title is (until now….) The Binary System in Portugal and The Heritage of the Bologna Process: Different Paths for the Portuguese Universities and Polytechnics. I’m writing it in Aveiro, Portugal. Although, sometimes I imagine what would be if I were in another place? But I think it’s because I miss everybody a lot.”

 How do you organize your schedule in terms of balancing your social life and thesis routine?Sara
“Well, I think now, since we don’t have much time to write about it, I should dedicate all my energies to this. And the thesis is something that is always with me! Even when I’m talking with other people, it’s always there!!!  Since I have my family in another town, my aim is to work really hard during the weekdays and then try to relax a little bit during the weekends… But during the week, sometimes I also go for a coffee and a drink, but not for long. I need more time to read and write in English than I would need if it was in Portuguese, but it’s part of the process… 🙂 I forgot to say, that although I don’t have company now to go to the swimming pool, I’m still going there. Not everyday, but at least twice a week.”


What is the most important advice given by your supervisor/colleague?
“This is an interesting question… I think the advice that they most repeat is: “you must move forward!” I’m wasting too much time on some issues… this is not good when we don’t have much time… I always feel that I need to focus on many things… and it’s impossible! Well, I think it’s all, right. I just want to add that I feel, it would be easier if we would be together! It’s hard when we spend much time together and then we have to split… but, again, it’s part of the process.”