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University of Vaasa writing guidelines: General

The guidelines contain instructions about the layout and contents of theses and other written assignments as well as instructions on how to refer to source literature and other material used in the work.

University of Vaasa general writing guidelines

These writing guidelines are applicable for bachelor's, master's, and licentiate theses. In addition, the guidelines apply where relevant in all other written study assignments such as seminar work and other exercises.

The writing guidelines provide guidance on the layout, citation practices, and finalising of theses. The writing guidelines do not cover all possible cases. When something is unclear, please consult a supervisor or teacher.

Remember responsible conduct of research.

Transition period from the earlier writing guidelines

These guidelines will enter into force on 1 May 2019. Students who have already started their theses can follow the earlier writing guidelines (fonts, layout, margins, sources, etc.) for their discipline until 31 December 2020. As of 1 January 2021, everyone must follow these guidelines.

Theses are stored in Osuva as of 1 August 2019.

Useful links

Help with writing, information retrieval, data management, and many more.

Important information before starting a thesis

Do not include business or trade secrets in theses. Keep this content in the background material. If a thesis includes confidential information, its use must be agreed in advance with the supervisor and potential commissioner.

A thesis is a public document that any interested party can access and examine.

Maturity test

Once a thesis has been finalised and handed in, the student shall write a maturity essay.

  • A maturity essay is an approximately four page, 400-450 word long essay on a thesis topic. The bachelor's thesis supervisor determines the topic of the maturity essay.

  • The maturity essay shall be written either in Finnish or Swedish depending on the student's language of schooling. If the student has some other language of schooling, the language used in the maturity essay shall be agreed separately.

  • The purpose of the maturity essay is to demonstrate that students are proficient in their discipline and mother tongue.

  • The maturity essay is graded by the thesis supervisor and by an instructor in the relevant language of schooling.

  • The maturity essay exam is taken digitally in the EXAM system. Departures from this procedure are only allowed on justified grounds.

Bachelor's thesis

A bachelor's programme usually includes introductory lectures, seminars, and writing a bachelor's thesis. The goal of a bachelor's thesis is to develop the skills for independent research on the research topic, the design and determination of the scope of the research problem, and to train the student for academic writing. A bachelor's degree must meet the requirements for independent academic work, demonstrate familiarity with academic problem definition, and with different approaches and methods.

Theses are divided into an introduction, a presentation of the research and a summary. The bachelor’s student can choose the method and emphasis after discussing them with the supervisor. A variety of good bachelor’s theses can be written on the same subject. Almost the only rule is that the first chapter must be an introduction and the last chapter must be either reflection and conclusion, a summary, or other similar chapter with a title that reflects the nature of the work.

Master's thesis

A master’s thesis aims to familiarise students with the academic discussion and research in their field, to produce an independent thesis related to their field, and to demonstrate proficiency in their academic field.

A master's thesis in engineering covers a topic related to a professional field, and the student shall agree on the topic with a professor in the field. The thesis subject may also be multidisciplinary (the content may include both major and minor subjects) in a manner agreed with the professor in the field.

Abstract text serves as a maturity test in Master's thesis. Abstract length should be one page when following the writing guidelines.

Licentiate thesis

These guidelines apply to licentiate theses.

Licenciate thesis is published at Osuva publication archive at least 10 days before the review.

Doctoral dissertation

When a thesis has been completed

When you feel your thesis draft is ready, submit it to the supervisor (the thesis supervisor) for pre-review. The supervisor provides feedback and possible suggestions for corrections. Re-submit the corrected version to the supervisor. After this the supervisor authorises the handing in of your thesis for plagiarism inspection.

All theses at the University of Vaasa are subject to an electronic check using the Turnitin plagiarism detection service before the work can be approved. The check will also be mentioned on your university transcript. Follow your supervisor's instructions on submitting your completed thesis to the Moodle platform for the Turnitin check.

Once your supervisor has inspected the plagiarism inspection report and verified that nothing was flagged, the supervisor authorises the submission of your final thesis for review, archiving and publication in the Osuva publication archive.

Save your work in the Osuva publication archive. After you save your work in Osuva, send the same file to your supervisor and to the studying and teaching services. The assessment period may then begin.

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