Master´s Thesis

Course content

Objectives for the MSc thesis:

Formulating, defining and operationalising a social science issue in relation to global development in a broad sense. The thesis is prepared on the basis of the courses and other teaching activities (including courses merited from other study programmes) covered by the MSc in Global Development programme.
The thesis can be based either on primary or secondary empirical data.


Thesis Models


Thesis – classic format

A thesis of maximum 60 pages with the following main components:

  • An introduction giving an account of the theory and methods employed, outlining the academic background for the study and its relevance for the context of Global Development. 
  • Main section in which the empirical material is analyzed with respect to the selected theories and relevant contexts. 
  • A conclusion.


Internship based thesis

A thesis of maximum 60 pages. The thesis must include the following main components, the order and scope of each to be decided in collaboration with the supervisor:

  • An introduction giving an account of the theory and methods employed; outlining the academic background for the study and its relevance for the context of Global Development.
  • A consultancy report primarily addressed to an external party, in which a problem from the project-oriented work (internship) is analyzed. This report is to be supplemented by a brief introduction, in which the format defining the consultancy report is justified.
  • A paper, in which a theme or challenge relevant to the project-oriented work (internship) is discussed, targeted for an academic audience. 
  • A paper on methods and ethics, giving an account of a methodological and/or an ethical problem that is especially significant for the fieldwork and the project


Academic article

A thesis of maximum 60 pages with the following main components:

  • An introduction giving an account of the theory and method(s) employed, outlining the academic background for the study and its relevance for the context of Global Development.
  • One article. The article must be targeted for a specific scientific journal. Students must enclose guidelines for the chosen journal.
  • A policy brief aimed at a relevant target audience (ministry, company, NGO, research institution, think tank). 


A paper on methods and ethics, giving an account of the method(s) chosen and one or several ethical problem that is especially significant for the project.


The Head of Studies must approve the student's choice of topic for the MSc thesis and set a deadline for its submission, see University Programme Order.


Thesis students must comply with the rules on confidentiality and collaboration with third parties as well as confidentiality as specified by the Faculty of Social Sciences. Furthermore, students must comply with regulation regarding the collection and handling of data. If students use data collected as part of the course “Thesis Data Collection”, this must be clearly and unambiguously mentioned in the method section of their MSc thesis.
If a student is doing fieldwork abroad, the student must inform her/his supervisor about the field work, the location of the field work, the duration of the field work and any possible ethical considerations or relevant risk assessments related to the field work. The student is expected to follow the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs travel advice before undertaking a fieldwork abroad.


Registration deadline for the master thesis follows the rules described in the section on master thesis registration in the Curricula’s Common Part.


Spelling and writing skills are considered in the overall assessment of the thesis, but the academic content is given the highest weight, see the Examination Order. The University (Board of Studies) may grant exemptions from this provision for students who are able to document a relevant and specific impairment, unless spelling and writing skills are significant objectives of the examination.


The thesis must include a summary. The summary is included in the overall assessment of the thesis. The summary must be written in English or Danish.


If the deadline for the master thesis is not met the student can apply for a second exam attempt (and eventually a third attempt) following the rules described in the section on second and third exam attempts of the master thesis in the Curricula’s Common Part.


A thesis at Global Development can be done as a group work. The maximum group size is 4 people. In case of a group thesis the rules and regulations for group work apply (see the Curricula´s Common Part section 4.6)

Learning outcome


  • Understand how to set up clear research questions and objectives and perform systematic and logical research on global development.
  • Display comprehensive knowledge of the thesis topic and relevant theory and methods.



  • Identify and process primary or secondary empirical material of relevance to the analysis.
  • Critically select, discuss and apply relevant methodological approaches as well as relevant theoretical concepts in an analysis of global development.
  • Ability to connect empirical analysis to theoretical insights.
  • Set up clear research questions and objectives, and carry out systematic, independent and research-based answers to these questions within one or more core areas of the programme.
  • Communicate specialised knowledge at a high academic level in English.



  • Ability to analyse and critically reflect upon challenges and possible solutions related to global development.
  • Ability to identify the contribution and generalizability of one´s own work in relation to a larger research field.
  • Critically evaluate one’s own work by reflecting upon the strengths and weaknesses of the applied methods and theories.

Students are given 6x45 min of supervision. Students are not entitled to additional supervision after the first exam attempt. For each additional student, the supervision sessions are extended with 15 minutes.

It is a requirement that 60 ECTS have been passed before the thesis writing period begins.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Type of assessment
Oral defence
Type of assessment details
See 'Thesis Models'

The thesis is defended in an oral defence of approx. 45 minutes (excl. voting). The student has 5-10 min to make a presentation. The defence can be individual or group based and is based on the entire thesis + its components. In case of a collective oral defence, there are 15 minutes extra per additional student (the oral defence is approx. 60 minutes for 2 students and 75 minutes for 3 students, excl. voting).

In connection with the oral defence, the student must demonstrate a command of the methodologies applied in connection with the preparation of the thesis, and must be able to account for the results of the thesis in a clear, well-argued and comprehensible manner.
The final assessment of the thesis is based on an overall assessment of the thesis´ written part as well as the oral defence.

The maximum length of Thesis is 60 pages for one student. For groups of students writing together, the maximum length of the Thesis is extended by 10 extra pages for each additional student.

Formal requirements for written assignments and exams are described in section 4.5 in Curricula’s Common Part.
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

See 'Learning Outcomes'

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Guidance
  • 4,5
  • Exam
  • 820,5
  • English
  • 825,0


Course number
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 semester

Study Board for Global Development
Contracting department
  • Department of Anthropology
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinator
  • John Rand   (9-6e736c7232766572684469677372326f7932686f)
Saved on the 25-05-2023

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