Theses – Frequently Asked Questions

To complete your studies successfully, you must submit a thesis at the end of your programme. On this page, we will inform you about what you need to do and bear in mind.

We will also give you an overview of:

Please bear in mind that the rules governing your final exam are entirely based on the examination regulations and their annexes that apply to you.

All rules for your degree programme can be found on the examination pages of your degree programme.

1. Before registering the thesis

1.1. What must I do to be able to register for the thesis?

To be admitted to the thesis part of your programme, you need to have acquired a defined minimum number of credits (ECTS points). This is usually 120 credits in Bachelor’s programmes and 60 credits in Master’s programmes.

‘Acquired’ means that the ECTS points have been credited to your academic record in Stud.IP. Even if module components have been completed, their credits will only count officially once the assessment has been completed.

On top of the minimum number of credits attained, your examination regulations and/or the annex of the regulations that deal with your subject may also require other accomplishments. For instance, you may need to have successfully completed certain subject modules, practical modules or the basic curriculum before you can be admitted to the thesis.

1.2. How do I find a topic, and how may I formulate it?

The best way to settle questions about your topic and to seek assessors is to approach the teaching unit (in other words, the institute or department within the School) within which you want to write the thesis.

Please note:

On Stud.IP you will find a wide range of topics under the tab

Thesis topics

For each topic, contact persons, a general description and the nature of the work required are shown, e.g.:

  • ‘focus on application or other practical aspects’; or
  • ‘conceptual/theoretical’

1.3. Who may assess and grade my work?

The thesis will be evaluated by two appointed examiners, who act as assessors. While your request is being processed, you will be supervised by the first assessor.

The topic of the thesis is determined by the first assessor. A member of the university lecturers’ and professors’ group or a private lecturer of the relevant subject must be among the assessors. In individual cases, the competent Examining Board may allow deviations from this rule.

Only holders of a scholarly university degree or an equivalent qualification may be appointed as examiners.

1.4. May the thesis be the work of a group?

This depends on specific circumstances.

If the relevant annex of the examination regulations permits, Bachelor’s theses may be the work of up to three persons.

If the examination regulations permit, group theses can also be submitted at the Master’s level.

In the case of group work, the contribution of each examinee to be assessed must meet the requirements of the examination regulations. They must be clearly definable as an individual module component that can be individually assessed (e.g. with reference to sections or page numbers).

In which cases is group work not allowed?

A group thesis is inadmissible if students are to be involved whose thesis work would be outside the scope of their own examination regulations.

For example:
A group thesis is not permissible if it involves students of the MA in Education (Gymnasium) as well as students of the MA in Education (Business education) or the MA in Economics and Law. It is also not possible to take a group thesis with students who are not enrolled at the University of Oldenburg.

1.5. How do I register for the thesis, and how am I admitted?

You register for the thesis after you have selected a topic in consultation with your assessors.

For this purpose, use the Registration for the Thesis form.

Important forms

The process is as follows.

  1. Using your email address assigned by the university, address your application to the first assessor.
  2. After consultation with the second assessor, the first assessor then confirms the topic and the assessment plan and sends the form to the Examinations Office.
  3. If necessary, the Examinations Office will then seek a decision by the Chair of the Examining Board.
  4. The Examination Office will inform you by email about the processing time and will admit you to the thesis. You will receive a letter of admission by post. Subsequently, your thesis will be displayed as registered in Stud.IP.

1.6. What are the rules if external persons, i.e. persons who do not belong to the university, supervise my thesis?

1.7. Roughly how much time will writing the thesis take?

A general answer is hard to provide.

It is your responsibility to reserve enough time for the preparation and planning of your thesis. How much time you will need will depend on various things, including personal factors.

Are you unsure about the time required or about finding a topic?

We invite you to make use of the university’s advisory services. They are there to help you.

  • The Learning Workshops at the Study and Career Counselling Service (ZSKB) offer training and advice on reading and writing academic texts, among other things.

Learning Workshops at the Study and Career Counselling Service (ZSKB)

  • Please also note these pointers and recommendations for your graduation:

Timetable for the transition from Bachelor’s to Master’s

Procedure for completing the Master of Education (primary school, secondary school, Gymnasium, special needs education)

Procedure for completing the Master of Education (Business education)

2. While working on the thesis

2.1. How long can I take to write my thesis?

This depends on the provisions of the examination regulations or their annexes that apply in your case. The Examinations Office will officially inform you of the deadline for submission of the thesis.

Note that the work will not be considered to have passed if you do not meet the deadline and do not prove any valid reasons for this failure.

A valid reason is illness on the part of the student. For information on the extension of the deadline for the thesis in case of your own illness, see 2.4. What if I fall ill while working on the thesis? Can I extend the deadline?

Please note:
If, in the case of admission to the thesis or the extension of the submission deadline on valid grounds (e.g. illness), the end of the processing period falls between 24 December and 1 January, the processing time will be officially extended to the first working day after 1 January. No action is required from you in these cases.

2.2. Can I withdraw from the thesis project or change the topic after I have been admitted?

If the examination regulations that apply to you allow it, you can change the topic within a specified period.

For example, the Bachelor’s examination regulations stipulate that the student can change the topic set by the first assessor within the first month after admission without giving reasons. A later change is only possible if valid grounds are recognized.

If you are still uncertain, you are welcome to approach us.

Contact form for students

2.3. Can I change the topic of my thesis during preparation?

Once you have been admitted to the thesis, its nature, task and topic are officially fixed. A change of topic is no longer permitted.

However, the title of the thesis may be changed with the permission of the first assessor. In the event of a change of title, you must send a confirmation of the change from the first assessor to the Examinations Office before you submit the thesis. To this end, please use the contact form for students.

2.4. What if I fall ill while working on the thesis? Can I extend the deadline for submission?

If you fall ill while working on the thesis (and can be considered incapable of taking an examination), you must provide appropriate proof to obtain an extension.

Please note: Exam stress is not considered a valid ground for extending the deadline.

How should I announce this inability?

The announcement and proof of your inability to take an examination (in this case, the thesis assignment) must be submitted to the Examinations Office without delay. You can submit proof of this inability using the contact form for students.

A certificate of incapacity for work is accepted as proof, unless another form is required by the Examinations Office.

The proof must include a statement on the probable duration of the incapacity for work.

To whom is the certificate to be addressed?

Please always address the certificate to the Examinations Office and not to the assessors. If the grounds for extension have been accepted, the assessors will receive a notification from the Examinations Office.

At what stage should I apply for an extension?

Be sure to communicate the reasons for the extension immediately, as soon as possible.

Recommendation:
If you are already unwell when you start working on the thesis, do not wait to see if you will be able to submit it in time despite your illness. Instead, request an extension and provide supporting evidence immediately.

Maximum extension
An extension will only be granted for a moderate lengthening of the total period assigned for working on thesis. If the extension or extensions granted would double the originally authorized processing time for the thesis, the assignment is to be replaced by a new one.

2.5. I look after my young children and/or take care of close relatives. Can I apply for compensation for the exercise of these responsibilities?

  • Students eligible for motherhood protection (under the Motherhood Protection Act);
  • students who raise and care for children in a common household; and
  • students who regularly care for close relations for at least 10 hours a week

can apply for an extension of the period for working on their thesis.

There is no specific form for this purpose. Use the contact form for students and send it to the Examinations Office.

Evidence and duration

To be granted an extension, you must provide appropriate evidence.

  • Child care: confirmation that you form a common household (Haushaltsbescheinigung), to be obtained from your town’s registration office (Meldebehörde).
  • Care: A certificate from your health or care insurance firm.

The Examining Board responsible for your case will decide on the duration of the extension.

Pregnancy

Are you pregnant? Please contact the Maternity Leave Team of the Admission’s Office in Division 3. Important information and advice can be found on the webpage on maternity leave for students

Maternity leave for students

2.6. How can I get a special arrangement to compensate for chronic illness or disability?

What are the conditions for such a special arrangement?

To be able to claim a special arrangement for compensation, you must prove that you have a long-term impairment that meets the criteria of a disability or chronic illness.

If your disorder does not have the characteristics of a disability or chronic disease, you will not be able to legally claim a special arrangement for compensation.

How do I request a special arrangement for compensation?

You do not need a specific application form. Submit your application to the Examinations Office using the contact form for students.

Who will decide on my application?

The Examining Board responsible for you will decide on your application.

You will be informed of the extent of the compensation.

If the Examining Board considers the application to be unfounded in whole or in part, it will reject the application in whole or in part. The Examinations Office will issue a decision based on the decision of the Examining Board. The reasons for rejection will be communicated in this document.

Do I have to supply proof that I am entitled to a special arrangement for compensation?

Yes. The disability or chronic illness is generally substantiated by a doctor’s certificate or–in the case of mental illnesses–by a statement from a licensed psychotherapist, or by presentation of a disabled person’s pass.

Here, the main point is not the diagnosis but rather the plausibility of the disability or chronic illness. The certificates submitted must show in what way the disability or chronic illness affects the production of the thesis.

The certificate should contain a recommendation on the length of the extension.

Where can I get support and advice?

The University of Oldenburg and Studentenwerk Oldenburg offer a wide range of advisory services, tips and information. Advice for students with disabilities or chronic illnesses is open to all students who feel they are disabled or chronically ill.

Students with a disability or chronic illness

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact the counsellor for disabled students at Studentenwerk Oldenburg:

Studying with a disability or chronic illness

2.7. How should the thesis be submitted? Must I make a sworn declaration?

Current procedure

Send your thesis as a PDF (1 file) attached to an email to the Examinations Office.

Make sure to address it to the right section of the Examinations Office.

If your examination regulations require a signed sworn declaration (affidavit), you must send it as a PDF file attached to an email message.

Please send the bound copies of your thesis directly to the assessors.

Sworn declaration (affidavit)

The Lower Saxony Higher Education Act (NHG) (Section 7 para 5 p. 2 NHG) forms the legal basis for the acceptance of affidavits, in which students declare they carried out the submitted work independently and without impermissible assistance.

You must supply an affidavit if the examination regulations of your degree programme require it. This is the case, for instance, for the single-subject and dual-subject Bachelor’s degree programmes (see Section 13a of their examination regulations). The regulation serves to uphold the quality of exam procedures. It complements older tools for the prevention of scholarly misconduct.

Please bear in mind that submitting an untruthful affidavit can lead to criminal prosecution.

Text of the affidavit

I hereby declare in lieu of an oath that I wrote this thesis independently, using only the cited sources and aids. I furthermore affirm that I have followed the general principles of scholarly work and publication as set out in the Guidelines for Good Academic Practice at the University of Oldenburg.

Guidelines for Good Academic Practice at the University of Oldenburg

2.8. What do I need to know about ‘scholarly work’? What is scholarly plagiarism?

On scholarly work, please see the information provided by the Learning Workshops of the central Study and Career Counselling Service (ZKSB). Under ‘Materials and Links’, you will find helpful pointers and references to the faculties.

Learning Workshops

Materials and Links (in German)

What is scholarly plagiarism?

If you reproduce someone else’s ideas and work in a scholarly text without proper attribution, instead of formulating your own, this is plagiarism. It means passing off someone else’s work or ideas as one’s own.

You must also properly attribute reused content of your own. Otherwise, you will be committing plagiarism. When reusing your own previous work, you must explicitly acknowledge this. For example, insert a note at the beginning of the text or section that says something like: ‘This article uses the results of a seminar paper I wrote for the module [...] as part of the Bachelor’s degree programme in [...]’.

How does the University of Oldenburg deal with plagiarism?

Plagiarism constitutes scholarly misconduct and must be punished for reasons of equal opportunities.

If assessors detect plagiarism, the matter is referred to the Examinations Office and investigated further. If the suspicion of plagiarism is confirmed, the thesis will be assessed as ‘failed’.

In grave cases of fraud, for example the illicit copying of an entire work, or in the case of repeated fraud, expulsion (deregistration) may follow

3. After submitting the thesis

3.1. How and when does the assessment take place, and do I have to take an oral examination afterwards?

The rules state that all examination procedures must be carried out expeditiously. What ‘expeditiously’ means in practice will depend on the case in question. For general guidelines see the relevant examination regulations.

Assessment period

There is no standard duration for the assessment period, as the time required depends on the length of the thesis. The Bachelor’s examination regulations stipulate that theses are to be assessed ‘usually within six weeks after their submission’. Master’s theses are usually to be evaluated within eight weeks of their submission.

If the assessors take longer to assess your thesis than the duration stipulated in the examination regulations that apply to you, the Examinations Office will send them a reminder.

Has the assessment period expired and do you urgently need your final grade? First, contact your assessors. If this does not lead to a solution, contact your

School’s complaints desk

Thesis grade

The thesis is evaluated and graded according to the scale provided in the examination regulations. The grade is determined by the Examinations Office after transmission by the examiners. It is calculated as a weighted arithmetic mean of the individual grades.

After the grade has been determined, you will receive a notification from the Examinations Office by email.

Is there an oral or other examination in the thesis process?

In most of the university’s degree programmes, an accompanying event is organized as part of the thesis process. At this event, the technical foundations of the work are discussed and the achievements and results of the work are reported.

Often the author is also required to ‘defend’ the thesis in a final presentation.

In a few degree programmes (especially at the Master’s level), you are expected to orally present the results of your thesis in a final colloquium that is open to the entire university.

The purpose of these colloquia is to show that you are able to deal independently and in a scholarly manner with interdisciplinary and problem-related questions in the field of your subject and that you can present your insights comprehensibly.

Are you still wondering what the workload of your thesis module comprises and what you need to do in the framework of the module?  Use the contact form for students. The Examinations Office will explain further.

3.2. Can I view the assessment reports on my thesis?

It is not standard policy to provide these reports.

If you would like to view the reports of the assessors on your thesis, you should first ask the assessors themselves.

If you are not granted access, please ask the Examinations Office to allow you to view them. In your request, you should explain why the inspection is of interest to you on legal grounds.

Please be aware that access to the assessment reports and minutes can only be granted within one year after the announcement of the thesis grade.

Please send the application to the Examinations Office via the contact form for students.

The place and time of inspection will be determined in consultation with the Examining Board.

3.3. What can I do if I disagree with the grade of my thesis?

In principle, you have the option of contesting a negative assessment of your work.

However, before launching a formal appeal, you would do well to approach the assessors and ask them to reconsider their assessment, offering persuasive considerations and arguments. Tell the assessors why, from your point of view, the assessment decision is incorrect. It is recommended that you initially contact the first assessor and approach this person with your objections to the assessment.

If the assessors uphold their assessment decision, you are free to contest the assessment in writing.

Please note that you must state very specifically in your objection:

  • Why the assessment decision violates your rights, and
  • What specifically the assessors should have assessed more favourably.

Only then will the assessment decision be reviewed in an appeal procedure.

The final decision on appeals is taken by the Examining Board.The Examinations Office supports the Examining Board and manages the whole appeal procedure. Objections must therefore be addressed to the Examinations Office.

If you have any questions, please use the contact form for students and the Examinations Office will explain further.

3.4. How many credits do I get for successfully completing my thesis? When will they be added to my record?

The number of ECTS credits awarded may vary from one degree programme to another. While at the Bachelor’s level 15 credits for the thesis module are the standard (12 for the thesis and 3 for the accompanying event), 30 credits are awarded in most Master’s programmes. In Master of Education programmes, the number of credits is different.

To find the answer to your question, consult the examination regulations that apply to you or the annex to the examination regulations that deals with the thesis module. Please feel free to contact the Examinations Office if you have any questions.

Upon receipt of the assessments or evaluations, the Examinations Office will quickly record the submitted grades. At the end of the day on which the grades are entered into the system, you will receive an email informing you that the grade has been credited to your academic record.

3.5. After passing the thesis, do I have to do something to obtain my graduation documents, and when can I expect to receive them?

Yes, the production of the graduation documents does require you to take action.

With the notice that you have been admitted to the thesis, you will also receive a Declaration on the Issuing of the Graduation Documents. Use this form to apply to the Examinations Office for the graduation documents. At the end of your degree programme, you must provide appropriate information on this form so that everything can be taken into account. Please submit this form via the contact form for students.

The form contains questions regarding matters such as:

Non-essential modules

Non-essential modules (also called additional examinations) are modules that have been successfully completed beyond the requirements of the programme. Such modules are only included in the diploma upon request.

Additional notice:
Master’s modules taken earlier than scheduled are not considered additional examinations.

Disregarding low grades in the overall grade

If the applicable examination regulations permit, the student’s overall grade will be calculated without taking the lowest examination grades into account. This will be done for modules amounting to a maximum of 18 credits in total.

Additional notice:
The module examination grades that were not included in the calculation of the overall grade will nevertheless be shown on the diploma and the Transcript of Records.

Indication of specializations on diplomas

If a student has taken several specializations during their studies, the Examinations Office needs to know which specialization is to be shown on the diploma.

Duration of the preparation of the graduation documents

The time needed to produce the documents depends on various factors and is therefore variable.

Non-binding rule of thumb:

  • The Examinations Office expects its staff to need around two weeks of work.
  • Add to this the time needed to obtain the required signatures in the Schools;
  • as well as the time for the delivery of post within the university.

All in all, the production of the graduation documents will take 4-8 weeks.

4. Responsibilities and contact persons

4.1. Examinations Office

The Examinations Office of the University of Oldenburg is responsible for the administration of examinations and for the implementation of administrative procedures under examination law.

Examination matters

Three administrative teams are responsible for handling general examination matters. These include:

  • the granting of admission to examinations;
  • the processing of withdrawals from examinations;
  • the granting of special arrangements for compensation;
  • the notification of failed examinations;
  • the preparation and issuing of graduation documents and certificates; as well as
  • the creation of data records for online exam management.

Examining Board

Besides, the Examinations Office supports the work of the Examining Board, especially its Chair, and acts as an intermediary between the students and the Examining Board. The Examinations Office participates in the meetings of the Examining Board in an advisory capacity.

Higher-level special tasks

  • Appeals
  • Plagiarism
  • Team for credit recognition
  • Typing office (e.g. for graduation documents)

Contact persons and organizational structure of the Examinations Office

4.2. Examining Board

The Examining Board perform the tasks assigned to it under the examination regulations. It is composed of several members with voting rights. In general, these are:

  • three members of the university professors’ group;
  • a member of academic staff who is engaged in teaching; as well as
  • a student representative.

In addition, a person from the Examinations Office takes part in the meetings of the Examining Board in an advisory capacity.

Approval by the Examining Board

The approval of the Examining Board is required in the following cases:

  • If neither assessor of a thesis belongs to the professors’ group.
  • If the thesis is to be written in an institution outside this university and is to be supervised by an external assessor from this institution.

4.4. Feedback and complaints management

You can address comments and complaints on the work of the Academic Examinations Office directly to Division 3.

We will consider your concerns carefully and individually, in cooperation with staff members from the concerned sections of the university. Our objective is to identify areas for improvement and initiate any measures necessary for this purpose.

Send us your feedback via the linked complaints management contact form.

Complaints management of Division 3

Complaints offices outside Division 3

Unfortunately, we cannot deal with feedback that touches on matters outside the scope of Division 3. We hope you understand this.

However, if you, for example:

  • are not satisfied with the supervision by your assessors;
  • consider the time for assessment to be too long; or
  • find the topic or the workload unsuitable;

and you send us critical comments on such a matter, we will gladly take this as an opportunity to inform the School about the criticism without revealing who submitted it. However, it would be better to address such a request with direct reference to the thesis to the complaints desk of your School.

Complaints desks of the Schools

(Changed: 04 May 2022)