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Dissertation and oral exam

This is the study programme for 2020/2021.

The master's dissertation is a piece of work that is based on individual research and is presented in a form that accords with academic conventions in relation to referencing, style, register, and so forth. It discusses a topic that has been approved by a supervisor and is written under supervision. In addition to regular meetings with their supervisor, the students attend regular seminars.

Learning outcome

The student will gain:
  • Understanding of the main theoretical issues relevant for the field of research of her/his Master's dissertation
  • Knowledge of the central literature and issues of debate within the field of research
  • Understanding of basic research ethics, including plagiarism and copyright issues as well as research involving living human participants

By the end of the course, the student will be able to:
  • Apply their knowledge to independent research work
  • Apply a range of practical and methodological skills required for their research work
  • Account for the theories and methods current within their field of research and explain their own choice of theoretical framework and methodology
  • Develop a line of argument based on their own findings
  • Present their findings as an academic thesis, following accepted conventions
  • Deliver a lecture based on their reading and findings within the field of research of their Master's dissertation

General competence
By the end of the course, the student will be able to:
  • Make a realistic and structured project plan
  • Work independently on a long-term project
  • Communicate their findings clearly and efficiently both in speech and writing- Present and discuss their work in good academic English


The students produce an academic dissertation based on their own research. In addition to independent work on the dissertation, the course includes a research seminar and supervision meetings, both with obligatory attendance. The students are required to submit a research proposal, regular written work to the supervisor and (together with the dissertation) an individual reading list. The students will also deliver a test lecture on a given topic, based on the individual reading list, before receiving their mark.
The dissertation is a piece of academic written work, based on individual research, on a topic that has been agreed upon by the student and the supervisor. The topic should normally relate to one of the areas studied in the taught part of the course. With one of the taught modules as a starting point, the dissertation may build upon perspectives from several areas, such as linguistics, literature, didactics, history or media studies.
The dissertation should consist of 60-80 pages (12-point Times New Roman, 1.5 line spacing), not including appendices, references and large tables. It should follow accepted academic conventions. The topic should be clearly delimited, and the principal objectives and source materials should be defined. The methodology should be adequately described, and the work placed within its context in relation to earlier research. Students are encouraged to base their work on primary data collected by themselves.
The object of the test lecture is to ascertain that the candidate has reached the goals defined for the course. The topic of the lecture is set by the examining committee together with the supervisor, on the basis of an individual reading list handed in by the student with the thesis. The list should reflect some of the central concerns of their work and refer to a minimum of 600 pages of secondary literature. The topic is given to the student fourteen days before the date of the lecture.
The lecture is given as soon as possible after the evaluation of the dissertation by the examining committee. The final mark for the course is based on the dissertation, but may be adjusted up or down (by one grade only) on the basis of the lecture.

Required prerequisite knowledge

First year of Master's in Literacy Studies (those modules which apply to students enrolled on the lektor programme).


Weight Duration Marks Aid
Dissertation and oral exam1/1 A - FAll.
Written dissertation: 60-80 pages, 12 point Times New Roman and 1.5 line spacing, not including appendices, references and large tables.
Test lecture: 30 minutes (+/- 5 minutes). Directly following the test lecture, up to 15 minutes are reserved for questions from the committee, either relating to the test lecture or the written dissertation. The test lecture may adjust the dissertation mark by 1 mark in either direction.
The student must have passed both parts of the examination (dissertation and test lecture) in order to receive a pass mark. Students who fail the test lecture will be allowed another attempt, with a new date and topic.
The assessment committee has set the grade for the written assignment before the test lecture, but the grade will not be disclosed until after the test lecture has been completed.
There are two submission dates for theses each year, one in May and one in November. Thesis cannot be submitted at any other times.

Coursework requirements

A project proposal, Supervision meetings, Seminars 75%, Individual reading list
  • A project proposal, Supervision meetings, Seminars 75%, An individual reading list
  • A project proposal (1,500-2,500 words), to be handed in by a specific deadline (usually in October)
  • A minimum of six supervision meetings
  • Attendance and presentation of work in progress at a dissertation writing seminar throughout the year, with no more than 25% absence
  • An individual reading list (referring to min. 600 pages of secondary literature), handed in together with the dissertation

The obligatory activities must be completed before the dissertation may be submitted. The student must have completed all the taught modules before the dissertation may be submitted. The thesis and individual reading list have to be submitted before the student may give a test lecture.

Course teacher(s)

Course coordinator
Merja Riitta Stenroos
Course teacher
Eric Dean Rasmussen , Allen Clarence Jones , Sonya Louise Lundblad , Oliver Martin Traxel , Peter Paul Ferry , Kjetil Vikhamar Thengs , Torill Irene Hestetræet
Programme coordinator
Signe Ekenberg

Method of work

Individual work, supervision meetings, seminars.

Open to

Advanced teacher education for levels 8-13

Course assessment

Quality control by students is a central element of the UiS plan to improve teaching. In the Department of Cultural Studies and Languages this system includes student evaluation of courses.


Link to reading list

This is the study programme for 2020/2021.

Sist oppdatert: 05.08.2020