The Master's Thesis Seminar and Master's thesis (30–40 cp) is compulsory for students in the Master's degree programme in Environmental Policy and Law. The thesis is written on a topic related to the student's major and agreed upon between the student and a professor who specialises in the topic of the thesis. The UEF Law School and Department of Geographical and Historical Studies have varying instructions and practices regarding master's thesis seminar and writing. The detailed instructions are always given in the master's thesis seminar or by the thesis supervisor.
Structure of the thesis
The Master's Thesis should be an independent entity. This means that a reader who is familiar with texts in the field of environmental law or policy will be able to understand the basic contents and meaning by merely reading the thesis. The written presentation must enable readers that do not have special expertise in your field to understand the text, but on the other hand, you should avoid extensive and unnecessary explanation of topics that are familiar to the reader. You should also be careful not to write about something that you are unfamiliar with or have not checked from your source material.
The thesis is a written research assignment and approximately around 60–100 pages in length, including everything. The thesis should follow the writing instructions given by your department or the supervisor of the master’s thesis seminar.
Students must include an abstract in the thesis (1 page). The abstract page is placed right after the cover page, before the table of contents. You can download, fill out and save the abstract page from the link below.
Abstract blanco for download (.docx)
Master's thesis seminar
The first meeting of the master’s thesis seminar takes place during the spring of the first year of studies. Participation to the seminar is compulsory. The seminar aims to ensure that the writing process towards the thesis is productive. Successful participation in the seminar requires the students to be active in participating in the discussions during the seminar. Students planning to begin their master's thesis writing must register to the seminar and attend it from the beginning.
The topic for the thesis is decided during the first meetings of the seminar (or following the meeting, should any follow-up between the student and professor be needed). In these meetings, the students will be given guidance and support in choosing the topic. The students are free to present their own ideas and suggestions as regards topics that they would find interesting. It is advisable to start thinking about possible topics during the first year of studies.
The seminar teaches students how to conduct independent academic research in their field as well as to present research questions and apply the appropriate research methods. The purpose of the thesis is to prove that the student has acquired the level of maturity that is required for a higher university degree. The students will also learn how to critically analyse other students' research and how to present feedback.
Depending on the student's major, the student will attend:
- either 5319112 Master's Thesis and Maturity Examination in Environmental Policy and Law 30 cp at UEF Law School (students majoring in Environmental and Climate Change Law)
- or 5119242 Master's Thesis, Seminar and Maturity Test 40 cp at the Department of Geographical and Historical Studies (students majoring in Environmental Policy and Natural Resources Governance).
However, the first meeting of both seminars is a joint meeting between both majors and all programme students. Detailed instructions on the writing process, opponent work etc. will be given by the supervisors of each seminar in or after the first meeting of the seminar.
In the following meetings, the student presents advanced drafts of her/his/their research before presenting the final master's thesis. All students are also required to act as an opponent for someone else’s thesis work. After the seminar, the students submit the final thesis for evaluation.
The exact meeting dates and times for the master's thesis seminar will be conveyed to the students participating in the seminar. Please remember to register for the seminar in Peppi well in advance so the supervisors can contact you with further details.
Submitting the master's thesis for formal evaluation
Once the student is ready to submit the thesis for the final evaluation, the thesis must be submitted to the Faculty of Social Sciences and Business Studies.
NB! Once submitted to the Faculty, no further changes can be made to the thesis. If you wish to abort the evaluation, you must notify the Faculty and your supervisor. The final thesis is submitted in PDF/A-format. Printed versions are not accepted or required.
How to submit thesis for formal evaluation:
1. Originality verification: Run your thesis through Turnitin plagiarism detection system.
When your master’s thesis is ready, an originality verification needs to be performed. For this purpose, UEF currently uses the Turnitin plagiarism detection system. The Master’s thesis is uploaded for originality verification via Moodle. Once you are ready to submit your thesis for the final evaluation, please first upload your thesis to the Turnitin system in Moodle and inform your thesis supervisor.
For students majoring in Environmental Policy and Natural Resources Governance, Turnitin can be found in the respective master's thesis seminar eLearn page.
For students majoring in Environmental and Climate Change Law, Turnitin can be found in the Turnitin Law School eLearn page. The registration key for the page is LAWuef.
Once a report from the plagiarism detection system is available and your master’s thesis has been established as complying with the practices of responsible conduct of research (confirmation from the supervisor), you can submit the thesis as a PDF/A-file through the online submission form for final evaluation.
***Important: If you want to test Turnitin before you submit the thesis for formal evaluation, please do this on the Turnitin page on eLearn.***
2. Submit your thesis in PDF/A-format via electronic form.
The master’s thesis needs to be submitted for examination as a PDF/A file, enabling electronic archiving of the thesis and ensuring that the thesis remains in a readable format also in the future. You need to submit your master’s thesis as a single file, i.e. to include possible appendices in the same PDF/A file as the actual thesis. Assistance in how to create this file is available from Oppari.
The master's thesis is submitted for formal evaluation through online submission form.
On the form, you are asked to give the following information about your master’s thesis:
- name of the Master's thesis
- was the Master's thesis written in collaboration with another author
- course code of the master’s thesis: this can be found in the Study Guide
- department/school you are completing the master’s thesis for
- your campus
- main supervisor(s) of the master’s thesis
- degree of publicity of the master’s thesis in the library’s publication system.
- thesis will be submitted as an attachment via the form
The electronic form will automatically identify you on the basis of your UEFAD username.
After you have submitted your master’s thesis for examination by filling out the thesis submission form, the system will send a notification to the main supervisor, who is tasked with making sure that originality verification has been performed on the master’s thesis and approving the submission of the thesis for examination.
The examination process of the master’s thesis will begin after a second examiner has been appointed for the thesis. The first examiner is usually the main supervisor of your thesis. You will receive an email notification when the examination process has been started. The examiners can access your master’s thesis directly via the system. When the head of the department has officially appointed the examiners, the student and the examiners will be notified of the matter by email.
The examiners are required to issue their written statements in one month of their appointment. This deadline does not apply to periods when no teaching is organised in accordance with the Rector’s decision, nor to the period from 15 June to 15 August.
When do I need to submit my thesis to the formal evaluation?
The Faculty of Social Sciences and Business Studies follows two deadlines, one in the autumn semester, and another in the spring semester.
Please note that if you wish to graduate within the autumn semester, make sure you submit your thesis to the formal evaluation at the latest by 31 October. The evaluation takes usually up to 4 weeks. For the spring semester the deadline is 30 April, if a student wishes to graduate within the spring semester.
The Master's thesis is graded from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest grade. The duration of the grading process is one month. If the student is dissatisfied with the decision, the student may seek for rectification.
The student will receive a written evaluation. For example, the following aspects are highlighted in the evaluation:
- Definition and scope of the research problem
- The level of argumentation, independence and consistency
- Form and presentation of the sources used
- Form and presentation, linguistic form and revision
- The compatibility of conclusions and research problems
- Accuracy of research data and material
Procedure concerning the evaluation of master's theses can be found at Kamu Student handbook.
As of 1st August 2015 onward the procedure of the maturity test concerning the students of our international master's programmes has been changed. From now on the abstract of the student's thesis is considered as the maturity test.
The Maturity test is a compulsory part of the degree. An abstract to the thesis, by which the student demonstrates his/her familiarity with the research field, is considered as the maturity test. Students should contact their programme coordinators for further information.
If you are a Finnish student with a Finnish education either in Finnish or Swedish, the abstract can also serve as a maturity demonstration for your language of education. However, Finnish students who have taken the maturity test as part of their Bachelor's degree are not required to re-take the maturity test. Please contact a programme coordinator if you think that the abstract should be used as a maturity demonstration upon your graduation from the programme.
1. Contact your coordinator to check your completed studies and register them as part of your degree.
Before graduation and once the thesis grade has been registered in Peppi, the completed studies must be compiled and registered as part of a student's degree. Please contact the programme coordinators once you wish to graduate before sending the application for graduation.
2. Apply for your degree.
Students who have completed all the required studies (study modules, master's thesis) for the degree may apply for a degree certificate through an online application form in UEF E-Services. For general instructions related to graduation, see Kamu Student handbook.
The delivery time for the certificate is three (3) weeks from the point when the last study unit has been registered or from the date the application was returned. NB! During the busiest periods at the end of the autumn and spring terms, delivery times may be longer.
In the online application form, include 1) your major and its extent in credit points, 2) minor studies (for example from the other major of the MDP) and what courses you want to include, and 3) other elective studies. Courses that you may wish to leave outside your degree are listed separately.
Please note that if you wish to graduate within the autumn semester, make sure you submit your degree application to the Faculty of Social Sciences and Business Studies at the latest by 30 November. The processing of the degree applications can take 2–4 weeks during the end of the semester. For the spring semester the deadline is 31 May if a student wishes to graduate within the spring semester.
Theses are published in pdf-format if the student has given a permission for e-publishing, which is recommended. In the thesis submission form, you can select the level of access to your thesis. The UEF Library recommends Open Access publishing. Further information about thesis submission and evaluation, and UEF Publishing and Data Policy (pdf).
Master’s Degree Certificate
The Master’s degree certificate will include basic details of the student’s major and minor and/or other studies, including the amount of study credits of these study modules. In addition to the major and minor studies, it will also include the title and grade of the master’s thesis.
Major studies module will be graded on the scale 1–5 based on the weighed average of the completed major courses. Minor/other studies are not graded.
Recent Master's Thesis Topics
Environmental and Climate Change Law:
- Sustainable Finance in the EU – implications for the operation and compliance of financial institutions
- A Comparative Study of Wildlife Laws of Ethiopia and Vietnam
- Legislation on Zero-Emission Vehicles: Solution Towards Carbon-Neutrality or a Non-Sustainable Option?
- The complex relationship between international investment law and EU law: Possible implications of the Achmea- judgement for the jurisdiction of intra-EU disputes under the Energy Charter Treaty
- Assessing the effectiveness of NDCs and of the ambition raising mechanism in the pursue of the Paris Agreement’s temperature goals
- Flexibilities of the LULUCF Regulation – helping the Member States to mitigate climate change or creating a backsliding opportunity?
- Energy communities in the centre of EU energy transition. Legal status of energy community under the “Clean energy for all Europeans” package
- The equality of all suppliers under the data and cost sharing mechanism established by Article 95
- Compatibility of Finnish fossil fuel tax breaks with the EU State aid legislation
- A Seat at the (Trading) Table: Non-Market Mechanisms in the Paris Agreement
- Helping victims of climate impacts: Loss and Damage finance under the UNFCCC and beyond
- From Politics to Legislation: Efficiency & Implementation of SUP Directive 2019/904/EU
- Can Adaptive Governance Mitigate the Challenges Presented by the Scientific Uncertainty in River Basin Management Planning and Environmental Permitting?
- Union cohesion policy funds in the implementation of the European Hydrogen Strategy: Legal opportunities and limits
- Extended Producer Responsibility in Theory and in Practice: Requirements of EPR for Fibre-Based Packaging Sector in the EU Legislation
- Transboundary Environmental Impact Assessment Implementation in the Lower Mekong River Basin on the basis of the 1995 Mekong Agreement
- EU Biofuel Legislation & CSR: Finland
- Useful or Usable: Does the existing transparency framework influence the national decision-making process of developing countries?
- Protection of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction: Analyzing the potential effects of the new UN BBNJ regulation on the current legal framework of Marine Protected Areas in the ABNJ
- Boost or barrier? The scope and flexibility of environmental safeguards in REDD+ in Ghana
- Status Treaties Revisited: Implications for International Environmental Law
- How can Australia's leading environmental legislation, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, accommodate ecological restoration?
- Polluter Pays Principle and Regulation of Environmental Pollution in the Nigerian Oil Sector
- Towards the recognition and implementation of rights of nature in the European Union? Lessons learnt from the legislative experiences of Ecuador, Bolivia and New-Zealand
Environmental Policy and Natural Resources Governance:
- The Long Debate Around Short-Lived Climate Pollutants: History of a Policy Concept and its Impact on Global Environmental Governance
- Evaluation of Companies' Motives, Values, and Views Impact on Collaborative Cross-sector Climate Action: Case Study Imatra
- Social capital in community forestry: Findings from a quick scoping review about Oaxaca State, Mexico
- Assessment of Mongolian environmental non-governmental organizations
- How uncertainty shapes access to resources for local communities: lessons from inhabited forest concessions in the miombo woodlands in central Mozambique
- Beyond Anthropocentrism: Understanding Ecosexual Discourse in the context of Environmental Law and Policy
- Regulatory Framework on Geothermal Energy in Finland - Lessons learned from the Deep Heat-project in Otaniemi, Espoo
You can take a look at previous thesis topics in the UEF e-publications. You can also search for Master's theses in UEF Primo.