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.
An updated writing guide will be included here for reference when it is ready in September 2020.
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 5319107 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 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 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 WebOodi 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 Natural Resources Governance, Turnitin can be found in the respective master's thesis seminar Moodle page. For students majoring in Environmental and Climate Change Law, Turnitin can be found in the Turnitin Law Moodle 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.
If you want to test Turnitin before you submit the thesis for formal evaluation, please do this on the Turnitin page in Moodle.
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.
In the Law School the Master's thesis is graded from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest grade. The Department of Geographical and Historical Studies uses a seven-step Latin scale: approbatur/lubenter approbatur/non sine laude approbatur/cum laude approbatur/magna cum laude approbatur/eximia cum laude approbatur/laudatur. 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 to WebOodi, the completed studies must be compiled and registered as part of a student's degree. This does not happen automatically! Please contact your programme coordinator once you wish to graduate in order to register your courses into your degree and to get guidance on applying 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 using an application form (to be updated). 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! At the busiest periods, such as at the end of the autumn and spring terms, delivery times may be longer.
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.
- Students of Natural Resources Governance: hand your application to amanuensis Outi Väyrynen (HIMA).
- Students of Environmental and Climate Change Law: hand your application to amanuensis Sanna Vikla.
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 evalution, 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.
Previous Master's thesis topics in Environmental Policy and Law
Environmental and Climate Change Law:
- Eco-feminist approaches to climate change policies and legislations : Bangladesh in context
- Material Scope of the Nagoya Protocol: What Compromises the Subject Matter of "Genetic Resources"?
- Demand-side response : key to energy efficiency goals
- International governance of research on solar geoengineering
- Regional multilateral environmental agreements as tools for promoting cooperation in marine oil pollution preparedness and response : the case of the 2013 Arctic council agreement on cooperation on marine oil pollution preparedness and response in the Arctic
- Realizing the obligations under the UNFCCC for the technology transfer for adaptation to least developed countries
- Addressing climate change loss and damage under international law after Paris
- A rights-based approach to climate change policy : what does it mean for Africa?
- CSR reporting in the EU under Directive 2014/95/EU : a case study of Danish influence on EU CSR policy
Natural Resources Governance:
- Factors influencing good governance in forest management and protection: a case of Mt. Elgon Forest Reserve
- The possibilities and challenges of animal welfare labelling in Finland
- Framing sustainability in the Finnish bioenergy discussion
- Environmental disasters as the drivers for policy change : case study: Talvivaara Mine
- Institutions, actors and the governance of air pollution in China
- Oil Conflict in the Niger-Delta Area of Nigeria
- Investigating the energy crisis in post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan : how could technical innovation support a transition to sustainability?
- Civil society participation : a way forward in cooperation between REDD+ and FLEGT VPA processes in Lao PDR?
- Analysis of Pinus Sibirica nuts trade in Mongolia : recommendations for value chain development
- Resilience and vulnerability of the Niger-delta people to the socio-ecological impact of oil pollution : a case study of Southern Ijaw, Bayelsa State, Nigeria
- Integrating mining and sustainability : a case study on Natura 2000 in Finnish Lapland
You can take a look at previous thesis topics in the UEF e-publications.