Thesis, Master's Degree

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Lead paragraph

Starting a thesis can seem challenging, even if the topic and the development of own professional competence are motivating and inspiring. However, it is not worth to make the start become an obstacle to the progress of studies.

On these pages we have compiled a description of the stages, requirements and goals of doing the thesis. It is worth reading the materials well in advance and carefully, as they provide the answer to many things. However, this is not the only support when doing a thesis.

The community of orientation, ie. studies, other students and orientation evenings, as well as the head of specialisation support the progress from start to finish. Significant support is also provided by the supervisor of the thesis.

The master's thesis is a 30-credit research and development task (approximately 800 hours of student work). Its purpose is defined in law as follows: "The aim of the Master's thesis is to develop and demonstrate the ability to apply research data and use selected methods for the analysis and solution of problems in working life and readiness for independent demanding expert work" (Government Decree 423/2005, § 7a).  

The thesis can be started immediately at the beginning of the studies. First, the student comes up with an idea suitable for the specialisation and sends a topic proposal to the specialisation head. In addition, the student enrols in the Applied Design Research course. NB: You don't enrol for thesis via ISP.

In the 90-credit Master's degree programme, the student starts the thesis at the beginning of the second academic year at the latest, so that the student can graduate within the target time.

Specialisation activities (studies and joint specialisation evenings) provide support for the ideation and launching of a thesis.

Master Thesis

Types of thesis

The research and development objectives, results and outputs can be very different. Respectively, working on the thesis can proceed in many different ways, and therefore, one general model cannot be given. However, theses have always in common that the student gets acquainted with previous research, collects and analyses one's own data or plans and implements one's own development project, and finally, describes and evaluates the results.

The master's thesis always begins with the definition of the objectives of research and development. The whole process is described in a thesis report and there can also be other outputs depending on the nature of the thesis. The progress of the work between these start and end points can then take different directions. The following orientations serve as examples.

The development-oriented thesis progresses from getting acquainted with previous research on the topic to the analysis of the current situation of the target organization and to the planned development and evaluation of the validity of the results. In addition to the thesis report, other outputs can be, for example, a new operating model, an operating manual for the organisation or operating instructions for an ICT system. In a development-oriented thesis, a separate output can also be developed and implemented, which can be, for example, a concept plan, product, a new service or piece of work.

Another common form of thesis is a research-oriented thesis, which also meets the development needs of the organisation. In this case, the thesis progresses from getting acquainted with previous research to collecting and analysing one's own research data, which serves as the basis for development proposals. Development proposals based on research must also be validated, for example, with feedback from the experts of the target organisation.

A research-oriented thesis can also focus on a current topic or challenge in working life or business. The student may not have an organisation or company as a commissioning party. Haaga-Helia, for example, can act as a client on the basis of its RDI needs. Even then, the thesis progresses from getting acquainted with previous research to collecting and analysing one's own research data. The result can be, for example, development suggestions, a new operating model for business, a blueprint or other recommendations.

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