Master Thesis and Final Exams

The Master Thesis

This site lists the most important points regarding the Master Thesis. For more information on planning and booking the module, consult the Faculty of Arts' information sheets and booking form available at the page linked to below.

Beginning the project

Candidates should start thinking about an appropriate thesis topic in their third-but-last semester and then meet with a Professor or PD (ideally who they know from a seminar) to discuss their project. It is important to come well prepared and it is suggested that candidates write a research proposal, which provides a good basis for discussion. Please ask the Professor or PD in advance as to whether they have any further requirements for this initial meeting.

A research proposal may include the following sections:

  • Abstract or outline of the topic (or full introduction)
  • Working table of contents
  • Working bibliography
  • Information on the focus, goal and methods

Booking the Master Thesis module

Candidates must have confirmed the thesis timeframe with their supervisor(s) and secured their agreement before having the Master Thesis module booked. Candidates must complete the module booking form, which has to be signed both by the candidate and supervisor. Taking one copy of the form for themselves, the candidate should then pass the form on to the advisor of studies, who takes another copy for Department records. The original is then sent to the Studiendekanat for the module to be booked.

Writing the thesis: timing

The Master Thesis module allows for a maximum of 12 months for both the writing AND correction of the thesis. This means that the Master Thesis has to be submitted to the supervisor in electronic and printed form a minimum of six weeks before the module ends (max. 12 months after the booking date) in order to allow time for correction and potential revision. Therefore, the Master Thesis Booking form asks candidates and their supervisors to agree on the following dates:

  • Beginn der Master-Arbeit (Stichtag = Buchungsdatum)
  • Vereinbartes Abgabedatum bei ReferentIn/BetreuerIn
  • Datum Gutachten (= max. 1 Jahr nach Buchungsdatum)

Once the thesis has been graded and passed, a bound and printed presentation copy must be handed in to Faculty by 10 January (Autumn Semesters) or 10 July (Spring Semester). After your graduation, the thesis will be passed on to the Zentralbibliothek. The printing and binding regulations can be found on the website of the Faculty of Arts (Merkblatt Masterarbeit).

Sample timetable: Graduation expected in FS15
Master Thesis module booking: 1 April 2014
Submission to supervisor:1 February 2015
Date of review:23 March 2015
Master Final Exams (only 90 ECTS Major):week 8 - 14 of teaching (see below for details)
Submission of Thesis to Studiendekanat:before 10 July 2015

Note: Booking the Master Thesis is not the same as registering for graduation. For more information on when and how to register for graduation, go to

Writing the thesis: formal requirements

  • As a general rule, the thesis should be between 20,000 and 30,000 words in length, and written in English. Exceptions can be made only with the explicit agreement of the thesis supervisor.
  • The thesis must be submitted in both hard copy and electronic form.
  • The thesis must be submitted with a signed declaration that the thesis comprises the student's own work. Declaration (Selbständigkeitserklärung)
  • If you have chosen to write the thesis in your subsidiary subject, the letter from Faculty approving this must also be submitted.

Master Final Exams: 90 ECTS Major in English Literature and/or Linguistics

Master Final Exams are required only in the 90 ECTS major options. The module is worth 6 ECTS and takes the form of a 30 min. oral examination. The examiner will be the Professor or PD who has supervised your Master Thesis.*


The Master Final Exam Module does not differ from all other modules: candidates must book the module themselves within the usual booking period at the beginning of the semester in which they expect to graduate (see booking and cancellation deadlines).


Candidates must meet with their examiner to agree on a date and time slot. This must be agreed before the end of the third teaching week of the semester in which you wish to take the exam. Please note that in the event of a problem in arranging the exam, it is possible for the module to be cancelled only during the regular cancellation period up to the end of the second week of teaching (see booking and cancelation deadlines).

The exam may take place any time between weeks 8 and 14 (incl.) of the teaching semester. The deadlines for the Master Thesis are independent of those for the Final Exam; however, the thesis should have been submitted and corrected before the Final Exam takes place. This should, therefore, be borne in mind when planning the completion and submission schedule for the thesis module.


The material upon which candidates will be examined is to be agreed on in advance with the examiner. The first half of the exam will focus on the thesis, which ideally should be submitted in good time before the examination takes place. The remaining content of the examination will be determined by your examiner (in English Literature on the basis of the "Master 90 ECTS Major Final Exam Reading List," which is available for download at If you fail to submit the thesis before the date of the examination you will be examined on the additional content only.

*If you elected to write your Master Thesis in your minor (Nebenfach), the examination still takes place, but takes a slightly different format. In this case, you must get the agreement of the Professor or PD with whom you wish to take the examination before you book the module. You should meet with them in good time in order to discuss the material to be examined.