Some information is available on the website of the Faculty of Arts. Below, you find the most important guidelines for Master Theses at the English Department. However, we strongly encourage you to read the Faculty guidelines as well.
Whom Can You Choose as Your Supervisor?
- The Master Thesis is usually supervised by a professor.
- Other members of staff holding a PhD degree are also allowed to supervise Master Theses. Note, however, that they are not obliged to do so.
- To find out what types of topics individual instructors may be interested in supervising, you can consult their homepages. You can find links to all instructors' homepages on the UZH English Department's Staff List.
When to Contact Potential Supervisors?
Make sure to contact a potential supervisor prior to booking the Master Thesis online - ideally at the end of the preceding semester, but no later than:
- August 5 for the fall semester;
- January 5 for the spring semester.
When and How Do I Book the Master Thesis?
- The Master Thesis must be booked online, during the module booking period.
By When Do I Need to Submit?
- The latest possible submission dates for the Master Thesis are:
- December 1 (for the fall semester);
- June 1 (for the spring semester).
- Template covers:
- Note that your supervisor may ask you to submit the Master Thesis earlier than this (e.g. mid-November for the fall semester).
How Long Should the Master Thesis Be?
Usually, the Master Thesis is between c. 20,000 and 30,000 words (not counting the bibliography). Note, however, that supervisors may accept theses that are shorter or longer. In other words, if in doubt, discuss the question of length with your supervisor.
Please also consult the following documents:
How Much Supervision? And What If I Don't Hear Back?
You are expected to conduct most of your research for the Master Thesis independently. However, supervisors will of course be happy to provide a certain level of guidance.
- At the start of the supervision process, you should discuss the mode of supervision with your supervisor (e.g. Will there be regular meetings? How often are you allowed/supposed to contact your supervisor?)
- Should you encounter any major problems, then please make sure to get in touch with your supervisor as early as possible!
Usually, supervisors at the UZH English Department will try to respond to your queries within 48 hours (working days, i.e. not counting weekends).
Should you not not hear back from your supervisor within three to four working days, then please send them a short reminder.
If you still do not hear back from your supervisor after your second message (within three to four working days), you should contact the advisor of studies at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Organizing the Master Thesis: Two Examples
The Master Thesis is, usually, a two-semester module. Accordingly, the following examples cover the two most common cases.
- If you plan to submit the Master Thesis in the fall semester, you would:
- ideally contact your supervisor at the end of the fall semester in the previous year, but no later than January 5, to find out whether they are willing to supervise your topic;
- book the Master Thesis during the module booking period of the spring semester (end of January/early February);
- submit the Master Thesis no later than on December 1 (or earlier, if your supervisor has given you an earlier submission date).
- If you plan to submit the Master Thesis in the spring semester, you would:
- ideally contact your supervisor at the end of the spring semester in the previous year, but no later than August 5, to find out whether they are willing to supervise your topic;
- book the Master Thesis during the module booking period of the fall semester (end of August/early September);
- submit the Master Thesis no later than on June 1 (or earlier, if your supervisor has given you an earlier submission date).
If you would like to submit your Master Thesis at the end of the first semester, then the corresponding deadlines would apply (i.e. June 1 for the spring and December 1 for the fall semester).
Language of instruction
Students should have successfully written a Master seminar paper in the field (i.e. literature or linguistics) in which they are planning to conduct the Master Thesis project.
Students are to agree on their topic with their supervisor in a timely manner. Further details pertaining to requirements specific to the respective field in which the student has chosen to write the thesis should be discussed with them. Students are able to: (a) devise, plan, and conduct an independent research project using appropriate theoretical and methodological approaches; (b) solicit appropriate feedback; (c) present their own research in C2-level academic prose, which applies the conventions of academic writing in English.
The Master thesis shows evidence of the ability to work independently on an academic project of a suitable level within the stipulated time limit, and to present this appropriately.