Important Information for the Master’s Thesis

This page has tools and suggestions for students who are writing their master’s thesis.

Link for the Master's Thesis templates

Description of the Process

  • Start thinking about your topic as early as possible. Get excited!
    • By the end of the first semester, have an idea for a potential topic and discuss it with your staff mentor.
  • During the Second semester, narrow your focus from a broad topic to a closer focal point.
    • By the end of the second semester, submit an initial research project proposal for the master’s thesis.
  • Your topic proposal must be submitted at the end of the third semester.
    • Use the third semester to prepare for and conduct preliminary and empirical research.
    • Select the supervisor for the master’s thesis.
  • At the beginning of the fourth semester, you must officially register for the thesis.
    • Discuss this process with your faculty advisor.
  • You are expected to finish the master’s thesis–and your studies–in the fourth semester. Exceptions can only be accepted under very special and unusual circumstances.

The Writing Process

(Suggested Method)

  • Start with a web outline–put all of your thoughts about your idea onto the page and then start drawing lines between different thoughts that might connect.
  • Take your web outline and transfer it into a preliminary outline. You can move the topics around later, but it’s good to have something to start with.
  • Take the preliminary outline and add sub-points for every heading. Specify as much as you can about each point.
  • Once your outline is as descriptive and detailed as you can make it, write a first draft. Remember, do not use the delete button! The hardest part about writing is getting started. Just put something on the page, and worry about how good it is later.
    • Try to get 60% of your total intended length. For 60-80 pages, try 40-55 pages.
  • Take your first draft and print it out. Reading text alone, our brains often automatically correct our work without even thinking about it. By printing out and retyping your draft, you are forced to think about every word (and then you can fix things more easily!).
    • Repeat this process with each draft.
  • When you have a solid draft that you feel confident with, print it out and take some scissors. Cut up every section and subsection. Play around with the ordering of your thesis. You’d be surprised at how often sections go better in new places!
  • Repeat these suggested processes until you feel confident in your final draft. Then hit send!


  • Any SDAC senior lecturer or professor can be a supervisor. However, it is recommended not to choose a guest lecturer since they will only be at SDAC for one year.
  • The main supervisor must be from SDAC. However, if students wish, a second supervisor from the philosophical faculty may be chosen.
  • In very rare cases, a professor outside of FAU may be a good fit for a supervisor. The teacher must have a post-doctorate degree. In this case, clear reasons should be identified and discussed with the program coordinator. Only then can a decision be made about whether or not the outside professor will be allowed to supervise the student.
  • When searching for a supervisor, students should bear in mind several considerations:
    • How the teacher’s research foci are connected to the student’s intended research
    • The teacher’s availability (are they already supervising other students? Will they be able to have ample time for the student?)

Requirements of the Thesis

  • The thesis must be 80 pages or within a margin of +/- 10% (excluding photographs, title page, table of contents, and references).
  • The templates provided by SDAC must be used.
  • Once the student has officially registered for the thesis, they have exactly six months to complete the thesis.
  • The thesis must be written in English.
  • The thesis must be submitted in two bound copies (physical form) and one digital form using a digital storage device (a USB stick or SD card) at the examination office (Prüfungsamt). All of this must be combined and handed in an envelope.
  • There are no exemptions for the deadline except for very rare and extraordinary circumstances unforeseen previously. These must be discussed with the examination office (Prüfungsamt).
  • The complete thesis is double the weight of the coursework.


  • Citation styles allowed by SDAC are APA and Chicago but should be discussed with the supervisor.
  • Citation softwares are helpful to keep track of sources. Citavi, Mendeley, and Endnote are recommended.
  • Any attempt of plagiarism will result in immediate failure and expulsion from SDAC and FAU. 

Thesis defense

  • Ask your supervisor for more advice in preparing for the defense!
  • After the supervisor has finished evaluating your written thesis, they will reach out to you to schedule your oral defense, which will take place within six weeks after the thesis has been evaluated.
  • The oral defense lasts one hour in total: twenty minutes for your presentation, thirty minutes for questions, and ten minutes for the supervisors to make an evaluation.
  • The oral defense is thirty percent, and the written thesis is seventy percent of the total thesis grade