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Master's Thesis in Business Administration II, 15 Credits

Swedish name: Masteruppsats i företagsekonomi II

This syllabus is valid: 2020-08-17 and until further notice

Course code: 2FE402

Credit points: 15

Education level: Second cycle

Main Field of Study and progress level: Business Administration: Second cycle, contains degree project for Master of Arts/Master of Science (120 credits)

Grading scale: VG Pass with distinction, G Pass, U Fail

Responsible department: Business Administration

Revised by: Rector of Umeå School of Business and Economics, 2020-05-28


The objective of the Master's thesis is to further develop the student's ability to carry out and contribute to business research. The student should demonstrate, through his/her thesis and orally, an ability to plan, conduct, and present a scientific investigation of relevance to the subject of Business Administration and the student's chosen Master's program. A further aim is to develop skills for the critical examination of investigations and research reports and to provide the student with the opportunity for a deeper level of theoretical study within a chosen area.
Module 1. Side-opposition, 0 credits
Secondly, the student should submit a written critical analyses (side-opposition), of one other 2nd year Master's thesis at the public thesis seminar. This is an individual assignment. The side-opposition must clearly document the student's critical abilities. In addition, the student is required to participate at the thesis seminar relating to the side-opposition.
Module 2. Master's Thesis, 15 credits

The thesis work should prove the students' independent abilities to investigate an issue within the field of business administration. The emphasis lies on the critical choice of method, the creation of a relevant theoretical frame of reference, and an in-depth analysis of the theoretical and empirical material. Further, the author must identify a possibility to contribute to the existing literature in a chosen subject or problem area, and make a significant and realistic effort to make this contribution. The methodology discussions must be clearly connected to the problem area and the different parts must be well integrated as a harmonized unity. Thesis work should generally be conducted in groups of two.
Module 3. Main opposition, 0 credits

A major critical analysis of another Master's thesis is required. This is carried out through an individual written as well as an oral discussion of another's research in a public seminar. Generally, the oral critical analysis is conducted together with one's thesis co-author.

Expected learning outcomes

After completing this course, the student should be able to:
  • demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the chosen reseach question, area of research, and related methodical issues
  • identify a research area and formulate a research problem that furthers knowledge within a specific field
  • develop a theoretical frame of reference that reflects over previous findings and research methods.
  • argue convincingly for the chosen research method with reflection on alternative methodological approaches.
  • apply appropriate data collection methods for the collection of empirical material. 
  • analyze and discuss the empirical material using relevant methods for analyses.
  • draw conclusions and discuss the thesis's theoretical contribution to the selected research area and suggest practical recommendations to relevant stakeholders.
  • present proposals for future studies based on the conducted study. 
  • discuss societal and ethical issues of relevance for the thesis.
  • communicate the main arguments, contents and results of the study in a scholarly manner
  • defend the thesis at a seminar
  • critically examine other student theses both orally and in writing.

Required Knowledge

90 credits with a minimum of 75 credits in Business Administration.
82.5 credits within a two-year Master's Program at Umeå School of Business and Economics of which a minimum of 67.5 credits in Business Administration on advanced level including a Master's thesis 15 credits and 30 credits core courses or equivalent. Previously completed courses must include studies of scientific methodology within business/social sciences corresponding to at least 7.5 credits, including both qualitative and quantitative methodology

Proficiency in English equivalent to Swedish upper secondary course English B or the equivalent.

Form of instruction

The authors' independence and responsibility is emphasized in this thesis work. Thus the supervisor's influence and control is reduced in order to create the necessary conditions for individual autonomy, creativity, and personal responsibility. The ongoing thesis work is to be presented to the supervisor on at least three occasions during the thesis process. Supervision is only guaranteed for the semester under which the student is firstly registered for the course.

Examination modes

Examinations takes place during set exam periods within the semester.
Module 1. Side-opposition, 0 credits
This module consists of written side-opposition on one other 15 credits Master's Thesis. Written side-opposition is always individual.  In addition, the student is required to take part in the seminar for this particular Master's Thesis. Side-opposition is graded as pass or fail.
Module 2. Master's Thesis, 15 credits
The Master's Thesis is examined through authoring and defending an independent work. The following grading system is used: Pass with distinction (Väl godkänd, VG), Pass (Godkänd, G) and Fail (Underkänd, U). The Master's Thesis is assessed and graded by a grading teacher and an examiner, whereas the individual effort in the defense is graded at the seminar.
In case the Master's Thesis is not accepted as is, it may be revised with instructions given by the supervisor (or the grader), or subject of a new effort. In cases of revision, the new version should be completed and delivered to the grading teacher within four weeks after the final seminar/or the date the revision was presented.
Module 3. Main opposition, 0 credits
A major critical analysis of another 2nd year Master's Thesis (15 credits) is required. This is carried out through an individual written as well as an oral examination of another's research in a constructive and critical manner at a public seminar. Generally, the oral critical analysis is conducted together with one's Master's Thesis co-author. The main opposition is graded as pass or fail.
For the course as a whole, the following grading system is used: Pass with distinction (Väl godkänd, VG), Pass (Godkänd, G) and Fail (Underkänd, U).
Grades on the course are awarded when students have passed all examinations and compulsory course elements.
Rules and regulations concerning the production of academic texts and correct referencing will be applicable to all written assignments.

Other regulations

The thesis should normally be jointly written by two authors.
It is not possible for two students who jointly write a thesis, to be registered for different types of theses (e.g. one student writing a Degree Project and the other a Master's thesis).
Supervision is only guaranteed for the semester under which the student is firstly registered for the course, regardless of how much supervision that has been utilized.
The thesis course is a campus course, which implies personal presence for supervision, participation in seminars, and collaboration with a thesis partner.
For students following a master's program, the subject for the thesis should be within the scope of the master's program. For further information, see descriptions for awarding degrees (in Marketing, Management etc.)
The length of the Master's thesis should range from 50 to 70 pages.
The empirical material that is utilized in the thesis should on request be available for supervisor, main opponents and the graders in its original form (raw-data).
When the grade has been set, archive copies of the completed thesis shall as soon as possible, and within 4 weeks, be submitted in digital form in the Diva system.

Academic credit transfers are according to the University credit transfer regulations.

Exceptions from examination form as stated in the syllabus can be made for a student who has a decision on pedagogical support for disabilities. Individual adaptations of the examination form should be considered based on the student's needs. The examination form shall be adapted within the framework of the expected learning outcomes stated in the course syllabus. At the request of the student, the course responsible teacher, in consultation with the examiner, must promptly decide on the adapted examination form. The decision must then be notified to the student.


Valid from: 2020 week 34

Course literature

Module 1

For instructions, see the Manual for Thesis Writing.

Module 2

Literature is to be found individually. A list of recommended methods literature could be found in the appendix to the Manual for Thesis Writing.

Module 3

Instructions are found in the Manual for Thesis Writing.

Course reference literature

Thesis writing in Business Administration. Thesis manual.
USBE Företagsekonomi :

Reference literature is literature that broadens, deepends and clearifys the subject. The student is expected to utilize this sources and other sources, primarily during the work with written assignments. Additional individual literature focusing on specific topics may be needed to be able to complete module assignments.