Thesis writing guidelines

Assessment criteria

General criteria applied by QANU in the official accreditation are the following: 

  • is the problem description mentioned clearly 

  • does the author stick to the problem 

  • is the line of reasoning logical and consistent 

  • do the conclusions indeed follow from the presented material 

  • is the method of working sound and justified 

  • is the material presented in a verifiable way 

  • are the core notions defined clearly 

  • are the methods and techniques adequate 

  • are they used correctly 

  • are the references clear, consistent and verifiable 

  • is the use of language correct 

  • does the author sufficiently know and master the relevant literature 

  • is the composition of the thesis acceptable 

You may also want to consult the assessment form that our department uses.  

Thesis writing

  • Consider the standard structure for scientific reports as given, for instance, by Penrose and Katz, "writing in the sciences". Know and explain why you defer from it. 

  • Ask your supervisor (and/or company supervisor) for additional requirements. 

  • A typical thesis length is 40-60 pages.  

  • The report is self reading, balanced and concise. Relevant proofs, data, programs and the like may be added in an appendix. 

  • A thesis is not a chronological report of your activities. 

  • A possible structure is: 

  • introduction: problem description,  preliminary knowledge, state of the art and description of the setting, purpose and relevance of the research (or design) 

  • models, methods, concept: explain your models and describe your techniques and methods and why you chose them (depends heavily on the type of project) 

  • results and evaluation: present the new theorems, designs, data, worked examples  and other results and interpret them (dito) 

  • discussion: show why the results "solve" the problem and to what extent,  describe what your research or design adds to the field's knowledge, what remains to be done and what other problems may be triggered; give hints for further study 

  • references: refer to relevant literature 

  • appendix: peripheral theory, lengthy proofs, simulation data, program fragments and the like that are relevant for the report but that should not clutter the line of reasoning and reading. 

Confidentiality MSC thesis

Please visit for information on the confidentiality period of your MSc thesis.

Summarizing confidentiality forever is not allowed. There are the following 3 variants of confidentiality:

  1. Public
  2. Confidential for two years (company-based projects only)
  3. Confidential for five years (company-based projects only; motivated request should be attached; requires approval of the Graduate program director)

It is advisable to discuss this upfront with the company in order to prevent unexpected surprises or extra work because of writing a new MSc thesis or adapting the thesis.