A master’s thesis consists of 40 pages or more – they must be well structured! We explain what makes a good outline and what you must avoid.
The construction of a master thesis
Introduction, body, and conclusion are embedded in a forest that comprises a total of ten sections. The following structure should be adhered to in your master thesis:
- Cover sheet: It must contain certain information.
- Name of your university
- Name of your department or chair
- Name of your degree program
- Title of your work
- Name and title of your first and second supervisor
- Your first and last name
- matriculation number
Possibly. Your phone number
Contents: It gives a first overview over your master thesis and shows its contents structure.
Abbreviations: Here you explain all the technical abbreviations that you use in your master thesis.
List of Figures and Tables: All figures and tables are listed in the order in which they appear in your work.
Introduction: Work out your research question clearly and try to arouse the reader’s curiosity about your topic.
Main part: In the main part of your master thesis you explain the technical background of your topic and explain your research work, ie the applied methodology and the results obtained.
Conclusion: In this part, you summarize your research results and give a conclusive conclusion.
Bibliography: Here are all textual sources to which you refer in your master thesis listed in alphabetical order.
Appendix directory: This directory provides information about all attachments in your master thesis.
Appendix: In the appendix, you can present materials that you have used to create the master’s thesis, e.g. Questionnaires.
The structure of a master thesis
The main part of your master’s thesis has to be convincing due to its structure and density of information, so a well thought-out structure is crucial from the start.
1st collection of materials on the subject
You need to have the best possible overview of all the content that might be important to your master’s thesis. Create a collection of all aspects that could help answer your research question. The following questions help: Which elements interact with your topic? In which single questions can you disassemble your research question? What would be your desired answers?
2. Sorting and structuring
Now it’s about sorting the content found for your master’s thesis into chapters and subchapters. Search for the aspects of your collection that can be summarized in terms of content and clearly differentiated from other areas. Particularly important:
The heading for each item must be concrete and understandable.
At the beginning, you have to commit yourself to a certain order and keep it consistent until the end of the outline. Example: If you have a subitem 1.1.1 in the structure, then point 1.1.2 MUST follow. If this sub-item does not exist, it can only be subdivided to 1.1.
Each scientific discipline is structured differently. Take a look at successful master theses in your field!
Optimal structure by examples
In order to find a model for the structure of your master’s thesis, you can search for well-evaluated works with a similar research question. Even negative examples can be useful to always have in mind, as it should be under any circumstances. You should always be in contact with your supervisor for the master’s thesis, he can possibly give you older theses for inspection. Be sure to go to him as soon as the preliminary outline is! In the conversation, possible gaps and unused potentials of your master’s thesis will be clearest.