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Postgraduate course

Master's Thesis in Psychology

  • ECTS credits60
  • Teaching semesterSpring, Autumn
  • Course codeMAPSYK360
  • Number of semesters2
  • LanguageEnglish and Norwegian
  • Resources

Main content

Teaching semester

Autumn and spring

Objectives and Content

The work on the master¿s thesis is intended to provide the students with deeper insight into theory and empirical practice within a specialised field. The work will develop the students' ability to reflect critically on defined theoretical issues using scientific methods. The thesis must be presented in a written format in line with relevant standards for dissemination of academic research work.

Learning Outcomes

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course, students should have the following learning outcomes, defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


The student is able to:

  • analyse the relationship between topic, research question and research design
  • explain their choice of research design in view of the research question, academic requirements and resources
  • demonstrate breadth and depth of knowledge of the project's research area


The student is able to:

  • develop, plan and conduct a research project, and communicate the results of the project
  • produce a clear and precise written presentation of their research work
  • evaluate and explain their choice of research design
  • determine what conclusions can be drawn from the analysis
  • structure an academic text in accordance with the APA standard, including correct use of sources, correct presentation of references and use of relevant literature databases

General competence

The student is able to:

  • reflect on the role of the researcher in the collection and use of data
  • reflect on ethical issues related to use and interpretation of own data, references and quotations
  • reflect on authorship and co-authorship in academic work

Required Previous Knowledge

Students must have completed and passed the course MAPSYK302 Research methods and 30 credits from the other common and specialisation courses before starting on the master¿s thesis module.

Students must have passed the examinations in the common courses and specialisation courses in their chosen programme option before they can submit their master's thesis.

Students on the ¿behaviour and neuroscience¿ programme option who are going to use laboratory animals must take a course in the use of laboratory animals in research equivalent to the courses LAS301 and LAS302 during the course of their study.

Recommended Previous Knowledge


Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap


Access to the Course

Registration for the course requires admission to the master's degree programme in psychology

Teaching Methods and Extent of Organized Teaching

The course consists of three elements:

  • A project outline of 3,000-4,000 words
  • A master's thesis (in either thesis format or article format, see below)
  • A dissemination component in the form of an academic presentation of the student's own project at the closing conference of the master's degree programme

The details regarding the required format for the project outline and the master's thesis are described in a separate document. The project outline and master's thesis can be written in Norwegian or English. The master's thesis must include an abstract in both languages (of about 200 words each). The master's thesis must be written in line with the APA standard, with either 1.5 or double line spacing and with figures embedded in the text, as opposed to at the end.

Project outline: The students must prepare a project outline for the master¿s thesis of 3,000-4,000 words, under academic supervision. The project outline must provide an account of the project's subject area, research question(s), methods, data processing or form of analysis, research ethical assessments and a time frame for the work on the master's thesis. If the student pre-registers their plan for data collection and analysis, the project outline can be shorter and have the pre-registration attached as an annex. The project outline will be assessed as approved/not approved by the student's academic supervisor in consultation with the course coordinator.

Master's thesis in thesis format: The thesis should be between 16,000 and 20,000 words long (not including the foreword, abstracts, bibliography and appendixes). A shorter thesis may be accepted if it meets all the other requirements. The thesis must include a broad review of the literature, a detailed presentation of the background and research questions, and a discussion that goes into greater depth than is usual in an academic article. Students arrange with their academic supervisor how and how often the supervision is to be conducted over the two semesters. Students must submit their completed thesis within the deadline towards the end of their second semester.

Master's thesis in article format: A master¿s thesis in article format consists of an article manuscript and an accompanying summary called a "kappe". The combined length of these two texts should be between 12,000 and 16,000 words, depending on the requirements of the journal that the article was written for (not including the foreword, abstracts, bibliography and appendixes). The article manuscript must be written in the same style as an empirical or theoretical manuscript submitted for publication in an academic journal and must comply with the length requirements of the chosen journal. The accompanying "kappe" document must state which journal the student envisages that the manuscript could have been submitted to and their reason for choosing this journal. The "kappe" should also include a more detailed review of relevant theory and discussion of the article's potential contributions to the research literature than there is room for in the article manuscript.

The academic supervisor acts as a peer reviewer for the work on the article manuscript. This means that while the academic supervisor will help the student get started on the work, they should not be very involved in the writing of the text. Early in the second semester of the project, the students must submit a draft of their article and the "kappe" to their academic supervisor, who will then peer review the draft. The academic supervisor provides feedback within an agreed deadline (ideally two weeks) equivalent to a detailed written peer review. The students will then work independently on integrating this feedback into the final text that is submitted for grading. After submission, the students and academic supervisor can agree on whether to submit the work for publication as an academic article. In this case, the academic supervisor's contributions to the article may be incorporated after the thesis has been submitted for grading.¿A master¿'s thesis in article format will be evaluated on the basis of whether it meets the expectations for a manuscript submitted to the specified journal. The article manuscript will therefore be shorter in length than a master's thesis in thesis format, but extensive work will have to be done to ensure a clear focus on a specific problem and precise and concise academic language.

Collaborating on a master's thesis: As a general rule, the master¿s thesis should be written in pairs, but it is possible to submit individual work. In writing done in pairs, the co-authors are both expected to contribute equally to the work and to attend academic supervision meetings and follow the plans for student collaboration. The same requirements regarding length apply to a thesis written individually as those written in pairs. When assessing the thesis, the examiners will take into account whether the work has been done by one or two students. When submitting the master's thesis, a special form with a formal declaration that the master's thesis work is original own work must be submitted, signed by both students and their academic supervisor.

A joint orientation meeting for the courses MAPSYK330 and MAPSYK360 will be held in August. During the autumn and spring semesters, seminars will be held on various practical aspects of working on a master's thesis, research practice and academic writing.

The academic supervision is regulated by a more detailed supervision agreement. Some of the supervision can be provided in groups. The deadline for submitting the supervision contract will be provided at the orientation meetings and in MittUiB.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

  • A project outline must be submitted via MittUib within the specified deadline.
  • Dissemination: The students must carry out an academic presentation of their project in the form of a presentation lasting 15¿30 minutes at the closing conference for the master's degree programme. The presentation must be in the form of an oral presentation.

Forms of Assessment

Master's theses will be assessed by a committee consisting of two experts, one external and one internal. Grading will be determined on the basis of the written work presented. A grading scale from A to F will be used. If two students submit a joint thesis, they will receive a joint grade for both candidates. 

Examination Support Material

Not applicable

Grading Scale


Assessment Semester

Autumn and spring

Reading List

Not applicable

Course Evaluation

The module will be evaluated in line with the Faculty of Psychology's procedures for participatory evaluation and the University of Bergen's quality assurance system.

Programme Committee

Department of Psychosocial Science

Course Coordinator

Department of Psychosocial Science

Course Administrator

The Faculty of Psychology

Exam information