Masters thesis

5 Steps to your Masters thesis

Generally, the master's thesis is written at the end of the degree programme. Please find all important information for the master's thesis on this website or summarized in the Information Sheet. 

1. Choice of topic/topic

The topic is proposed by the student and set by the first examiner, and must be approved by the examination board.

2. Choice of examiner/requirements for examiners

First examiner

First examiners for master's thesis on Leuphana Graduate School Masters that follow on from Bachelor programmes must hold at least a doctorate, be qualified in the field of the master's thesis and be full-time teachers on said masters programmes. Temporary lecturers with the same qualifications may also act as supervisors provided that they are employed at the University for the duration of the requested supervision period.

Please note
The examination board for the Management & Entrepreneurship masters programmes has decided that the first examiner must be a professor (this includes assistant and temporary professors)

Exception: Dual degree with the University of Glasgow: “International Economic Law”
The master's thesis is to be written at the University of Glasgow in accordance with the examination regulations of the University of Glasgow. The first reviewer is to be an examiner from the University of Glasgow and the second reviewer an examiner from Leuphana University.

Second examiner

In general, the same quality criteria apply to second examiners as to first examiners. Internal and external second examiners who do not hold a doctorate must provide written evidence of their academic/scientific qualifications (to be submitted to the examination board with the application)

Please note
The examination board for the Management & Entrepreneurship Masters programme has decided that the second examiner must hold at least a doctorate and be authorised to act as an examiner. Postdoctoral researchers who are teaching on masters programmes are eligible to supervise master's thesis together with the professor in their research field/institute.

3. Application for Masters thesis

Applications and notification
The application form for submission of a master's thesis is available on the Student Services/Assessments pages as a fillable pdf. Please complete the application and submit it to Student Services together with the examiners’ confirmation. Students must provide a clear suggested topic in German and English. (If possible, please use the fillable pdf.) The approved title will appear in exactly the same wording on your certificate. Once the topic has been confirmed and the examiners have been approved by the examination board, you will receive a letter of acceptance specifying the final title of the thesis and the submission deadline. The title cannot subsequently be changed.
Please note for your planning that your application to undertake a master's thesis must first be approved by the examination board. The allocated time starts when the examination board gives its approval.

Please note:  A German title is not required for master's thesis to be written in English.

Changing topics
Students who are making their first attempt at the thesis, and such students only, can reject the topic within 14 days of the start of the time allowed without giving reasons. This must be done in writing: notification for the examination board must be submitted to Student Services. Once a student has rejected the initial topic, he or she can select a new topic. The new topic cannot be closely related to the previous topic. The same total time is allocated for the new topic. The examiners do not need to be the same as for the previous topic. Work on the new topic does not qualify as a second attempt; it is part of the same first attempt interrupted by rejection of the initial topic

Application for Masters thesis in Business
For further information on the application procedure for a master's thesis in business, please click here (only avaible in german).

4. Submission of the Masters thesis

The master's thesis must be submitted in duplicate together with the declaration below (b) to Student Services by the set deadline at the latest. For submission by post, the valid postmark shall apply (please ask for a receipt of postage with the date). A CD/DVD with a digital copy of the master's thesis is also to be affixed inside each hard copy of the thesis. The following details should appear on the title page: Leuphana University Major The title of the thesis in German and English (wording exactly as in the application)

Surname and first name of candidate
Student ID no. Current e-mail address
Current postal address
First examiner Second examiner (for external examiners, current contact details (postal address))
Date of submission

The following signed declaration must be included at the end of each copy of the thesis (as an integral part of the bound hard copy):
„Ich versichere, dass ich diese Master-Arbeit – bei einer Gruppenarbeit den entsprechend gekennzeichneten Teil der Master-Arbeit – selbstständig verfasst und keine anderen als die angegebenen Quellen und Hilfsmittel benutzt habe. Ich versichere, alle Stellen der Arbeit, die wortwörtlich oder sinngemäß aus anderen Quellen übernommen wurden, als solche kenntlich gemacht und die Arbeit in gleicher oder ähnlicher Form noch keiner Prüfungsbehörde vorgelegt zu haben.“

Please note
Even if the thesis is in English, this German declaration must be included in German.

5. Oral-Examination (Previously Colloquium) and Thesis Grading

Admission to the oral examination
Before a student can sit the oral examination, both examiners must have submitted their graded reports to Student Services. The student then receives written notification that he or she has been admitted to the oral examination. The student is responsible for arranging a date and time for the oral examination with the examiners. The examination confirmation sheet (issued when you submit the master's thesis) is to be submitted to Student Services no later than one week before the start of the examination. Students do not receive confirmation of receipt of the examination confirmation sheet. 

Oral examination
The purpose of the oral examination is to elucidate the thesis. The oral examination is not open to the public. Only the first and second examiner, the student and members of the examination board may attend. Oral examinations generally last 30 minutes. The time per candidate is to be reduced accordingly for group examinations. The form of the oral examination is decided by the examiners in consultation with the student. The examiners must draw up a written record of the oral examination.

Evaluation of thesis with oral examination
The examiners grade the oral examination. The arithmetic mean of the two grades is the grade for the supplementary oral examination, and that grade is worth one fifth (5 CP) of the overall grade for the master's thesis. The arithmetic mean of the grades from the assessment reports is weighted at four fifths (20 CP) of the overall grade.

Evaluation of thesis without oral examination
Each examiner issues a written report on the thesis. The overall grade for your master's thesis is the arithmetic mean of the two grades.

Please note
In the event that the grading by the two examiners differs by two grades or more, another expert reviewer must be appointed by the competent examination board before the grade is announced. In such cases, the overall grade is the arithmetic mean of all individual grades

Repeating Masters thesis

The master's thesis may only be repeated once. Students may only repeat the thesis if their first attempt is graded as a “fail”. Students may not resit assessments that they have passed. If the first attempt has been graded as a “fail”, a second and final attempt with a new topic is permitted. The new topic cannot be closely related to a previous topic. The time defined in the Subject-Specific Schedule is then allocated for completion. The examiners do not need to be the same as for the previous topic.


Illness during the master's thesis period shall only be taken into account if a medical certificate is provided. The certificate must be submitted to Student Services within five working days of the illness commencing. The medical certificate (incapacity form) must explicitly certify that the student in question was unable to work on his or her master's thesis. The standard forms for incapacity for work are not sufficient in this case. The time allocated for the thesis shall be suspended for the duration of the incapacity. The submission deadline shall be extended by the number of days for which the student was ill.

Further Information

Group work

The master's thesis may be a piece of group work. The contribution of the individual candidate to be assessed must be clearly identifiable on the basis of sections, page numbers and other objective criteria. It must be possible to assess said contribution on its own merits.

Masters Forum

The Masters Forum is a separate module in which an assessment must be completed. The form of each Masters Forum depends on the requirements of the given major.

Time allocated and length

Five months are allowed for the master's thesis, with the exception of thesis on the International Economic Law Major, for which three months are allowed. A period of 20 weeks is set for the Management & Entrepreneurship Masters programme; differing rules apply for the length (see table in the information sheet).