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2017-2018 A.Y.
Master of Science


Starting from the July 2017 graduation session, all rules described in this chapter are applied to all MSc program students (in corso students and fuori corso ones).

To be admitted to the graduation session students must earn all the credit points provided for in the program structure except for those credits of the thesis.

Students are awarded the degree after passing the Degree Final exam and after earning at least 120 credit points.

The thesis is worth 18-20 credit points according to the program structure of the MSc Program.

The thesis preparation is divided into the following phases:

To be admitted to the graduation session students must earn all the credit points provided for in the program structure except for those credits of the thesis. Students are awarded the degree after passing the Degree Final exam and after earning at least 120 credit points. The thesis is worth 18-20 credit points according to the program structure of the MSc Program.

The thesis preparation is divided into the following phases:

  • completion of the whole Graduation application procedures;
  • admission to the graduation session;
  • thesis oral presentation and awarding of the graduation grade.
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Thesis content

In order to obtain the Master of Science degree, the final exam requires students to present and defend their written thesis before the Degree Assessment Board.

The thesis shapes the student's educational experience in a significant way. It is the result of research carried out under the supervision of the thesis advisor on a topic linked to the main subject area of the graduating student's curriculum.

The thesis must demonstrate the student's command of the basic methodologies of the subject areas he/she has studied and must include an in-depth analysis of a specific topic.

Students enrolled in Italian class groups can choose to write the thesis in Italian or in English; students enrolled in English class groups must write the thesis in English.
The thesis oral defense language must always be the same as the language in which the thesis is written.

The thesis can be:
  • A research project (Research Thesis) aimed at producing scientific knowledge or methodologies, or aimed at analyzing and finding a solution to a given problem of an organization. This type of thesis must include an analysis of the literature, defining the research problem, defining the methodology used and results obtained;
  • An analytical/descriptive thesis (Thesis) which can be developed in different ways (such as: business plan; case study; etc). This type of thesis must include a review of the literature as regards a research topic.
In each Department students can request orientation when choosing the type of thesis to draw.
As a general guide the thesis is made of 50 pages (around 18.000 words) except for:
  1. theses referring to the Department of Law, made of about 150/200 pages (50.000/70.000 words);
  2. theses referring to the field of Economic History of the Department of Policy Analysis and Public Management, which can be of variable lenght, up to about 150 pages (around 50.000);
  3. CLELI program student theses referring to the Department of Legal Studies can consist in:
    • a thesis of a descriptIve/systemic content, which can be written in different ways (Legal Institute analysis, legal review on a specific topic etc). The work must include a bibliography on the specific topic and should be, as a general guide, 50-100 pages in lenght;
    • a research thesis which consists in a more in-depth analysis of a legal institute or similar, accompanied by a comparative or supranational analysis and a critical approach. The work must include a complete bibliography on the specific topic and should be, as a general guide, 100-200 pages in lenght.

It is possible to download the Guide for writing the MSc thesis which has been written with the aim of give orientation to students in writing the thesis.
If needed, any additional information on peculiar courses of a specific MSc Program can be provided by the Program Director and will come out when writing the thesis from the contact between Advisor and student.

We invite you to carefully check the correct procedures for the use of citations, in the above guide.

The University pays particular attention to the originality of the students’ thesis. It must be the result of a personal contribution, must not be carried out with the aid of outside consulting firms, special attention must be paid to citations and the thesis must not contain texts taken from other sources. To this end the University has adopted ad hoc software in order to verify the originality of the work.

Should copying of work be discovered, the student will be referred to the Disciplinary Board and appropriate measures will be taken.
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Graduation application procedure

The Graduation application procedures process is structured into the following phases:
1. assignment of the thesis title
2. Graduation reservation
3. Entering the information relating to the thesis title completion and upload the definitive file of the thesis
4. Approval request to the Advisor professor.

The student who does not complete all the phases of the Graduation - application procedure cannot be admitted in the graduation session.

Università Bocconi offers assistance at the Secretary’s Office of the Graduate School (Location Table).

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Thesis title assignment

The thesis is formally assigned by the thesis advisor, who will supervise the progress of the work.

The advisor may nominate a second advisor:

  • the thesis covers more than one field of study; the second advisor is chosen from a Department which is different from the advisor's, and collaborates in supervising the work.
  • In case of long term Visiting Professor.

In case of selection of a Second Advisor, after entering the title into the IT procedure, students will fill the appropriate form in (Second Advisor form - pdf file) which must be signed by the Advisor professor and returned to the Offices of the Graduate School.

Title entering procedures

Thesis title assignment can be made only if the student is enrolled in the second year of studies.

After having agreed upon the thesis title and type with the Advisor professor the Graduating student must:
access to the function "Graduation - Application Procedures" and fill out the section "Thesis Title entering on the web by specifying:

  • type of thesis: "thesis" or "research thesis".
  • thesis title * (see note);
  • thesis language;
  • the authorization and not authorization for the thesis consultation
    and, in the following screen
  • the name of the Advisor professor.

In case of second advisor, the name has not to be entered online, but communicated in accordance with the procedure described above.
The information entered online are immediately made available to the Advisor Professor who, via web, continues with assignment of the thesis.

Upon title assignment the student receives a notification via yoU@B Diary and can continue with the following phases of the Graduation - Application procedures.


NOTE: the title approval by the advisor professor is comulsory requirement for making the graduation reservation. Therefore, we invite you to enter the title well in advance than the deadline for carrying out the graduation reservation (for deadlines see

Modifying the title of the thesis

If the student wishes to modify the data relating to the title entered only, he/she must use the function Graduation Application procedure>Change title: in this case, if done already, the final paper title assignment by the Advisor professor is still valid.
The student can change the title entered online up to the request of approval to the Advisor professor: once the approval has been requested, the function ‘Change title’ will no longer be available. IMPORTANT: if the student wishes to change the thesis type (thesis-research thesis), he/she must annul the title (see following paragraph) and repeat the whole title assignment procedure.

Any annulment of the title entered

If the student wishes to change the Advisor professor or change the thesis type, he/she must use the function Graduation application procedures>Cancel title: in this case he/she must repeat the whole procedure of title entering and must wait the title assignment by the new Advisor professor.

The student can cancel the title entered online until request of approval to the Advisor professor: once he/she has forwarded the approval request, the function ‘Change title’ and ‘Cancel title’ are no longer available.

NOTICE: the student who does not wish to graduate and cancels the thesis tile, must also cancel the graduation reservation made.

Uploading Thesis attachments not definitive files

Only upon approval of the Advisor Professor to a specific request, the student can forward NON DEFINITIVE files of his/her work (e.g. chapters of temporary sections) by using the appropriate function ‘Thesis attachments - non definitive files’ available online in the Graduation>Application procedure function.
The attached files are made available to the professor.

NOTICE: uploading the files in ‘Thesis attachment’ function DOES NOT replace the upload of one-definitive file which MUST be made in any case by using the function ‘Thesis title Information completion’>Thesis final attachment

Once the title has been assigned by the Advisor professor, the student can:

  • make the graduation reservation
  • enter the information to complete the thesis title and proceed with the upload of the definitive file of the thesis.
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Graduation reservation

NOTICE: the first graduation session available for students enrolled in the second year of studies in the 2017-2018 academic year will be held in July 2018.

Students can make the graduation reservation via the Student diary function "Graduation>Graduation-Application Procedure>Graduation Reservation" by reserving a graduation session from the Graduation Calendar.

Students can sit exams during this period. Students do not need to have passed all exams in order to make the graduation reservation, therefore, it is advisable to make the graduation reservation in advance than the thesis upload.

When making the graduation reservation, the system will check online that both the student's financial and administrative positions(*) comply with the graduation session.

In addition, the system also checks that students:

  • have a valid thesis title assigned by the advisor professor;
  • have paid all due installments including the graduation fee* (using the MAV payment slip available on the Punto Blu in Administrative Area>Financial status>Payments);

*Students are suggested to pay the graduation fee around one month before making the graduation reservation (for the details on the graduation fee see 12.1 Other Costs) .

  • Students enrolled in the second year of studies 2016-17 who wish to graduate by the first graduation session of the 2018 solar year (the first graduation session will be scheduled as a general guide in the month of March) do not have to enroll in the 2017-18 academic year;
  • students enrolled in the second year 2016-17 who wish to graduate after the first graduation session of the 2018 solar year will have to enroll in the 2017-18 academic year
  • For information on the financial status/payments to be carried out, students are invited to verify with the Tuition and Fees Office (TCA )
  • After registering students are suggested to print out the relating receipt via yoU@B Student Diary> Graduation Application Procedure> Print reservation.

In the subsequent days than the graduation reservation students are asked to:
  • enter Cv@B in the "CAREER SERVICE" section of yoU@B and to upgrade their Profile and Default CV. The updated Profile and curriculum will be used to create the Graduants Cv Book and, after graduation, the Graduate Cv BOOK. Both cv books will be shared with Bocconi contacts which include companies, public and private organizations as well as professional studios, with the aim of enhancing recruitment opportunities.goes in the Graduates CV BOOK.
  • fill out the evaluation of university experience questionnaire on the yoU@B Diary, that forms part of a nation-wide survey aimed at gathering feedback on university study from graduating students.

Students who have carried out the graduation reservation but they do not want to graduate in the session they registered for anymore can, by the deadlines scheduled in the graduation calendar, cancel their reservation via yoU@B Diary by using the online function "Graduation>Graduation Application procedures>Cancel Application".
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Thesis title information completion - uploading the final attachment

After having completed the first phases of the graduation application procedure, the graduating student must enter - via the web - all information still missing to complete the title of the thesis.
Through the function Graduation>Application procedure>’Thesis title information completion’ the student:

  • makes any changes to the title he/she was assigned to
  • enters the abstract (summarizing the thesis topic for a maximum of 4000 characters)- see IMPORTANT NOTICE
  • confirms the thesis language
  • confirms the authorization/non authorization for thesis consultation

In addition, once confirmed the entered data, the student can upload the Definitive file - one single file - in the final version and in PDF format of his/her final paper.

The student must upload the definitive file by the deadlines specified in the graduation calendar published on the website

Uploading the definitive file of the thesis

The definitive file of the Thesis must exclusively be uploaded through the Thesis Title - Information completion; the function Thesis attachments - non definitive files’ MUST NOT be considered as an alternative for the upload of the definitive file of the thesis.

In addition, once the definitive file has been uploaded and the approval has been requested online, changes are no longer possible.
The information entered and the final attachment of the thesis uploaded online are immediately made available for being viewed by the Advisor professor.

1. the text of the abstract MUST BE digited in the box of the procedure and NOT copied and pasted from a file;
2. the definitive file, in PDF format (max 10 MB) must include, as first pages, 4 sheets (see paragraph 10.3. Format specifications).

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Approval request

The approval is the declaration of approval released by the professor regarding the thesis written by the student and it represent the final phase of the Graduation application procedures in order to be admitted in the graduation session.

The student can request the approval when:

  • he/she has a title assigned;
  • he/she has carried out the graduation reservation;
  • he/she has uploaded the definitive file of one’s thesis and abstract.

The approval request must be carried out via yoU@B Diary upon selecting the function ‘Graduation>Application procedure>Request approval by the dates specified in the graduation calendar published on the website at
Upon approval release by the Advisor professor, the student receives a message on the yoU@B Diary and can consider the graduation application procedure correctly completed.

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Format specifications

Format specifications for the thesis definitive file

The thesis must be uploaded in a single file, PDF format created with the Adobe Acrobat program, and the name of the file will be TS, followed by the student ID number e.g., if the student ID number is 1234567, the name of the file is TS1234567.pdf.
In the thesis content, no personal information of the student (name, student ID etc) must be entered.
The definitive file, in PDF format, must have as first four pages:
1st page: a white page
2nd page: a white page
3rd page: thanks or a white page
4rth page: a white page

The text of the work (index, introduction, content etc) MUST start AFTER the 4 above described pages. The thesis content must not include the title page as it will be printed automatically and it will include the information on title entered by the student online nor the abstract.

In addition the following parameters must be respected:

  • File size: maximum 10 MB
  • Paper size: cm 29X21 (A4);
  • Right and left margin: 2.5 cm;
  • Lines per page: from 26 to 30 lines;
  • Recommended font: Arial/Tahoma/Verdana;
  • Front size (body): 12 points;
  • Pages numbered;
  • The thesis will be back-and-front printed.

It is not possible to include any personal detail (name, student ID...) in other sections of the thesis (headings or notes at the bottom of the page) other than the front page.

It is not possible to use the Università Bocconi seal on the cover sheet or within the Thesis.

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Format specifications for any support materials to the thesis oral defense

If the student intends to prepare any materials supporting the thesis defense (e.g. a presentation), he/she is invited to follow the indications below, in compliance with sustainability principles applied by the University.

  • print two-sided sheets,
  • if possible, print two slides per each sheet;
  • if possible, use recyclable paper;
  • collate presentation slides using stapling and do not use covers or a title page, plastic spirals or other non-recyclable materials;
  • print copies at most equal to the number of degree assessment board members.
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Graduation acceptance

After the period for submitting the thesis has closed, the Study Planning Office will determine whether or not the student meets all the criteria to graduate by in checking that:

  • there is a graduation reservation made;
  • the graduation procedure contains the abstract and the definitive file of the thesis;
  • the thesis approval has been requested and obtained;
  • all educational activities included in the study plan are registered (except for the credit points for the thesis) - the appropriate offices periodically check the grades recorded in the academic career of all students;
  • there are no pending obligations with the ISU Office;
  • there are no pending obligations with the TCA (Tuition and Fees) Office;
  • there are no outstanding obligations with the Library.

Only if the above conditions are respected, the thesis will be submitted to the Examining Board for assessment only if all the criteria to graduate are fulfilled.

Students will receive notification about acceptance to graduation via an online message sent to their yoU@B student Diaries.

After making the graduation reservation students can no longer enroll in the academic year if they do not cancel the graduation reservation previously made.

The students who wish to cancel the reservation after the scheduled deadline and wish to enroll in the academic year, must submit written request at the Academic Affairs Division Desk.

After enrollment in the academic year and settlement of the financial situation, students can submit again the graduation reservation.

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Degree Assessment Boards

The thesis is evaluated by the Degree Assessment Board, of which the thesis advisor is a member.

The Boards are appointed by the Rector or by one of his delegates, and are presided by a tenured Professor (1st or 2nd level), who can also take on the role of thesis advisor and a second advisor and/or discussant of one or more theses which are subject to assessment.
The Boards are made up of professors, researchers and professionals who are experts on the thesis topic and on the other educational activities which  are included in the Program Structure.
The Board consist of at least 4 members including:

  • the thesis advisor;
  • a second thesis advisor (only if appointed);
  • at least 3 other examiners (2 if a second advisor is present); one of them is automatically assigned the role of Discussant.
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Graduation and awarding of the graduation grade

Students must defend the thesis in the same language they wrote it; students enrolled in class groups taught in English must defend the thesis in English.

The graduation (thesis presentation) includes:

  • an oral presentation (approximately 20 minutes);
  • the defence, which includes answering questions and discussing issues raised by the members of the Degree Assessment Board.

On completion of the presentation the candidate exits; the Board then determines the student's graduation grade.

The overall classification is expressed out of 110.
The graduation grade is calculated as follows:

  • grade point average (GPA) is calculated by the weighted mathematical average on the credit point values of all educational activities with marks expressed out of 30 and converted into a mark out of 110,


  • For the Research Thesis: from 0 to 8 points (out of 110) for the thesis quality and thesis oral defense;
  • For the Analytical/descriptive thesis: from 0 to 5 points (out of 110) for the thesis quality and thesis oral defense;
  • 1 point (out of 110) for graduation within the first two sessions (only for students enrolled in the second year of studies as regular students in corso): July and October (NB: in any case, the total maximum number of points for the research thesis * completion of studies within the first two sessions cannot be more than 8 points.

Students pass the final exam if they obtain a grade of at least 66.

With reference to the "GPA" it should be noted that:

  • a mark of 30 "cum laude" is expressed as 31;
  • a maximum of 2 additional exams (or equivalent educational activities) are taken into consideration (in cases where students have passed more than 2 additional exams, the 2 best results will be used);
  • for exams passed at other Italian or foreign universities with a mark that is not expressed out of thirty, the marks are converted to a mark out of thirty on the basis of a specific conversion table.

With reference to the quality of thesis and defense:

  • the contents of the thesis are evaluated on clarity and accuracy of the written work, as well as the student's ability to summarize. The points awarded are based on the complexity of the topics covered, thoroughness and depth of analysis, literature cited, methodology applied and the quality and accuracy of empirical analysis. Originality and degree of innovation are also important factors. In addition, the adequacy of the conclusions reached is also assessed.
  • The presentation is evaluated on the ability to express oneself clearly, plan and organize a well-structured presentation, apply critical reasoning and analytical skills, and respond appropriately to the questions and issues raised by the Board.

    A high GPA does not guarantee a high thesis score. On the other hand, a comprehensive and original thesis can be awarded a high score regardless of the student's GPA.

    The Board calculates the rounding of the graduation grade; if the decimal point is equal to or higher than 5 then the score is rounded up, whereas if the decimal point is lower than 5 it is rounded down.

    For the  Master of Science programs the Board can unanimously award "lode" (cum laude) to students who satisfy the following conditions:
  • graduation grade of at least 111
  • they were not given a disciplinary sanction of more than 6 months suspension.

In the graduating student's presence, the Board will proclaim that the student has graduated and announce the graduation grade.

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Graduation session

The graduation sessions calendar is available on the Bocconi website in the “Timetable, calendars and rooms”. In that section, students can also check:
  • period for registering for the graduation session;
  • date by when students must sit for the last exam;
  • deadline date for uploading the definitive file of the thesis and for requesting thesis approval.
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Useful information

  • The thesis presentation agenda (day, time, room and Degree Assessment Board) can be checked in the yoU@B student Diary. It is also posted on the bulletin boards located on the ground floor of the University building at via Sarfatti 25. It is released around one week prior to the presentation.
  • Those students who, when making the graduation reservation, select the "CENTRO STAMPA" as the place for collecting thesis copies, after receiving the message on their yoU@B informing them that theses are ready to be collected, can go to the CENTRO STAMPA, piazza Sraffa 11 ground floor during opening hours (they can also provide a written signed delegating authorization to a third party along with the whole copy of their passport or other ID document).
  • After the presentation students can ask the Board to return the printed copy of the thesis. The Office for Graduation, diplomas and certifications will not return any copies.
  • The degree diploma will be delivered by the President of the Degree Assessment Board at the same time as the graduation announcement.
  • As a general guide the pictures taken during the thesis defence will be available on the yoU@B student Diary 15 in the month following the graduation session. It is also specified that such pictures (no more than 15) are free of charge.

After reserving a graduation session students can no longer enrol in the new academic year unless they renounce the graduation reservation. Renouncement to the reserved graduation session after the set deadlines must be done in writing and handed in to the Academic Affairs Division Desk. After re-enrolling in the new academic year and settling any pending financial obligations, students can make another graduation reservation via Agenda.
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Self-declarations and degree certifications

As a general guide, in the following days after the thesis oral defense, graduates can:
  • print by accessing the function 'Print Self-declaration' available on the yoU@B Diary or from the Punto Blu terminals located at the University, the self-declaration sample specifying the academic qualification obtained (only Italian version);
  • request the certifications with the duty stamp, exclusively through the Cert@B procedure available on the yoU@B student Diary.
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