THESIS AND GRADUATION SESSION
All rules described in this chapter are applied to all MSc program students (in corso and fuori corso students).
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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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 write.
As a general rule, the thesis is made of 50 pages (around 18.000 words) except for:
- theses referring to the Department of Legal Studies, made of about 150-200 pages (50,000-70,000 words);
- theses referring to the field of Economic History of the Department of Political and Social Sciences, which can be of variable length, up to about 150 pages (around 50,000 words);
- 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 rule, 50-100 pages in length;
- 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.
The Guide for writing the MSc thesis can be downloaded, which has been written with the aim of providing support to students in writing the thesis.
If needed, any additional information on specific 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 encourage 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, it 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 divided 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. request for approval from the Advisor professor.
Students who do not complete all the phases of the graduation application procedure will not be admitted in the graduation session.
Bocconi University 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 if:
- 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 a long term Visiting Professor.
In case of selection of a Second Advisor, after entering the title into the IT procedure, students must complete the appropriate form (Second Advisor form - PDF file) which must be signed by the Advisor professor and returned to the Offices of the Graduate School by the deadline set for the graduation reservation.
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 " Enter Thesis Title" online by specifying:
- type of thesis: "thesis" or "research thesis".
- thesis title * (see note);
- thesis language;
- the authorization or non-authorization for the thesis consultation
- and, on the following screen
- the name of the Advisor professor.
In case of a second advisor, the name must not be entered online, but communicated in accordance with the procedure described above.
The information entered online is immediately made available to the Advisor Professor who will continue with assignment of the thesis online.
Upon title assignment, the student will receive a notification via yoU@B Diary (To Do List and Notices widget) and can continue with the following phases of the graduation - application procedures.
NOTE: Title approval by the advisor professor is a compulsory requirement for making the graduation reservation. Therefore, we advise you to enter the title well in advance of the deadline for carrying out the graduation reservation (for deadlines see www.unibocconi.eu/graduationcalendar).
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 already assigned, the final paper title assignment by the Advisor professor is still valid.
The student can change the title entered online until requesting approval from 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 cancel the title (see following paragraph) and repeat the whole title assignment procedure.
Cancelation 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 for the title assignment from the new Advisor professor.
IMPORTANT: Students who continue with the cancelation of the title must also cancel any graduation reservation that may have been submitted. They must make a new graduation reservation after receiving the title from the new Advisor professor, within the deadlines.
Uploading non-definitive Thesis attachments
Only upon approval of the Advisor Professor after a specific request, can the student 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.
IMPORTANT: uploading the files in the ‘Thesis attachment’ function DOES NOT replace the upload of the 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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NOTICE: the first graduation session available for students enrolled in the second year of studies in the 2019-2020 academic year will be held in July 2020.
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 before 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 installments due 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 details on the graduation fee, see 12.1 Other Costs).
For the purposes of normalizing the financial status:
- students enrolled in the second year of studies in 2018-2019 who wish to graduate by the first graduation session of the 2020 calendar year (the first graduation session will be scheduled in the month of April) do not have to enroll in the 2019-20 academic year;
- students enrolled in the second year 2018-2019 who wish to graduate after the first graduation session of the 2020 calendar year will have to enroll in the 2019-2020 academic year
For information on the financial status/payments to be completed, students are advised to verify with the Fees Funding and Housing Office www.unibocconi.eu/fees.
After registering, students are suggested to print out the related receipt via yoU@B Student Diary> Graduation Application Procedure> Print reservation.
In the days after the graduation reservation, students are:
- encouraged 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 firms, with the aim of enhancing recruitment opportunities. The completion of Cv@B procedure does not affect the admission to the Graduation Session;
- asked to fill out the evaluation of university experience questionnaire on the yoU@B Diary, which forms part of a nationwide survey aimed at gathering feedback on university study from graduating students.
After reserving a graduation session, students can no longer enroll in the new academic year unless they cancel the graduation session that they have reserved.
Students who no longer wish to graduate during the chosen graduation session should:
- if before the deadlines set in the graduation sessions calendar, cancel their graduation application by selecting the function “Graduation>Application Procedure>Cancel Reservation”;
- if after the deadlines in the graduation sessions calendar have expired, the reservation must be refused in writing, submitted to the Academic Affairs Desk.
If the reservation is refused for the last graduation session available in the academic year (March session), the student must enroll in the new year.
After enrolling in the academic year and duly paying the fees and tuition due, a new graduation reservation can be completed through the student diary.
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Thesis title information completion - uploading the final attachment
After completing the first phases of the graduation application procedure, the graduating student must enter online all information still missing to complete the title of the thesis.
Through the function Graduation>Application procedure>’Thesis title information completion’ the student can:
- make any changes to the title he/she was assigned to
- enter an abstract (summarizing the thesis topic with a maximum of 4,000 characters)- see IMPORTANT NOTE
- confirm the thesis language
- confirm the authorization/non authorization for thesis consultation;
- authorize to use the thesis attachment by the University.
In addition, after the data entered have been confirmed, 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 www.unibocconi.eu/graduationcalendar.
Uploading the definitive thesis file
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 uploading the definitive file of the thesis.
In addition, after the definitive file has been uploaded and approval has been requested online, changes are no longer possible.
The information entered and the final attachment of the thesis uploaded online will be made available immediately to be viewed by the Advisor professor.
1. the text of the abstract MUST BE entered 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 4 sheets as its first pages (see paragraph 10.3. Format specifications).
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Approval is a declaration of approval released by the professor regarding the thesis written by the student and it represents the final phase of the graduation application procedures in order to be admitted in the graduation session.
The student may request the approval after:
- he/she has a title assigned;
- he/she has completed the graduation reservation;
- he/she has uploaded the definitive file of the 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 www.unibocconi.eu/graduationcalendar.
Upon approval released by the Advisor professor, the student will receive a message on the yoU@B Diary and can consider the graduation application procedure correctly completed.
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Format specifications for the thesis definitive file
The thesis must be uploaded in a single file, PDF format created with the Adobe Acrobat program. The name of the file must be TS, followed by the student ID number, e.g., if the student ID number is 1234567, the name of the file will be TS1234567.pdf.
No personal information of the student (name, student ID, etc.) must be entered in the thesis content.
The definitive file, in PDF format, must have the following as the first four pages:
- 3rd page: dedication or acknowledgements or a blank page
The text of the work (table on contents, introduction, body, etc.) MUST start AFTER the 4 above described pages, page numbering included. The body of the thesis must not include a title page or abstract as it will be printed automatically and it will include the information on the title entered by the student online.
In addition, the following parameters must be respected:
- 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;
The thesis must start on the right page (odd), because it will be printed on both sides.
The Bocconi University seal may not be used 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 encouraged 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 recycled 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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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;
- 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 Fees Funding and Housing Office;
- there are no outstanding obligations with the Library.
Students will receive notification about acceptance to graduation via an online message sent to their yoU@B student Diaries, only if the above conditions are respected and all the criteria to graduate have been fulfilled.
The thesis presentation agenda (day, time, room and Degree Assessment Board) can be checked in the yoU@B student Diary around 10 days prior to the presentation.
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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/her 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 it was written; students enrolled in class groups taught in English must defend the thesis in English.
The graduation session (thesis presentation) includes:
- an oral presentation (approximately 20 minutes);
- the defense, which includes answering questions and discussing issues raised by the members of the Degree Assessment Board.
Upon 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 a Research Thesis: from 0 to 8 points (out of 110) for the thesis quality and thesis oral defense;
- For an 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)
In any case, the total maximum number of points for a research thesis plus 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 content of the thesis is evaluated on the 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 minimum graduation grade is 66 and the maximum grade is 110; if the decimal is equal to or higher than 5, then the graduation grade is rounded up, if the decimal is lower than 5 it is rounded down.
For Master of Science programs, the Board can unanimously award "lode" (cum laude) to students who meet the following conditions:
- graduation grade of at least 111
- they have not been 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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The graduation sessions calendar is available on the Bocconi website in the “Timetable, calendars and rooms” section. 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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- 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 10 days prior to the presentation.
- Students who select "CENTRO STAMPA" as the place for collecting thesis copies when making the graduation reservation can go to the CENTRO STAMPA, piazza Sraffa 11 ground floor during opening hours after receiving a message on their yoU@B informing them that the thesis is ready to be collected. (They can also provide a written signed delegating authorization to a third party along with the whole copy of their passport or other valid form of ID.)
- 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 rule, the pictures taken during the thesis defense will be available on the yoU@B student Diary in the month following the graduation session. Please note that such pictures (no more than 15) are free of charge.
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Self-declarations and degree certifications
As a general rule, in the following days after the thesis oral defense, graduates can:
- print out the self-declaration sample specifying the academic qualification obtained (Italian version only) by accessing the function 'Print Self-declaration' available on the yoU@B Diary or from the Punto Blu terminals located at the University;
- request certifications with a duty stamp exclusively through the Cert@B procedure available in the yoU@B student Diary.
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