1. General provisions
1.1. This procedure defines the principles for supervising, reviewing, and defending professional higher education theses, Bachelor’s theses, and Master’s theses; the rights and obligations of graduates, tasks of the Programme Director, supervisor, Student Counsellor, and support personnel at departments in connection with graduation theses at the School of Business and Governance.
1.2. In this procedure:
1.2.1. graduation thesis − an independent research paper required for graduation and written by the student independently under a supervisor’s guidance, the aims and learning outcomes of which are specified in the study programme;
1.2.2. graduation thesis Moodle course − a graduation thesis, Bachelor Thesis Seminar or Master’s Thesis Seminar course created in Moodle environment with the aim of transmitting information related to graduation theses and for providing e-support for activities related to graduation theses;
1.2.3. graduate − a student or an extern wishing to write/defend or a student or an extern writing/defending a graduation thesis.
2. Tasks of the Programme Director and department in connection with graduation theses
2.1. The Programme Director shall:
2.1.1. ensure that the study programme as a whole or its main specialities have a graduation thesis Moodle course and respective information has been forwarded to the Student Counsellor of the Programme;
2.1.2. decide the necessity, procedure, and deadlines for thesis topic and/or plan submission and create a thesis plan template according to the example provided in Appendix A;
2.1.3. decide the use of pre-defence on the study programme, decide the requirements for the work to be pre-defended, the procedure and deadlines of the pre-defence for the study programme, considering that the pre-defence shall take place at least one week prior to the submission of the defence application;
2.1.4. decide whether graduates are required to prepare their own comments on the amendments made following the pre-defence and submit those with the graduation thesis for defence;
2.1.5. ensure that the information listed in points 2.1.2. to 2.1.4. is available to the Student Counsellor of the Study Programme and ensure its availability in the graduation thesis Moodle course by the beginning of the semester;
2.1.6. approve thesis supervisors from outside the School of Business and Governance, inaccordance with point 4.3.;
2.1.7. approve the graduation thesis evaluation criteria for each main speciality in a study programme;
2.1.8. help to solve problems related to the assignment of graduation theses submitted for defence to the Defence Committee of the thesis topic field.
2.2. The Programme Director has the right to set, in addition to the deadlines specified by the Dean of the School of Business and Governance in “School of Business and Governance Academic Deadlines”, intermediate deadlines for submitting parts of the graduation thesis in the study programme. The latter deadlines shall be available on the graduation thesis Moodle course by the beginning of the semester.
2.3. The Department shall:
2.3.1 support the creation and management of the graduation thesis Moodle course, as agreed between the Programme Director and the department;
2.3.2 designate the persons who will draw up the assessment criteria for the graduation thesis courses connected to the department, on the form set out in Appendix B, get approval to the criteria from the Programme Director, ensure that they are kept up to date, made available to graduates in the graduation thesis Moodle course and forwarded to the defence committee;
2.3.3. by the requirement of the Programme Director, ensure the creation of an up-to-date list of graduation theses example topics/keywords and potential supervisors;
2.3.4 ensure a supervisor for each graduate;
2.3.5. deal with questions, suggestions and problems related to the supervision of the thesis which are not the responsibility of the Programme Director
3. Rights and obligations of graduates
3.1. A graduate shall:
3.1.1. follow the main speciality of the study programme while selecting a graduation thesis topic;
3.1.2. obtain an approval from the supervisor for the planned graduation thesis topic following the requirements of the programme or its speciality;
3.1.3. declare the thesis in OIS in the beginning of the semester on which the student undertakes to defend by the date marked in the academic calendar and follow other requirements of the programme or its speciality (including following point 4.3. when selecting a supervisor outside of the School). Declaration has to be repeated every semester when the thesis is planned to be defended;
3.1.4. initiate the signing of a confidentiality agreement prior to the start of the graduation thesis writing if the graduation thesis uses confidential data and the institution/company providing the data requires the signing of confidentiality agreement;
3.1.5. compile and submit the application for a closed defence and/or for obtaining access restriction for the graduation thesis if it contains a state secret, trade secret, information to be kept confidential on the basis of Personal Data Protection Act, unpublished materials, or any other classified information, by following point 6.4.;
3.1.6. compile the graduation thesis plan, get it approved by the supervisor, and submit it in accordance with the procedure and deadlines specified in the study programme if the thesis plan is required in the study programme;
3.1.7. submit finished parts of the graduation thesis to the supervisor for reading by following the form and deadlines specified in the study programme and agreed with the supervisor;
3.1.8. follow the ”Requirements for student papers at the TalTech School of Business and Governance“ guideline approved by the Dean of the School of Business and Governance while compiling and formatting the graduation thesis;
3.1.9. submit a paper for pre-defence by following the requirements and deadlines of the pre-defence of the study programme if a pre-defence is required in the study programme;
3.1.10. submit the defence application by the deadline established in the academic calendar;
3.1.11. submit a graduation thesis which is approved in advance with the supervisor in PDF format, including the non-exclusive licence. If access to the graduation thesis is restricted, the student shall submit, in addition to the above, also a summary of the graduation thesis. These shall be submitted to the assigned graduation thesis Moodle course by the deadlines specified by the Dean of the School of Business and Governance in “School of Business and Governance Academic Deadlines”. If there was a pre-defence carried out on the programme and the Programme Directors has so decided, prepare a comments on the amendments made following the pre-defence and submit these together with the graduation thesis for defence.
3.1.12. make sure that the curriculum has been completed before the start of the defence period and schedule the examinations in the courses not yet taken so that the results are available in OIS 3 working days before the defence.
3.1.13. comply with other requirements established by the university, school or department and fulfil the obligations arising from the curriculum.
3.2. A graduate has the right to:
3.2.1. turn to the Programme Director for help in matters related to finding a supervisor or in case of supervision problems;
3.2.2. dispute the grade of the thesis in line with the conditions and terms stated in the Academic Policies.
4. Supervision of graduation theses
4.1. As a rule, the graduation thesis shall be supervised by an employee who has a contract with the university. The supervisor of a Bachelor’s and Master’s thesis shall have at least a Master’s degree or equivalent qualification. The supervisor of a professional higher education thesis shall have acquired at least higher education.
4.2. If needed, the graduation thesis may have up to two supervisors – the main supervisor and a co-supervisor. The main supervisor must be an employee of the university, if not stipulated differently by the agreements for joint curriculum. No separate compensation is foreseen for supervision, unless approved by the Director of the Department.
4.3. If the main or co-supervisor is outside of the School of Business and Governance or outside of the university, the graduation thesis declaration is forwarded in OIS to the Programme Director for approval. If the writing of the thesis is started before submitting the thesis declaration, the main or co-supervisor from outside the School of Business and Governance shall be approved by the Programme Director prior to the start of thesis writing. For obtaining such approval the graduate shall forward a written application containing the information on the level of education listed in 4.1. to the Programme Director. The Programme Director assesses the suitability of supervisor’s education and its relevance to the graduate’s main speciality and the chosen thesis topic.
4.4. Tasks of the supervisor:
4.4.1. provide feedback and recommendations to the graduation thesis plan compiled by the graduate, incl. the aim of the planned graduation thesis, its structure, theoretical frame, and methods;
4.4.2. read the completed text or its parts, draw attention to the strengths and weaknesses of the graduation theses written/being prepared;
4.4.3. evaluate whether the thesis follows the “Requirements for student papers at the School of Business and Governance” and is ready for submission to the defence, and approve it by signing the defence application in OIS and where necessary, on a supplementary basis in accordance with the working arrangements agreed within the department. In the course of this process, the supervisor makes sure that the title of the thesis and its translation, as well as other information required in the defence application, are substantively and linguistically correct in the OIS.
4.4.4. provide his/her evaluation of the graduation thesis at least 2 working days prior to the defence in the Supervisor’s Opinion (see Appendix C) and forward it in writing to the Secretary of the Defence Committee or place it in the graduation thesis Moodle course, if required so by the arrangements of the defence committee. If the thesis has two supervisors, both supervisors shall provide the evaluation.
4.5. Tasks of the supervisor do not include:
4.5.1. wording the research problem;
4.5.2. finding necessary theoretical or empirical literature for the graduate;
4.5.3. helping the graduate to a significant extent in the implementation of the methods;
4.5.4. supplementing and adjusting a half-finished graduation thesis;
4.5.5. correcting writing, spelling, grammar, formatting, and referencing mistakes.
4.6. If the graduate has not followed the deadlines agreed with the supervisor or other deadlines prescribed in the programme for the graduation thesis, the supervisor has a right to refuse further supervision of the graduate.
5. Reviewing graduation theses
5.1. The Head of the Defence Committee shall determine the necessity for reviewing Bachelor and professional higher education theses. If these are not reviewed, the Head of the Defence Committee shall ensure that at least one Defence Committee member, who is present at the defence, has read the graduation thesis thoroughly prior to the defence.
5.2. Master’s theses shall be reviewed.
5.3. As a rule, the review of the graduation thesis is written on the review form (see Appendix D).
5.4. The Head of the Defence Committee shall assign the reviewers. No separate compensation is foreseen for reviewing, unless approved by the Director of the Department.
5.5. The reviewer:
5.5.1. forwards the review in writing at least 2 working days prior to the final defence to the Secretary of the Defence Committee, who will send it to the student or adds it in graduation thesis Moodle course, if required so by the arrangements of the Defence Committee;
5.5.2. participates at the graduation thesis defence, if possible.
6. Graduation thesis defence
6.1. The members of the Defence Committees are assigned with the Dean’s order in every September for the full academic year based on the proposals of the Directors of the Departments. The Dean’s order shall also determine the Head of the Defence Committee, Deputy Head(s) of the Defence Committee who replace(s) the Head of the Defence Committee, if needed, and the Secretary of the Defence Committee.
6.2. The defence of graduation theses shall be organised by the Head of the Defence Committee. Regular defences are carried out during the period specified in “School of Business and Governance Academic Deadlines”.
6.3. The defence of graduation theses shall be open, unless the defence has been declared closed.
6.4. The Dean shall decide the use of a closed defence and access restrictions on the graduation thesis based on graduate’s justified application, including, in case of need, the documents on which the application is based, and that has been previously approved by the supervisor(s) and the Head of the Defence Committee. In order to submit such an application, the graduate shall proceed as follows:
6.4.1. compile the application using the form in Appendix E;
6.4.2. forward the application signed by him/her and his/her supervisor(s) to the Student Counsellor of his/her study programme by the deadline for submitting the defence application. If the study programme requires a pre-defence, the respective application shall be submitted at least one week prior to the pre-defence.
6.5. The Dean may, upon the graduate’s justified application in free format that has been previously approved by the supervisor(s) and the Head of the Defence Committee, allow the participation of the graduate at the defence through a technical device enabling two-way communication with picture and sound in real time. The application must be submitted to the Student Counsellor of the programme not later than the deadline for submission of the thesis defence application.
6.5.1. As an exception, the Head of the Defence Committee may allow the defence to be conducted without the request referred to in point 6.5 by means of a technical device enabling two-way image and sound in real time if the student is unable to attend the defence on the spot for a valid reason, the need for this becomes evident shortly before the defence, and the graduate has submitted a reasoned request to the Head and the Secretary of the Defence Committee by e-mail no later than in the beginning of the day of the scheduled defence of his/her thesis.
6.6. The applications mentioned in points 6.4. and 6.5 (excl. 6.5.1.) shall be submitted to the Study Counsellor who forwards these for approval to the Head of the Defence Committee and, thereafter, to the Dean’s Assistant for approval to the Dean. The Study Counsellor sends the fully signed application back to the Head of the Defence Committee, to the Secretary of the Defence Committee and to the graduate.
6.7. In case of a closed defence, the obligation to maintain confidentiality lies with all Defence Committee members.
6.8. On the next working day following the deadline of the graduation thesis submission, the Secretary of the Defence Committee shall check the existence and approvals of defence applications by the supervisor in OIS and, if necessary, arranges for obtaining additional approvals from the supervisors according to the working arrangements as agreed within the department.
6.9. Fulfilment of the pre-conditions for admission to the defence of the thesis shall be verified by the Student Counsellor according to the graduate’s programme no later than two weeks before the thesis defence.
6.10. The Head of the Defence Committee shall check whether the topics of the theses submitted for defence match the topic field of the Defence Committee. If a mismatch is discovered, he/she shall immediately contact the Programme Director of such graduate’s study programme for assigning the graduation thesis to the Defence Committee of the thesis topic field.
6.11. All theses submitted for defence are subject to a plagiarism check. This must normally be carried out by the Secretary of the relevant defence committee on the working day following the deadline for the submission of theses and the results forwarded to the Head of the Defence Committee.
6.12. The Head of the Defence Committee shall decide whether the thesis is eligible for the defence prior to the disclosure of the final defence schedule. The Head of the Defence Committee has the right not to permit a thesis to the defence if it does not comply with the requirements approved by the Dean’s order “Requirements for student papers at School of Business and Governance”. In such a case, the Head of the Defence Committee shall:
6.12.1. submit to the graduate in writing an explanation to why the thesis was not allowed to the defence;
6.12.2. not allow the graduate to correct the thesis and re-submit it during the same semester it was submitted for defence the first time, however, he/she shall inform the graduate of the subsequent possibilities to defend the thesis;
6.12.3. immediately forward the information about the exclusion of the work from the defence to the Student Counsellor of the study programme of the graduate and to the Secretary of the Defence Committee.
6.12.4 In case of a graduation thesis containing plagiarism, the Head of the Defence Committee, in addition to above-listed activities, shall:
184.108.40.206 present in the explanation the most important plagiarised sources (those with highest match rates);
220.127.116.11. avoid forwarding to the graduate the full plagiarism check report, however, provide the full plagiarism check report to the thesis supervisor under the condition that the full report will not be forwarded to the graduate;
18.104.22.168. comply with any other rules set out for a defence in the “Procedure for handling student violations of good academic practice and contemptible behaviour at the School of Business and Governance”
6.13. At least 3 working days before the defence, the Secretary of the Defence Committee publishes the final defence schedule on the School’s webpage.
6.14. The defence procedure shall be determined by the Head of the Defence Committee based on the following principles:
6.14.1. the defence shall take place if at least 3 members of the Defence Committee, including the Head of the Defence Committee or the Deputy Head of the Defence Committee, are present;
6.14.2. as a rule, defence language is the language of the graduation thesis; Head of the Defence Committee may decide otherwise on the basis of student’s application;
6.14.3. the defence starts with the graduate’s defence speech which lasts, in the case of Bachelor’s and professional higher education thesis for 8 to 10 minutes, and in the case of Master’s thesis for 10 to 15 minutes;
6.14.4. as a rule, the defence speech shall be followed by the introduction of the review and answers to the questions of the reviewer;
6.14.5. the former shall be followed by question and answer session with the members of the Defence Committee and after that a general discussion, during which all people present may ask questions or express their views;
6.14.6. the general discussion is followed by the introduction of the supervisor’s opinion;
6.14.7. the defence ends with the graduate’s closing remarks which enable the graduate to thank the people who contributed to the finalisation of the thesis and who participated in the defence discussion;
6.14.8. the results of the defence shall be announced in OIS on the next working day following the defence at the latest.
6.15 During the defence, every member of the Defence Committee shall assess the graduation thesis separately. A grading sheet (see Appendix F) may be used as a basis for the evaluation.
6.16. Only the overall grade of each member is added to the grading sheet of the Defence Committee. The individual grades and/or evaluations awarded by the Defence Committee members shall not be disclosed and, in the event of a dispute, all possible dissenting opinions of committee members shall remain anonymous.
6.17. When determining the final grade for the graduation thesis, all individual grades assigned by the Defence Committee members who were present will be taken into account together with the grade of the reviewer. The committee may, if necessary, take into account the supervisor’s assessment in determining the final grade.
6.18. If the graduation thesis is graded “0”, the graduation thesis can be defended again based on the conditions determined by the Defence Committee (the student is required to supplement the existing graduation thesis, submit a new graduation thesis, etc). The Secretary of the Defence Committee, the graduate, the supervisor and the Student counsellor of the graduate’s programme are informed of the conditions set.
6.19. If the final grade of the graduation thesis is disputed, the Head of the Defence Committee is obliged to explain the reasons behind the final grade.
6.20. The Secretary of the Defence Committee shall ensure that all defended graduation theses with a positive mark or their summaries are made public in accordance with the Rules for Publication and Preservation of Graduation Thesis established by the university