What is the structure of a master’s thesis?
A master’s thesis follows a predetermined structure. Some colleges and universities develop their own specifications, but the basic structure is usually uniform. The structure of a master’s thesis corresponds to that of any academic work and is part of your proof that you have learned to work scientifically during your studies.
Formally, a master’s thesis consists of three sections. The middle section, the actual text of the master’s thesis, is the most important, because it contains the results of your research and the answer to the central question. From a formal point of view, however, the upstream and downstream elements such as directories and annexes should be carefully prepared.
The chapters of a master’s thesis
The beginning of each master’s thesis is the introduction. Here you introduce your topic on a few pages, cite research methods and formulate the central question under which you work on your topic. In the introduction, you can also outline the current research situation and present different theses. However, you will go into this part in more detail in the main part of your master’s thesis.
The main body is divided, depending on scope and complexity of the master’s thesis topic into different chapters. The state of research as well as the exact explanation of the research methods can be treated in a separate chapter. However, the main chapters that should occupy most of the space in your master’s thesis are the presentation and discussion of the results, which should account for 40-60% of the textual portion. In a concluding summary, you once again comment on the results of your master’s thesis and can provide an outlook on further research fields.
The formal elements of a master’s thesis
Although the actual text of the master’s thesis is the most important section, much emphasis is placed on the formal structure of academic papers. Before the main part starts with the introduction, various formalities have to be dealt with. These include the cover page and the table of contents. If the text contains graphics, pictures or tables, you must cite the page and source information according to the table of contents. The text section is followed by the bibliography and any attachments. Many universities provide templates on their website, according to which you can design the cover page, table of contents and bibliography. The citation rules are generally subject to fixed specifications of the individual faculties.