Thesis Procedure

Step-by-step guide for starting the thesis procedure.

Step 1: Get in touch with us

10 months prior to thesis submission

If you have a topic for your thesis in mind or interest in a particular research area, get in touch with a researcher involved in this field.

Our team can help you find the right person. Please prepare a short thesis description or proposal

Step 2: Write a thesis proposal

10-7 months before thesis submission

Before registering your thesis, you will write a thesis proposal (+ abstract). This will help you refine your research question, build the thesis structure and organize and schedule the tasks for your research work.

This proposal must be approved by your Advisor first and, after that, you can move forward with the registration process.

  • Step 2.1: When sketching the proposal, ask your Advisor for help. Get their feedback and work on improvements until you are both happy with it. Once you get the confirmation that your proposal is ready to be registered, it is time to submit it to Prof. Niepert, who will usually be your Main Examiner (Supervisor) at MLS. He will either accept the proposal (→ move to Step 3) or demand some adjustments (→ repeat Step 2.1).

If you are enrolled in a Master program (M.Sc.) or an older Bachelor program (B.Sc., PO 2012), please ask your Advisor and Main Examiner to determine a Second Examiner, who will support/revise your grade at the end.

A good proposal usually contains 5-8 pages and covers only the most important things. So keep in mind to avoid unnecessary information.

Important: Only full professors, assistant professors („Juniorprofessoren“) and habilitated staff members can be the Main Examiner.

  • Step 2.2: Create an Overleaf project for your thesis proposal. We recommend using the widely used Latex Template, as this will also be the template you will have to use for the Master thesis itself.  Share the final Overleaf project with your Advisor and Examiner(s) and send a PDF to the secretary along with the forms required for the official registration of your thesis at the Examination Office (see Steps 3 and 4). If you encounter any problems when filling out these documents, please talk to your Advisor first. 

Step 3: Agree to thesis contract and conditions

6 months before thesis submission

Scientific progress depends on open access to information and data. Without it, researchers would not be able to share knowledge broadly, to replicate findings from data, and to evolve scientific insight. For these reasons, we openly publish our papers and data online so that everyone can access them. We expect our students to proceed likewise with their theses; in return, we assure to advise and support them in the best possible way during their theses.

  • Step 3.1: Read through the Wikipedia article about academic dishonesty and make sure you understand everything. If you have any questions, ask your advisor.
  • Step 3.2Download and read the thesis contract and the license agreement. If you are not a German speaker, we recommend to use the Deepl translator, so you can understand the document, complete it and sign it. In case of any questions, ask your Advisor. If you are enrolled in a German study program and write your thesis in English, download and sign the additional language agreement, saying that you will also submit a German abstract along with your thesis and English abstract.
  • Step 3.3: Check your C@mpus account and download the registration form. Sign it and send all the files (approved proposal, thesis contract, license agreement, additional language agreement, C@mpus registration form) to the MLS Secretary to have it signed by Professor Niepert.
    • Please include a teaser in your e-mail if you agree to its publication along with your abstract on our website.

Step 4: Register your thesis at the Examination Office

6 months before thesis submission

In this step, you must officially register your thesis at the Examination Office (Prüfungsamt).

After the MLS Secretary provides you with the registration form signed by Prof. Niepert, send it via e-mail to the Examination Office. Your registration will be confirmed also via e-mail. If the deadline is a public holiday or weekend, it will end on the subsequent working day. Once you have registered your thesis at the Examination Office, you have six months to submit your thesis.

Step 5: Work on your thesis

6-0 months before the submission

Meet your Advisor at least every two weeks so he/she can provide feedback on your work and progress.

Keep in mind the evaluation criteria, since your reviews will later apply for grading your thesis. We also recommend you to read Jennifer Widom’s tips on writing technical papers as well as the ACL PC chairs last-minute writing advice.  

After about three months, you should give a 10-minute-presentation on your thesis. After that, you, your Advisor and your Examiner(s) will have a 30-minute discussion about your thesis. Make sure to keep notes of the feedback you receive! 

    • Sick note: If you get sick and your doctor gives you a sick note, the Examination Committee (EC) must be aware of it. To do so, send them the original sick note via internal post, along with a copy of it via e-mail (with the MLS Secretary in cc). The extension of your deadline will be communicated to your Examiner(s) and the Secretary (+ Examination Office).
    • Running out of time: If you run out of time and need an extension, inform your Advisor as soon as possible. Extensions can be given from one to three months before the deadline expires, and they require the signature of the Examiner. The form can be downloaded here.

Remember: Students enrolled in an English study program only need to provide an English abstract, while students in German study programs must provide both German and English abstracts along with the final thesis.

After submission, please ask your Advisor to schedule the final 30-minute-presentation, which will be part of your final grade.

Step 6: Submit your thesis

Unless you applied for an extension, and it was granted, you must submit your thesis within 6 months after the registration at the Examination Office (step 4). Otherwise, it will count as failed. The faculty website describes the process in detail: Handing in the thesis (Faculty 5).

To submit your thesis, follow these steps:

  • Step 6.1 - Pre-Submission: Your thesis must be submitted as a printed version (2x) and a digital copy (.pdf). The digital version will be published via OPUS if you agreed to it in the beginning. The submission mail must be sent to the Advisor, the Examiner (+ the Secretary) and the second Examiner (if required). 
  • Step 6.2 - Submission of the printed version:

Covers from the Computer Science (CS) department: Please pick up two individual front and back covers of the CS department with the Secretary as soon as possible, and at least 14 days before submission.

Title page of the MLS department: Please include the MLS title page (pre-filled title page).

Signed Declaration: The submitted thesis (.pdf and hard copy) must include a signed declaration that verifies that you wrote the thesis on your own by only using the mentioned resources/literature (personal declaration).

Additional copies of title page: Please also hand in two additional copies of your title page separately, they will be stamped and signed. One is for you, one is to prove that you handed in within the deadline.

The formal requirements of the printed version are:

  • Any kind of adhesive binding is allowed (spiral bounding is not allowed).
  • The CS department covers must be included in your hard copies. Before printing, please provide them to the Kopierlädle so that they can add the CS department covers to the two versions of your thesis during binding.
  • Transparent sheet on top: The CS front cover is directly put onto the title page, and there should a transparent sheet on top of everything. If the title can be read without opening, everything should be correct.
  • The very last page is the CS department back cover, you can include a transparent sheet at the back of your thesis if it pleases you, but this is not necessary.
  • Step 6.3 - Submission of the digital version:

You must also submit your thesis digitally (.pdf), along with all abstracts (included in the thesis itself. The abstract(s) should be provided in txt-format.

    • Send the submission mail to Ms. Gravina ( with your Examiner(s) and Advisor in cc, and attach the PDF file, containing: title page, English (and German) abstract, sources and signed declaration, along with all abstracts in txt-format. The secretary will confirm the receipt of your digital submission.
    • 4,0-confirmation: If you need a 4,0-confirmation (= you have passed, but the final grade is not done yet), please add this information in the submission mail. This will only be done in special cases (you need the confirmation for enrollment in a consecutive study programme or a job offer).
  • Step 6.4 - Final presentation (30-minute presentation): After the submission of the digital and printed versions of your thesis, please ask your Advisor to schedule the final 30-minute-presentation. This will be part of your final grade.

Step 7: Review and closing

Approx. 1 month after submission (at least two weeks should be in between)

You will be invited to your thesis colloquium by your Advisor. This is a 30-minute-presentation of your thesis, including a discussion with the audience and the Examiner(s). Your presentation will also be considered in the final grade.

Next, your review is written, following our sheet with evaluation criteria. Once the review is finalized and signed by the Examiner(s), your grade will be uploaded to C@mpus.

Your Advisor will update the Thesis Topics on our website and move your thesis to Completed Theses.


Further information on publishing with OPUS

Further information on the procedure for dissertations

Further information on the submission

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