According to section 2 of the government decree on universities of applied sciences, studies leading to a university of applied sciences’ degree include a thesis or a final project. At Humak, this requirement is demonstrated by preparing a thesis or completing a final project, which are essentially development assignments commissioned by representatives of working life. The objectives of the development work are agreed in writing between the thesis author, thesis commissioner and the thesis supervisor before starting the work.
By writing a thesis students demonstrate their professional maturity and ability to engage in systematic, long-term working-life development in collaboration with the commissioner of the thesis. A thesis is an expression of the student’s competence to apply the methods of the development work, of the student’s ability to write high-quality, fluent expert text and, in general, the ability to perform a limited but demanding expert task.
A Humak final project and thesis produces something concrete for the commissioner – it is not just a piece of paper. The development task is always future-oriented: every project produces new knowledge, reforms operations or does both. The concrete output can be a useful operational model, a product, a guide, or a service. The output may also be the renewal, evaluation or application of a working method to suit a new operating environment. It can also be a plan, but the implementation of the plan is often a more interesting development task than just planning. The concrete output may be included as an appendix to the thesis, or the author may describe its implementation in the content chapters of the thesis.
The extent of the thesis is 15 credits (ECTS) and is part of a study module on development operations, the extent of which is 30 credits. The other 15 ECTS consist of the courses Development methods (5 ECTS), Research-based development (5 ECTS) and Development practices (5 ECTS). In the courses Development methods and Research-based development, the students study development and familiarise themselves with the principles of final theses and projects at Humak. In the course Development practices, the students practice development of a practical assignment and create a preliminary thesis plan.
The recommended length of the bachelor’s thesis is approximately 40–60 pages of body text written by the student. In addition, the thesis may contain appendices. The thesis is written primarily in the language of teaching, but for justified reasons, it can also be written in another language. Such reasons could include, for example, the working language of the commissioner. Writing in languages other than the language of instruction requires the consent of the teacher and the evaluator of the thesis. The evaluation statement shall be written in the same language as the diploma.
The final project or thesis can be made as an individual effort, in pairs, or as a group. The development of work in a group setting is a natural way to working, as in practice, development work is seldom carried out alone in working life. A final project or thesis prepared in a group is expected to have more depth and a more versatile processing of the subject than final projects/theses completed alone. In addition, the written part of group final projects may be slightly more extensive than in projects carried out alone. The prerequisite for a well-functioning group work is that everyone is responsible for the whole project, while each group member has his or her own main area of responsibility. The group can also produce several parallel individual projects on the same topic. The grade and statement of the final project and thesis are the same for all members of the group, if the output of the group is one shared thesis/final project. This guide talks about the student in the singular, but all instructions and regulations given are also applicable to members of a student group.