Theses writing process

Finding a Topic and Supervisor

There are two regular terms for submitting final theses at all departments of the Faculty of Social Studies, one in spring and one in autumn semester. See the current "calendar" of The Department of International Relations and European Studies for more information. Candidates for a degree must register in the information system (IS) one semester before they intend to graduate – i.e. in autumn for planned spring semester thesis defense. The information system publishes packages of topics, which individual teachers can supervise. In the "package" in IS, browse the general package with the topic for ESS students (under “Jiné”). Please, do not apply to general topics, they are mentioned for your inspiration.

It is necessary to contact potential thesis supervisor, and consult the topic. You should effort at a most exact specification of the thesis topic. Put this topic into the university information system (IS) under the headline Master's Theses – Energy Security Studies (find it via the general link, see above, or via this direct link to the list of theses). 

Apart from the title, you are supposed to enter a short outline of the thesis including the general hypothesis or hypotheses and the list of basic relevant literature – the proposal. After mutual agreement, the supervisor confirms the concrete topic for you in the information system. The thesis topic is valid only after confirmation by the head of the department. In case of formal or other drawbacks, the head of the department can suggest clarification or change of topic. The student him/herself is responsible for the correct data in IS.

Preparation and the Process of Writing

You should start working of the thesis as soon as the proposal is approved by the supervisor. It's never too early to create a draft of a timeline. Seek and study all relevant sources and consult regularly. Do not plagiarize! The process of preparation has decisive impact on the quality of the final text. It is necessary to plan the work and have enough time – for library research and literature study, for working out the conception of the thesis, and then for the writing of the whole text, and its final control. 

Attention should be devoted to formulation of the hypothesis (hypotheses) and the elaboration of the conception. The supervisor thus can give you necessary feedback at the very beginning of your writing. After searching the literature, about a month after the proposal is accepted, you should send her/him the conception of your thesis – elaborating the outline and the hypothesis (which you should verify or falsify in the thesis), and planning the structure and the content of the thesis, including the methodology. This conception, reviewed and commented by the supervisor, helps to eliminate future mistakes and keep the analytic character of the thesis. Please, make sure you have enough time for the studying of all relevant literature, and then the process of writing. 

Find opportunities to discuss your research with your friends and colleagues. Listen carefully to their questions. See if you are able to present your research in a clear and coherent manner. Are there aspects of your research that are particularly confusing and need further explanation? Are there things that you forgot to say? Could you change the order of the information presented and have it become more understandable? 

Library Research and Sources

The first necessary step is to find and study relevant literature. It is recommended to use not only the secondary literature, but also to find and analyze primary sources, whenever the topic allows this. Besides printed materials, such as books and academic journals, it is useful to search electronic sources which are available in the faculty library. A wide range of foreign journals and other materials is at your disposal in the e-sources database. Students and employees can use these sources for free.

After the primary search, it is vital to plan enough time for the studying of the literature which has not been known to you before. It is often the case that students do not plan enough time not only for the process of writing, but also for this literature research stage. However, a diploma thesis presupposed that the Master’s candidate has studied relevant literature in the given field, and is able to draw new conclusions on its basis – therefore keep this in mind, and devote proper time to the study.

Plan enough time for the writing

Enough time to write and finish the text is of key importance for the success of the work. If this is underestimated, complications can arise that might undermine the success of the work – deadline for thesis submission might not be met, or the quality of the thesis is seriously affected. Work regularly, read the text after you finish each chapter, and reflect on it. Leave some time in the end for final reading of the whole thesis and correction of mistakes or unclear parts. If you finish early, your supervisor is able to read the whole text and comment on it – which helps you to eliminate some mistakes hitherto unseen. The author should also have enough time for the final graphic design of the text, which should keep all formalities and reflect the structure of the argument.

The whole process relies on consultations with your supervisor. Regular consultations will help you to keep the timeline and progress on the thesis, which will result in a more balanced and quality work. If the consultations are to be effective, they should be planned and conducted from the very beginning, not only when the deadline is nearing.

Good communication with your supervisor presupposes that you give him/her enough time to read and comment on individual chapters, which you send gradually; only thus you will be able to use the opinion and advise s/he can provide. You should listen to the supervisor and use the critical view, or justify your own opinion in case of disagreement. In case the supervisor is going to spend a longer period of time abroad or out of Brno, the whole process of consultation can be modified by taking this into account. 

Before Submitting the Thesis for Defense – Complete the Thesis Seminar 

Before the very submission of the thesis for the defense, you have to successfully pass the ESS409 Diploma Seminar first. This basically means the submission of (nearly) completed thesis in the Thesis Seminar and obtaining the credits for the course.

  1. The thesis must be put in the Homework Vault of Thesis Writing Seminar before the deadline stated in the schedule of the Department of IR and European Studies. Student submits the thesis in the file under the name of his/her supervisor.
  2. When submitted to the Homework Vault, the thesis must have at least 80 per cent of the overall number of characters.
  3. Please note not only you are required to comply with the minimal percentage of the overall number of characters; moreover, the thesis must be coherent in terms of its content and must include all the chapters as agreed with the supervisor (including the conclusion). It is also expected the research question(s) will already be resolved.
  4. The footnotes may not be completed.
  5. The list of references may not be completed.
  6. Any appendices may not be included.

Once the deadline for submissions is over, the Homework Vault will be closed. It is the student’s responsibility to make sure the thesis is submitted in time and in the appropriate folder. The supervisors read the texts submitted, and decide on credit and give feedback within 7 days.

Formal Requirements for the Final Text

Among the formal aspects that have to be kept is the recommended length of the thesis, use of quotation and notes, stating of all used sources including internet ones, and the signed declaration of the authorship on 2nd page. The text of final thesis can be printed on white as well as re-cycled paper. Double-sided print is acceptable. However, the Title Page and all the initial pages must be printed as single-sided. The thesis has to be bound according to instructions – texts in so called circle binding are not accepted. Both copies submitted for defense will be returned back to the student, as the thesis is archived in the information system. The title page should state the name of university, faculty, department and study field, title and type of the thesis, name and UČO (university number) of the author, place and date of publication - see the model page). 

For the Master´s thesis 80-100 standard pages (i.e. min 144 000 characters in thermo bound and with 2 copies) is required.

The text of the thesis should be double-spaced or space-and-a-half. Exceptions for which you may use single spacing are the Table of Contents, footnotes and endnotes, charts, graphs, tables, quotations, captions, glossary, appendices and bibliography. Graphic layout of the text should reflect the structure and facilitate easy comprehension of the argument.

Submitting the Thesis for Defense

Submit the thesis before the deadline set in the department calendar and post it in the information system in STUDENT menu: Final State Examination and Thesis/Dissertation Archive.

First, you need to fill in the archive with abstracts (enter the English abstract twice) and key words, and confirm that the printed and electronic versions are identical. Then only you continue to the archive and submit the full text in pdf or text form.

The full instructions of working with theses in IS from the start (topic registration) until the final submission can be found in the Help section under the heading Theses/Dissertations.

Theses submitted later will not be accepted for defense. The thesis submitted in hard copy and the electronic version in IS should be identical, which is the responsibility of the student. The title of the thesis stated in the Thesis Topic list in the information system will be stated in Diploma Supplement, so up-date the title e.g. one month before the final text is due. In case of any problems, contact the department secretary. Two printed copies (signed) identical with the electronic copy must be submitted at the department by the deadline given in the departmental calendar.