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Report, 2007

Det oändliga Examensarbetet

Lindroos, Ola


A completed thesis is a prerequisite for a bachelor and a master’s degree. Non-completion has therefore serious consequences for both students and university. In this report, the frequency of non-completion is quantified through register analysis and contributing factors are analysed through interviews. Even though the empirical material originates from the Department of forest resource management, the discussion of measures for increasing successful completion is more general in nature. Thirty-four percent of the 95 theses started between the fall semester of 1999 and the fall semester of 2006 were not completed. Of the theses started before 2006, 16% were not completed. If this share is representative for the faculty, it implies that only 84% of the students can graduate. Furthermore, 75% of the completed theses were not ready on time. According to the interviews, the most important influencing factors for successful completion were supervisor engagement and student competence. That students are employed before the theses are completed was also considered important, but was pointed out to be a symptom of theses not being completed on time. Keeping to the allotted time frame is considered the most important success variable for the completion of theses. To reach a high quality result within a limited time frame is, however, not easy and a dilemma in education. The greatest potential for improving this situation is in different kind of structural changes, both in the education program and in the supervision of theses. Since the higher education is based on the student’s free will to participate, it is of high relevance to consider how different measures influence the student’s motivation to complete the thesis. Two factors are considered to have the greatest improvement potential at the department level: thesis planning seminars early in the thesis work and evaluations of the theses’ duration time. These simple measures create structures that both on the short and long term standardise the supervision of theses and discover cases in which extra support is needed

Published in

Arbetsrapport / Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, Institutionen för skoglig resurshushållning
2007, number: 191
Publisher: SLU