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Master degree project in geology, 45 ECTS Credits

You can carry out a Master's degree project of 45 credits in Geology with a specialisation in either Bedrock Geology, Quaternary Geology or Biogeology (or without any specific specialisation). Your project can be purely scientific in scope, have a clear focus on geological applications in a societal perspective, or include any kind of combination of these two approaches. In any case, your degree certificate will state that you have completed a Master’s degree in Geology. Inspiration can be sought from the list of previously completed Master’s degree projects in LUP Student Papers. To be able to do a Master´s degree project in Geology you must have completed at least two of our 15-credit courses at advanced level within the programme . Find more information in the programme syllabus, which also states the course requirements within the respective specialisations.


Before the project starts

  1. Check with the studievagledare [at] geol [dot] lu [dot] se (Study Advisor) or the Director of Studies that you fulfil the requirements for starting a degree project.
  2. Contact a supervisor within the area of your interest and discuss the general outline of a potential project. Note that you may carry out your project outside the university, e.g. at a company or an authority, based on your own appointment with an external advisor. If you do your project outside the Department of Geology you also need an internal supervisor at the department. If you do not find what you want among our project proposals  or if you are hesitant about your choice of project, feel free to discuss different options well in advance with the Study Advisor or the Director of Studies.
  3. At least one supervisor (including a main/internal supervisor) and one examiner shall be appointed, see guidelines by the Faculty of Science (in Swedish). These two functions are not to be performed by the same person. PhD students and researchers may participate in the supervision but the main (or internal) supervisor must be a tenured teacher at the Department of Geology.
  4. In consultation with your main/internal supervisor, decide whether you will write your thesis in Swedish or in English.
  5. Economy. A maximum sum of 9000 SEK is available for each Master's project carried out at the department. Discuss the foreseeable costs with your supervisor, assess what can be covered by available research grants, and include a budget in your project plan (see template below). If you perform your Master's project outside the department, e.g. at a company or authority, some funding is available, e.g. for insurance or field work abroad, but costs for travel to and from the work place where the project is performed are not covered. Discuss the project costs with your internal supervisor.
  6. Be aware of the fact that the copyright of your thesis (ownership and right to publish data) resides with you as a student, but you need to take into account the potential needs of data protection within research projects or companies/authorities. Discuss this with your supervisor(s) and if applicable, with your external advisor at an early stage.
  7. Insurance. As a student, you have insurance coverage for work in the field and in the laboratory etc., but you need an additional insurance if you are going to work outside of Sweden. Our Human Resource Officer will help you.

At the very start of the project

  1. Write a project plan together with your main supervisor (or your external advisor and your internal supervisor). The plan should be concise, but give a clear description of your specific project (2-3 A4 pages). Use the registration form and template for project plan (docx, new tab) and hand it in to the Director of Studies as soon as possible, at the latest two weeks after the start of your initial study period. You and your supervisor(s) are to sign the form and after that the Director of Studies will approve your project plan and appoint an examiner (commonly following suggestions by your supervisor) Note that if you plan to carry out your project during the summer you must complete this document before the 15th of June.
  2. Write a popular presentation of your project. This should include your name, title of the project, supervisor, a brief summary of the project and ideally a photo of yourself that allows you to be identified (closup such that height of face is at least half of height of photo frame, preferably no hat and no sunglasses). Use the template for posting of ongoing projects (pptx, new tab), and please, do not change the set font or font size. Email your description in ppt format to the Director of Studies, at the latest two weeks after the start of your initial study period. This is intended for publication on our notice boards by the student expedition and in the Geolibrary.

During the project

  1. During the degree project work you shall write a project logbook, either electronically or in a notebook. Make careful, daily notes about time spent on the project, planning, data collection, technical details of your analyses, data treatment and calculations. These will be of great help when you start writing your thesis. In the logbook you also register if you take time off (e.g. because of vacation, illness, malfunctioning instruments etc.), or other significant events.  Please note that in order to have the possibility of obtaining the highest grade (Pass with Distinction – väl godkänt) a degree project cannot exceed the stipulated time by more than 20% (maximum 33 weeks for a 45-credit project). Please, bring the logbook to the examination.
  2. It is advisable to start writing as soon as possible. Parts of the introduction and methods can be written in parallel with your empirical/theoretical work. As data are being collected and analysed, construct figures and tables to be included in the report. Help in the academic writing process can be provided by AWELU or through Lund University’s web-based short lectures freely available on YouTube. The Academic Support Centre offers help with study techniques and academic writing through individual supervision and courses. If you need help with literature searches or how to use a reference management system like Endnote, please contact the geobiblioteket [at] science [dot] lu [dot] se (Geolibrary).
  3. Your Master’s thesis should be written as a scientific report. Some general guidelines for the structure and content and how to handle tables and figures etc. can be obtained from the instructions for project reports (pdf, new tab) prepared by the Dept. of Biology. Write in a stringent scientific style and avoid excessive length. However, you are allowed to be slightly more explicit with background, explanations, etc. as compared to a journal manuscript. You are also allowed to include descriptions and discussion of preliminary or incomplete results and to introduce and show that you understand the chosen methodology and strategies by explaining them and providing the necessary details.
  4. Academic integrity. You are not allowed to present someone else’s work, such as text, figures or results, without giving proper reference. This also applies to material you find on the Internet. You may of course refer to the work of others, but you need to re-write it in your own words and refer to (cite) the source of information in a correct way. Read more at the Lund University Library website or at the Library of Science Academic Writing website, and ask your main/internal supervisor if you need specific advice. In order to prevent plagiarism, your thesis will be submitted to a text matching system (see Examination below). Also, note that you need permission from the publisher if you want to include previously published graphical material (figures, photographs etc.) in your thesis. Information on how you get access and refer to maps and other geographical data is provided by the Lund University Geodata website.
  5. You should try to attend relevant seminars and meetings arranged by your research group and by the department, see our seminar calendar.
  6. If something is not working the way you would like, e.g. problems with your supervisor, contact the studievagledare [at] geol [dot] lu [dot] se (Study Advisor) or the Director of Studies as soon as possible. The earlier we address a problem the sooner it can be solved.
  7. When about half the project time has passed, the examiner shall check that the timetable is followed and that the work in general is proceeding in a satisfactory manner. This can be done orally or in a brief written report, and is also intended as a means of getting general advice in addition to what you get from your supervisor(s).
  8. Sometimes a project may need to be prolonged or shortened. This decision has to be taken as soon as possible. The reasons for the change have to be explained in written form to the Director of Studies, and a new project plan has to be submitted.
  9. You are to undertake your degree project independently, but with continuous contact with your supervisor(s) to discuss your results and interpretations. When you commence the write-up phase, you are encouraged to submit an outline of your thesis to your main/internal supervisor. Partial manuscripts should then be submitted for continual review. You should establish a number of deadlines together with your supervisor for different parts of your thesis.

Towards the end of the project

  1. Reference style. References in the text and the list of references at the end shall follow the format American Psychological Association (APA) 7th Edition. You can find a guide to the APA style here. If you wish, you can use EndNote for your referencing. The 7th edition of the APA style is available in EndNote.
  2. Every Master's thesis must include an abstract in English and an abstract in Swedish, see Publisher templates below for formats. If you are not familiar with Swedish you may seek help with the translation from your supervisor or a fellow student.
  3. You must write a popular summary of your project in English or in Swedish according to the instructions and templates for popular summary (docx, new tab). Let a friend or a fellow master student read and provide feedback. Your popular science summaries must be approved by your main/internal supervisor before the examination.
  4. Before the seminar you are also to make a poster in A3 format that presents your research question, method and results. Ask your main/internal supervisor to provide feedback before you settle for the final version. Remember to add the year of your examination. You can find some useful advice here (pdf, new tab). Send your poster in pdf format to the committee and the student reviewer at least one week before the date set for the seminar. Please, also bring a printed copy (A3 size) of your poster to the presentation.

The examination

  1. The examination committee, which is appointed by the examiner in consultation with the Director of Studies and the main/internal supervisor, consists of the examiner and an additional tenured teacher at the department. The committee may be supplemented with a third person with specialist insight into the subject (teacher, researcher or PhD student). Your main/internal supervisor will provide input to, but will not take part in the examination and grading of your thesis. If the main/internal supervisor cannot attend the examination, he/she should provide a written evaluation of the project or discuss it directly with the examiner.
  2. A student reviewer is appointed by the Director of Studies among the students undertaking degree projects at the department. The student reviewer primarily focuses on the formal presentation, e.g. text processing, illustrations and references, but also the scientific content can be addressed by the reviewer. Serving as student reviewer of a degree project is part of your education and is to be seen as a step in the process to fulfilling the learning outcome “critical assessment". The review is to take around 10-15 minutes of the seminar.
  3. Time for the examination. When your main/internal supervisor has reviewed and approved your final, formatted manuscript and your popular summary, it is time to notify the examiner who schedules and arranges the examination together with your main/internal supervisor and books a lecture room. Together you decide on a date and time for the seminar at which you will present and defend your thesis, and the examiner informs all involved, including the Director of Studies. Preferably, the seminar should take place within the time allowed (maximum 33 weeks after the start, see above), but depending on the availability of the examination committee, it can be scheduled later without affecting your possibility of getting the highest grade, provided that your final manuscript is available in time.
  4. Your final manuscript (including the scientific abstract and the popular summary in English or in Swedish) is to be submitted as a single PDF file to the committee and the student reviewer at least one week before the date set for the seminar. Your manuscript must be formatted in a clear and consistent way, but it does not need to have the final layout at this stage (see Thesis layout below).
  5. You must also submit your thesis to the text matching tool Urkund at least one week before the examination, using this address of your examiner: firstname [dot] lastname [dot] lu [at] analys [dot] urkund [dot] se, as a means of preventing and detecting plagiarism.
  6. The examiner is responsible for announcing your thesis presentation by email to the department and all current master students as soon as possible after the presentation time has been decided (followed by a reminder the day before), and through a notice on the department web site. The examiner is responsible for introducing the seminar by presenting the student, the examination committee and the student reviewer, as well as for leading the seminar.
  7. During the examination you shall make an oral presentation of your project, including research question, methods, results and conclusions, during 20-25 minutes, preferentially with the aid of a set of instructive slides, using e.g. Powerpoint. Feel free to discuss the presentation with your supervisor, and remember to practice to make sure that it fits into the timeframe. After that, the student reviewer briefly provides comments and questions. Then a discussion follows during which you answer questions about your work, posed by the examiner and the other members of the committee, followed by questions from the audience. The examination committee then has an internal discussion before the examiner decides about the grading of your thesis work according to the Grading criteria and grading report (look for the document at the bottom of this page). The examiner is responsible for reporting the grade to the Education office.
  8. Grading: Pass (godkänt) shall be the normal grade awarded if the project has been completed satisfactorily within the stipulated timeframe. If the thesis does not fulfil the requirements for the grade Pass, you will be given instructions by your examiner about how to improve your thesis to reach the grade Pass. To reach the grade Pass with Distinction (väl godkänt) two criteria must be fulfilled:
  • You must have demonstrated high ability to work independently, including creative problem posing, problem solving and deduction, and to put the results into a wider context, e.g. a scientific area of research and/or relevant geological applications. The written and oral presentations of your thesis must be of high quality.
  • The timeframe for the degree project must not have been exceeded with more than 20% (maximum 33 weeks in total).

The final steps

  1. Make the last corrections of the report. Incorporate the changes suggested by the examination committee into the final version, and if requested, have them approved by your examiner.
  2. Thesis layout. Please, use the Publisher template for master theses (Swedish (.pub, new tab) or English (pub, new tab)) and follow the guidelines provided in the Publisher layout instructions. (doc, new tab)
  3. The serial number for your thesis. E-mail the final title of your thesis to the geobiblioteket [at] science [dot] lu [dot] se (Geolibrary) who will provide you with the series number of your thesis and check that all the formalities are correct.
  4. Publication of your Master thesis. Register your work in LUP Student Papers within three weeks after the seminar. Upload your complete thesis as a PDF file, your popular science summary and your poster, see Manual LUP Student Papers (English).
  5. Delayed publication. If you and your supervisor choose to publish the whole thesis in LUP Student Papers, this will be regarded as a publication and may limit your possibilities to publish your work in scientific journals. Discuss this with your supervisor(s) and if applicable, with your external advisor. If you need to take into account the needs of data protection within research projects or companies/authorities you may choose to delay public access to the PDF file (Access Level: Only Author/Reviewer/Administrator). If possible, enter a date one to two years into the future when your thesis will be made publicly available: Switch automatically to open access on this day (YYYY-MM-DD). The period of publication delay can be changed at any time by contacting the geobiblioteket [at] science [dot] lu [dot] se (Geolibrary) or publicera [at] lub [dot] lu [dot] se (publicera[at]lub[dot]lu[dot]se).
  6. You are then responsible for printing and binding your thesis in a maximum of 6 copies no later than three weeks after the seminar. Ask the Education Office for advice.
  7. Hand in two printed copies of your thesis to the geobiblioteket [at] science [dot] lu [dot] se (Geolibrary) where a printed copy will be displayed. Please, note that your credits cannot be registered in LADOK until the two copies have been handed in and your thesis has been registered in LUP Student Papers.
  8. Send your poster as a PDF file to the Education Office for display on one of our notice boards.
  9. If you have had any expenses during the project, please contact the Fiscal Office for help with reimbursement.
  10. Please complete the course evaluation. You will get the web address in an e-mail from the Geolibrary.
  11. Degree certificate. You have to apply for your Master’s degree certificate online, through the Student Portal (log in to the Student Portal with your StiL ID and follow the instructions). Contact the Education Office if you have questions. It may take up to two months for the Degree Office to award the certificate.
  12. We would like to keep in contact with all students who have completed their degrees in Geology. You are therefore encouraged to provide the Education Office with your email address, address and telephone number connected to the career path you follow for future alumni contacts. Good luck and let’s keep in touch!

All forms, templates and guidelines

General information

This is a mandatory course at advanced level for inclusion in a MSc. degree in geology, with a specialisation in bedrock geology (NAGEL BERG), biogeology (NAGEL BIGE) or quaternary geology (NAGEL KVRT). Please, note that You must have acquired at least 30 credits at advanced level in geology at Lund University to be admitted.


Period: Full-time studies.
Admission requirements: General and a minimum of 210 ECTS credits, including 30 ECTS credits in Geology at the advanced level, normally corresponding to two of the courses GEOM08-GEOM11 or GEON04-GEON07 or their precursors. English B (advanced) proficiency.

Application - Non-exchange students
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