Thesis syllabus



Course Number: TRNG 4004
Course Title: Professional Thesis
Credit Hours: 9 credit hours
Prerequisites: COMM 3004, Senior Standing
Course Length: There are no class hours for this course, however students are advised to work on their thesis over a total period of 9-12 months. During this time, students should arrange a minimum of 4 tutorials with their advisor and other members of faculty who have the experience and knowledge to help them.
Course Description: A final, individual project intended to integrate material already covered in previous courses, as well as to provide an in-depth exploration of a topic of special interest or career relevance to the participant. Students work closely with an academic advisor and are required to submit a comprehensive written report as well as make an oral presentation of the research results in front of a professional academic panel. Business plans are not accepted as a final project.

Resources / Recommended readings:

Students will find invaluable help in the textbooks they have used for all communications classes. For specific help in writing business research:

  • Walliman, Nicholas, Your Undergraduate Dissertation: The Essential Guide for Success. Sage, 2004.

For help with MLA referencing:

  • Trimmer, Joseph F., A Guide to MLA Documentation, 5th ed. Houghton Mifflin, 1999.

For other referencing styles (e.g. Harvard) please contact the Library.

Learning Objectives:

On successfully completing the course, students will have learned how to synthesize their existing knowledge, to work independently and to present and defend their arguments. Specific objectives are:


  • To explain and apply relevant theories, laws, practical techniques and facts in a chosen area.
  • To interpret data, draw logical conclusions from them, and give recommendations where appropriate.
  • To apply the knowledge, experience and skills learned at university to a chosen situation in a trans-disciplinary way.
  • To broaden one’s knowledge on a specific topic, issue, company or industry.
  • To demonstrate the ability to tackle problematic issues and look at a problem from various perspectives.
  • To show the ability to analyse various aspects of a topic.
  • To review and synthesise knowledge, make judgements and reasoned arguments.
  • To apply various research techniques, find suitable sources of information and acknowledge them in the thesis.


  • To demonstrate one’s ability to logically organize and structure a large amount of information.
  • To prepare and deliver an interesting and informative oral presentation.
  • To answer questions and defend one’s findings in a professional manner.


  • To develop time management and planning skills.

Motivation & Independence

  • To be able to choose a topic of interest that will help the student in his/her future career.
  • To build self-discipline.

Requirements for successful completion:

In order to fully benefit from this course, students should start work on their thesis as soon as possible. In addition, they should proactively and regularly seek help from their advisor

Faculty advisor:

The advisor’s role is to guide students in their progression, improve their analytical reasoning, and encourage them to construct a sound analysis and to design a structured report. It is the student’s responsibility to get the most out of their advisor, who will help with the following:

  • Discuss the thesis proposal (topic and outline) prior to approval. (cf. PROPOSAL FORM attached below)
  • Agree to a timetable for consultations and submissions of sections of the thesis.
  • Advise on theoretical content.
  • Advise on possible sources of information, and methods of data collection and analysis.
  • Advise on extra skills you may need to acquire, including use of English.
  • Comment on the thesis as it develops.
  • Advise on the structure of both the written report and the oral presentation.
  • Introduce you to other faculty who may be able to help with specialist requirements.
  • Offer constructive criticism.

In addition, the advisor must approve the submission of the final report, will attend the oral presentation, and participate in grading the work.

Written report requirements:

  • Approx. 15,000 words (range from 13,500 to 16,500)
  • Font size 12.
  • Double line spacing.
  • Correct use of English (spelling, grammar, clarity).
  • Every source used must be documented correctly in the body of the text and alphabetically in the list of references. Students must choose and use a referencing system (e.g. Harvard or MLA correctly and consistently.
  • Three printed copies of the thesis must be handed in to the thesis coordinator. An electronic copy on CD must also be submitted, to be stored in the library.


The university fosters the highest standards of academic integrity. The thesis is the culmination of a student’s undergraduate curriculum and should be his/her own work. Consequently, the student must not plagiarize any material, collaborate with others, make up data or citations, or knowingly make false statements. Any of these actions will result in the work being awarded a grade of “F” (failure) and possible disciplinary action.


The report should follow structure outlined below:



Title page. Starts at i.
Table of contents.  
Introduction. Starts at 1.
List of references / works cited  
Appendices (A, B, etc.)  

Oral presentation requirements:

The oral presentation should highlight the most interesting findings of the written report and not necessarily follow the same structure. The presentation should be used as an opportunity to present one’s own views, opinions and experiences. It should take 20 minutes, after which the audience and the jury will ask questions.


The student should:

  1. Choose an advisor from IUM faculty and discuss the topic.
  2. Carry out initial, exploratory research to become familiar with the topic.
  3. With the assistance of the advisor write a proposal, attach it to the completed proposal form and
    submit one copy signed by both you and your advisor for approval to the Thesis Coordinator.
  4. Register with the Undergraduate Programs Office.
  5. Pay the thesis fee (see David Cranman for payment details)
  6. Agree on a timetable for consultations and submissions with the advisor, in writing.
  7. Submit the written report within the deadlines set every academic year, upon approval of the
  8. Fix a date for the oral presentation (usually within two weeks after submission of the written

Methods of evaluation and breakdown of final grade

Emphasis will be placed on the added value contributed by the student and not only on the collection of a large amount of information. The thesis should not be presented as a catalogue of different theories, issues or data. Students’ attention is drawn to the grading matrix.

The thesis is graded in two parts, which are then combined to create the final grade.

Written report: 70% Oral presentation: 30%

The thesis will be marked on the achievement of the objectives listed above, using the criteria on the grading matrix. Failure to meet agreed deadlines for submission and presentation may negatively affect your grade. The written report will be marked by 3 people, who will also mark the oral presentation.

Date of last update of the syllabus: (14 November 2006)