Although most discussions of “theses” refer to postgraduate work, undergraduate students usually write a thesis as part of their overall degree. This article looks at the undergraduate thesis and its typical requirements at UK universities.
What is an undergraduate or bachelor’s thesis?
An undergraduate thesis (also known as a bachelor’s thesis) is a longer essay that combines research and writing on a single topic. The topic is often chosen based on the student’s interests and is usually completed in the final year of the degree. Compared to a traditional module, it allows the learner to research a specific topic. Throughout the research project, the student works with a single supervisor who is a faculty member and provides guidance and support.
How is postgraduate work different from undergraduate work?
Postgraduate work is very different from undergraduate work. First, it is much shorter, averaging only 10,000-15,000 words. This is much longer than any other written paper required at the undergraduate level, even though it is much shorter than a master’s or doctoral thesis.
Second, unlike a graduate thesis, an undergraduate thesis does not have to be as innovative. Although they do not have to submit original ideas, students are still expected to complete the paper on their own and cite all of their sources. It is sufficient to conduct a detailed, on-going study and critically analyse a reasonably specific research topic. It is optional to address the philosophical background of the study or to develop a unique approach.
It is also important to remember that the best bachelor’s theses demonstrate critical thinking skills and the ability to synthesize data from multiple sources.
Last but not least, the bachelor’s thesis differs in its applied methodology, which will focus more on texts and documents than actual fieldwork. Most of the time, students will review secondary or readily available primary sources; they will only be asked to search for basic or inexpensive data sources. In several areas, a hands-on component may be included in the work. However, this is often done with less independence than would be expected at the postgraduate level.
Undergraduate Thesis Rules
Choice of topic
Students choose a research topic for their thesis after their penultimate year of study. Since it is difficult and risky to change the topic after you have begun your studies, you should choose a topic that is likely to sustain your attention for an extended period of time.
Find a supervisor
Depending on the school, there may be a formal system for assigning supervisors, or students may be able to contact a staff member with whom they would like to work. Before you sign up for a desired major, it can be beneficial to meet with potential advisors. They can help clarify your proposed topic and provide ideas for specific research topics. You will meet regularly with your supervisor after you officially begin work to discuss your progress and improve your research.
During the summer before senior year, most students begin extensive reading on their chosen topic. This time is critical to gaining a comprehensive understanding of the topic and preparing you for more focused study once your senior year begins.
Outline of the research
As soon as the undergraduate research module begins (often at the beginning of the 3rd year), you will need to prepare a brief outline of your paper of about 2- 3 pages. A full bibliography and chapter summary must be included. At this point, you should have already decided on a specific part of your topic, which you should develop into a study title with the help of your advisor.
Skilful writing and research
Your study will now be much more focused on the goal of your planned paper. It would also be helpful if you started writing as soon as possible. At the end of the first semester, most departments require students to complete a lengthy written paper (3,000-5,000 words). Remember that you should submit at least one draft to your advisor before this deadline so that you have enough time to make any necessary adjustments.
When you are done writing, you should have about three to four chapters, an introduction, and a conclusion. Everything must be formatted according to the university’s guidelines, and you must cite all sources correctly.
Binding and submission
Unlike essays, the bachelor’s thesis must be professionally bound before submission. Although this is often done on campus, you must allow adequate time for this procedure before the deadline. Generally, the final deadline falls at the end of the second semester of the student’s senior year.
The bachelor’s thesis is graded using the same criteria as the other components of the bachelor’s degree programme. Most students will aim for a higher score, but generally a minimum score of 40 is required to pass. A score above 70 will result in a grade of “First” (A) for the thesis, and a score between 60 and 69 will result in a grade of “2:1” (B).
The thesis will receive a separate module grade, which will be added to the module grades of the preceding modules to calculate the final grade. It is advisable to check with your university to understand their specific policies, as there is no standard policy for UK universities regarding the weighting of the thesis grade in determining the final average. With the help of Live Web Tutors’ UK Thesis Help experts, you can improve your grades.
For many students, their thesis is their first experience of extensive independent study. It can be a daunting experience, but it’s helpful to remember that you can regularly seek advice and help from your faculty advisor. You can complete your thesis on time if you work continuously and diligently. You will also gain important research skills that can prepare you for graduate study.