Assessment criteria for the Master Thesis

Assessment criteria for the Master Thesis

From Autumn 2023 the Master programme in Economics and Business Administration adopts a rubric with specific assessment criteria as a help for grading master theses.

The assessment criteria consist of both a set of criteria for assessing the master thesis, and criteria for assessing student independence under supervision. These were decided in the Spring of 2023 and are implemented from the Autumn of 2023. These criteria are a guiding tool, used by examiners to grade master theses at NHH.

Below, we list both the master thesis criteria and the independence criteria. You should have a thorough look at the criteria at the beginning of your master thesis work, and also refer back to these from time to time during the writing process.

  • Master thesis assessment criteria

    Master thesis assessment criteria

    The criteria cover the whole process of your master thesis, from formulating the topic and research questions, through identifying relevant theory and methods, to performing the analysis and drawing valid conclusions.  In addition, there are requirements to the actual writing of the report and the use of sources. The overall learning objectives of the master thesis work are written in bold font, while the assessment criteria are listed as bullet points under each learning objective.

    Identify problem to be solved in a given context.

    The students are able to:

    • Identify a problem/research question that seeks to enhance the current state of knowledge, and describe it clearly and concisely, making it easy to understand.
    • Succinctly, accurately and critically review the existing literature, describing the background and motivation, drawing on different sources of information.

    Choose and apply theory/methods appropriately.

    The students are able to:

    • Display knowledge of the academic theories and methods, and show good judgement in the choice and motivation of appropriate theory/methods.
    • Describe the research method/design clearly and objectively, including data and other material if applicable.
    • Apply theory/methods appropriately and convincingly, manifested in the analysis.

    Draw valid conclusions and reflect critically on the use of theory/methods.

    The students are able to:

    • Draw appropriate conclusions, demonstrating an ability to identify key findings, contributions and implications.
    • Critically reflect on the key assumptions and limitations of the current research.

    Produce written reports that document research according to acceptable academic standards.

    The students are able to:

    • Present arguments effectively and write text that is easy to follow, using discipline‐specific terminology with few grammar and spelling errors/typos.
    • Follow applicable norms of research ethics; use a recognised referencing style correctly; acknowledge others’ work.
  • Independence Assessment Criteria

    Independence Assessment Criteria

    As stated in Description of Grades for Master’s Theses, the master thesis should demonstrate the candidates’ ability to “conduct an independent, delimited research or development project under supervision (…)”. In assessing to what degree the students demonstrate such independence under supervision in their work on the master thesis, the following areas are included:

    Independence under supervision with regard to:

    • Generating the research question
    • Reviewing the existing literature
    • Developing the research design, including data/material that the thesis builds on
    • Executing the analysis
    • Drawing conclusions

    It is important to emphasise that independence does not mean that you should avoid seeing your supervisor. On the contrary, supervision is a mandatory part of the work, and it is highly encouraged. Independence under supervision is an assessment of the degree to which students are able to develop their own project and use the supervision they receive in a constructive way.

  • Final grade

    Final grade

    These assessment criteria are tools used by examiners to grade master theses at NHH. It is, however, important to emphasise that the final grade is not just a weighted average of scores on a set of criteria. The final grade is based on an overall assessment of all elements, including the learning objectives and criteria, as well as the degree of independence under supervision.

    Please note that the grade, i.e. A – F, will be based on the qualitative descriptions in Description of Grades for Master’s Theses; these show how the overall performance is assessed at various levels, from excellent (A) to fail (F).