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Information on writing a dissertation and graduation mark

Choosing a subject

Candidates may choose a subject area or learning activity among those included in their study plan (120 ECTS). Students enrolled in a second cycle degree programme willing to choose a learning activity or subject area that is NOT included in their study plan are asked to fill in the relevant form (ATT_1). The student must indicate the motivation of the request and obtain the approval by the degree programme Director, then by the supervisor. The request has to be approved  by the Director and the supervisor before starting the thesis to be sure that the chosen subject is consistent with the degree programme Learning outocomes. The form must be submitted to the Student Administration Office of Forlì (P.le della Vittoria 15, Forlì) before filling in the graduation application form online. Candidates may choose as a thesis supervisor any professor pertaining to the subject group specified in the relevant Degree programme teaching regulation (art. 18, paragraph 6 of the University teaching regulations).


Editorial rules - Guidelines for thesis editing: formal requirements

Final papers shall be written according to the formal standards reported below. Consequently, theses drawn up in a different way will not be accepted: 

  • Pages must be of 32-35 lines each, every line must contain 65-70 characters of the following type fonts: times, courier, Helvetica
  • Double-sided printing (front and back) Illustrations and tables must be in UNI A4 or A3 format
  • The box containing the tables must be appropriate in size and thickness (A3)
  • Thesis cannot include the University of Bologna logo because they are strictly personal papers
  • To edit the title page, please refer to the template available in the attachment section (ATT_4)
  • The thesis editing shall be consistent with relevant editorial standards and with the requirements of their field of study and their topic.

The supervising professor will monitor and support the student's activities and ensure the dissertation is appropriate, consistent and original, also by using computer applications.

NOTE: no paper copies of the thesis are require

Citations, bibliographical references, footnotes and use of brackets     

  • Bibliography The bibliography has to be published in alphabetic order according to the authors’ surnames, followed by the year of publication. Examples: 
  • 1) Monographs:  Majone G. (1996), Regulating Europe , London, Routledge  2) Volumes of collective writings: Poterba J. and von Hagen J. (eds.) (1999), Fiscal Institutions and Fiscal Performance , Chicago and London, The University of Chicago Press  3) Essays included in volumes of collective writings: Strauch R. (2000), Institutional Reforms and Belgian Fiscal Policy in the 90s , in: Rolf R. Strauch and Jürgen von Hagen (eds.), Institutions, Politics and Fiscal Policy , Boston and Dordrecht, Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 215-34.  4) Articles published in journals: Pierson P. (1996), The Path to European Integration. A Historical Institutionalis Analysis, in «Comparative Political Studies», n. 2, pp. 123-63.  — (2000), Incrising Returns, Path Dependence, and the Study of Politic s , in «American Political Science Review», n. 2, pp. 251-67.  5) Articles published only on the internet – “nd” (stands for: not dated document) Terzani S. (nd), I poteri del Parlamento scozzese.
  • In-text bibliographic references have to be reported in round brackets by indicating the author’s surname, followed by the year and, after a comma, by the page number if necessary (ex. Rossi 2006, 233-237).   When more works are enclosed in the same round brackets, they have to be separated by a semicolon. The author’s name initial has to be inserted between the surname and the year only if the final bibliography includes two authors with the same surname. Each reference has to be listed at the end of the thesis by respecting the examples reported above. Every work from which interpretations and information are taken has to be cited. Sentences or parts of sentences quoted from any works and reported in the typescript shall be placed inside quotation marks and the source has to be cited. The term «ibidem» (with small initial letter) shall be used to refer to a work previously cited. (Scharpf 1997, 32) .................. (ibidem, 127-28). The abbreviation «cfr.» shall be written in small letters and with a final full stop. Textual citations shall be written between guillemets  «...». Quotations of more than four lines have to be reported in a separate paragraph.  For each work cited in brackets in the text, the corresponding references have to be reported in the bibliography. It is advisable to cite only works which have been actually consulted.  In case you deem it necessary to insert second hand textual citations, they have to be specified with the expression «cited in». For example: (Hamer 1977, cited in Cox 1987, 70). Also in this case it is necessary to list the complete references in the bibliography.  Normally, footnotes should not exceed 10 lines. 
  • Statistics, tables and figures
  • If statistical surveys carried out by the student are included in the thesis, it is advisable to pay special attention and justify the sample selection and consistency.  Tables and figures shall be headed and numbered in progressive order and shall be referred to from the text with their number.  The notes of tables and figures (diagrams, graphs, cartographies) have to be placed at the foot of the corresponding table and figure and not at the foot of the page.  Tables must be self-explained, so that the reader does not need to have recourse to the text to understand them. The text must describe the essential content of the tables so that the reader who does not want to focus on the tables can go on reading as s/he has already understood the basic information conveyed by the table from the text.  Every table must be referred to from the text at least once in order to explain its content and to justify its usefulness for the thesis.  Tables and figures must be reported directly in the text, approximately in the point where they will be inserted in the paper format. 
  •  Foreign words and use of italics
  • The use of italics shall be restricted to foreign words, including Latin terms (pro tempore, in primis, ad hoc , arrondissements , Länder), except for those words of common use such as élite. The words that the author wants to enhance, the table headings and the titles of volumes or articles quoted in the text shall be also in Italics. Names of associations, institutions, etc. shall be in normal style both in the text and in the notes (ex. Isr = Institute for Social Research). Abbreviations shall not be italicized, even though they refer to foreign words. Foreign words shall be always put in italics, while it is not possible to use quotation marks.


Use of information technology during the graduation ceremonies

At the EMS School of Forlì, sited in P.le della Vittoria, the rooms that will host the graduation ceremonies (predominantly Room Mattarelli and Room 1) are equipped with the following systems: Windows 10 + Office 2016 + Internet. For alternative systems (i.e. Mac), please check in advance that files can be transferred to Office 2016 and readable. In the case of different editions of Office, please save files in compatibility mode with Office 2016 for Windows (Standard Power Point Presentation).

 Given that IT-based presentations are not compulsory during the thesis defence, graduands are advised to contact the IT support staff by calling the porters’ lodge at:  0543 374611 or 0543 374623 or by sending an email to the President’s secretary at well in advance as to the scheduled graduation date, asking for information regarding the use of IT / requesting an appointment with the authorized personnel, or a compatibility test of the file saved on a USB device.

It is advisable to save on the USB both the PowerPoint presentation and a PDF version, checking in advance that both files are properly readable, and to bring also a printed copy of the presentation.

On the graduation date: If the graduate wishes to upload his/her presentation to the desktop, he/she must address their request to the staff well in advance as to the the start of the graduation ceremony.


Final grade

The average grade calculation will be carried out by the Student Administration Office, as the office in charge of drafting the graduation record. ‘Cum laude’ honours (lode) do not have a numerical value but they will be evaluated and awarded separately by the Examination Board during the dissertation discussion.

This initial score will not be rounded by the Student Administration Office (e.g. 101,56). The final score will be rounded exclusively by the Examination Board during the thesis defence.


The Board receives a document by the Student Administration Office, called "statino di laurea" (exam record), which indicates the mere weighted average of grades obtained.

The weighted average is converted to a scale with grades up to 110.

Extra points will be added to the initial score as it follows:

  • + 0,33 points à  for each ‘cum laude’ award obtained
  • + 1 point à if students graduate by the December session
  • +1 extra point will be awarded for having obtained at least 12 ECTS abroad during mobility programmes for either study or traineeship purposes
  • 2 extra points will be awarded for having obtained at least 24 ECTS abroad during mobility programmes for either study or traineeship purposes
  • Thesis evaluation (by the Examination Board) à  (up to 5 points)

NOTE: In order to obtain the above-mentioned extra points, students must submit their formal request to the International Relation Office in P.le della Vittoria 15, Forlì (by the third deadline) by filling in the form available in the attachment section (ATT_2).

The Board expresses its assessment with a grade out of 110. The exam is deemed to be passed with a minimum grade of 66/110. In the case of a maximum grade (110/110), the Board may also grant a distinction (Cum laude/ con lode) by unanimous decision.

If a candidate does not obtain a score of 106/110 or higher (including all the above-listed extra points), the supervisor may ask for a counter-report (necessary for obtaining a ‘cum laude’ final score) by submitting the request to the Degree programme Board around a month before the dissertation discussion.

NOTE: In the absence of the co-examiner, the Examination Board can only award up to 5 points during the defense. If the co-examiner is present, the Examination Board can award up to 7 points to the final score.

The total amount of points (including the points awarded for th final dissertation and the extra points) cannot exceed 10 points.