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Information on writing a dissertation

Choosing the subject and the rules on preparing the dissertation for the final examination.

Choosing and proposing a subject

To graduate, you must propose a dissertation subject to a supervisor who will assess the validity of your proposal in relation to your study plan.  You will have to prove to be able to put together and summarize a bibliography on the subject and re-elaborate it based on the required editorial rules.

Important: choosing thesis preparation options

Your study plan gives you the opportunity to choose among different preparation options according to your thesis projects.

You can choose how to combine different types of preparation in order to reach the total amount of 30 ECTS by selecting the most suitable combination of credits according to your projects.

For example, you can choose to carry out an internship in Italy or Abroad or a period of preparation abroad (not internship) corresponding to 12, 18 or 24 ECTS according to your thesis project (i.e. Erasmus+ thesis preparation/traineeship, thesis preparation founded with scholarships awarded by the Department, etc.).

The remaining ECTS correspond to the studying hours requested to complete your preparation of your thesis defense.

You can also choose to prepare the final thesis in Italy through a study/research project not corresponding to an internship for the total amount of 30 ECTS.

As each combination has the same overall amount of 30 ECTS, the combination of the preparation modalities is just a valuable opportunity for you to choose the option that best suits your needs and reflects your work.

The final examination is evaluated in any case on the basis of the dissertation contents, regardless of the combination of ECTS chosen to complete it.

Editorial rules

The final thesis must be written in English and have a length of between 20 and 60 pages.

For experimental dissertations, the following structure is recommended: Abstract, Introduction, Study Area, Methods, Results, Discussion, Conclusions, Bibliography.

If needed, additional or substitute chapters are allowed (i.e. theoretical background, etc.).

Students can refer to their thesis supervisors to find out the most suitable editing structure according to the contents of the dissertation.

Basic editorial rules to write a dissertation:

  • font: Times New Roman or Arial;
  • font size: 12 or 13 (10 for footnotes);
  • right-left and top-bottom margins: 2.5 cm;
  • spacing: 1.5 cm.

As the dissertation must be submitted in .pdf format, it can be written by using any programming language or software - LaTex included - according to the above-mentioned editing rules.

Final grade

The Board will assess the candidate's overall performance – dissertation, curriculum, time taken to complete their studies, transfers from another University or another programme – applying specific rules.

The Board expresses its assessment with a grade out of one hundred and ten. The exam is deemed to be passed with a minimum grade of 66/110 and a maximum grade of 110/110. In the case of granting a maximum grade, the Board may also grant honours (lode) by unanimous decision. Read the information on how to calculate the average score based on your study programme here.

The criteria to assess dissertations are:

  • originality of the subject,
  • correct methodology,
  • level of in-depth analysis,
  • adequate writing and editing,
  • ability to express and present the dissertation.

The Board will award up to 7 points on the judgment of the supervisor, ‘Controrelatore’ (additional examiner) and on the basis of the presentation quality.

The Board may also grant a Cum laude honor (Lode) by unanimous decision based on the student's career, thesis research and dissertation, which must be considered excellent.