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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 teacher, who will assess the validity of your proposal in relation to your study plan. Any lecturer in charge of an exam at the University of Bologna can act as a thesis supervisor, thus it is not necessary to have their exam into your study plan, neither that their exam is part of your degree’s syllabus.

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.

Editorial rules

Basic editorial rules to write a dissertation:

  • Length: between 50,000 and 100,000 characters (including spaces);
  • 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.

Final grade

The Board will assess the candidate's overall performance, that is, dissertation, curriculum, time taken to complete their studies, transfers from another University or another programme. The Board will thus determine 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. Should the maximum grade be reached, the Board may also grant honours (lode) by unanimous decision.
The graduation starting score is your average score converted into a scale out of 110: see the information on how to calculate the average score based on your study programme. To that starting score, the Board might add further points according to the quality of your dissertation.

The criteria to assess the quality of dissertations are:

  • Originality of the subject;
  • Correct methodology;
  • Level of in-depth analysis;
  • Adequate writing and editing;
  • Ability to express and present the dissertation.

Moreover, your Degree Programme has agreed the following scheme to evaluate dissertations:

  • Ordinary thesis: up to 5 points might be added;
  • Highly-innovative thesis: up to 7 points might be added. The innovation of such thesis is evaluated against, for instance, the following criteria:
    • Including a scientific paper ready for submission to a referred journal or to an international conference;
    • Designing highly-innovative prototypes;
    • Carrying out laboratory measurements or complicated on-field measurements;
    • Thesis highly appreciated by a company supervisor (for company-based final projects);
    • Thesis highly appreciated by an international supervisor (for thesis drawn up mainly abroad).

The Board - taking into consideration the dissertation and your curriculum - will determine the final grade, which will be proclaimed after the discussion (or published on the last day of the Graduation Session on Studenti Online).