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Graduation: dissertation and final examination


You have to acquire 120 CFU to graduate from LMEC, 15 of which are for the drafting of the final dissertation. The final examination consists in writing a dissertation on a subject related to your studies, developed in an original way, and to its public presentation and defense to a Graduation Board. The Board, having taken into consideration the presentation and your curriculum, will decide the final grade, which will be announced at the end of your presentation. 

You should prepare your dissertation under the guidance of a supervisor (relatore). Typically, a good dissertation (or thesis) is the result of hard work by the candidate on a well defined project, under the expert advice of the supervisor. Hard work is a student’s task, whereas expertise and support are LMEC Faculty's responsibility. The process of defining a dissertation  project involves both parts.

In some university systems, the graduation ceremony is where degrees are formally conferred, but marks are known well in advance and the students will have completed their studies weeks or months before the day. By contrast, Italian graduations include a public dissertation defence, called "final examination", before a specifically- appointed committee.


1.1  Goals of a Master's-level dissertation

A Master's level dissertation is an individual research project on a topic approved by the chosen supervisor. It is an opportunity for students to explore more in depth an area of Economics, to summarize the main theories and models, and to discuss their applicability. A dissertation at Master's level should demonstrate that a student has  fully understood the state of the art: the aim is to show that he/she is able to perform scientific research individually, and to report a study and its conclusions in a clear way. Also, drafting a thesis serves as a practice for those intending to pursue doctoral studies on successful completion of the programme.


1.2  Selecting a supervisor

You may choose to major in a topic related to a teaching activity included in your study plan (piano di studi). Almost any professor who taught a module in LMEC can act as thesis supervisor, including adjunct professors, but excluding foreign lecturers, professor delivering seminars and external experts (unless provided for by a specific agreement). In special instances, and after discussing the issue with the Programme Director, graduands may choose as supervisor a professor of the University of Bologna who is not part of LMEC Faculty. A co-supervisor (correlatore) is a teacher who may provide extra-help to prepare the dissertation. Foreign professors, lecturers of seminars and external experts can act as co-supervisor. Please note that having a co-supervisor will not grant you any extra-point on your final grade.

1.3  Starting grade

You are admitted to the Final Examination once you have completed all of your credits (except those for the Final Examionation itself). Notice that exams grades are on a 18-30 scale, whereas the final grade is on a 66-110 scale. The starting grade is the result of the average of your exam grades converted into the 66-110 scale. To convert  the grades obtained during your studies, consider the following steps:

  1. First calculate your weighted average as follows: each exam must be multiplied by its value in credits (CFU or ECTS), and the results must be divided by the total number of credits of all exams. For example, suppose that your total study plan includes 3 exams:
    a) Exam X - 6 CFU –Grade 25/30
    b) Exam Y - 8 CFU – Grade 26/30
    c)  Exam Z - 12 CFU – Grade 28/30
    The weighted average will be:(6x25+8x26+12x28)/(6+8+12)= 694/26= 26,69. 

    IMPORTANT: Courses and activities providing an assessment on a pass/fail basis (idoneità) such as laboratories, seminars or internships do not count in the starting grade.
  2. Multiply the weighted average by 110 and divide it by 30.
  3. Then, round up the result to the nearest integer value (so i.e. if the weighted average is 28,7 the admission grade will be 28,7x11/3=105,233, eventually rounded to 105).

For every exam that the student passed con lode, 0.33 points are added to the starting grade. Also, extra points will be awarded depending on your graduation session:

  • Graduating in July, October or December: +2 points
  • Graduating in March: +1 point.


1.4 Thesis defense and final grading

Rather than a formality followed by a celebration, the graduation ceremony is a student's final examination. It consists in the public presentation and defense of your disseration before a Graduation Board. This means that family and friends will get to hear the presentation and discussion of your work. The Graduation Board will include up to 5 professors of the School of Economics and Management.  Following this presentation and discussion, the public leave the room for the committee to deliberate, and then are called back in for the final mark to be conferred. The committee can grant a maximum of 5 points to the dissertation and defense, which will be added your starting grade together with the bonus points (if any). 

1.5 The Contro-relatore

To earn more than 5 points, and in case the project deserves special mention, the supervisor may ask for a controrelatore (counter-supervisor). In this case, up to 3 extra points can be discretionally granted by the Graduation Board. The assignment of a controrelatore is also a necessary step when the supervisor plans to request the Graduation Board to award honours (lode) and the candidate has a starting grade - including all bonuses - lower than 108/110.

Notice also that to award 110/110 with honours (110 e lode), the Graduation Board must approve the grade assignment unanimously. 

Whether or not to ask for a controrelatore will be your supervisor's decision only. If this is the case, the supervisor will submit the request by email to the Degree Programme Director with the Ufficio di Presidenza cc'ed (now ) at least one month before the graduation day. The controrelatore may take part in the graduation session, if he/she is available. In case he/she is not, he/she has to send an evaluation of the student's work through a letter or email to be delivered to the Ufficio di Presidenza, but addressed to Committee. The controrelatore is to be chosen among academics (professors or assistant professors) in the Schoolof Economics, Management and Statistics orother universities connected to LMEC. If a controrelatore was requested for a specific session, but the candidate cannot eventually graduate in that session, the request for the controrelazione must be submitted again for the subsequent session.



The topic of your dissertation has to be related to one of the subjects covered in LMEC modules; you will define it according to your personal and academic interests, as well as the supervisor's.


2.1  Length

Your dissertation should typically be 60 to 120 pages-long, including notes, tables and attachments. For particularly innovative and cutting-edge works, a shorter number of pages may be agreed with the Supervisor. The format should be as follows: 

  • Line spacing: 1 or 1.15
  • Font: Times New Roman(or similar)12
  • Margins: 2-2-2-2
  • Cardboard cover lightweight, light colored, not bright, figures and boards format UNI (A4, A3)
  • Use the sample attached as a title page. Please note that using the university logo is NOT allowed in the cover.


2.2  References and plagiarism

Accurate referencing and bibliography are key in any  research work. Students should adopt a standard citation system (e.g. Harvard, Vancouver, etc.) and bibliography format and maintain it throughout the whole work. The university takes plagiarism very seriously, and has legal implications. Concepts and statements taken from the literature should be appropriately reworded and referenced. Exact citations should be clearly highlighted (e.g. between inverted commas or through a different font) and the source should include the page number. Online sources are allowed if they meet the required scientific standards (and should be accurately referenced in the text). Generic sources (such as Wikipedia) that are not necessarily scientific and critically assessed, should be used very carefully.