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The objective of your thesis is to develop your ability to apply knowledge and use selected methods to solve tasks in working life, as well as your readiness for independent expert work. The theses of our university of applied sciences are working life-oriented and develop working life, which helps you establish connections with working life. The thesis may also be multidisciplinary, in which case the authors may come from different programmes or fields.Working on a thesis develops a student’s professional knowledge and skills, a progressive and research-based working approach, and cooperation, interaction and networking skills. The thesis project also involves research and development methodology studies, and other studies included in the degree also support the thesis project.

Thesis work teaches you to:

  • identify, determine and solve working life tasks
  • acquire and manage information needed for the task
  • work independently and responsibly in cooperation with different parties
  • manage processes
  • assess your own actions and develop them
  • report your own work both orally and in writing.

In a bachelor’s thesis, you will increase your skills and demonstrate that you can apply your knowledge and skills in practice as an expert.

The scope of the UAS master’s thesis is 30 credits and corresponds to EQF level 7 and the scope of the UAS bachelor’s thesis is 15 credits (EQF 6). The theses differ from each other in terms of the current workload, as the UAS master’s thesis corresponds to the student’s 810 working hours, which corresponds to about five months of work while preparing the thesis on a full-time basis. Below is a description of the main features of the UAS master’s thesis:

  • Research development: The point of departure of a UAS master’s thesis is always research development. The goal is to develop and demonstrate the ability to apply research data and use the selected methodology to analyse problems in working life.
  • Command of methodology: The selected research and/or development methods are used in a controlled and justified manner, i.e. the command of research and development processes is more comprehensive and transparent.
  • Information retrieval and application of research data: The retrieval of information related to the topic of the thesis is systematic and has a comprehensive focus on the research sources available in the databases of the field, including international sources.The source material has been utilised by means of synthesis writing.
  • Independent role: The thesis emphasises an independent role in solving problems and the capability for independent demanding expert work.
  • Usability and significance: The thesis produces information that can be utilised by a wider audience than the partner. The information produced by the thesis can be utilised by other similar operators and the professional field and/or the results have societal significance. A UAS bachelor’s thesis often makes use of the client level and lacks broader significance.
  • Depth of reflection: The reflection part is deeper than in a UAS bachelor’s thesis and the author knows how to analyse the results in relation to the wider significance of the thesis and previous research data.
  • Scope: The thesis is wider in all respects. Length in itself is not decisive, but this means, for example, the number and quality of sources, the utilisation of methods and the size of materials.

All theses involve research or development, with a different emphasis on research or development perspectives. In a development-oriented thesis, a product, service, process or work is developed and/or implemented and evaluated based on research methodology. In a research-oriented thesis, quantitative or qualitative applied research is conducted, for example. A thorough familiarisation with previous research, literature and other data is always a typical part of thesis work.

Development-oriented thesis

A thesis focused on development is based on a concrete existing task, for which you are looking for a solution during your thesis process. The purpose of the thesis is to develop, implement, and evaluate new products, services and practices.

A thesis focused on development usually involves an activity-based element based on working life, resulting in output. The output can be a concrete product, instructions, a packaged service, a sector-specific plan, an R&D or planning project, an event, a publication or multimedia product, a concept, or modelling.

A thesis focused on development often has an external commissioner (partner), but it may also concern your own company or business idea.

The written report of a thesis focused on development describes the knowledge base and presents the output. In the report, you must describe the activity-based element, i.e. the phases leading to the development of the output, consistently following the phases of the project or development process, for example. The justifications for the choices related to the content and implementation of the output are described in connection with the development process.

A thesis focused on development requires a research problem or question related to the theme and the use of appropriate research or development methodology. Several data collection methods can be used, including literature, manuals, workshops, interviews, or observations.

The report must present the evaluation of the output relative to the knowledge base. An activity-based thesis can also be started by processing the output(s), followed by the compilation of the knowledge base. In some situations, both can be processed at the same time.

An example of a development-focused thesis process:

Development oriented thesis.png

Research-oriented thesis

In a thesis focused on research, you conduct applied research based on working life, in which you seek a response to a specific outlined research problem or task related to your professional field.

Research can be conducted using qualitative or quantitative methodology for seeking a solution to the research problem or question.

The research material may consist of measurements, interviews or questionnaires, for example, which are analysed according to the chosen method.

The report of a thesis focused on research describes the objectives, research problems and the outline of the theme. The knowledge base consists of theory and the reflection of the theme on theories, models, and previous research based on professional literature and other sources.

In addition, how research was conducted (methodology), how the research data was obtained and generated, and what analysis methods were used must be described. At the end of the report, research results must be discussed, various conclusions must be made, and potential further development and research must be proposed on the basis of the results.

An example of a table of contents in a research-focused thesis process:

Research oriented thesis.png

A diary-based thesis

A diary-based thesis is suitable for students working in the tasks required for their degree, for example, in developing their workplace practices. A research problem or a research question is also included in the thesis in a diary-based thesis, for which an answer is sought by reflecting on one’s own work.

In addition to the diary related to the tasks, the report must present the knowledge base, including a development perspective regarding the selected theme(s). The theoretical background of a diary-based thesis can be acquired through literature and expert interviews, as in other thesis types.

The diary must be written at a weekly level, with the monitoring period usually consisting of 10–13 working weeks. The monitoring period can be uninterrupted or divided into several smaller periods due to changes in tasks, for example. By dividing the monitoring period, depth can be added to the thesis, so it will not be repetitive with regard to tasks.

In practice, the diary is written every day. The weekly analysis considers the past week, for example, by reflecting on the knowledge base presented from the perspective of developing one’s own competence and the research problem or question.

The thesis includes the student’s reflection, ideas, and conclusions.

An example of a diary-based thesis process:

Diary based thesis.png


A portfolio-based thesis
 In a portfolio-based thesis, you will bring outputs prepared together through studies, including projects and other learning tasks, and prepare new outputs, if required. The outputs can also be prepared through working life and recreational or association activities. However, the most important thing in a portfolio-based thesis is that the outputs create a common professional entity that forms the knowledge base of the thesis.

A portfolio-based thesis is a long-term process, consisting of outputs prepared at different stages of studies. It allows the student to discuss and consider the selected theme from different perspectives during several projects.

A portfolio-based thesis brings these processes and outputs together in a consistent and documented manner. It includes a written report, in which the student presents a professional knowledge base that connects the outputs together.

An example of a portfolio-based thesis process:

 Portfolio based thesis.png

Regardless of the thesis topic and implementation method, a written report must be prepared on the thesis. Examples of theses completed at Lapland University of Applied Sciences can be found in Theseus, which contains theses and publications from universities of applied sciences.

Each thesis has a supervisor appointed by the University of Applied Sciences. In accordance with the topic, more than one supervisor and a possible stakeholder/work community representative can also be appointed for the thesis. In addition, language guidance for the theses is the responsibility of the teacher of Finnish and communications.

Completing a thesis is always a process that proceeds through certain phases.

A thesis consists of three phases:

  • Planning phase
  • Implementation phase
  • Finishing phase


Common guidelines and practices have been compiled on these pages, ranging from topic selection to publication. In addition to these guidelines, different degree programmes may also have their own procedures, which are presented in programme-specific meetings and in Moodle.

A thesis can be completed either as individual work, with a partner or as a small group of students. A thesis can also be completed in multidisciplinary groups formed by different fields of education.

A multidisciplinary UAS master’s thesis (MONT, click here for further information) has its own process, which is described in more detail in Moodle. MONT can be selected in the following degree programmes:

  • Expert in knowledge management
  • Management and development of health services
  • Developing sustainable production
  • Service management in the digital age (DiPa)