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Master Thesis

General IMBRSea Thesis Information

Thesis work is an integral part of the IMBRSea Master programme and is credited for 30 ECTS. All students undertake their thesis work during the fourth semester, at one of the IMBRSea partners or members of the consortium. During their thesis, students will focus on a specific research topic for a given amount of time. Students work independently albeit under supervision of a thesis supervisor and promoter. Through the thesis work, students are able to apply the knowledge and techniques they gained during the courses in the three previous semesters. The final product is a written thesis report stating the main results of their research presented in a scientifically correct manner. Thesis students also present and discuss their results at the Annual Symposium.

Thesis selection

In the beginning of February of the first academic year students are provided with a thesis research catalogue which enables them to find a thesis research line that suits their interests. The thesis research lines will be made available on the Matix platform. Students can contact potential thesis supervisors and finalise a research topic from the catalogue.

Students can also submit their own thesis topic by using an electronic form available on their personal student page. Thesis project descriptions include a title, an abstract, a work plan, contact details of supervisor and promoter and an agreement of the promoter to welcome the student for the particular thesis subject.

Research projects are evaluated by the Programme Board by the end of August at the latest.


For detailed information on the timing, check the guidelines at the bottom of this page.

Thesis preparation

Students can start with the preparation of the thesis (literature review, introduction, sampling) during the semesters 2 and 3. However, this must not interfere with other courses in those semesters. The fourth semester (January to June) is fully available for the thesis work and submission, when these activities will be supervised by the thesis' promoter/supervisor. The students will be encouraged to organise their thesis work in a way that enables them to submit the thesis before the second year Symposium (June).

Thesis submission deadline

Students will need to submit their thesis latest by the 7th of June 2021 - 4PM CET. 

Thesis format

The thesis report must be written in English and should ideally have the format of a scientific publication. It should contain the following:

  • Executive Summary (max 400 words)
  • Abstract (max 200 words)
  • Introduction & Aims
  • Material and Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion
  • Acknowledgements
  • References

Thesis defense

At the end of June each year IMBRSea students present the results of their thesis work during the Annual Symposium. Students give an oral presentation followed by 10 minutes for questions from members of the jury and the audience. If the thesis is not submitted during the first exam period of the second master year, the thesis can be submitted in August. However, students (and supervisors) will be strongly encouraged to finalise the thesis by June. Students who submit in August are still required to give an oral presentation on the current status of their thesis work at the Annual symposium.

List of Former Master Thesis

Thesis Attachments

During your thesis you are enrolled at Ghent University. Depending on where you studied during your third semester, you may also be enrolled at the third semester University. Thesis insurance is covered via your enrollment at Ghent University.

1- Choose one of the "research lines" offered in our catalogue. 

You can get into contact with our partners and discuss further what you would like to focus on during your thesis project.

2- Search for laboratories, research insitutes, NGOs, etc. that are currently working with what you wish to research.

Get into contact through email. Send a nice and polite email showing that you know which research they carry out and what your interests are. Show that you know what you want!

No. But we will analyze case-by-case. There are some unpredictable situations like: weather related-problems, instability in the receiving country, problems with on-going research, that might be good reasons for changing the thesis. 

You should submit a formal request for that on the Request form that you can find on the student intranet page. 

Yes, if you find a host institution that offers a tipend or scholarship, you can apply for it.  

The expected level and quality of the thesis should equal a scientific publication in a peer-reviewed journal. This means that the thesis is not evaluated on the basis of the number of pages, but much more on the basis of quality and conciseness of the work. 

It should be a marine research topic, following all the steps of a scientific research. 

Yes. The defense on the Annual Symposium is mandatory and accounts for 25% of your thesis' final grade. 

Yes. When submitting your thesis, you should as a practice of open science submit your raw data. If it's confidential or part of a bigger project, you can submit the metadata. 

You should upload metadata and a document from your supervisor stating where your data is located, in which format, and stating why you are not allowed to share (e.g. part of a bigger project).