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BA and MA Thesis Guidelines

Summary:
I supervise theses that focus on macroeconomic questions, use models to answer them, and are written in English or German. If you are interested in writing your thesis with me please follow these steps: Contact me by e-mail to check whether I can act as your thesis supervisor. Attach your grade sheet and sketch very briefly what type of questions you are interested in.  Once we have agreed that I act as supervisor prepare a one- or two-page proposal outlining as concisely and precisely as possible, what your research question is; what kind of model you plan to use in order to answer the question; and what kind of results you anticipate. We will discuss your proposal and you might revise it until we have a common understanding of the research question and the strategy to answer it. We

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I supervise theses that focus on macroeconomic questions, use models to answer them, and are written in English or German. If you are interested in writing your thesis with me please follow these steps:

  1. Contact me by e-mail to check whether I can act as your thesis supervisor. Attach your grade sheet and sketch very briefly what type of questions you are interested in. 
  2. Once we have agreed that I act as supervisor prepare a one- or two-page proposal outlining as concisely and precisely as possible, what your research question is; what kind of model you plan to use in order to answer the question; and what kind of results you anticipate.
  3. We will discuss your proposal and you might revise it until we have a common understanding of the research question and the strategy to answer it. We also agree on a rough timeline.
  4. Then you are free to go. It’s up to you how often you get back to me with questions.

(No) rules:

  • I do not impose strict time limits or minimum/maximum length requirements etc. Ceteris paribus, completing the thesis faster or composing a shorter text is preferred.
  • I don’t require a hardcopy of the thesis, a PDF suffices.
  • I strongly suggest that you work with LaTeX; this allows you to focus on content rather than layout (and it nevertheless results in a more appealing end product).
  • Of course, all formal requirements set by the faculty or the university apply.

The grade accounts for the following:

  • Language and presentation: Extent to which grammar, wording, terminology and bibliography are correct, clear, consistent.
  • Personal contribution: Extent to which thesis writer acts independently when choosing the topic, preparing the proposal, and working on the thesis.
  • Topic: Extent to which the research question is relevant, challenging and focused.
  • Depth: Extent to which the thesis thoroughly analyzes the topic.
  • Structure: Extent to which the presentation conforms with logical reasoning and to which formal analysis and verbal reasoning correspond to each other.
  • Model: Extent to which the model focuses on key aspects of interest and is solved correctly.
  • Literature: Extent to which the author relates to important existing literature.
  • Of course, BA students are not expected to deliver publishable research; it is all the more important that the thesis meets formal standards and the reasoning is clear and logical.

I typically grade within a few days.

Dirk Niepelt
Dirk Niepelt is Director of the Study Center Gerzensee and Professor at the University of Bern. A research fellow at the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR, London), CESifo (Munich) research network member and member of the macroeconomic committee of the Verein für Socialpolitik, he served on the board of the Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics and was an invited professor at the University of Lausanne as well as a visiting professor at the Institute for International Economic Studies (IIES) at Stockholm University.

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