Guidelines for the bachelor's thesis at the Faculty of Engineering and Science

These guidelines apply to students starting work on their bachelor’s thesis from and including the academic year 2021-2022.

This guide provides supplementary guidelines for students and supervisors regarding work for the bachelor’s thesis at the Faculty of Engineering and Science (FIN) cf. Regulations relating to studies and examinations at the Western University of Applied Science (HVL), § 11-18 (3).

Aim of the bachelor’s thesis

The bachelor’s thesis serves as the final component of the bachelor’s degree. The students must integrate the knowledge and skills they have gained throughout their studies, and prove that they are able to acquire new knowledge when solving a problem.

The thesis must be rooted in real societal and industry-related issues, or research and development work. The bachelor’s thesis will give students training when it comes to using relevant methods and the implementation of a project. 

Allocation of the bachelor’s thesis topics and group size

The department is responsible for allocating bachelor’s thesis topics among the students. In the event that two or more groups want to work on the same topic, it will either be assigned on a first-come first-served basis, or a lottery will be held if no other ranking method is specified in the course description. Students can obtain a thesis topic in collaboration with an external agent. For some programmes of study, this is the normal procedure for obtaining a thesis topic. For a thesis of this nature, approval must be granted by the department before any potential allocation can be made.

The teaching semester usually takes place in the spring. For a number of programmes of study, work preparing the bachelor’s thesis commences in the semester beforehand, and the students must then register their attendance for that semester in order to gain access to Canvas. The bachelor’s thesis takes the form of supervised project work, in which 2-3 students usually work together. Groups can be a maximum of 3 students. 

Prerequisite knowledge

The required prerequisite knowledge is outlined in the course description.

The department may carry out an individual education plan review in order to assess whether an exemption can be applied regarding the required prerequisite knowledge for the bachelor’s thesis course. In the event of this, students will be exempt from said requirement for specific courses that usually require a pass grade, but this does not apply in regard to the number of credits required.

Assessment criteria:

The work required to complete the bachelor’s thesis is demanding, so in order for the student to be able to contribute to the group work as expected, the student should register for no more than 40 credits (including the bachelor’s thesis) in the semester of which the bachelor’s thesis is to be completed.

Supervision

All students studying for a bachelor’s degree will enter into a supervision agreement, cf. Regulations relating to studies and examinations at the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL), § 11-18 (1).

Supervisors are allocated depending on the programme of study and the thesis topic. The main supervisor must be from HVL and must, as a general rule, be employed by the department. In addition to academic supervision, the main supervisor will also advise the students on the administrative element of the thesis. Several internal supervisors may be appointed. In the case of an external thesis, the student will likely have an additional one or more supervisors from the external environment, who will often then be responsible for most of the specialist subject guidance.

The students and supervisors will sign the supervision agreement at the start of the bachelor’s thesis.

 

Framework for supervision

The supervision provided shall cover the academic, scientific and practical aspects of completing the bachelor’s thesis. The student group will receive satisfactory follow-up and will have a minimum of five meetings with their supervisor(s) throughout the duration of their work on the bachelor’s thesis.

In addition to supervision meetings with the student group, the supervision on the part of the supervisor involves:

  • Following up on the student group (conducting the supervision meetings, reviewing drafts and similar work), but the supervisor will not contribute as a co-author for the bachelor’s thesis.
  • The supervisor may use a project diary, logbook or other tools to stay updated with the group’s work. Group members will then continually document their activities and the hours spent on the project.
  • Following up on any laboratory experiments, field work and similar activities.
  • Any academic updating.

Supervision is a shared responsibility, and the bachelor’s student must play an active role:

  • The student is obliged to prepare in advance for the agreed upon supervision meetings, such that you can, among other things, be able to react to any input provided by the supervisor.
  • The student group is responsible for taking any notes during the supervision meeting, of which they must then send to the supervisor(s) for approval after the meeting.
  • The student group hold responsibility for the format and content of the thesis.

Course requirements

Course requirements must be completed and submitted within the given deadlines. See the course description and Canvas.

Language

The bachelor’s thesis should normally be written in Norwegian, cf. language policy guidelines at HVL (in Norwegian only). Other Scandinavian languages or English may be used, subject to the agreement of the supervisor, unless otherwise stated in the course plan.

Theses that are written in Norwegian or another Scandinavian language must have a summary in English or another relevant foreign language. Theses written in English must include a short abstract in Norwegian/another Scandinavian language, unless the Dean provides an exemption for this, cf. Regulations relating to studies and examinations at the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL), § 11-21 (2).



Structure

The structure and scope of the thesis shall be discussed with the supervisor, and this will depend on the nature of the thesis.

 

Bachelor’s theses are often based on the IMRaD-format (Introduction, Method, Result and Discussion), but several subject areas use their own templates, which can be found on Canvas.

The bachelor’s thesis must contain the following components:

  • The HVL front page with the title of the bachelor’s thesis (Norwegian and English), candidate number (for anonymous marking) or full name, name of the bachelor’s programme (department/institute/programme), name of the supervisor and submission date
  • A summary/abstract of the thesis in two languages, cf. section regarding languages
  • Table of contents with chapter headings and page numbers.
  • Bibliography
  • Appendices must be numbered and listed in the table of contents. Appendices of more than one page must have page numbers.

Source reference

Quotations and the bibliography must follow the referencing style guide used by the specific field of study (for example IEEE, APA, Harvard or Vancouver), see website for Search & Write for guidance on the use of referencing styles.

When writing the thesis, one will have all the resources available. Nevertheless, it is important for the work you submit to be your own independent work. If any of the work included can be attributed to someone else, it is important for you to state this clearly in both the text and the bibliography, otherwise this could be classed as plagiarism/attempted plagiarism.  See also the HVL document on cheating policy guidelines

Research ethics

The student holds independent responsibility for ensuring that the work on the bachelor's thesis complies with any research ethics norms, rules and guidelines that apply to the project and subject area. The supervisor must also contribute to this, and help to ensure that this requirement is met.

All projects that include any personal data must be assessed in advance by the Norwegian Centre for Research Data (NSD). See Start-up of student projects under the Personal Data Act.

For more details, see the HVL guidelines on research ethics.

Submission

The submission deadline will be announced via Studentweb by the date of the registration deadline for assessment (1st September/1st February).

The thesis must be submitted in Wiseflow. The title of the thesis will be written on the diploma, and the student is responsible for registering the title in StudentWeb (in Norwegian only) upon submission.

See more about submitting a bachelor’s thesis on hvl.no.

Marking

From chapter 13 of the Regulations relating to studies and examinations at the Western Norwegian University of Applied Sciences (HVL):

  • For the grading of bachelor’s theses, two examiners shall be appointed and at least one of these shall be an external examiner (§13-3).
  • For a bachelor’s thesis, internal supervisors can be appointed as one of the two examiners, but the external supervisor can not be one of the examiners based on the requirements outlined for external examiners in § 13-5.
  • Examiners must, at a minimum, have a master’s degree within the relevant field of study or prove, through vocational practice, that they are specifically qualified within said field of study (§13-4).
  • In regard to determining grades, the external examiner will have the final say (§13-7 (2) a).

Guidance can be found for examiners in the guidelines outlined in the National Curriculum Regulations for Engineer training (in Norwegian only) (paragraph 4.4) in regard to bachelor theses for an engineering-related subject.

Students’ rights to justifications of grades and appealing against grades are enshrined in the Regulations relating to studies and examinations at the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences and the Act relating to universities and university colleges.

For more information on assessment methods for the bachelor's thesis, see the course description.

 

Information regarding the group examination

See § 11-16 about the Group Examination in the Regulations relating to Studies and Examinations at the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL):

(1) In a group examination, all participants in the group must contribute to a joint product. The grade for the product shall be the same for the entire group. If there is doubt concerning whether an examination candidate contributes or has contributed sufficiently to receive credit for a joint product, a written individual statement must be obtained from all group members and the academic supervisor or course supervisor. The university college may resolve that the examination candidate shall be considered to have failed to attend the examination.

(2) When handing in a group examination assignment, all students must approve that the group leader hands in the examination paper on behalf of the entire group. This is carried out by accepting the group invitation in the examination system. For bachelor's and master's theses, approval by the group leader also applies to the entire group if the group leader approves the agreement for publication in the university college's knowledge archive.’

And § 13-13 about New assessment following the appeal of a grade:

(2) For group examinations, there is an individual right to appeal the grade. Any change in the grade after reassessment of the grade will have an impact only for the person who appealed.’

Improving the grade of a bachelor’s thesis

See § 11-19 about Revision of bachelor’s and master’s theses in Regulations relating to studies and examinations at the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL):

(1) A student whose bachelor's or master's thesis is assessed as a fail is permitted to submit an improved version for grading during the next semester. It is permitted to submit an improved version only one time. This also applies to other major assignments with 10 credits or more, where the student has formulated the approach to the question individually.

(3) It is not possible to improve a passing grade for a bachelor's thesis within the same study programme. An exemption may be made if the student writes a new thesis on a new thesis question.

(4) An examination candidate who has had a bachelor's thesis, master's thesis or other assignment annulled due to attempts to cheat is not permitted to submit a revised version of the assignment with the same thesis question, pursuant to Section 11-19.cf. § 12-3 (4).

(5) For the submission of a second attempt at a bachelor's or master's thesis, supervision for the student may be limited.

 

Improving the grade of a bachelor’s thesis

See § 11-19 about Revision of bachelor’s and master’s theses in Regulations relating to studies and examinations at the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL):

(1) A student whose bachelor's or master's thesis is assessed as a fail is permitted to submit an improved version for grading during the next semester. It is permitted to submit an improved version only one time. This also applies to other major assignments with 10 credits or more, where the student has formulated the approach to the question individually.

(3) It is not possible to improve a passing grade for a bachelor's thesis within the same study programme. An exemption may be made if the student writes a new thesis on a new thesis question.

(4) An examination candidate who has had a bachelor's thesis, master's thesis or other assignment annulled due to attempts to cheat is not permitted to submit a revised version of the assignment with the same thesis question, pursuant to Section 11-19.cf. § 12-3 (4).

(5) For the submission of a second attempt at a bachelor's or master's thesis, supervision for the student may be limited.’

 

Publication

Bachelor’s theses that receive a pass mark of either an A or B may be published on HVL Open. The student decides whether or not they would like the thesis to be published, unless otherwise agreed with a potential client.

You can find more information about terms and conditions for publication on the HVL website on Publication of theses (in Norwegian only) and Terms and conditions of publication on HVL Open (in Norwegian only). Please contact hvl-open@hvl.no for further information.

Intellectual property rights

All students in the group retain the intellectual property rights for the bachelor’s thesis. The supervisor is responsible for ensuring that the ownership of data has been discussed and agreed upon before any work on the bachelor’s thesis starts. This also includes any collaboration with the data after the bachelor’s thesis has been submitted.

Changes to the guidance

This guide will be amended if required, for instance if there are changes to the course description, or any changes are made to the relevant laws and regulations. Editorial changes are carried out by the Faculty Administration, while more significant changes must be approved by the dean of the faculty.