Guidelines for bachelor’s thesis at Faculty of Health and Social Sciences

These guidelines apply to students starting work on their bachelor’s thesis from autumn 2020 onward.

The bachelor’s thesis is an independent piece of work that students perform under supervision in the final part of the bachelor’s programme. The bachelor’s thesis shall be an individual piece of work, or a collaborative project involving up to four students, unless otherwise stated in the course plan. The student is responsible for achieving the expected learning outcome, for the format of the thesis and for their own time management.

1. Aim of the bachelor's thesis

The bachelor’s thesis shall focus on a specific subject field, and be based on a problem relevant to the academic subject associated with the description of the learning outcome of the particular bachelor’s course. The student shall demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the subject and convey this through a selected topic/problem associated with professional practice.

The student must use the bachelor’s thesis to document their ability to illustrate a problem through an independent discussion of the literature and empirical data associated with the subject of the thesis. The student shall source the knowledge and critically assess its quality, and assess how this knowledge can be used to illustrate the problem.

The discipline of health and social studies represents a set of broad, complex and compound knowledge that includes technology and procedures as well as ethics, relationships, communication and context. Since the focus is on people in situations of illness, crisis or vulnerability, an approach based on caution and respect is required.

2. Supervision

Appointment of supervisor
The head of the academic section offering the bachelor’s programme appoints a supervisor. The supervision agreement shall be completed by the student and supervisor during the first supervisory session. 

The student will receive up to four hours of supervision on the thesis (this applies both to individual theses and group theses). The supervision may be individual or in groups/seminars. Two of the sessions are compulsory (one hour for the project timetable and one hour for the thesis itself). Students who do not attend the compulsory supervisory sessions will not be permitted to submit their bachelor’s thesis.

Who can be a supervisor?
As a general rule, the supervisor should be an employee of the department. The supervisor is responsible for ensuring that the project and supervision are in line with HVL’s regulations. The supervisor shall have a minimum qualification level of secondary education teacher with a master’s degree.

3. Topic, problem and project description

The student shall select a topic and problem that are relevant to the subject field, and that are in line with the course description and learning outcome descriptor for the bachelor’s thesis. The topic and problem shall be developed in consultation with the supervisor.

With regard to choice of methodology, students are welcome to participate in research projects at HVL. With the agreement of the supervisor, students are also welcome to perform small-scale, independent empirical research, including interviews or questionnaire surveys, subject to a stringent set of rules.

The project description shall be 1,500 words long (excluding list of references), be clearly formulated and contain:

  • Title of the bachelor’s thesis
  • Background including theoretical perspective
  • Problem
  • Methodology
  • Timetable/schedule
  • List of references

The project description shall be prepared in line with the guidelines and shall be approved by the supervisor before work on the thesis begins. Each academic section sets a deadline indicating a date by which the project description must be approved.

4. Format

The bachelor’s thesis shall be up to 8,000 words long (this applies both to individual theses and group theses) Title page, table of contents, abstract, list of references and any appendices come in addition to this.

The bachelor’s thesis shall have a systematic format such as an IMRAD structure, and shall contain the following points:

  • HVL front page with title of the thesis, course/academic section, candidate number, date of submission and number of words. See website on home exam and thesis for more information.
  • An abstract in Norwegian/Scandinavian language/English; cf. chapter on language
  • Table of contents with chapter headings and page numbers
  • Quotations and the list of references shall comply with the latest version of the American Psychological Association (APA) referencing system; see Searches and writing for guidelines on the use of this system. The APA system is mentioned in Section 4 Format and Section 7 Layout
  • As a general rule, the use of secondary references should be avoided. If, exceptionally, you refer to a source that you have not read yourself, this must be made clear in the quotation and bibliography; see example of secondary reference in Searches and writing
  • Figures and tables must be positioned and referenced in the body of the text, be numbered and have explanatory titles. Figures and tables must be included in a list that comes immediately after the table of contents
  • Appendices must be numbered and listed in the table of contents. Appendices of more than one page must have page numbers
  • The thesis must comply with the criteria for the selected thesis type

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

5. Research ethics

When writing the bachelor’s thesis, the students must comply with national and international research ethics principles, cf. the Norwegian National Research Ethics Committees Declaration of Helsinki, applicable legislation and internal codes of conduct at HVL.

In projects directly involving people, the right to integrity and protection against invasion of privacy must be safeguarded.

In general it is not possible for students to collect data material from patients/clients and relatives. If students collect data from informants that are not included in these groups, non-disclosure and confidentiality must be guaranteed, i.e. it must not be possible to identify the sources.

Exceptions to these principles may be granted if students participate in established research projects alongside researchers at the University, or other research institutions. In such cases, the supervisor must ensure that research ethics considerations are addressed. The student and project manager must sign a separate contract. The contract may state that the project supervisor owns the data and that the student may therefore not publish parts of the bachelor’s thesis. 

With regard to choice of methodology, students are welcome to participate in research projects at HVL. With the agreement of the supervisor, students are also welcome to perform small-scale, independent empirical research, including interviews or questionnaire surveys, subject to a stringent set of rules.

6. Content

The content may have the following structure:

  • Background – it is a good idea to describe the background, choice of topic and relation to the clinical field, theoretical basis, previous research, context at societal level, legislation
  • Purpose, problem and, if applicable, hypothesis
  • Methodology – how you have gone about finding answers to your problem, including the reasoning behind your choice of methodology
  • Findings/results/experiences/analyses
  • Discussion
  • Summary and implications for clinical practice

7. Layout

The following layout should be used in the bachelor’s thesis:

  • Margins: 2.5 cm for top, bottom, left and right margins
  • Line spacing to be 1.5 – for quotations, line spacing is 1
  • Font: 12 points in Calibri or Arial
  • Paragraphs are to be separated using two line breaks, i.e. there will be one blank line between one paragraph and the next. The next paragraph starts at the left margin
  • Page numbers are to be stated both for direct quotations and indirect quotations, and for other instances in which there is a reference to a limited portion of a major source
  • Direct quotations must be clearly indicated with quotation marks or indentation

8. Submission

Theses must be submitted on Wiseflow. The title of the thesis appears on the diploma, and students are responsible for registering their thesis title on StudentWeb.
When submitting their thesis, the examination candidate must answer yes or no to the question about publication. HVL publishes bachelor’s theses which attain grades A and B.

Deadline for submission of bachelor’s theses
The deadline for the submission of bachelor’s theses is usually 15 May for students finishing in the spring semester and 1 December for students finishing their bachelor’s programme in the autumn semester. If the submission date falls on a Saturday, Sunday or other public holiday, the deadline is then the first subsequent working day. Some study programmes have different deadlines, and these will be shown in HVL’s annual examination timetable. If the bachelor’s thesis is not submitted by the deadline, unless this has been agreed and approved by the academic section in advance, the thesis will be recorded as “not received”, cf. Regulations relating to studies and examinations at the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences

9. Grading and examination

Please refer to Chapter 13 Grading and appeals in the Regulations relating to studies and examinations
The supervisor for the bachelor’s thesis cannot be an examiner.

Assessment of bachelor’s thesis
The bachelor’s thesis is assessed on the basis of the written work. Grades will be awarded jointly by examiners. In the event of disagreement between external and internal examiners, the external examiner determines the result. In the event of disagreement on two or more grades, a third examiner shall be appointed, cf. Section 13-7 in the Regulations.
The department is responsible for ensuring that the grading deadline of three weeks is met.

Failed bachelor’s thesis
In the event that the grade of F (fail) is awarded, a new or rewritten thesis with significant changes may be submitted once for grading. An exception may be granted if the student writes a new thesis with a new problem. When a bachelor’s thesis is submitted for a second time, supervision for the student may be limited. See Section 11-19 in the Regulations relating to studies and examinations

10. Intellectual property rights

The bachelor’s thesis is owned by the student and HVL. Therefore, neither the supervisor nor other parties may order the student to make the thesis available in the library, on the Internet or elsewhere (in printed or electronic form) without the consent of the candidate and (if applicable) client. For the same reason, no party may refuse to allow the candidate to publish their thesis. This right is enshrined in Act no 2 of 12 May 1961 relating to copyright (Copyright Act).

If the thesis was completed as a commission, the thesis must also be made available to the client. Guidelines for the publication of theses on HVL Open can be found on the Publication of theses website.

Archiving – supervision agreement
The supervision agreement will be archived with the supervisor until the appeals deadline has expired.

11. Improve grades when passing the bachelor's thesis

The following guidelines apply if a student wishes to improve his / her grade on a bachelor's thesis already passed:

  • The student must write a new thesis with a new problem.
  • The student must submit the thesis again within one year after the original submission, unless he or she can document conditions such as illness or other compelling welfare reasons that have prevented this.
  • Guidance hours are not normally reassigned.
    • Written medical application sends the student to The application must contain a description of how the student plans the work with a new problem: ask and answer new questions, and / or
    • draw in new empirical material (sources / data), and / or
    • make a radically different analysis and interpretation of the empirical dataThe subject section leader assesses the application.
  • The student cannot submit a new assignment if the application is not approved.
  • The new bachelor thesis must be submitted together with the application and the old thesis to the examiner commission.
  • The Examiner's Commission only gives censorship of the new assignment if they consider it to be new, or as reworked so that it can be counted as a new assignment. Otherwise, censorship will not be given.

Regulations for studies and examinations at HVL open up the possibility of making exceptions from the regulations Cf.: §11-19. (3) There is no right to improve the grade on a passed bachelor thesis within the same study program. Exceptions can be made if the student writes a new thesis with a new problem.