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Master Thesis & Completion of Studies

The Department of Examinations and Auditing (Prüfungsbüro) is responsible for all administrative issues related to the completion of seminar work and the final Master's degree. All relevant forms can be found on the website in the section "FAQ - Abschlussphase".

Master Thesis

Registration: Requirements, Forms, Registration Dates

The MA thesis has to be registered with the Department of Examinations and Auditing during the office hours. The topic of your MA thesis will have to be submitted to the attention of the Exam Review Committee ("Prüfungsausschuss") at least two weeks in advance.

Please note that the members of the Exam Review Committee may be absent during the semester break this summer.

On behalf of the Exam Review Committee, the chairperson Prof. Dr. Markus Kienscherf as well as the BA-representative Prof. Dr. Sönke Kunkel, may sign your registration form for a MA thesis. Please note that the MA-representative may not sign on behalf of the Examination Review Committee. The registration form can also be signed and submitted electronically.

The topic is selected in consultation with your first advisor. Potential thesis advisors should be approached by the students during their office hours. All Professors and “wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiter” with a full-time teaching position at the JFK-I are eligible as first advisors ("Erstprüfer*in"). With approval by the examination board, second advisors ("Zweitprüfer*in") can also be non-FU scholars and practitioners who hold at least a master's degree or equivalent. Please use the form "Themenblatt mit Bearbeitungshinweisen" (listed in the section "FAQ - Abschlussphase") and ensure that it is signed by your first and second advisor (Erst- und Zweitprüfer*in) before submitting it to the Exam Review Committee.

In order to register your thesis, please submit the completed form (both sides) of the "Antrag zur Anmeldung der Masterarbeit", the form "Themenblatt" signed by both supervisors and a valid certificate of matriculation ("Immatrikulationsbescheinigung") confirming that you are enrolled in the MA program in North American Studies. In addition, you will have to provide proof that you completed a total of at least 60 credit points. The proof usually consists of your Campus Management records, and documents testifying to the conversion of classes in case credits have not been registered on Campus Mangement.

The Master's thesis should be 18.000 words long and can be written in either German or English. 

Deadlines and Completion

After successful registration, you will receive the official confirmation of the title/topic by the Department of Examinations and Auditing, as well as the final deadline for submission. Upon receiving the confirmation ("offizielle Ausgabe des Themas") you have a total of 23 weeks to complete your thesis. On the day of your deadline, your thesis must be sent as a PDF-file via email to the Department for Examinations and Auditing (Prüfungsbüro): ma-nas@polsoz.fu-berlin.de. Please also attach the signed form "Eidesstattliche Erklärung". You may also submit your thesis before the deadline. 

Formatting guidelines

Please note that all official requirements concerning your thesis are provided on the website of the Department for Examinations and Auditing.

What follows are the agreed-upon conventions for formatting your thesis. Students are asked to consult with their advisors regarding further departmental requirements.

Please write in 1.5 spaced, 12pt standard font (Arial, Helvetica, Times New Roman, etc.), and use justified text, as well as 2.5 cm margins on the left and 3cm on the right. Include your last name and page numbers at the bottom of each page. Pagination begins on the first page of your prose.

A table of contents is standard but not required. Please consult with your advisor.

Citation conventions are as follows:

  • Economics, Political Science, Sociology, and History: the preferred citation method is according to the most recent Chicago Style Manual.
  • Literature and Culture: please use the most recent edition of the MLA style guide. A good resource is the Purdue Online Writing Lab.

Images and tables should be formatted according to MLA or the Chicago Style Manual, respectively.

A useful document for questions on punctuation, the usage of numbers, etc. is the University of Oxford Style Guide, which can be downloaded here.

The required word count does not include any prefatory material, such as the table of contents, bibliographies, appendices or the cover page.

You can find a sample cover page here. Please do not include official logos of the Kennedy Institute or the Freie Universität anywhere in your document.

Completion of Studies and Graduation Ceremony

After finishing your course work and receiving the grade for your thesis, you will have to fill out the form “Antrag auf Feststellung des Studienabschlusses” and hand it to the attention of the Department of Examinations and Auditing in order to obtain your diploma and final transcript of records.

The official graduation ceremony takes place on the last Saturday of November. This event has a symbolic character and is not connected to the date on which you'll receive your official diploma. 

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