1. What is the Master’s thesis (Treball de fi de Màster, or TFM)?

The Master's Thesis (TFM) is a piece of original work on any specific topic in theoretical or applied linguistics in which the student, under the guidance of a supervisor, demonstrates the competencies acquired during the program. The TFM counts for 15 credits’ worth of work.

In order to earn the TFM credits, the student must defend the thesis in a public session consisting of a presentation and discussion before a committee of three members.

2. Who supervises the TFM?

The TFM has a supervisor, whose role is to guide the student in the development of the TFM and give final approval to the thesis. Co-supervision of the TFM is possible.

The TFM supervisor is assigned to the student based on the student’s research interest, with guidance from the student’s academic tutor. The academic tutor helps the student contact relevant faculty members if necessary and ensures that student and supervisor agree on a TFM topic and work plan.

Once the student has chosen a supervisor and obtained an agreement to supervise, the student should first obtain the signatures of the (main) supervisor and the academic tutor through the TFM agreement form. The signed form must then be uploaded via this online form with the proposal of the TFM title and the name(s) of supervisor(s) in mid-February (exact date to be specified here).

The student and the TFM supervisor should then finish defining the topic and scope of the thesis as well as its methodology, and agree on a work plan and a means to monitor progress. If there are significant deviations from the work plan or the expected progress, or if there are clear reasons to consider a change in the supervision assignment, the supervisor or the student should inform the Master’s coordinator and the academic tutor as soon as possible.

3. How much time should students devote to the TFM?

The Master’s thesis (TFM) entails a dedication of 15 credits (15 credits X 25 hours per credit = 375 hours). These estimates include all TFM-related tasks: the identification and analysis of bibliography, discussion with the supervisor, data gathering, hypothesis testing, and other elements, including, of course, the actual writing of the final product and the preparation of the defense.

The student can start working on the TFM as soon as they have been assigned a supervisor. Courses are mostly concentrated in the first and second quarters, so that the third quarter can be devoted to intensive work on the TFM.

Work on the TFM is largely independent.  It is the student's responsibility to inform the supervisor and, if necessary, the academic tutor of any academic or personal difficulties that could interfere with the agreed-upon work plan. No defense will be allowed to take place unless the supervisor has monitored the project and given his or her approval of the final version of the thesis to be submitted for oral defense.

4. What should the TFM be like?

The TFM must be an original contribution by the student to his/her area of specialization. The project must follow appropriate research methods and the final product must meet the standard formal requirements of work in the area of specialization. The quality of the work is more important that its length, especially since the specific characteristics of the TFM may vary according to specialization, but as a general rule, the TFM is expected to be a paper of 25-40 double-spaced pages (excluding annexes and references).

The TFM must be submitted in PDF format. It is important to include the following elements, in the following order:

  • Cover page with the title, author, name of the master, supervisor(s) of the TFM and submission date, using the template provided by the department
  • Abstract (maximum 150 words), written in the same language as the manuscript
  • List of keywords in English (maximum 10 keywords) 
  • Introduction
  • Body of the text with relevant sections (these will vary according to the type of research carried out)
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Annexes (if applicable)

Preferred format for citations and references: APA style

Margins: 2,5 cm (or 1 inch) on all sides

Font: The preferred font is 12 point Times New Roman

Line Spacing: Double spacing should be used throughout the document

Page numbering: Pages should be numbered

5. What steps should be taken before the defense?

The student must submit the TFM before the end of June (exact deadline to be specified here) via an online form that will be made available here. The student must provide the following through the form:

  • Student's name, National ID card or Passport number, definitive title of the TFM, and whether or not the student would consent to publishing the TFM in the e-Repositori if the final grade is an Excellent/”Matrícula d’Honor”.
  • The abstract of the TFM (maximum length of 150 words in the language of the document).
  • A list of keywords on the content of the TFM (maximum 10 keywords).
  • The final version of the TFM in PDF format.
  • Authorization, printed and signed, to deposit the work in the UPF Digital Repository (if applicable).

Once the TFM is submitted, the student must send the TFM in PDF to the three members of the defense committee. This document must be identical at the one uploaded via the form.

If a member of the panel requests a paper copy of the TFM, it will be the student’s responsibility to provide them with one.

6. What is the defense like?

The TFM is defended in a public session before a defense committee of three members. Each committee has a president, who presides multiple committees and has the role of providing a comparative perspective, to ensure consistency in the evaluation process. The other members of the committee are the TFM supervisor and an additional researcher proposed by the supervisor, who may be internal or external to UPF.

The defense lasts up to 50 minutes, 20 minutes for the student’s oral presentation and the remaining time for questions and comments by the members of the committee, which the student should be prepared to answer. After the debate, the committee deliberates behind closed doors and decides whether the student has successfully passed the defense, and then calls the student back in to announce the decision. The final grade, on a scale of 0-10 (allowing for one decimal place), along with the non-numerical grade (fail, pass, very good, excellent), will be determined after all of the president’s defenses have been completed.

In determining of the final grade, the assessment of the supervisor of the TFM will have a weight of 20% and that of the other two defense committee members, 40% each.

As a rule, the defenses are held during the first two weeks of July; the schedule will be announced here.

7. Can the TFM be published? What is the UPF Digital Repository (e-Repositori)?

The Department of Translation and Language Sciences recommends publication of those TFMs that obtain a grade of 9.0 or higher (Excellent) in the UPF Digital Repository (e-Repositori). The repository collects, preserves and disseminates intellectual output in digital format resulting from academic and research activities at the UPF. Its purpose is to help increase the impact of research conducted at the UPF. The TFMs included in the repository will form part of the collection “Treballs dels estudiants”.