All students must produce a final master's thesis supervised by a faculty member from the programme. The work may be devoted to a topic of research, innovation or intervention in the field of specialised translation, or to the case study that will involve the completion of the internships, provided that the student has enrolled in the two internship subjects. The master’s thesis allows those students who need to prepare themselves to start doctoral studies to begin their research practice. In all cases, the thesis represents the culmination of the master's degree, the synthesis of the competences acquired and an original and personal contribution from each student.
1. What is the final master’s thesis?
The final master’s thesis is an original project or study on a specific topic of Translation Studies, in which the student, under the supervision of the faculty members, integrates, applies and develops the competences acquired in the training of the master's degree. The master’s thesis has a weight of 10 compulsory credits.
Although there will be variations depending on the topic and the orientation, in general a project with clear approach and objectives will be valued, leading to academic reflection and bibliographical analysis on a specific topic related to the practice or theory of translation. It can be a study of a translation, a comparison of translations or a translation made by the student with commentary and justification. The topic must be related to the translation of some practical or theoretical phenomenon and must include aspects of the subjects studied in the master's degree.
Students who wish to complete their training with a doctorate will have to demonstrate their capacity for research in a topic related to the discipline of Translation Studies. They must show knowledge of the basic bibliography and know how to pose a research question, which may imply hypotheses to validate, and combine this with a methodology that allows to resolve the questions posed in a manner compatible with the scientific method. The conclusions of the master’s thesis should answer the questions posed as a starting point or satisfactorily explain why they could not have been answered. The master’s thesis must represent an original contribution of the student in the field of research in which the thesis is located.
In all cases, in order to pass the master’s thesis, it must be successfully defended in a public ceremony before a tribunal made up of three PhD professors.
2. Who supervises the progress of the master’s thesis?
The master’s thesis is carried out under the supervision of a director or directors, whose function is to guide the student in the achievement of his objective, as well as to give the go-ahead to the project once it is finished.
The master’s thesis director or directors are appointed according to the interests of each student, who will be advised by the academic tutor. The final approval of the appointment is the responsibility of the master's coordinator. The academic tutor, where appropriate, will facilitate the student's contact with the faculty members deemed appropriate to supervise the master’s thesis.
The student and the director will define the master’s thesis topic and the methodological approach adopted and will agree on a work plan and its follow-up. If significant deviations from the planning are detected, as well as any other element that gives rise to suspicion that the master’s thesis may not be completed properly and within the planned timeframe, or if, for good cause, it is considered that changes need to be made in the thesis’ direction, the director or the student must inform the master's coordinator and the academic tutor.
3. What is the student's dedication to the master’s thesis?
The completion of the final master’s thesis involves a dedication of about 250 hours. These hours include bibliographic foundation, discussions with the director, data collection, testing of hypotheses and other elements, as well as the writing of the final paper.
The student can begin to work as soon as he or she has specified who will supervise the project. Except for a few exceptions, most subjects are concentrated in the first and second quarters of the academic year, so that the third quarter can be devoted preferentially to the master’s thesis.
The hours invested by the student in the master’s thesis are autonomous work. It is the student's responsibility to warn the director and academic tutor of any type of academic or personal difficulty that may interfere with the fulfilment of the work plan and the agreed follow-up method. Any master’s thesis that has not been supervised by the director will not be admitted.
4. What does the master’s thesis have to be like?
The specific characteristics of the master’s thesis may vary according to its topic, but as a rule, a final project of about 30 or 40 double-spaced printed pages is expected. Considering new technologies and the diversity of possible topics, a maximum will not be marked in terms of the number of pages but of words. In this sense, a maximum of 26,000 words and a minimum of 10,000 words, excluding annexes, are required.
In addition to the minimum and maximum length requirements, the project can have the type of presentation that best fits a clear and understandable exposition. In this sense, there is no maximum space occupied by graphics or illustrations, such as screenshots or frames, which will not count for the extension. The extension of the project may be evaluated negatively if it is insufficient or excessive for the proposed objectives and / or according to the regulations governing the master’s thesis.
5. What is the procedure for submitting the master’s thesis and preparing its defence?
The master’s thesis must be submitted towards the end of the academic year in which the student finishes his master's degree. It is up to the director(s) to determine if the project meets all the requirements to be submitted and evaluated. Submission may be made at any time after the fourth academic week of the third quarter and at least eight working days prior to the defence, so that the members of the tribunal have time to assess it.
6. What is the defence like and when is it done?
The master’s thesis is defended in a public act before a tribunal made up of three PhD professors. It is advisable that one of them is the director and another is external to the Department of Translation and Language Sciences. The master's coordinator appoints the three members from the proposal submitted by the director of the project.
The act of defence must not exceed 50 minutes, with a maximum of 20 minutes for the student's oral presentation. Once the presentation is finished, the tribunal may ask questions and make observations, which the student must answer in an appropriate manner. At the end of the act, the tribunal deliberates and agrees on a grade. The master’s thesis final grade, like that of any other subject, is a numerical score from 0 to 10 (with one decimal) and its verbal equivalent (suspens, aprovat, notable, excel.lent).
The defence’s deadline is the beginning of July, and exceptionally September. It is advisable that, as a rule, defences are held before August. It must be borne in mind that August does not count as a working month in view of project’s submission, tribunal proposal or communication of the defence’s schedule.
7. Is there external diffusion of the master’s thesis? What is UPF’s Digital Repository?
To initiate the student in the habit of publication, the Department of Translation and Language Sciences recommends publishing the master’s thesis awarded excellent in the e-Repositori. This institutional repository collects, disseminates and preserves, in digital form, the intellectual output that results from UPF’s academic and research activity. Its purpose is to increase the impact of research done at the UPF and its intellectual memory.
The Department publishes the master’s thesis awarded excellent in a collection called Treballs, within the repository. The diffusion of the master’s thesis through the e-Repositori is not compulsory, but it is a simple way to disseminate the master’s thesis among the academic community and add one more element to the student's curriculum.
Before the defence, the Department's secretary will ask students to sign a publication agreement, if the master’s thesis has been awarded excellent.
- Project proposal and director election
February 15 - March 15. Deadline for submitting to the secretary a "proposal for a master's thesis project" which will include the name of the director of the project (signed) and the topic (with a descriptive and clear provisional title).
- Choice of topic and approach
May 15th. The director and the student agree on the topic and approach, which they will communicate to the master's coordinator.
- Meetings with the director
The director will plan a schedule of meetings to effectively assess the project’s progress. A minimum of three meetings is recommended between May and June.
- Master’s thesis submission
Two weeks before the date agreed upon by the tribunal for oral defence, in June - July. Ten days before, in September. The submission procedure will be specified in due course.
- Oral defence
30 June - 15 July (as a rule)
1 - 8 September (exceptionally and with justification)