Skip to main content

Dissertation Supervision

Expand All Collapse all

Seminars are the recommended dissertation process for all MSc students.

A Dissertation Seminar is a small group of students that are developing dissertations in related topics, all supervised by one faculty member, who will be their advisor.

Dissertation Seminars are effective because they are specifically designed and structured to follow your entire dissertation process, and to ensure that you receive continuous feedback and support during the development of your final work.

Seminars usually last three to four months, and throughout this time you will have instructor-led sessions, group discussions and individual meetings. You will also have the chance to present parts of your work, allowing you to receive feedback from both your advisor and your colleagues.

Students are expected to attend all sessions in person.

The list of available seminars can be consulted here.

MSc students will only follow an independent process in exceptional circumstances*.

Students that choose to follow an independent process should:

Identify a topic or topics of interests.
Discuss with a professor that is willing to serve as your advisor on that topic, or is willing to propose an alternative topic.
Prepare a dissertation proposal, which must be signed by you and your advisor, and submit it to Master Student Affairs (deadlines here). A recommended template can be accessed here.

*Please be aware that students have often found it difficult to find a suitable faculty member that is both an expert in the area a student wants to work in and also has the time to supervise individual students. In most cases, faculty members are already fully committed in terms of their academic duties.

It is important to meet early with your supervisor to clarify the objectives and methods of the proposed dissertation, and to agree on a timetable for future deadlines and meetings. If a student is not enrolled in a dissertation seminar, he or she should take the initiative to arrange this and other meetings.

Your supervisor will comment on your ideas, suggest readings, and advise you on major challenges. Your supervisor is not expected to provide you with a list of all required readings. Your supervisor will normally comment on a close-to-final draft.

However, it is not his/her job to edit, revise, or write any part of your dissertation. The role of the supervisor is to guide you through the process, answer questions, and provide advice and expertise, while at the same time ensuring that the dissertation will be mainly based on your own work and ideas. It is up to you to implement the suggestions you receive.

The quality of the dissertation is defined not only by its content, but also by the way the content is presented and communicated. It is your responsibility to assure the quality of your written communication.

Content and Standard of the Dissertation

Expand All Collapse all

An MSc dissertation must demonstrate that the student has not just acquired significant knowledge but is also able to apply it to address a theoretical or applied problem.

The dissertation should relate to the content of one or more courses of the MSc program. It is expected to review relevant literature, have a central integrating argument, and include an original contribution.

A good dissertation poses an interesting, focused question, and answers it through argumentation using strong foundations in areas of management, finance and economics and the use of primary and secondary research.

Most students pose a question on a theoretical or empirical issue, and develop their dissertation under the supervision of a faculty member (or under the co-supervision of a faculty member with a non-faculty member), usually through a dissertation seminar but sometimes individually.

Textbook

White, B., & Rayner, S. (2014). Dissertation Skills: For Business and Management Students (2nd ed.). Cengage Learning EMEA.


Databases

Some of these databases can only be accessed if you are on the UCP campus or if you are using the UCP proxy (instructions here).


UCP Institutional Repository

You can consult all of the MSc dissertations written at CATÓLICA-LISBON on the UCP Institutional Repository.

You can also browse by advisor here, searching for the professor’s last name.

Please note that some dissertations will have restricted or embargoed access. This information can be consulted in the UCP institutional Repository in the “Access type" column.


SPSS & Stata

You can use SPSS and Stata via CITRIX – instructions here.


Qualtrics

Create an account – instructions here.

Access Code – SRVBAYLLCUAINFZYTT.

Full-Time
  • It is recommended that you work on your dissertation full-time for 3 to 4 months.
  • During this period you will be working with CTO (Career and Talent Office) to define your final placement.
  • Although some students need to take MSc courses during the dissertation semester in order to complete their study plan, you should try to minimize the courses taken and make sure it is no more than two courses per trimester (or two semester-long courses).
 
Part-Time
  • The internship should have an average weekly workload of 20-25 hours (with a maximum of 30 hours).
  • Please take into account that you need to dedicate at least 20 hours per week to your dissertation to complete it within a reasonable time frame.
  • We do not recommend that you do an internship during your dissertation semester.

Past experiences with internships that were really full-time jobs have created severe problems concerning the ability to successfully complete the MSc program.

The data used in your dissertation can be primary data and/or secondary data.

Primary data are data collected by the researcher for the specific purpose of addressing the problem at hand. This includes data collected through surveys, experiments, or interviews. The collection and use of primary data is encouraged but is not a requirement.

Secondary data are data that have already been collected for purposes other than your dissertation (for example, published statistical data, data in annual reports, a public database, or data in journal articles). You are expected to identify and acknowledge major sources of secondary data relating to your topic and to refer to important literature relating to your research question.

You must properly acknowledge the secondary sources (i.e., when you did not conduct data collection yourself) of any data, ideas, or other material. Plagiarism is a major concern in all academic work.

Plagiarism-detection software (Turnitin) is used by Master Student Affairs to ensure that work submitted by students avoids plagiarism. Dissertations are considered “critical” if they exceed the following values:

  • Overall similarity index ≥ 35%
  • Similarity index in relation to the primary source ≥ 5%

Dissertations that exceed these values will be rejected, delaying your dissertation defence and, as a result, the conclusion of your MSc program.

Dissertations are only submitted to Turnitin after delivery, so we are unable to run a test beforehand.

As required by Portuguese law, your dissertation will be archived in the UCP Institutional Repository.

 You will submit a form along with your dissertation, indicating the type of access that should be applied to your work – unrestricted access, restricted access for a determined amount of time (end date to be indicated by you), or restricted access for an undetermined amount of time.

Portuguese law also requires your dissertation defence to be public. As a result, you should ensure that confidential data is not included in your presentation.

 Additionally, please note that the university is unable to sign confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements.

Dissertation Format

Expand All Collapse all

Regarding the outline of the dissertation, the following rules must be observed:

  • The cover page must follow this template. You are allowed to change the font type, size and colour, but must not include any additional images, logos or backgrounds.
  • The font should be Times New Roman 12-point.
  • The Abstract page must contain an English and Portuguese version, with the title, the author, keywords and a summary of the objectives, findings/arguments and conclusions of the dissertation.
  • Spacing should be: for the main text 1.5 with margins of 25mm, and for the abstract 1.5 with margins of 25mm.
  • Quotations of less than a sentence should be integrated into the text. Lengthier quotations should be indented and single-spaced.

An MSc dissertation should have 8,000 to 13,000 words.

The following elements of the Dissertation are not included in the word count:

  • Cover page
  • Abstract
  • Executive summary
  • Acknowledgements
  • Contents list
  • List of figures
  • Reference list/Bibliography
  • List of abbreviations
  • Glossary
  • Appendices

Footnotes, tables, graphs and figures, along with their captions, are included in the word count.

You are free to adopt any of the major conventions commonly used for references, such as the MLA system or the Chicago system, so long as you exactly and consistently follow the rules of that system.

The body of the Abstract, which must be in both Portuguese and English, cannot exceed 250 words each and the Appendices cannot exceed 30 pages.

The length of the dissertation will be checked upon delivery, and Católica-Lisbon dissertations that exceed the length guidelines will not be accepted. Please note that Double-Degree students may have different lenght requirements.

 

Dissertation Submission

Expand All Collapse all

Please provide the following documents:

  • Whole dissertation in PDF/A format*
  • Cover page and abstract in PDF/A format*
  • Whole dissertation in Word format
  • Your updated CV, in PDF
  • Declaration(s) from your advisor(s) stating that you have concluded your dissertation (template here) in PDF format.
  • Authorization form to archive your dissertation in the UCP Institutional Repository (template here), in PDF
  • Declaration of originality (template here).

*The PDFs must be in PDF/A format, as well as searchable and copyable. You can find instructions for creating a PDF/A here.

 

Technical submission requirements: 

  • You must ensure that you submit the listed documents in the required format, correctly filled in and signed.  
  • The dissertation/thesis format must follow the layout, the length and the references posting as outlined in the paragraphs under “Dissertation Format” .
  • All critical and identifying marks and information must be legible. 
  • The scanned document orientation should match the original.  

 

To submit your Dissertation/Thesis you should use the Submission Platform.

The dissertation/thesis format must follow the layout, the length and the 
references posting as outlined in the paragraphs under “Dissertation Format". 
Please also read all the requirements and recommendations on this page 
before submitting your dissertation.

We encourage you to submit your work as soon as all of the documentation is ready.

Your Dissertation/Thesis and all other documents will be verified after the delivery in the submission platform.

The submission platform is open until 16:00 of the deadline day.

 All the documents  must be submited in the required format, correctly filled in and signed.

[UPDATE - COVID-19]

Given the current circumstances caused by the pandemic of COVID 19, students who started the dissertation in February 2020 may submit their thesis until the second submission deadline (September 16th 2020) without incurring in the penalty fee for late submission concerning the first deadline in June 2020. For submissions after September (or for students who started the thesis semester before February 2020), the late submission fee will be applied in compliance with the standard rule, mentioned below.

E.g.: If you started your dissertation semester in February 2020 and submit the thesis...
​... until September 16th: no penalty fee will be applied.
... from September until January 2021 (deadline to be defined): two penalty fees will apply (concerning the deadlines of June and September).


Students are expected to complete their dissertation in roughly four months (1st submission deadline), with the possibility of extending for around three months (2nd submission deadline).

You can only continue working on your dissertation after the 2nd submission deadline if you have permission from your advisor. You will have up to two years, counting from when you began your dissertation semester, to complete and submit your dissertation.

After these two years have ended, you will have to find a new topic and advisor.

Additionally, please note that there is a financial penalty of €170 for every deadline that is exceeded, and that you will be required to pay the annual enrolment fee every time you enter a new academic year.

* Reference value,may be subject to change.

  • Example 1: Start Dissertation Semester in September 2019 - Deliver by the 2nd Submission Deadline (April 2020) = 1 payment of €170
  • Example 2: Start Dissertation Semester in September 2019 - Deliver by the 3rd deadline (June 2020) = 2 payments of €170
  • Example 3: Start Dissertation Semester in September 2019 - Deliver by the 4th deadline (September 2020) = 3 payments of €170
  • Example 4: Start Dissertation Semester in September 2019 - Deliver by the 5th deadline (January 2021) = 2020/2021 Annual Registration Fee + 4 payments of €170.

Dissertation Defence

Expand All Collapse all

Dissertation defences can only be scheduled once you have completed your study plan, settled your treasury situation and the Dissertation authenticity was verified.


Study Plan Requirements

  • Number of ECTS (total, major, specialization, etc.)
  • 4 LERNE sessions
  • Career Accelerator Lab
  • Research Methodologies Workshop
  • Third Language Requirement (if applicable)
  • Outgoing Platform (submit courses with the correct description)
  • Internship Requirement or International Requirement (if applicable – more information here). Please be aware that it must be submitted for validation by the 28th day of the month, to be validated by the 28th of the following month.

You can schedule a meeting with Master Student Affairs here to ensure that your study plan is complete.


Treasury situation

Please be aware that your treasury situation needs to be settled within the established deadlines.

If your CATÓLICA-LISBON coursework (including all passed and failed courses, modules and workshops) exceed the abovementioned limit, the excess will incur additional costs.

Please be aware that courses for which you have enrolled in several times or that you decided to stop attending without a formal cancelation processed by the Master Student Affairs may not appear in the student platform e-SCA but will be counted for ECTS payment.

Extra costs need to be settled prior to your dissertation defense and will be determined according to the following formula:

Extra cost = (number of ECTS in excess) x (ECTS monthly value for settlement purposes) x 5 months (= 1 semester)

Example: If a student uses 69 ECTS in course work at CATÓLICA-LISBON until the dissertation defense (considering passed and failed courses), he/she will have a final tuition settlement of 2 ECTS x 20€ x 5 = 200€.

Additionally, there is a financial penalty of €170 for every deadline that is exceeded, and that you will be required to pay the annual enrolment fee every time you enter a new academic year.

 

You will defend your dissertation in Católica-Lisbon, in front of a jury, who will award a final grade of 0 to 20.

The jury will normally have three (but may have up to five) members, and will usually include your dissertation advisor.

Dissertation defences are public, as required by Portuguese law.


The Roles of the Jury Members

Discussant – of the three jury members, the discussant will most actively prepare and present questions and suggestions regarding the content, methodology, and findings of the dissertation.

President – the primary role of the President is to manage the proceedings but they will also prepare a couple of comments and questions.

Advisor – The advisor will have guided you through your work, and therefore it is expected that they will have fewer comments to make during the defence and fewer questions to ask. Nonetheless, they may contribute one or two questions, and/or comments.


The Structure of the Defence

Each defence session usually takes 40 minutes, and students are required to be physically present at Católica-Lisbon.

During the candidate's presentation, lasting 15 to 20 minutes (maximum), the student overviews the key points of the dissertation, including introducing very briefly the research question and literature, as well as overviewing the methodology, analysis, findings and conclusions.

Following that, there will be questions and comments directed to the student by the jury members. Usually the discussant will do so first and at most length, followed by the jury president, and the advisor. It is up to the president and jury members whether, for example, all the questions are read at once, written down and responded to, or whether the student has the chance to respond to each question.

There are no rules regarding whether the student sits or stands, but the latter is more common unless the student is writing down questions.

The jury will ask you, as well as any guests, to temporarily leave the room so that they can deliberate and agree on a grade.

The jury may tell you the grade immediately after your defence, or they might ask you to wait until the other defences from the same morning/afternoon have ended before communicating the grades to all of the candidates.

 

The dissertation will be evaluated on several criteria:

  • Quality of literature review and appropriate references (e.g., including academic and current ones)
  • Quality of methods and analysis
  • Novelty and appropriateness of research question
  • Discussion, including overview, of the limitations and possible future research
  • Quality of the document in terms of organisation, clear writing, and correct English

Regarding case studies, there is less emphasis on the methods and data collection, and more on the quality of the pedagogical case that is developed in terms of relevance, usability, and interesting insights. In case study dissertations a literature review is also generally required, as well a clear research question(s) that is addressed.

Dissertation Defence scheduling is a long process and we will send you information about your defence as soon as possible, and at least one week in advance. 

You will receive this confirmation by email, and it will include the following information:

  • Date and time
  • Location
  • Composition of the jury

Dissertation defences are scheduled according to the availability of jury members and, as a result, we are unable to negotiate dates with students.

You may find information about the upcoming defence periods on the page Dissertation Dates and Deadlines.

Conclusion of the MSc Program

Expand All Collapse all

The dissertation will be weighted with the curricular portion of your program.

Example:

You completed 56 ECTS in courses, with a weighted average of 16.5, and your dissertation was awarded a 17.

You can do the following calculation:

NOTE: For this example, we have based ourselves on the International MSc in Management, where the dissertation is worth 30 ECTS and the program has 90 ECTS.

Please keep in mind this is just an example and that there are differences across programs and intakes.

Once you have successfully defended your dissertation, and your MSc Program is complete,you can request your Certificate of Conclusion and/or Diploma to the university’s Academic Services through E-SCA (see tutorial).

The Academic Services issues the certificate in up to ten business days, whilst the Diploma (if requested) will be delivered in the graduation ceremony next year.

Make sure that your personal information in ESCA is correct (full name, personal ID number, parents’ name, date of birth, etc). If something needs changing, please contact the central Administrative Services (secretariaescolar@ucp.pt).

How to request and receive these documents:

Certificate of Degree’s Conclusion

  • Language: Portuguese or English
  • Issued: upon request, may take up to two weeks after payment.
  • Delivered: more information below
  • Cost: €185 for the first certificate, and €62 for subsequent certificates.

If, when ordering the first certificate, you ask for two identical copies (eg. 2 certificates in English with your final average), the second certificate has a reduced cost of €30.80.

  • Content options:
  1. Certificate of Conclusion (only states that you have finished the MSc Program)
  2. Certificate of Conclusion with your final average
  3. Certificate of Conclusion with your final average and your grades per course
  •  Request Status: follow the status of your request in ESCA. It will change to “Concluded” once the certificate is ready.

Delivery of the Certificate

  • In Person (default option)

The Certificate can be picked up in person at the UCP Secretaria Escolar (Ground Floor | Library Building).

  • By Post

After the payment is made, you can ask the Academic Services to send you the document via post. Please email them at secretariaescolar@ucp.pt with your request and keep in mind that there is a payment associated with this service.

  • By Email

In addition to the original hard copy, you can ask the Academic Services to email you a scanned version before picking it up from the Secretaria Escolar or having it posted to you. Please email them at secretariaescolar@ucp.pt with your request.

Diploma

  • Language: Portuguese
  • Issued: once a year and must be requested until 31st December 2019 to receive it at the Diploma Ceremony next year.

Diplomas requested from 1st January to 30th April 2020 will be available only after 1st October 2020.

  • Delivered: during the Diploma Ceremony in Spring 2020, if requested by 31st December 2019 (see above).
  • Cost: If you request and pay for a certificate of conclusion first, the diploma will be free of charge, as long as you request it by 30th April 2020.

If you only want the diploma, or if you request it after 30th April 2020, the diploma is €90.

Payment

After the request has been completed, you must proceed with payment. Usually the amount and payment references become available in E-SCA one working day after your request.

  • Payment with a Portuguese bank account

You can use the ATM reference (Multibanco) to make your payment: at an ATM, choose "Pagamentos e Outros Serviços”, “Pagamento de Serviços/Compras" options and enter the entity code, reference and amount. Alternatively, you can also make the payment in person, at the Treasury Office.

  • Payment from Abroad

Please arrange a transfer to:

  • Account name: Universidade Católica Portuguesa
  • Bank: Banco Comercial Português/Millennium BCP, Lisbon
  • IBAN: PT50.0033.0000.50026586583.05
  • SWIFT/BIC: BCOMPTPL

Please remember to account for bank charges and forward a copy of the transfer document to the Treasury Office (hbrandao@ucp.pt or cristina@ucp.pt) for easier accounting allocation.

 

ALTA DIGITAL