Guide: The master’s thesis in the company

The Master’s thesis can be more than just the chore at the end of your studies: your ticket to the job at the company of your choice. Many students no longer write their master’s thesis classically on a theoretical topic at a chair of their university, but opt ​​for the master’s thesis in the company. But not only students are thrilled to be able to write their master’s thesis in the company: The external Master’s thesis is also widely accepted by more and more universities. Therefore, we have put together everything you need to know about the topic so that you, too, can get off to a flying start with the master’s thesis in the company.

How do I write a master’s thesis in the company?

If you have decided to write your master’s thesis in the company and not at your university, there are a few things to consider. While you go to the university of choice at the university and ask him to supervise your master’s thesis, you should first look for a suitable company for the master’s thesis in the company. You can often find tenders on the Internet or you search on the bulletin board of your university. Alternatively, you can ask fellow students, alumni or professors for recommendations. You may have had some experience with some companies or you may know of vacancies in companies where you could write your master’s thesis. If you have found an interesting offer, you should check the conditions: Does the company already have experience in master thesis work? Do you have the opportunity to work in your desired area in this company? Is good and permanent support guaranteed in this company? If these conditions are met, you apply for the master’s thesis in the company as well as for a job: cover letter, CV, job interview. If the company of your choice does not currently advertise vacancies, an unsolicited application may be worthwhile. When you finally get the commitment, you should sit down with your potential supervisor to start with the preliminary discussion of your master thesis.

Examples of master’s theses in companies

In the course of the study one writes so some scientific works: Smaller essays, chores or extensive seminar papers. You get a sense of which topics are available for editing, how you can ask a research question skillfully or which structure model offers itself for the work. But how can a master thesis look in the company and what are possible questions? Examples of master’s theses in companies can give a first impression of the topics and approaches for external master’s theses. For students of media studies, for example, it is possible to write an external master’s thesis in the field of marketing. It would be conceivable to design a new marketing strategy for a company as part of the master’s thesis. In a first part, the theoretical and conceptual basics and concepts of business marketing were explained, which are then to be implemented in the strategy, which are adapted to the environment and the goals of the company. This example shows the advantage of the master’s thesis in the company: theory is put into practice in the context of the master’s thesis. His creativity can be let loose in this case.

Advantages of master’s theses in the company

Writing the master’s thesis in the company has several advantages. The decisive factor for many students is probably the potential career entry the Master’s thesis can offer in the company. If the company is satisfied with your work, you have the chance to take over. As part of the Master’s thesis, the company has the opportunity to get to know you and your way of working and can save yourself a time-consuming application process or a possible probationary period. In addition, as part of your master’s thesis, you work out concepts for months, which you could put into practice after submission to the operative work. Master’s theses in the company have the great advantage that they are very practical and application-related, which for many students is a further decisive advantage of the master’s thesis in the company. But even if you should not be taken over, you gain important practical experience and contacts. Also, access to resources is usually easier with master’s theses written in companies. For example, you have the opportunity to get exclusive information, talk to specialists on your topic, or have a chance to work in the natural sciences with state-of-the-art equipment.

Find a supervisor for an external master thesis

First of all, it should be pointed out that finding a suitable company to write the Master’s thesis can be time-consuming and time-consuming. And even if the right company is found, from the first contact to the contract signing can take up to six months. If you have found a place in a company, you will usually be assigned a supervisor by you. Nevertheless, you need to find a suitable supervisor for your master’s thesis at your university. Because the special feature of external master theses is that you have two supervisors: One contact person in the company and one supervisor at your university. After all, the master’s thesis in the company is also an academic thesis that has to be written and submitted in a subject area of ​​your degree program. That’s why your supervisor is your primary supervisor. While your secondary caregiver is particularly interested in the practical results that the company can achieve, your professor’s focus is on your scientific writing skills.

This particular care situation in the master’s thesis in the company can lead to conflicts if the supervisors have different expectations or requirements for your master’s thesis. Regular and transparent communication is particularly important in this case.

Salary for master thesis in the company

If you are writing your master’s thesis in the company, you are usually employed in the form of a working student contract in this company for the duration of your master’s thesis. You are working on a project that is also relevant for the company and will be reimbursed for your work. In general, companies pay an average of 700 to 900 euros per month for their work, depending on what industry you work in and what you have in terms of previous knowledge and experience. So you combine two very important things with the master’s thesis in the company: namely the work on your master’s thesis and your part-time job. If you depend on an additional income to fund your studies, then this could be the ideal way for you to combine part-time work and master’s thesis: The conflict between your part-time job and the writing of the Master’s thesis is lost on this model. But beware: If you get Bafög, then remember that the salary for the master’s thesis in the company is counted as well as the salary that you earn in a normal part-time job in addition to your studies. If you exceed the allowance of 450 euros per month, which is generally the case for the remuneration of the master’s thesis in the company, you must also report this credit to the Studentenwerk.

Working time for master’s thesis in the company

Your contract for the master’s thesis in the company not only regulates the remuneration of your activity, but also determines the monthly working hours in the company. As a working student you have a maximum weekly working time of 20 hours. As you divide up your 20 hours per week, so if you’re working on your Master’s thesis for four hours a day or making your working hours more flexible, you should coordinate with your supervisor at the company. This does not mean that you can only work 20 hours per week on your master thesis. In addition to your work in the company itself, you will spend a lot of time in the library, for example, to research and sift literature, to calmly deal with theories or to correct your work. So flexible working hours for the master’s thesis in the company can be an advantage, because depending on the work phase you need more time for research in the library or for work in the company. In addition to the weekly working hours, the maximum work time from the application to the handover of the master’s thesis should be set at the beginning of the master’s thesis in the company. Because after the total working time, the length of the contract with the company depends.

Avoid conflicts during the external master thesis

As already indicated, the master thesis in the company holds additional potential for conflict. This arises in particular due to the special care situation of the external Master’s thesis. It would be ideal to have a meeting with both supervisors, in which the wishes and requirements of your work are clearly communicated by both sides. These include the objectives of the Master’s thesis, the structure of the work, its scope, the citation but also deadlines. It is important that both supervisors respect each other’s expectations of your Master’s thesis and consider it in their assessment. In addition, discuss with your external supervisor some business-related issues, especially how to handle sensitive corporate data as part of your master’s thesis. This can lead to great misunderstandings and consequent conflicts. In addition, you should be aware at an early stage of resources that must be provided by the company in the context of your master’s thesis. In order to avoid problems, a permanent contact person who will help you with words and deeds is enormously important.

Evaluation of the external master thesis

In addition to your first supervisor, a professor from your university, you have a second supervisor who is usually an employee of the company in which you are writing your master’s thesis. Although your secondary supervisor is also officially your second examiner, the academic examiner and thus your primary supervisor usually has sole responsibility for evaluating the external master’s thesis. Certainly, your first carer will ask your second carer about your progress, possible difficulties and overall impression. After all, the difficulty and complexity as well as the scope of the task and the given work context are included in the evaluation of the external Master’s thesis and can sometimes be judged best by the supervisor in the company. But in the end you also write a master thesis with the external Master’s thesis, which focuses on the academic guidelines and your abilities in scientific work. In addition, the conceptual structure of the thesis, the clarity of its content and formalities are among the most important criteria for the evaluation of the Master’s thesis.

Checklist for external master thesis in the company

That was a lot of information about the topic of writing a master’s thesis in the company. Therefore, we have summarized the most important points in a checklist so that nothing goes wrong when writing your master thesis. So again from everything to start: First, it must be clarified early, whether it is in principle allowed at your university to write the master’s thesis outside the university. If this is possible, you should inform yourself about the process, the requirements and the given deadlines of companies and your university, as well as about special features that must be taken into account when writing the master’s thesis in the company. Once you have checked these items on your checklist, you are looking for a suitable company – and at an early stage! An internship can help to get to know the company before writing the thesis and to familiarize yourself with the topic. In order to avoid conflicts during the Master’s thesis, the requirements of both supervisors should be clearly communicated at the beginning of the Master’s thesis so that misunderstandings are avoided. When working on a master’s thesis in the company, it is important to find out early on how to deal with sensitive company data and how your university is concerned with the issue of blocking. If you keep these points in mind, nothing should go wrong with the master’s thesis in the company.

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