How to give your master’s thesis in English a clear structure before proofreading…

… you will learn in this blog post. As a provider of editing services, we will not only explain to you what the structure of your English master’s thesis can look like, but also why a clear structure is important. We’ll also give you tips on how to best maintain that structure and what to expect once you’ve finished the writing process, so you can plan enough time for that, too. You guessed it: this blog post advises you to do one thing above all: develop a clear structure for the content and steps of your English master’s thesis – long before you start thinking about professional editing. Editing can smooth things out, but you’ll find that writing your master’s thesis in English will be easier with a good orientation.

First things first: What is a master’s thesis?

The scientific master’s thesis is written at the end of a master’s program and is internationally recognized. According to the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany, a master’s thesis is intended to “demonstrate the ability to work independently on a problem from the respective subject using scientific methods within a specified period of time”. In Germany, the master’s thesis is usually the last or penultimate exam, often followed by an oral defense or final exam.

Is that how you write it? Master thesis challenge in English

No matter what the topic of your Master’s thesis is, an error-free final product is a top priority. You are writing your master thesis in English and you are not sure if your language level will convince your professors? You even doubt a little bit that you have correctly conveyed the content of your master thesis in English?

You are not alone!

You are not alone with these questions. More and more Master’s programs in Germany are open to international students and therefore in English. Although the vast majority of German high school graduates complete their bachelor’s degree in German, many opt for a master’s degree in English – especially in the fields of business, politics and communication. This is clearly noticeable for us as a provider of English proofreading services, because of course an international Master’s program also includes a Master’s thesis in English as well as appropriate proofreading services so that no doubts remain. Of course, you do not only want to convince your professors with your Master’s thesis in English, but you also want to meet your own expectations. However, before it is time to proofread your English master’s thesis, you still have some work to do. In the following section, academically qualified editors who speak English as their native language will explain how you can give your English master’s thesis structure from the very beginning.

Three tips before English editing: 1. structure, 2. structure, 3. structure

Your Master’s thesis must be clearly organized and follow a logical structure. While your professors may have turned a blind eye here and there during your bachelor’s degree, your puppy protection is now over – with your English master’s thesis, you prove that you can work scientifically on your own, draft a question and answer it with the help of thorough research.

Devaluation of the content of your English master thesis due to lack of structure

When editing English Master’s theses, native-speaking proofreaders often notice that an opaque structure impedes the flow of reading and, in case of doubt, renders well-researched material useless. For this reason, you should work very carefully on the structure of your master’s thesis in English, long before the first proofreading. If, during the editing process, the entire structure of your English master’s thesis has to be overturned, it will be very annoying for you. You may feel that little of your own work remains or that you have failed the task. This feeling accompanies the best scientists, even if their results are outstanding in and of themselves. In addition, proofreading English master’s theses with an opaque structure is time-consuming and may require multiple revisions from both sides. This proofreading takes time that you may not have by the time you submit your master’s thesis in English. Therefore, think about the structure of your thesis from the very beginning.

Some information about your English Master’s thesis in advance

The length of a Master’s thesis in Germany can vary greatly from institution to institution, but is usually between 60 and 130 pages. This does not include the cover page, table of contents, acknowledgements and references. Playing with font size and type to achieve an appropriate number of pages will not help you, because in most cases this is prescribed by your university or college. When editing English master theses, we always notice such shenanigans and often we can only smile about them – font size 16 is definitely too big and Comic Sans MS is not the appropriate font! The time required also varies greatly from person to person. As a rule, your master’s thesis should be ready for submission after four to six months. However, many students start their Master’s thesis in English much earlier and only register it with the examination office once the basic framework is in place and the supervisor has approved it. Whenever you start your Master thesis in English, you should allow enough time for professional editing.

A good supervisor for your Master thesis in English

Finding a suitable supervisor is not that easy. Students writing their Master’s thesis in English usually find it helpful to establish regular contact with a suitable person at an early stage. We have also had this experience with editing English master’s theses. If students indicated that they had good and regular contact with their supervisors even before they started writing their master’s thesis in English, the editing process turned out to be trouble-free and less time-consuming for both sides. After editing and submission of the English master’s thesis, the satisfaction of these students was generally much higher than that of the students who had less contact with their supervisor. Knowing your supervisor well and being able to talk to him/her at any time is important during the writing of your master thesis in English in order to recognize mistakes early on and to eliminate misunderstandings.

And what happens now with your English master’s thesis?

After you have decided on a somewhat broader research question, you will work out the scientific relevance and clear objectives of your thesis in consultation with your supervisor. You do this within the framework of the literature research, which should be the first real step of your Master’s thesis in English and which will immediately stand out to the professional editor due to the density and depth of the arguments – for sure!

How the master thesis in English is structured

The cover page of your English master thesis often depends on the requirements of your university or college, if not your specific department or your supervisor. Information about yourself, your university or college and your topic should not be missing. Often, the logo of the university as well as the submission date or the corresponding semester is also desired. To be on the safe side, you should discuss this with your supervisor. The cover page is followed by the table of contents (contents, table of contents or index) of your English Master’s thesis, possibly a list of abbreviations, a list of figures, a short abstract, or an acknowledgement (credits). This is followed by the classic division into introduction, main body and conclusion, of course with appropriate subtopics.

The introduction of your master thesis in English

The introduction usually includes a literature review and a classification of your work in the research context. In this context you prove the scientific relevance of your master thesis and explain the further procedure. If the introduction of your Master’s thesis in English arouses the interest of your readers, you have gained a lot. After all, you want them to read on. Therefore, do not use super complicated sentences and detailed factual contexts in your introduction. This is a typical mistake that we find again and again when editing English master’s theses.

The main part of your English master thesis

In the main part, you deal with your question step by step and, of course, use the information you have extracted from the literature you have used. As already mentioned, when editing your English master’s thesis, you will immediately notice how much you have gone into depth in your research. For example, if you use different sources and not always the same paper to support your statements, it can be assumed that you have examined the information from many different perspectives. Because it is precisely these supposed minor details that lend credibility to the main body, we pay attention to every detail when proofreading your English master’s thesis.

The best at the end

The final part of your thesis is usually a very small part of the overall text, about 5%, but it is an indispensable part of your English master’s thesis. Here you summarize your results concisely and place them in the scientific context. By providing an intelligent outlook for further possible research, we can tell if your thesis is one of the best of the best, or if it’s just bumping around in the middle of the pack. If your results do not lead to any further important questions and you have answered everything, this is not a good sign. Science has no beginning and no end, and you should never claim in your English master’s thesis to have presented everything worth knowing about a particular topic. After all, if you look at the topic from a different perspective, new knowledge will most certainly follow. When editing English Master’s theses, we therefore like to see authors who are able to reflect on the limitations of their work. This is a real quality feature and therefore a particularly critical point for editing master’s theses in English. From the point of view of professional editors, it is therefore fatal to sit back after the main part of the English master’s thesis and half-heartedly skim the last pages. This is where you can see whether the author is able to maintain his or her level and prove real quality through a critical classification.

Tips for a structured bibliography of your English master thesis

The final part of your Master’s thesis in English is followed by the bibliography, which you should ideally fill out during the writing process. By citing correctly, you will save yourself a lot of time and work. Of course, it is important to find the right citation style for you and your topic, and your supervisor will certainly want to have a say in this. However, it is almost more important to use a chosen style consistently and not to lapse from one style into another. Of course, when we professionally edit your English master’s thesis, we pay attention to exactly these subtleties and our trained eye will spot impurities immediately. However, thinking about this before writing your master’s thesis in English and choosing a citation style will help you to proceed in a more structured way on the whole. This will help you to avoid careless mistakes and to keep a clear head when the bibliography of your English master thesis gets longer and longer.

This is followed by the appendix…

… with tables, graphs or figures – depending on what you have used to support your arguments in your master thesis. Checking the overall impression of this part of your English master’s thesis is, of course, part of a proper and profitable editing process. As is so often the case, it is the subtleties that are polished out as part of a professional English master’s thesis editing service that make all the difference. You should be aware of this if you want to start the master thesis in English project and leave a super impression.

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