Graduation Thesis

The teaching staff at CIM and CoD have created this list of frequently asked questions to help students obtain a quick and (hopefully) satisfactory reply to most of their queries and doubts. 

Here are two simple suggestions to make this tool even more useful:

  1. read all the FAQs before contacting the Teaching Office, the Student Administration Office and/or the Administration: an immediate solution to your problem could be found or at any rate help clarify your query for yourself and for us;
  2. if you cannot find a solution to your problem (or any other query you may have), do not hesitate to contact us.


  • Which lecturers can be my CIM thesis supervisor?                                                                                      Any lecturer you have sat an exam with or who is a member of the Teaching Board in CIM – CoD (as long as he/she is a course lecturer or teaches part of a course in the CIM – CoD study plan)      
  • How long before my graduation should I contact the thesis supervisor?
    The  writing of a thesis is divided into different phases and there are different possible approaches. It is a good idea to choose the professor and the topic well before you finish your exams. This will give you time to slowly get accustomed to the method you will be using when writing your thesis, to decide the topic of your thesis, the approach and the research method, etc. We suggest contacting your supervisor 3-6 months before your graduation in CIM and a year before for CoD (this obviously does not exclude you from writing a thesis with a lecturer whose course is in the last semester for CIM and in the second year for CoD: in these cases it is best to contact the professor in advance).
  • Which professors can be my co-supervisors?
    Any professor at the University of Pavia as well as one of the “experts on the subject” (cultori della materia) who are nominated each academic year. Remember that for the final exam in CIM, it is not necessary to have to have a co-supervisor.
  • Is it mandatory to have a supervisor? Who chooses the co-supervisor?
    It is mandatory to have a co-supervisor for your CoD thesis and optional for the final exam in CIM. You can choose your co-supervisor by contacting him yourself directly. If you do not personally choose a professor, a co-supervisor will be  nominated by the Administration after having consulted the supervisor. 
  • Can I request a second co-supervisor?
    Yes, you can, in special circumstances. However, before you do so, you will have to consult the Teaching Office and the Administration because each case has to be evaluated individually.
  • Can I request a second , external co-supervisor?
    Yes, you can. This is usually someone who is not part of the University (for example someone who works in a company), but who will have an important role in writing the thesis together with the student. However, you will have to discuss the matter with the Teaching Office and the Administration because each case must be evaluated individually.
  • Is it possible to write an experimental thesis for CIM and CoD ?
    Formally, the thesis can either be an experimental thesis or a compilation thesis (this should be specified when requesting the thesis). Moreover, the choice  between a compilation and an experimental thesis is typical in science subjects which require intense laboratory work (in physics or medicine, etc): in social and communication sciences the thesis can be a combination of both types. Whatever type you choose makes no difference to the mark. 
  • Therefore, when I submit my request to graduate , do I have to tick the box marked either “compilation” or “ experimental ”?
    You have to tick the “compilation” box; if there has been a search for data (of any kind), you have to tick the “experimental” box. 
  • What is the maximum mark I can get?
    This depends on various things: your starting mark, bonuses for summa cum laude in exams and in the degree course you are taking, evaluation of the thesis and the presentation – for further information, look at “presentation and evaluation”. It is worth trying to estimate your starting mark before taking your final exams, so you can have a more precise idea of what marks you need so that the score average of your exams “gives“ you the starting mark required to reach your objectives.                                     
  • Which is the last graduation session to conclude your studies on time?
    The last session is in April of  each academic year  (e.g. for a student enrolled in 2016-2017 on a three-year degree course: the 1st year corresponds to 2016-17, the 2nd year 2017-18, the 3rd year 2018-19: in this case the student should graduate by April 2020).
  • Which is the last session for enrolling in a Master’s degree course?
    To enrol in a CoD course you need to graduate by 1 March of the academic year you are enrolling in (e.g. you can enrol in CoD “under condition” in the year 2022-23 as long as you graduate by the 1 March 2023). For other Master’s degree courses, it depends on the dates and the selection procedure for each individual course, which are specified in the selection calls.              
  • What is the procedure for submitting your request to graduate, handing in your thesis and all the necessary documentation ?
    The application to graduate must be submitted on-line, via your personal private area, before the first closing date fixed on the graduation calendar. For information regarding the handing in of the required documents and uploading your thesis onto ESSE3, consult the university web site request to graduate .
  • When should I submit my request for graduation and my thesis?
    A new calendar is organised every year. You should check this on the web site.  
  • When should I hand in my multimedia  presentation?
    The multimedia presentation for the graduation session should be handed in about one week before the sitting. Check the calendar on the course web site about 15 days before the session for details.   
  • Should I use a particular format for the multimedia presentation?
    No. You are free to use any software for your presentation (those most frequently used, for example, are Power Point and Prezi) and you can use any format you think is best for your presentation. However, during the graduation session you cannot use your own computer, therefore you should bear in mind possible problems of software and hardware incompatibility when you are choosing what to use. To minimise the risk of any technical problems, you can try out your presentation on the computer you will actually be using during the graduation session one week beforehand, when you hand in your presentation to the CIM Laboratory.  
  • Is there a minimum amount of time between when I take my last exam and when I hand in my thesis?
    No, there isn’t, but you must have finished your exams and they must have been correctly registered before the date when you have to hand in your exam booklet and your thesis to the Student Administration Office. 
  • Is it possible to ask for an extension of the deadline for handing in a thesis?                                                                                          
    The supervisor can evaluate whether it is necessary to ask for an extension just to give the student enough time to make minor corrections to the text: in this case the supervisor himself will have to write to the CIM-CoD Administration and request an extension; the Administration will, in turn, decide whether or not it is necessary. If the Administration agrees, it will need to forward  the request to the Student Administration Office  (all this must take place before the deadline for handing in the thesis. The extension granted can be for a maximum of 3 days).
  • Is it possible to delay handing in the exam booklet in order to finish my last exams ?
    No, you can’t. All the exams have to be taken and registered in time and the date for handing in the booklet must be respected. Our advice is that you check your personal situation and the dates of the last exams beforehand in  your personal online area. 
  • What payments do I have to make before my graduation?
    By the first deadline you will have to pay: the mav (giro slip) which will be issued automatically when you submit your request for graduation (with your request for graduation you will also have to send in a receipt of payment ).
  • If I do not manage to graduate during the session requested do I have to pay a second time?
    The payment is also valid for the next session .
  • What should I write on the title page?
    On the title page of the thesis you should write : University of Pavia
    Department of Law, Industrial and Information Engineering, Economic and Company Science, Political and Social Sciences, Humanistic Studies – A correct example of what you should write on the title page can be found in the section with the application forms. 
  • Should the thesis have an index, a text, notes, a bibliography  (and a sitography, a filmography , etc.) and an abstract? In what order should these be?
    Yes, these are all fundamental elements of a graduation thesis. They should be in the following order: index, introduction, text, conclusions, notes (if these are included at the end of the text and not included as footnotes), bibliography and sitography, and an abstract.
  • How long should the thesis be?
    A three-year degree course thesis should be a minimum of 60.000 characters, excluding spaces; a Master’s thesis should be at least 250.000 characters, excluding spaces. 
  • Does the final mark of the thesis depend on the length?
    As long as the thesis satisfies the required minimum number of characters the length has no bearing on the final mark. The length of the thesis should be appropriate (neither too “exhaustive”, nor too “superficial”) for the topic chosen.
  • What basic editorial rules should I follow ?
    The student is free to choose the font, the character size should be between 11 and 14  (depending on the size of the character itself ) the line spacing should be 1,5. The margins should be 3 cm on all sides and the text must always be justified. 
  • How do you make citations?
    If the text you are citing is short, you can use quotation marks or you can write it in italics: you must cite the author either at the end of the cited text or in the footnotes at the bottom of the page. However, if it is a long text (more than 2-3 lines ), it is better to insert it using a smaller character, with a single line spacing after a blank line, you must always cite the author and add another extra line before carrying on with your text. Finally, if you want to cite a very long document which has several pages it is better to consult your supervisor and consider adding the text in an appendix. 
  • What language should I give my presentation in?
    The presentation, which takes place in front of a Graduation Commission, should last about 6-10 minutes ( no longer than 12 ) for CIM and 10-12 minutes ( no longer than 15) for CoD and it must be accompanied by a multimedia presentation (Power Point, Prezi, etc.). The slides should summarise the main concepts of the thesis. It is a good idea to include tables and images rather than long texts. For CoD, the presentation should be in English. 
  • How do you calculate your starting mark before your graduation thesis?
    Your starting mark is calculated by A+B+C:  A is the weighted average of your exam marks multiplied by 11, the total is then divided by 3; B is an extra 2 points if the student is not behind with his exams and he is graduating on time; C represents the summa cum laude gained in the individual exam marks (0,3 for each one). The summa cum laude are not rounded up before they are added to the final mark but the final total mark is rounded up. 
  • How many points can you get for your thesis and the discussion?
    0 to 5 points for the text (1-2 points: sufficient; 3-4 points: good; 5 points: excellent); 1 extra point for a power-point presentation that is effective from a communicative point of view (this should preferably be in English for CIM and must be in English for CoD).
  • Who decides the marks?

The Graduation Commission.

  • Can you get more than 5 marks?
    You can get more than 5 marks (up to a maximum of 7) for an exceptionally good final exam. However, this is dependent upon the presentation of a written motivated request from the supervisor and a written assent from the co- supervisor which should be submitted  (together with a PDF version of the entire thesis ) to the President of the Degree Course and the Head of the Graduation Commission at least three days before the session. The President and the Commission will deliberate on whether they think the request is justified and whether extra points should be added. This does not happen frequently, and only occurs when the thesis is accompanied by an exceptional presentation. 
  • Is there anything I can do to try and aim for an extra two points right from the start?
    No. It makes no sense to try and aim for this before you even start. The most important thing is that you do your best. When you have finished your thesis, your supervisor can assess whether you should be given two extra points; this only happens when there is an exceptionally good thesis.
  • When does a student get a summa cum laude?
    Summa cum laude is awarded when the student reaches a possible mark of 110 points. The Commission must be unanimous in their decision. 
  • If my starting mark is 102 can I get a summa cum laude?
    In theory it is possible. 102+5+1+2=110, is the minimum mark with which the Commission might decide to assign a summa cum laude. However, the thesis and the presentation must be judged unanimously as outstanding (by the supervisor and the co-supervisor and the members of the Commission). None of these aspects an be calculated beforehand. It is much better to calculate your starting mark before you sit your last exams so you can work out what you need to obtain, to have a higher starting mark.