Master's thesis in service leadership in international business (MSERMAS)

The master's thesis is a carefully crafted research project which defines and explores a research question based on original ideas and scientific arguments. The thesis should have a substantial research component and must be written under the guidance of an advisor. The thesis provides students with an opportunity to demonstrate expertise and represents a test of research independence and self-reliance within service leadership and international business.

Course description for study year 2023-2024


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The Master's thesis is an independent, individual, and tutored scientific work. The chosen topic must be relevant to important management and scientific areas within the master's program. 

The workload is equivalent to one semester of full-time work, or 30 ECTS, which amounts to a student workload of approximately 750-800 hours. A finished dissertation is usually a monograph of 60 to 80 pages. Two students may cooperate on a thesis, in which case the work should be more comprehensive. 

It is also possible to write a thesis in an article format. The article should be publishable in a peer-reviewed scientific journal of good quality.

Learning outcome

A candidate who has completed the course should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge skills and general competence:


After completing the master's thesis, students have: 

  • advanced knowledge on how to define, present and pursue a topical research question within service leadership and international business 
  • a thorough understanding of how to develop and conduct a scholarly based work of research 
  • the ability to identify research questions suitable for a master's thesis 
  • a thorough understanding of theories and methods that can be used to address the chosen  research question at this level of scientific complexity 


After completing the master thesis, students can 

  • search relevant sources for theories and data that can address a specific research question 
  • review existing theories and empirical evidence 
  • organize, summarize and analyze data, present and discuss results 

General competence 

After completing the master's thesis, students can 

  • plan and complete an investigation of a practical business phenomenon in accordance with existing norms for  research ethics 
  • demonstrate high-level abilities for critical thinking and reflection 

Required prerequisite knowledge

MHR101 Research Methods, MHR102 Strategic Leadership and Philosophy, MHR103 International Marketing, MHR104 International HR Perspectives, MHR106 Service Innovations and International Entrepreneurship, MHR107 Services Marketing
All first year courses must be passed.


Form of assessment Weight Duration Marks Aid
Master's thesis with oral presentation 1/1 Letter grades All

Master's thesis with oral defense/presentation, is weighted 1/1, where the oral exam is used to adjust grade 1 value up or down.

Coursework requirements

Participation in the autumn semester seminar, Master thesis project plan
Deliver a written Master's thesis project plan. The plan is subject to oral presentation by the student.

Course teacher(s)

Course coordinator:

Terje Ingebrigt Våland

Method of work

By December 1st students must submit a paper describing the plan for the thesis. The paper will be evaluated and must be approved before students are allowed to proceed with the dissertation work. 

In the spring semester students mainly work together with their advisor. 

Open for

Service Leadership in International Business - Master's Programme

Course assessment

There must be an early dialogue between the course coordinator, the student representative and the students. The purpose is feedback from the students for changes and adjustments in the course for the current semester.In addition, a digital course evaluation must be carried out at least every three years. Its purpose is to gather the students experiences with the course.


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