University of Iceland

Environment and Natural Resources

Interdisciplinary graduate programme

Environment and Natural Resources

Final research project

Guidelines for master’s thesis

A 30 or 60 ECTS master’s thesis is the cornerstone of the ENR Programme. It’s important to remember that each student is his/her own project manager when it comes to the master’s thesis and progress of the research project is his/her responsibility. 
Due to the interdisciplinary structure of the ENR programme, students graduate from different Faculties within UI and graduating Faculty is dependent on thesis advisor's home faculty. The master’s thesis is submitted in accordance with the regulations of the appropriate Faculty, so format, grading, deadlines, defense, etc. can vary. Common guidelines and rules for all ENR students are listed below.
Is there a formal process?
  • Research topic and thesis advisor have to be approved by ENR academic staff
  • Student has to register for thesis advisor by email to
  • Research proposal has to be submitted to ENR academic staff for approval

Research topic and thesis advisor should be approved by (these timelines apply to full time students):
  • The end of second semester for students doing 60 ECTS thesis.
  • Early third semester for students doing 30 ECTS thesis.
Research proposal should be submitted to ENR academic staff at least (these timelines apply to full time students):
  • At the beginning of third semester for 60 ECTS thesis, 
  • End of 3rd semester for 30 ECTS thesis.
What’s the difference between a 30 or a 60 ECTS thesis?
  • 30 ECTS thesis: work from beginning to end should take 15 weeks (one semester), one thesis advisor minimum. If the main thesis advisor is outside of UI, a co-advisor within UI is required.
  • 60 ECTS thesis: work from beginning to end should take 30 weeks (two semesters), two thesis advisors minimum. If the main thesis advisor is outside of UI, a co-advisor within UI is required.
The main difference between a 30 and a 60 credit thesis is the scope of the project and. If the research project involves extensive data gathering and/or field work it’s most likely worth 60 ECTS. Students who intend to pursue a PhD should do a 60 ECTS thesis. 
How to I choose a research topic? To whom do I propose an idea?
Students are encouraged start thinking immediately about what kind of a research project they would like to undertake. Some already are certain about the field in which they want to base their project, and may even have a firm idea, which they should discuss with ENR academic staff early on. 
Selecting a supervisor and a research topic can be a stressful process. However, keep in mind that this is your opportunity to select your specialisation. Keep your mind open, explore various things and, most important of all, have fun.
Who can be a thesis advisor?
  • Academic staff members within University of Iceland (professors, associate professors and assistant professors).
  • Experts outside of UI. If the main advisor is an expert outside of UI, an academic staff member within UI has to be appointed as co-advisor. Minimum requirement for experts outside of UI is a master’s degree in appropriate field. 
ENR academic staff assists students in finding potential thesis advisors.
How do I register for thesis and thesis advisor?
  • Thesis registration: Students register for UAU441L Final Project in Ugla during annual course registration periods. See academic calendar for dates.
  • Register for thesis advisor: Fill out registration form on ENR webpage when research topic and thesis advisor has been approved by ENR academic staff.
Is it possible to get funding for my research?
Funding opportunities are limited for master’s students. Keep your eyes open for opportunities.
There are, however, few possibilities, such as: Landsvirkjun, Vegagerðin...
Can I get access to a personal study area when working on the thesis?
Assigned desks are limited and PhD students have priority. Master’s students have the following options:
  • Gimli 3rd floor: Few desks (with orange panels) available for ENR master’s students in open office space - not assigned desks.
  • Gimli 1st floor: Study room for master’s students - not assigned desks. Students can apply for lockers (key) at Service Desk in Gimli.
  • National and University Library: Personal study rooms available for rent
  • Gimli 3rd floor: Limited number of assigned desks (PhD students have priority), contact Guðrún Pétursdóttir at the Institute for Sustainability Studies to apply.
Where do I find the appropriate rules for the thesis?
The thesis should be submitted according to the rules of your graduating Faculty. Rules and templates can be found in Ugla under Study information. This information is not always available in English though. You can consult ENR programme coordinator for details.
Template for covers for final thesis:
  • School of Education: Joint rules apply to the three Faculties within the School of Education; Faculty of Education Studies, Faculty of Sport, Leisure Studies and Social Education, and Faculty of Teacher Education. Rules and templates can be found in English and Icelandic in Ugla.
When is the deadline to submit the thesis?
Deadlines for submitting master's thesis are variable (depends on your graduating Faculty) and can range from 3-6 weeks before graduation. 
Do I need to use a specific format?
Yes, and the format depends on the rules of your graduating Faculty. Templates and instructions can be found on your graduating Faculty’s webpage. Start using the appropriate template early in the writing process - it saves you time in the end. 
Template for covers for final thesis:

Do I need to defend the thesis?

It depends on the rules of your graduating Faculty whether or not an oral examination is required. It varies from a no defense at all, to a public defense. 
How is the thesis graded?
It depends on the rules of you graduating Faculty whether you’ll get a final numerical grade or a pass for the master’s thesis. 
Þú ert að nota: