Studying at a Swedish University & Writing a Master’s Thesis

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Some of the Best Things about Studying in Sweden

Creator: AntonioGuillem
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Copyright: AntonioGuillem

This year has gone by so quickly but there have been some really great aspects of study in Sweden. I have met lots of great people and made new friends, which is probably what has made studying in Linkoping so enjoyable. I am going to share some of the best things about doing my master’s in Sweden,  which might be different in other countries:

  1. The tutors have always been prepared to answer questions and have encouraged them, even in the middle of lectures. (While doing my bachelors in the UK I don’t think I would have felt confident enough to interrupt a lecturer part way through a lecture to ask question.)
  2. The course modules don’t over lap. This is such a joy, not to have to think about more than one topic/ module at a time. I have found it so much better to focus on one module, complete the assignment/ final paper and then move on to the next.
  3. The seminars are compulsory but the lectures aren’t. This felt like it was the opposite to the UK but now I don’t know why it would be. It makes perfect sense to make the seminars compulsory, to make sure everyone has done the reading and understands. Not everyone learns best by listening to a lecture so it also makes sense that these are not compulsory (although attendance is strongly recommended).
  4. The content is most important. When writing essays for my bachelors I felt like the format, referencing and structure of essays were considered to be the most important aspects for getting a good grade, even if the content/ ideas were poor. This always seemed weird and maybe I tried harder with these things because I found them more challenging, but this year I realised that the content and ideas within an essay are the most important thing- the other aspects are essential but only as a means of clearly presenting ideas.
  5. January is a time to rest. Perhaps because it’s darker and colder in Sweden, and because a lot of people go skiing, January is a long holiday. Over the Christmas break my sister (who is studying in the UK) had loads of work to do but I could relax and enjoy the holiday a lot more.

Writing a Master’s Thesis

Amazingly, it is time to begin writing my Master’s Thesis! I finished my last taught module last week and I now have 7 weeks to write my thesis.

The tutors on my course have been helpful, so far we have already had two seminars to discuss our thesis topics. The first seminar was in February where we have to think of thesis subject and give a 5/10 min description of this topic. In February, I had no idea what I would write my thesis on so I was not too happy about giving this presentation, however it was successful in making me look ahead a pick a suitable topic. Since then I have actually changed my mind about what topic to research for my thesis- I am not looking into Nudge theory- but I might not have chosen this, if not for the early seminar in February. We had a second seminar two weeks ago where we presented our ideas again and this time we were encouraged not to change them. We were also assigned a supervisor to help us with our thesis’.

So far the best advice I can offer, and that has been offered to me is:

  • Pick a topic early- you can always change your mind.
  • Choose a topic that interests you- you don’t want to get bored.
  • Choose a topic that is relevant- master’s thesis’ are published on Liu E-Press which can be accessed by future employers or other scholars so you want your topic to match your interests.
  • Begin research and reading as early as possible- you can never know too much.
  • Look into PhD and job opportunities before choosing a topic if you think you would like to work in the same field- it is good to know what areas are of interest in the relevant academic spheres.
  • Plan carefully- having a plan is always helpful, even if you don’t follow it.
  • Ask your supervisor for help if you get stuck.

Liu E-Press, where theses are published.

When I chose my topic I didn’t really consider all of these thing but I am happy with my choice. I think it is always best to start things early  (which is something that teachers and parents always say and students and children never do). I feel like I may have missed out in some of the opportunities to study for a PhD because I didn’t take it seriously as an option until I was too busy to apply for one. PhD research proposals also take a long time to write- bear this in mind if you consider applying for one. The tutor’s on my course were happy to write letter’s of recommendation and to look over research proposal- which is also such a valuable resource, if it’s offered.

A great place to look for philosophy or Ethics PhD places is on the Liverpool List. It’s easy to follow on face book too.