The program of study concludes with an examination, conducted by oral discussion of a written dissertation (called “tesi”/”thesis” for the Master of Law and “prova finale”/“dissertation” for the degree programs in Legal Services Sciences and Law on Prevention and Security), prepared on a topic chosen by the candidate in one of the courses of their degree program. Prior to presenting the thesis or dissertation, the student must in any case pass the examination in the relevant course.
The graduation examination aims at ascertaining the student's ability not only to assimilate, but also to study a topic in depth, orienting themselves in the context of sources, doctrine and jurisprudence.
The difference in number of university credits (CFUs) between the dissertation and thesis reflects the differing effort required of the student.
The bachelor’s dissertation consists of the student’s written commentary on a judicial ruling, based on research and reasoned recognition of the state of doctrine and/or jurisprudence, using a limited reference bibliography provided by the relevant course instructor. The dissertation is typically between about 40 to 80 pages in length.
The master’s thesis is instead an advanced research work by the student, requiring re-examination and re-elaboration of the legal knowledge on the topic and demonstrating the skills acquired during the program of study.
The student may only request dissertation or thesis topics that align with the course content of their study plan. Students in the two-year Master’s specialisation in Law may request thesis topics dealing with the course materials of either the two-year program of the courses passed during the preceding Legal Sciences degree, including basic and core courses, and related, supplementary and optional courses. In the latter case, the assignment of the thesis topic is subject to a preliminary interview with the relevant course instructor, for assessment of student's sufficiency in knowledge and skills.
The advisor or “rapporteur” for the dissertation is the professor for the relevant course or a researcher in the relevant area. For the thesis, this position is held by the relevant course professor, who in the phase of elaboration of the thesis, may call on the assistance of researchers within their area. Such researchers, upon timely communication to the Director of the Department, may also be delegated to act as rapporteur for the final oral examination.
For the oral defence of the master's thesis, the Graduation Committee must include the participation of a “co-rapporteur” appointed by the Department. If their direct participation is not possible, the co-rapporteur must submit a written report for consideration by the committee. A co-rapporteur is not required for oral defence of the bachelor’s dissertation.
Candidates intending to begin their dissertation or thesis must first compile an internal form, available online from the departmental website or in person from the department’s Education Services. The issue of the form is recorded for statistical purposes. The completed form, signed by the dissertation/thesis advisor, must be compiled and returned to Education Services. If the student withdraws from an approved dissertation/thesis topic they must notify the advisor and Education Services before requesting a new one.
Professors are limited to fifteen active assignments as advisor/rapporteur for dissertations/theses, with any further assignments subject to completion of those in progress. After each final examination period, the department's Education Service draws up a table of professors with their updated workloads and posts it on the departmental notice board.
The assignment is not subject to any prerequisite of average grades in course examinations nor any level of dead or foreign language skills, unless required for the relevant course (e.g. dealing with international, comparative, historical issues) or due to the nature of the proposed research topic.
Students intending to choose a research topic may request assistance from the Joint Faculty-Student Committee using a form available from the department's Education Service. The committee will promptly recommend an advisor, taking into account the course and research loads of the professors, the availability of any collaborators, and the preferences expressed by the student.
At least one month prior to the final examination session, candidates must access the reserved area and compile the on-line application for graduation. At least fifteen days before the oral defence, candidates must also attach file of their thesis/dissertation in PDF/A format, which will then be subject to preliminary assessment by the professor rapporteur, and within this same date, register the completion of all course work and examinations that are compulsory to their study plan.
The degree candidate must also obtain the form for registering the title of the dissertation/thesis and return it complete with the advisor’s signature to the Education Service, in compliance with the deadlines published on the Department's website.
The calendar of deadlines for graduation procedures is found here.
In exceptional cases, the Director of the Department may authorise the delayed uploading of the dissertation and/or the final oral examination, on the basis of a reasoned request by the candidate and subject to prior permission by their advisor. Instructions for such cases are found here,. However, in no cases will the uploading of the thesis/dissertation file, the delivery of the copy to the advisor or the co-rapporteur for the thesis, be permitted beyond ten days prior to final examination date.
This is without prejudice to all the formalities required of students by the University offices for admission to the degree examination.
The dissertation/thesis must be printed on A4 pages, between 22 and 28 lines of text per page, with the main text in 12-point and notes in 10-point font sizes. Copies must be delivered as follows:
- in pdf/A format, uploaded as an attachment to the online application for graduation;
- printed double-sided, to the advisor/rapporteur;
- in the case of theses, in PDF or hard copy as requested by the co-rapporteur, in time for them to write a brief written report if they will be unable to attend the session;
- in pdf format, to the Department's Education Service at firstname.lastname@example.org, indicating in the subject line: the student’s first and lats names and intended final examination session.
Any thesis/dissertation in foreign language must include an abstract in Italian.
The degree grade is expressed in hundredths. The minimum grade for obtaining the degree is 66/110. The maximum possible grade is 110/110. In particularly deserving cases, the Graduation Committee may decide to add “cum laude” to this maximum mark.
The degree mark is determined as follows:
- The first consideration is the arithmetic average of marks in the student’s course exams, which is calculated by a) including only the final marks from the second semester final examinations; b) excluding the mark in the exam on English language skills; c) excluding any marks achieved in supernumerary courses.
- The starting grade is then determined on the basis of the arithmetic average, calculated as follows by the Student Secretariat: multiplying the mean by 11 and dividing the result by 3, rounded to a whole number (down from 0.01 to 0.49; up from 0.50 to 0.99), for example 105.3 becomes 105; 105.7 becomes 106.
- During the graduation exam, the advisor-professor may request an increase of 0 to 5 points from the starting grade, in consideration of the quality of the thesis/dissertation or final oral examination and the individual’s student history.
- The final decision on the grade is taken by majority vote of the Committee, deciding on the basis of the thesis or dissertation, oral defence and candidate’s student history.
- If the advisor-professor considers that the student's dissertation demonstrates exceptional quality, they may inform the Director of the Department and the Committee members (at least fifteen days prior to the graduation session) , through the Department's Education Service, of their intention to request an increase of more than 5 points over the starting grade, accompanied by reasoned justification. The final decision, however, is subject to performance in the thesis/dissertation oral examination and rests with the Committee, which decides by majority vote.
- In considering the potential award of grades above the starting grade from 0 to 5 points, or exceptionally more than 5 points), the Commission may take into account elements such as: completion of the course of studies within the minimum regulated duration; number of honours obtained in course exams; completion of exams in courses beyond the student’s core study program; extracurricular study and learning activities of particular importance, duly documented.
- Award of cum laude honours is solely by unanimous decision of the Committee, which must consider, among others, the excellence of the student’s thesis and the presence of at least one commendation in their course examinations.
At each graduation session, the Department's Education Service carries out a preliminary anti-plagiarism test of the theses/dissertations submitted, ensuring their sufficient scientific level and correctness, and in particular that the work includes no appropriation of any other author's scientific production. In this regard, students are advised that the following behaviours will not be tolerated in any way and will be subject to penalty:
- directly copying another person's work, in whole or in part, without the use of quotation marks and/or without indicating the source;
- paraphrasing the work of others without indicating the source;
- presenting another person's innovative thought without indicating the source, thereby representing the idea as one's own;
- using or presenting any part of the work of a collaborator as their own autonomous work.
In the event that cases of this nature are detected, the Department will proceed with the necessary sanctions, commensurate with the seriousness of each episode.
In conformity with Article 15 of the Student Regulations, candidates may in some cases be able to conclude their Master’s degree in four and a half years instead of five. For this purpose, students wishing to advance their final examinations by one semester must submit an application to the Student Secretariat at least four months before the intended final examination dates. This possibility applies to students who have enrolled in their fifth year and paid the first instalment of fees, but have already taken all their individual course exams and wish to graduate in the subsequent February or April examination sessions. Students who advance the closure of their study program will be required to pay only the first instalment of the fees for their final year, provided they complete their entire study program by 31 March. Students not exercising this right of advancement or failing to complete the necessary requirements must pay the entire annual fees.
Candidates should therefore note that those who graduate from the single-cycle Master’s program in Law following registration for five study years and prior to the completion of the last year, may obtain a refund of university fees paid for that year. To obtain this refund they must indicate the international bank account number (IBAN) where payment is to be made in the student's private area on the UNIPV platform.
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