Undergraduate/Bachelor Thesis Guidelines


A. Introduction

A Bachelor’s thesis is expected to be about 40–60 pages in length and in double-spaced lines, font size 12 in Times New Roman. It should be the student’s own original work and must comply with and address all the requirements of academic research, integrity and originality. It should be free from plagiarism and other elements of academic disloyalty. It must be appropriately organized and coherently sequenced in line with the regulations of academic research at that level. It must have:

  • an abstract
  • an introduction chapter
  • a literature review chapter
  • a research method/s chapter
  • a data analysis chapter
  • a discussion chapter, and
  • a conclusion and recommendations chapter.

Note: In certain cases, the Discussion section can be integrated to the Results and Analysis chapter. The supervisor may advise the student on how to address this issue.

Students are advised to consider plagiarism and other forms of academic disloyalty as a serious offence and academic misconduct that can result in cancellation of the thesis work and suspension of the concerned student from the University. 

B. Structure of the Bachelor Thesis

Your thesis can be written by following the structure demonstrated below, which is the recommended structure of presenting an undergraduate thesis of the University of Southern Somalia. To clear doubts and ascertain that you are on the right path, you are advised to consult with your supervisor to see if s/he has any specific requirements. Otherwise, students follow the structure demonstrated here below:

1. The first page of the thesis is usually the cover page

2. Acknowledgements

3. Declaration

4. Dedication (if any)

5. Approval sheet

6. Abstract of the Bachelor Thesis

7. Table of contents

8. Acronyms

9. Glossary (if required)

 Chapter One


  • Background: this can be: (a) a note on the geographical area where the study is conducted or, (b) a brief note on how the idea of the project became developed
  • Focus: a description of the nature/focus of the study
  • Problem statement
  • Objectives and/or goals of the study
  • Justification for the study
  • Significance of the study
  • Limitations of the study

Chapter Two

Literature Review

  • An overview of the literature related to the topic of research
  • Acceptable analysis of available literature
  • Theoretical debates and discussions (agreements & disagreements surrounding the literature on the topic)
  • Comparison and critical analysis of the debate
  • Identification of the gap the student’s study intends to fill
  • Remarkable/visible presence of the student’s voice throughout the pages of the Literature Review
  • Adequate paraphrasing of original author/s (author/s; year of publication [in-text])
  • Adequate citation/direct quotation of original sources (author/s; year; page number [in-text])
  • Referencing: a complete list of sources cited (author; year; title; journal name, volume number, issue number, number of pages. If it is a book: author; year; title; city; publisher name)

Chapter Three

Method of Study

  • Method/s of study used
  • Reason for choosing method
  • Tools/instruments applied
  • Specific advantages of the tools used
  • Number of questions used/asked
  • Sample Size in total and/or number of sample groups
  • Types of questions in the design (closed-ended; open ended)
  • A description of the type of data analysis selected
  • A mention of whether tools such as tables, charts, graphs etc are used
  • A demonstration of the type of coding used in the data analysis (if needed)

Chapter Four

Analysis and Discussion

  • Evaluation and discussion
  • Methods for evaluation
  • Results of the evaluation (in charts, tables, graphs etc, if needed or used)
  • Discussion of the results: what do the data say? What do the results mean?
  • Demonstration of the connection between all sections of the thesis
  • Lessons Learned and (unexpected, emerging reality) findings

Chapter Five

Conclusion and Recommendations

  • What the study has achieved
  • What is has discovered or contributed or confirmed
  • Summary of the findings
  • Recommendation and justification for further study


An alphabetically (by last name first, then initial of other names) arranged list of all sources cited


Supplemental materials such copies of interviews or other useful items mentioned in the study but noted to be included in the appendix section


Role of the supervisor

The role of the Bachelor’s Degree thesis supervisor includes the following:

1. Guide the candidate on structuring the thesis 

2. Make the student feel confident while working and communicating with the supervisor

3. Help the candidate set the goal to accomplish the thesis project 

4. Advise and help the student to deal with any obstacles related to the thesis

5. Recommend to the student any authors/titles needed to be used as secondary data (if need arises for this and it is seen to be useful to the study)

6. Assist the student to set a time-plan for the tasks to be undertaken

7. Recommend any titles/authors the student needs to consult for the research  

8. Set appropriate time to meet the candidate for feedback and follow-up  

9. Mentor/coach the candidate on method of presenting and defending the thesis  

10. Advise and assist the student on the process of research publication (if possible)

11. Read and edit and comment thoroughly on the entire draft of the student’s thesis 

12. Check the student’s draft thesis for plagiarism as it is one of the supervisor’s main responsibilities to stop this before the completed thesis is distributed to the thesis examining panel in preparation for the thesis defense day

13. Make available to the Undergraduate Thesis Examining Committee any comments and corrections made to the student’s manuscript/draft in case such evidence is requested

14. Submit 6 copies of the completed thesis manuscript to the Head of Academic and Student Affairs Department for distribution to the Thesis Endorsement Panel at least two weeks prior to the date of thesis defense which will be set and scheduled by the Head of ASA Department

15. Respond promptly to the student’s queries during the research process

16. Provide the candidate with expertise-based feedback on his/her work in writing

17. Conduct on campus all research training and supervisory meetings related to the thesis work

18. Advise, on behalf of the student, the Thesis Endorsement Panel on matters related to the student’s thesis, in case such matters arise during the defense/presentation of the thesis

19. Familiarize with and adhere to the guidelines specified in this Bachelor Thesis Guidelines as well as other policy guidelines demonstrated in the Student Handbook of the University of Southern Somalia which is available on the USS website.

20. Co-supervision of a student by a subject expert and a research methods expert or a subject expert and a senior researcher is highly recommended so as to enrich student knowledge and enhance quality of thesis

21. Acceptance of the responsibility to supervise a student should be documented with the department of Academic and Student Affairs on the date of acceptance of such a responsibility

22. A written communication with relevant reasons should be sent by the supervisor and received by the Academic and Student Affairs department in the case that the supervisor withdraws from continuing the supervision.      


Role of the student

The role of the student undertaking a thesis research includes that the candidate should:

  • Be an active participant of meetings/training seminars on the thesis research  
  • Keenly follow instructions and accomplish tasks/comments given by the supervisor/s
  •  Maintain adherence to any schedules of activities as directed by the supervisor/s
  • Take responsibility for setting his/her own goal towards the success of the thesis project
  • Submit the manuscript/draft of a thesis of good standard without any delay
  • Bear all responsibility concerning the content and other matters relating to his/her thesis
  • Carefully apply the comments suggested and other feedback given by the supervisor/s
  • Avoid any act of plagiarism and all forms of academic misconduct
  • Use citations and sources appropriately and genuinely to avoid any act of plagiarism
  • Make sure he/she is familiar with the USS’s thesis requirements and academic integrity
  • Satisfactorily understand importance of his/her thesis progress across the stages
  • Acquire/develop necessary research skills including academic citation skills


Provision of Feedback, Advice and Guidance

The supervisor/s assigned to the student will give advice and guidance to the student in order to help the student keep his/her research in motion and in proper progression. However, it is the student’s responsibility to keep his/her research/thesis work on good track and follow all principles of academic loyalty. The student is expected to generate and use his/her own ideas and critical observation of matters relevant to the research/thesis and devise his/her own solutions accordingly. Specifically, the supervisor/s will give the student advice and guidance in order for the student to:

  • Understand and be accustomed to a desirable research practice in order to fine-tune his/her plans and ideas
  • Find and use relevant literature available on the topic (as also mentioned above in the section on Role of the supervisor)
  • Understand and follow the relevant academic rules and regulations concerning research work, thesis project, and academic integrity in general

Providing Feedback on the student’s work and progress

As a matter of practice, it is the student’s responsibility to make use of the supervisor’s advice, regardless of whether this is positive or negative. Avoiding and/or ignoring supervisor’s advice can lead to negative consequences. It is therefore the student’s responsibility to spare sufficient time to digest any comments and advice from the supervisor/s and address them appropriately.

Indeed the supervisor/s will give the student written feedback on his/her work, usually chapter by chapter, as the thesis work progresses. The student feedback is conducted through:

  • Formal and scheduled supervisory meetings usually convened on campus
  • Comments given on the draft work such as the sections on Introduction, Literature Review, Method, Findings/Results & Analysis, Discussion, Conclusion and Recommendation, as well as all sections of the draft thesis
  • Reading and reviewing the student’s entire thesis before its submission to the Thesis Endorsement Panel for examination


It is important for the student to keep a record of the feedback from the supervisor/s so as to produce it any time required and also to use it when preparing and organizing the final draft of the thesis before its final submission. The student must give the supervisor/s enough time to read, review, edit, and comment on the draft before he/she receives the feedback.

Usually supervisory meetings for thesis students are held on campus and on dates mutually agreed between the student and the supervisor/s. Such meetings can begin to take place after the supervisor/s has/have been assigned to the student and the student has selected the research topic.

Unless otherwise indicated and/or agreed upon with the Head of the Academic and Student Affairs Department, supervisory meetings on campus should be conducted in person and on face-to-face basis. However, supervisory meetings with off-campus (Masters or Doctoral) students studying on blended mode (partly face-to-face and partly distance learning) may be convened through other appropriate means of communication, although meetings in person are highly recommended and possibly conducted during the conventional face-to-face study sessions and study school seminars.

By all means, it is recommended that the student should maintain regular contact with the supervisor/s as supervisory meetings are considered to be an integral part of a student’s academic life experience. A student is advised not to indulge in missing a supervisory meeting, especially when he/she is undergoing problems that are affecting his/her work or progress as this can negatively affect the student. The student must consider the fact that when he/she is experiencing research/thesis project problems is indeed the time he/she is most in need of the supervisors’ advice and feedback. Secondly, missing or undue cancellation of supervisory meetings may give the supervisor/s the notion that the concerned student is actually disinterested in receiving help or support. The student should realize that he/she is in need of the meeting and that the supervisors are unable to make extra effort for the student when the student is the one missing the supervisory meetings. As such, attending a supervisory meeting is considered as a sign of the student’s commitment and a motivation for the supervisor/s to push the work ahead.


A. Grading of the Bachelor Thesis

Areas assessed in the Bachelor Thesis are:

  1. Originality/Formulation of the research question and overall definition of the topic
  2. Background/basic theoretical knowledge and use of literature that relates to the topic
  3. Research method/s approach/es and justification for the selection
  4. Materials/tools utilized for data collection and analysis
  5. Description and presentation of the thesis argument and coherence of the thesis
  6. Presentation, style and writing expression of the academic language of the thesis 
  7. Formatting and layout of the structure and citation technique

B. Outcome of the Examination and Decision of the Panel

Based on the decision and recommendations of the Thesis Endorsement Panel, the outcome of a thesis work can fall in one of the following categories. It can be:

  • Awarded a pass as it is—without adding to it any amendments
  • Awarded a pass with minor amendments. In this case the thesis will be filed and awarded the grade only after adding the minor amendments recommended by the panel
  • Denied a grade pursuant to major amendments and a recommendation for a resubmission
  • Disqualified with no resubmission (in the case of plagiarism).
  • The discovery of plagiarism may lead to the return of the matter/thesis to the Undergraduate Thesis Committee and subsequently a suspension of the concerned student from the University.