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Instructions for Master's Thesis


The results of the thesis are meant to be utilized by all. When submitted to the University of Applied Sciences, a thesis is interpreted as an authoritative document, which, based on the Act on the Publicity of Actions Taken by Authorities (Act on the Openness of Government Activities 621/1999), is public, unless otherwise stipulated by the law. The publicity principle does not apply to cover business and professional secrets, the thesis plan, the basic data, technological or other development work, and the assessment of the thesis. The aim of the publicity of the thesis is to allow exploiting the thesis in teaching and working life. Publicity also increases the author’s legal protection, e.g., in the assessment of the thesis.


However, the thesis may include business secrets or other such information that the commissioner wants to keep confidential (such as the anonymity of the participants). Such data must be omitted from the public thesis. The supervising teacher, too, has professional secrecy concerning confidential data. 

In its instructions, the Ministry of Education (Opetusministeriö, 2004) has emphasized that theses defined as confidential based on the law should not be written at all. Alternatively, a thesis should be written in such a way that the confidential information is only included in a separate appendix.

In some situations, it is necessary to leave some portion of the thesis or, exceptionally, the entire thesis as confidential.  In case it is necessary to leave part of the thesis unpublished, this can be done in the following way:

  • The things kept confidential are left as the background data of the thesis and the thesis is written in such a way that it can be published in its entirety.
  • The confidential information is included in an appendix, which is left unpublished.
  • The student makes two different versions of the thesis, a public and a confidential one. The public version is published as a whole, and the confidential one is delivered to the commissioner of the thesis and the supervisor. 
  • Some of the chapters or subchapters of the thesis are left unpublished. In that case, these sections shall include the mention “Includes business and professional secrets”.

The confidential information, sections, chapters or appendices are mentioned in the introduction of the public version of the thesis and in the abstract.

Through the thesis agreement, it is made sure that all the parties have accepted the principle of publicity of the thesis (Appendix 2).


The creator of a literary or artistic work has the exclusive right to decide on the use of their work, or they have copyright to their work. Copyright can also arise in theses written jointly, as group work between several students. Through copyright, the author of a literary or artistic work gets protection against the misuse of their work. Copyright is also of economic importance, because, through it, the author can also exploit their work commercially and can prevent other people from using the work without permission. 

Copyright covers, among others, scientific texts, computer software, artistic work, and design work. To get copyright, it is required that the work be independent and original. A mere idea or theme cannot be copyrighted. Copyright always emerges when the threshold of originality is crossed, and it does not require, in addition to creation, any registration or other action. The prerequisite for copyright is the original manifestation of the work. Information, ideas, theories and scientific results are not protected by copyright as such, but the form into which they have been brought. Technological inventions are not covered by actual copyright, but they can be protected through patenting.

The holder of copyright has moral an economic rights to their work. The thesis writer has always, despite possible transfer of rights, a moral right to their work, which means the right to be mentioned as the author of the thesis and to oversee how an outside person uses their rights. The economic rights include the manufacture of items, the publication of the work, and resale compensation.  

It is always recommendable to discuss access rights issues with the supervisor before starting the thesis project. It is particularly important if the thesis is implemented as a commission. The copyright to a commissioned thesis must defined in the agreement between the commissioner, author, and the Faculty. When agreeing on the transfer of copyright, the target of transfer must be specified carefully.  If it is a joint project involving various theses, transfer must be made separately for each thesis. The form aimed at making the thesis agreement is in Annex 2. Furthermore, it is advisable to agree in writing on copyright and other specific conditions (such as updates of the output). ). There is a separate agreement template for article-based theses on the intranet.


If a student is studying for a double degree, the thesis process complies with the instructions of both higher education institutions. For more information, contact the supervising teacher.

All theses are published online in Theseus, the open repository of the Finnish universities of applied sciences. (See also Chapter Completion of the Thesis, its publicationa and the Maturity test, of the present instructions). There are separate instructions on electronic publishing at SeAMK Intra.

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