Graduation and Master's Thesis


  • Formal prerequisites for the registration of the Master's Thesis

    Modules that have to be completed before the formal start of the Master's thesis process:

    • B-I-CS Introduction to Cognitive Science I (5 ECTS)
    • A-I-CS Introduction to Cognitive Science II (10 ECTS)
    • B-M-CS Into Research I (5 ECTS)
    • A-M-CS Into Research II (10 ECTS)
    • 4 disciplinary modules (20 ECTS) *
    • 2 methods modules (10 ECTS) *

    *Disciplinary and method modules depend on your background discipline(s) and need to meet the requirements of the curriculum.

Master's Thesis


  • Step 1: Identifying Your Master's Thesis Supervisor

    The formal requirements for supervision of master's theses are specified in the "Satzung der Universität Wien", §14. (1), (2) and (5). See [German only].

    A potential supervisor must have a habilitation. (Exceptions are possible if no person with a habilitation can be found). If you are unsure whether your supervisor is eligible, contact

    Co-supervision is only possible for post-docs employed at the same faculty as the supervisor. The supervisor has to issue the respective form.

  • Step 1.2: Procedure for an External Supervisor

    Any supervisor that is not from the University of Vienna is an external supervisor and in order for them to be able to supervise you, the following procedure is necessary. 

    Your supervisor can be from one of the MEi:CogSci partner universities or an external supervisor - someone not related to MEi:CogSci from Austria or abroad.

    A potential supervisor must have a habilitation. (Exceptions are possible if no person with a habilitation can be found). If you are unsure whether your supervisor is eligible, contact

    The following procedure is required for an external supervisor to be acknowledged:

    1. The student sends a request for external supervision to including the following information in three separate documents:
      • Master's Thesis Concept
      • CV of the Supervisor should include:
        • name and contact information,
        • academic career as well as research field/discipline of his/her doctorate,
        • affiliation (i.e., university, non-universitary/independent research institute, company)
        • current position (full professor, adjunct professor, postgraduate)
        • a list of publications from the last 3 years
        • proof of experience in interdisciplinary research/work
      • Rationale for why this person is qualified for supervision in the field of cognitive science and, in particular, for the master's thesis. (The rationale is provided by the student.)
    2. The MEi:CogSci programme director discusses the request in consultation with the local MEi:CogSci consortium and the Studienpraeses (website in German only) of the University of Vienna.
    3. The Studienpraeses decides about the request for supervision.
    4. The student is notified about the decision via email.  (This can take up to 10 days.)

    Please prepare three separate files as PDF and follow these naming conventions before you send your request for external supervison:

    • MastersThesisConcept_FirstnameLastnameStudent_StudentIDnumber.pdf
    • CV_FirstnameLastnameSupervisor_LastnameStudent.pdf
    • Rationale_FirstnameLastnameSupervisor_LastnameStudent.pdf


    Please be aware that the University of Vienna cannot cover expenses or organise trips to the University of Vienna in case your external supervisor would like to be your examiner at your master's thesis defensio. Your master's thesis has to be defended in Vienna. (Exception: Defensio at MEi:CogSci Conference or online.)

    Please inform your external supervisor about this constraint in advance.

  • Step 2: Formal Procedure for Starting Your Master's Thesis

    Before you start to work on your master's thesis, you have to hand in three documents:

    The master's thesis concept has to be approved by your supervisor and the study programme director. Please send your concept to the programme coordinators ( after your supervisor has approved it. We forward it to the study programme director. You will receive feedback via email.

    By signing the regulations relating to good scientific practice form you acknowledge that you understand and follow the regulations relating to good scientific practice. (Bring the original form with your signature to the programme coordinators, or send a scanned version via emai to

    The title of master's thesis form is required to register the title of your master's thesis. When your title is registered no other master's thesis can be conducted under the same title. By handing in this form you officially start your master's thesis. (Bring the original form with your signature to the programme coordinators, or send a scanned version via emai to

  • Step 3: Check the Master's Thesis Criteria

    The international MEi:CogSci consortium has agreed on the following requirements for a master's thesis:

    • 50-60 pages* for an experiment-based/empirical or modelling thesis.
    • 80-120 pages* for a theoretical thesis.
    • The interdisciplinary aspect of your thesis has to be explicitly stated.

    *) Page numbers refer to the content and do not include title page, table of contents, references, etc.

    Formal requirements:

    • Format: Only DIN A4 (210 x 297 mm), portrait format
    • Pages have to be printed double-sided
    • Edge distances have to be chosen so they allow for binding
    • The title page needs to be edited according to the template
    • One abstract (min. 100 words) in English and one in German (!) have to be included as appendix to your thesis. (You also need to enter these two abstracts as metadata for the HOPLA upload of your thesis.)

    Make sure the first page of your master's thesis follows exactly this template:

    Title Page for Master's Thesis

  • Step 4: Submit Your Master's Thesis as PDF to HOPLA

    Check the title page again!

    A bachelor's title (e.g. Bakk., BSc, BA) as well as other English titles (Master and PhD) need to be put after your name, whereas Mag. and Dr. are put in front of your name. Only put your academic title on the title page if it is also registered at the University of Vienna. (If this is not the case you either need to register your title at the admission office or remove it from the title page.)

    You can send the first page to Léah Maurer before uploading and she will check whether it is correct.

    Upload a PDF-version of the master's thesis prior to HOPLA for automatic plagiarism check prior to submitting the hardcopies:

    The HOPLA system and the documentation is currently only available in German. Please ask a German speaking colleague or contact the programme coordinators if you need help with the HOPLA system.

    Be aware that HOPLA asks you for a short abstract of your master's thesis in English and in German (!).


    Once you have uploaded your master's thesis via HOPLA you cannot make any changes to it anymore. Please do not upload your thesis unless it is approved by your supervisor.

  • Step 5: Hand in the Two Hardcopies
    1. After uploading the Master's thesis via HOPLA, students will receive a confirmation of the upload.
    2. Please print this confirmation, sign it and send it by email to
    3. After approval of the plagiarism check by the programme director, the pdf-version of the Master's thesis and the assessment/evaluation form will be sent to the examiner, who has eight weeks to return the form.
    4. The two hard copies (with hard cover!) should be posted to StudienServiceCenter (SSC) Philosophie, NIG Universitätsstraße 7, 1010 Wien, within 10 days after upload.


    Please be aware that registration for the defensio is only possible when the SSC Philosophie has received the hard copies of the thesis.

Record of Examinations


  • Sending the Record of Examinations

    Please fill out the Record of Examinations ("Abschlusspass") and send it together with the transcripts of the University of Vienna, Medical University of Vienna (as well as other universities, if applicable) to

    IMPORTANT: Recognition of Courses

    At this time, make sure you have had all courses recognised that you took outside of the University of Vienna. For example, courses from the Medical University must be recognised at the University of Vienna using the document available from our downloads page.

    Form: Abschlusspass_MScMEiCogSci/Record of Examinations

  • Wait for Our Feedback!

    After you send your record of examinations ("Abschlusspass"), we check your status, i.e., if all requirements for graduation are met. We inform you when you can proceed with the next step.

    (In case you are still missing a grade, you can proceed with the upload of your thesis, but you cannot register for the defensio.)



  • Prerequisite

    The registration for the defensio is only possible if

    • the SSC Philosophie has received the hard copies of the thesis.
    • your supervisor has returned the evaluation form for your master's thesis
      (Please note that the supervisor has 8 weeks to grade your thesis.)
    • all your grades have been entered and the Record of Examinations has been approved
    • you have an agreed upon date/time with your two examiners and the head of the committee and a room
  • Step 1: Assembling the Defensio Committee
    • You need a head of the committee and two examiners for your defensio. Please be aware that it can take some time to arrange a date with the examination committee, so contact the persons involved soon enough (but only once you are sure when you will submit your thesis and you know how long it will take your supervisor to assess it).
    • The head of the committee needs to be affiliated with the University of Vienna. Typically, the study programme director (Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Franz-Markus Peschl) is the head of the committee. The study programme director can approve someone else as head of the committee.
    • At least one of the three persons needs to be habilitated. (The head of the committee does not need to be habilitated, if the programme director agrees.)
    • The first examiner is typically your supervisor. Nevertheless, it can be someone else competent in the topic area of your master's thesis. (For instance, if you did your master's thesis with an external supervisor and s/he cannot come to Vienna for your defensio.)The first examiner asks questions about your master's thesis.
    • The second examiner needs to be from a different disciplinary background than your first examiner. Typical candidates for the second examiner are professors and course instructors from MEi:CogSci courses. Agree on a topic area for examination with your second examiner. The topic area can refer to an aspect of your master's thesis from a new/different disciplinary perspective or it can be one of the core topics in cognitive science (e.g., research paradigms such as cognitivism, connectionism, stituated cognition, enactivism, etc., approaches to interdisciplinary integration, philosophy of cognition, etc.) which allows for interdisciplinary questions.

    Find a date/time where the head of the committee and your two examiners are available for one hour. (For instance, you can use tools like termino to organise date/time.) As soon as you have an agreement about the time slot for your defensio, send it to the programme coordinators via email to book a room for your defensio.

  • Step 2.1: Registering for Your Defensio

    Fill out and sign the following form:
    Form: Registration for Master’s Examination (Defensio)

    Bring it to the programme coordinators or send a scanned version via emai to

    Inform your examiners and the head of the committee about the location of your defensio.

    You will receive a grade for each part of the defense (each worth 1 ECTS, 2 in total - they are part of S-I-CSM module).

  • Step 2.2: Earliest Date

    The earliest date to register for your defensio by handing in the registration form is the day your supervisor returned the filled in evaluation form.

    The registration form has to be submitted at the latest 14 days before your defensio takes place. (Your defensio is a public exam and has to be announced publicly 2 weeks in advance.)

  • Step 2.3: Defensio at the MEi:CogSci Conference

    The defensio can take place at the annual MEi:CogSci Conference. In case you intend to do your defensio at the conference, please write to the programme coordinators at least three months before the conference. Your master's thesis needs to be finished at least four weeks before the conference in this case.

  • Step 3.1: The Structure of the Defensio

    The defensio lasts for 60 minutes. The language of the defensio is English. It is structured in the following way:

    StepDuration RoleContent
    120-25 min.


    Presentation of the master's thesis

    15 min.

    First examiner

    Questions concerning the topic(s) of the presentation (the first examiner has priority; for max. 5 min. questioning is open to the audience)

    315 min.Second examiner

    Interdisciplinary questions (the second examiner asks interdisciplinary questions; he/she asks questions from a previously announced/agreed upon field on an interdisciplinary level)

    The head of the committee is responsible for tracking the time and taking the minutes.

    You will receive a grade for the two parts of the exam (each worth 1 ECTS, 2 in total - they are part of S-I-CSM module).

  • Step 3.2: Required Equipment for Your Defensio

    Make sure you have the required equipment for your defensio.

    If your defensio takes place at NIG, you can check the available equipment here:



  • Getting Your Degree Certificate

    After you successfully defended your master's thesis you have officially graduated the joint master's programme.

    Your official degree certificate will be issued by the StudentServiceCenter for philosophy. It can take up to four weeks until you can pick up your documents. You will receive an email as soon as the documents are ready with a link to an online statistics form. It is required that you fill out the online statistics form, print it and sign it. (You need the signed hardcopy to pick up your documents.)

    It is required that you pick up your documents personally. The StudentServiceCenter cannot send the documents via (e)mail.

    To pick up the documents you need:

    • Your photo ID
    • A signed hardcopy of the statistics form

    In case you are not able to pick up your documents personally someone else can pick them up for you. This person needs:

    • His/Her photo ID
    • A copy of your photo ID
    • A written and signed warrent from you for the person who picks up your document.
    • A signed hardcopy of the statistics form
  • Overall Assessment/Final Grade

    In order to receive a "pass with distinction" (mit Auszeichnung bestanden) on your degree certificate as the overall grade (Abschlussprädikat) three requirements have to be met:

    • your master's thesis is graded with "excellent" (sehr gut = 1)
    • your grade point average for all courses has to be ≤ 1,5
    • the grade for the defensio has to be ≤ 1,5 (that means that both parts of the defensio are graded with "excellent", or one with "excellent" and the other examiner with "good")