Thesis (MSc & BSc)

This page offers an overview of the steps involved in doing a thesis (BSc & Msc) at Plant Breeding (PBR). Plant Breeding is a joint unit composed of researchers of the Wageningen University (WU) chair group ‘Laboratory for Plant Breeding’ and the Wageningen Research (WR) business unit ‘Biodiversity and Plant Breeding’. Researchers from both WU and WR can be involved in supervision of thesis research.

Thesis research implies that students participate in ongoing research projects. Some research depends on the growing season or the availability of segregating populations. Therefore, make your interest known months beforehand, so that your supervisor can take your contribution into account.

To find a thesis topic

Go to our webpage and/or the tip site to find research areas of interest. Feel free to contact any supervisor to discuss your ideas. They can offer you more insight into the various research questions, required prior knowledge, research methods, time schedule, etc. If you experience difficulty, cannot find what you are looking for, or want a more general overview of ongoing research projects at PBR, please contact the thesis coordinator of PBR: Yuling Bai.

To sign the thesis contracts

As soon as you have agreed on a topic with a thesis supervisor, it is necessary that you record all mutual understanding and agreements in the thesis contract. This contract is signed by your thesis supervisor and the study advisor, who also checks whether you have already obtained the required ECTS.

Send a scanned copy of your thesis contract to (1) your supervisor and co-supervisor; (2) your study advisor; (3) the thesis coordinator (Yuling Bai).

Give a hard copy of your thesis contract to the secretariat of Plant Breeding.

To prepare thesis report and colloquium:

Perform your thesis research in the lab of PBR under the supervision of your supervisor.

Write your thesis report according to the guidelines given below under “Layout of the thesis report”.

You will present a colloquium, i.e. an oral presentation of about 30 minutes including discussions about your thesis research. Your thesis supervisor will organize the date and place of this colloquium. In most cases, during your thesis period you should attend such scientific meetings to learn from researchers that belong to your supervisor’s research group.

Have an exam on your thesis report. Please be aware that the final mark of your thesis will be evaluated according to the evaluation form (see the OWI website).

To hand in the thesis report:

Make two copies of your thesis report (check with your supervisors, they may like to receive the thesis as a pdf file).

Hand in your thesis report to (1) your supervisor and co-supervisor (seven days (or following the agreement with your supervisors) before the exam);

Ask your supervisor to hand in two documents to the secretary of Plant Breeding:

  1. the signed evaluation form
  2. your thesis as a pdf file

Relevant information while starting your Master Thesis

Thesis contract

Master thesis agreement and internship contract

Layout of the thesis report

Layout of the thesis report

Cover page: This page contains the title of the report, the name of the author, and a date. It further usually contains the logo’s of Wageningen University & Research.

Title page (right hand page): This page contains again the title, optionally a subtitle. The title is followed by blocks with (a) data on the thesis (name, PBR-code, credits, and submission date), (b) data of the student (name including all initials, registration number, and study program code). Example pages are available.

Following the cover and title pages, a basic manuscript structure can be used, see below.

- Summary (start at right hand page). The length is about one A4 page.
- Table of contents (start at right hand page)
- Introduction
- Materials and Methods
- Results
- Discussions
- Conclusions and Recommendations
- Cited literature

When this structure does not fit your thesis subject, you may, in agreement with your supervisor(s), choose other more appropriate layouts.
We advise to use a relevant scientific journal as example to follow their convention on how to cite literature, set up your list of cited publications, lay out of Tables and figures, use font types to refer to scientific and gene names, headings and sub-headings, etc. The report should typically be restricted to a maximum of 30 pages text (including tables and figures), but on top of that you should add the list of cited publications, and appendices with typically detailed protocols and raw data showing your detailed results. Therefore, reports may have more than 40 pages.