Bachelor and Master Theses

3 Working with companies

Working with companies

Confidentiality

Higher education institutions in Sweden have a limited ability to classify theses as they are subject to the principle of public access (“offentlighetsprincipen” in Swedish). Like a test, a thesis is a part of education, meaning that it must be carried through and approved by the university. Therefore, the work shall be submitted to the university in a formally written report and defended orally at a public seminar. The report shall be available at the university. This implies that it is not possible to have a totally confidential thesis.

It is important that the student enquires whether the project might contain sensitive information already when working on finding the thesis topic. It is generally possible to solve confidentiality issues when planned ahead. For example, confidential data can be anonymized or blackened in the report. They can also be added in a separate annex that will be removed from the copy to be submitted to the university for archiving. An alternative solution is to write two versions of the thesis report, one public report that will be submitted to the university and a classified report that will be given to the company. However, one must keep in mind that the report submitted to the university is the one that will be assessed as the thesis work. In the end, if there is a high probability that the results will have to be entirely classified, the project may not be appropriate for a thesis work.

To address the confidentiality issues, it is important that everyone involved in the proposal (e.g. supervisors at the company, IDT supervisor, IDT examiner, student) discusses and agrees on how it should be solved. This issue must be done before submitting the application to start.

Balancing between external supervisor and IDT supervisor

When students do either a company thesis or a thesis abroad, they will have several supervisors for the work. In general, these different supervisors have different expectations for the work, which implies that the students might get radically different inputs to orient the work in opposite directions. For example, a supervisor at IDT will look at the work from an academic point-of-view and might requires that the work should have more research depth. On the other, a company supervisor might be more interested in obtaining concrete results. When working on a thesis with multiple supervisor, students shall always try to balance between the two. This requires a good communication skills. It is important to make sure have meetings which involve both supervisors so they can discuss and understand each other.

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  • Latest update: 2017.10.14