Thesis (30 ECTS)

Semester: 2nd

Code: 14331061

Coordinator: Rita Castilho (

In the unit Thesis, students are expected to develop the skills necessary to independently carry out a relevant original, high-quality research work in the field of Marine Biology. After completion of this unit, the students should be able to:

  1. formulate a theoretically relevant research question;
  2. acquire a thorough knowledge of the literature on the research area;
  3. select and use relevant methods to explore the research question;
  4. analyse and interpret the results obtained during their research work;
  5. discuss the results obtained, based on state-of-the-art knowledge;
  6. develop critical thinking, synthetic and reasoning skills; and
  7. develop writing and oral communication skills.

This unit also promotes the quality and rigor, and the need to follow unquestionable ethical standards in scientific research


1 h for the presentation and public discussion + 10 h of supervised work + 829 h of independent work.

The student will use the time assigned as "independent work" to carry out the thesis plan as presented and described in his/her Thesis Project.


A student can only have up to two supervisors, and one of them must be a UALG professor or researcher with a PhD degree,

Thesis submission

Please be aware that you will only be able to submit and defend your thesis if you have a passing grade at all curricular units.

Please see the deadline to submit your thesis in the evaluation section. Under the new tuition fee rules approved in September, 2018 by the Rector, students will be requested to pay additional fees if they fail to submit their thesis upon the deadline. The fees will only be waived in case of pregnancy or serious illness.


Your Thesis work will be evaluated by the submission of a written dissertation to the Academic Services not later than 30 September 2019. Submission of the thesis after this date will result in the payment of additional tuition fees of up to a full semester. The academic services will check whether your thesis follows the rules of an MSc thesis, and if it does not, you will be asked to resubmit a corrected version. Thus, pay close attention to the guidelines given below concerning the structure you must give to your thesis.

After the submission of your thesis, a jury composed of 3 to 5 elements will decide whether your thesis can be defended immediately or should be rewritten (in that case a time period of 60 working days will be given to the student to resubmit an improved version of it).

After this step, a date will be set for you to defend your thesis before the jury. Usually, students should keep in touch with their supervisors to set a date that is suitable for all members of the jury and the student.

Thesis Structure

What to submit:

  1. One printed copy of your thesis;
  2. One digital copy of thesis in PDF format ;
  3. Printed statement(s) written and signed by your supervisor and co-supervisor (if you have one) declaring that the thesis is ready to be evaluated.;
  4. Printed statement written and signed by you that your work is original and has been authored by you and that you authorize its disclosure. In certain specific cases, you may declare a restriction to its disclosure. However, this should be discussed beforehand with your supervisor and the academic services;

Thesis outline:

  1. Cover and spine (see Annex I in the MSc Evaluation Rules PDF for graphic models of them);
  2. Cover page (see Annex I in the MSc Evaluation Rules PDF for a graphic model of it)
  3. Statement of authorship and copyright. This page must include the title of the thesis, and with the header "Declaração de autoria de trabalho" followed by the following text "Declaro ser o(a) autor(a) deste trabalho, que é original e inédito. Autores e trabalhos consultados estão devidamente citados no texto e constam da listagem de referências incluída," followed by your signature. Basically, you are declaring that you are the author of the work and all references to the text written by others are properly cited. In the back of this page, a copyright statement must be included containing the following text: "A Universidade do Algarve reserva para si o direito, em conformidade com o disposto no Código do Direito de Autor e dos Direitos Conexos, de arquivar, reproduzir e publicar a obra, independentemente do meio utilizado, bem como de a divulgar através de repositórios científicos e de admitir a sua cópia e distribuição para fins meramente educacionais ou de investigação e não comerciais, conquanto seja dado o devido crédito ao autor e editor respetivos”. In this notice, you allow the University to store and disseminate your work for non-commercial use.
  4. Acknowledgements (optional)
  5. Two abstracts, one written in Portuguese and another in English up to 300 words accompanied by 4-6 keywords below them. If the thesis is written in English, an abstract in Portuguese with more than 1000 words is mandatory.
  6. If need be, some parts of the work can be presented as electronic annexes.
  7. Indices (e.g., table of contents, indices of figures and of tables).
  8. List of abbreviations, acronyms and symbols — standard ones such as chemical symbols should be omitted, though.
  9. Main text consisting of chapters. The standard structure is ususally Introduction, Material & Methods, Results, Discussion and Conclusions. However, the exact structure should be discussed with your supervisor. However, the current comission encourages the students to follow the format of a manuscript to be submitted to a journal. Please see below for a possible outline, in case the student follows this format.
  10. References
  11. Annexes

Thesis with the structure of a journal manuscript

The alternative outline of the thesis in this format would be:

  1. Cover and Spine as instructed above
  2. Cover page as instructed above
  3. Statement of authorship and copyright as instructed above
  4. Abstract in English
  5. Introduction (this should be a general in-depth state-of-the-art introductory section)
  6. References
  7. Manuscript
    1. Title page (Article title, author names, author affiliations,corresponding author information and keywords)
    2. Abstract
    3. Introduction
    4. Material and Methods
    5. Results
    6. Discussion
    7. Acknowledgements
    8. References

This format has the added advantage to allow the student to write his/her first paper, and therefore understand the ins and outs of scientific writing, and to enable you to finish your MSc programme with a manuscript (almost) ready for submission to a peer-reviewed journal.

Thesis Production

Number of pages: there is no official limit, but MSc theses usually contain about 100 pages.

Font: Times New Roman, 12 pt, or equivalent

Paper: White A4 paper

Line spacing: at least 1.5 for the main text and 1.0 for footnotes, legends, and references.

Pagination: All pages must be numbered in the footer, centred or with a right alignment. Use arabic numeration for the main text and Roman numeration for the sections preceeding it.

Figures: High quality photos, diagrams, and maps should be used. If need be, they can exceed the A4 size; however, they need to be properly folded in order to fit into the thesis body.

Numbering of elements of the thesis: all graphics, figures, tables, diagrams and maps must be numbered sequentially and using a notation of numbers separated by dots (e.g., 1.1), in which the first and second numbers correspond to the chapter and the number of the element in that chapter, respectively. However, figures and tables should be numbered separately — for example, the first table of the first chapter of the thesis should be numbered Table 1.1, even if there are one or more figures before.

References: References and citations in the text must be according to the rules used by most journals of the scientific area. In this case, use either a numeric or a Harvard-like scheme for citing references. However, do not mix and match citation styles. If in doubt, ask your supervisor which scheme you should adopt.

Digital support: The work presented in digital support in a CD or DVD must be in PDF format. However, you need to label your CD or DVD as explained in Annex III of the MSc Evaluation Rules PDF.