All participant students will make a Final Master’s Thesis that will consist of an individual research paper related to the subjects of the Master. Its execution is composed of three phases that are shown in figure 1:

1st Stage of FMT: Selection of research topic and presentation of the idea

The different professors of the Master will suggest a series of research papers for the execution of the Final Master’s Thesis.  These topics will be shown to the student at the beginning of the Master’s Program during the online period. The student can find these proposals in the “Files of Topic Proposal of FMT” that will be uploaded to the Moodle platform.  Each of the proposed researches, speaker professors, objectives and expected outcomes and available support channels will be described.  

The students can choose three of these proposed papers in a priority order as possibilities for their FMT. Students can also suggest a research topic related to some of the Master’s specialization lines. These proposals will be studied by the Academic Commission and Quality of the Master for their possible approval and the assignment of a suitable tutor for the proposed topic. In general, it is recommended that students choose to do research papers that are similar to the research topics proposed by the professors so that a specialized, quality tutorship is available.

Before the online period ends, students must choose their preferences so that they can be analyzed by the Academic Commission and Quality of the Master and the assignation of tutors can begin. These assignments must be completed in October, a few weeks after the beginning of the on-campus period. Consequently, students can begin working with the their assigned tutors on their chosen topics from the beginning.  They will be able to connect theoretical teaching and practical application in the field as they study and work to complete their FMT at the same time.

Once the students have been assigned their tutor and FMT, a research proposal presentation will be made to present the ideas. This presentation will be made before his/her colleagues, professors and members of Master’s Commission and will represent the first analysis, individual and as a group, of the student’s initial idea for his/her FMT. Presentation outcomes and their conclusions have been incorporated in the file of topic proposal of FMT.  This modified file, signed by the tutor and student, will be sent to the Secretariat of the Master.  It will mean that the proposal has been accepted by the Academic Commission and Quality of the Master. 

Students can support their presentations using PowerPoint.   Presentations should  be no more than ten minutes in length.  Presentations will be followed by a series of questions that the student must answer and defend properly. The date and exact hour of a student’s presentation will be communicated to the student in advance. The objectives of the presentation of the idea for the FMT are:

• To facilitate the interchange of knowledge and experiences between students and professors so that all students know about the research and professional activities of their colleagues.
• To establish a first hypothesis of what the Final Master’s Thesis will be.
• To communicate the professional experiences and interests that compelled the student to choose this idea for his/her FMT.
• To establish a first evaluation of the student.

2nd Phase: Execution of Final Master Thesis

The execution of the Final Master’s Thesis represents the culmination of the teaching-learning process because it gathers different aspects of the academic program into a practical application. The FMT is actually applied research. Also, the preparation of the Thesis is dependent on visits with other groups and institutions, study visits, introductions and presentations of colleagues, and attendance at seminars and congresses.

A dissertation, written as a scientific article, will be submitted by the student as an applicant for the Master’s degree. The student will demonstrate their development of the skills necessary to formulate, evaluate and manage a research paper with academic seriousness within the framework of sustainable rural development and within their chosen field of specialization.  

Indications for the elaboration and proper presentation of the Thesis will be taught in the class called “Scientific writing: Elaboration of thesis and scientific articles”.  This is a compulsory course for all Master’s students. The format of the document will be a scientific article.  Annexes considered convenient can be added.

Students must provide three copies of the document to the Technical Secretariat prior to the established deadline. Each printed copy must be duly bound and an electronic copy, recorded on a CD (in word and pdf format files), must also be provided.  A duly filled-in Final Master’s Thesis report must be sent along with the documentation. On the same day, the FMT files and report must be uploaded to the Master web platform.

3rd Phase: Final Master’s Thesis Defense

The Final Master’s Thesis Defense is individual and is presented orally before a Board of Examiners composed of 3 experts. The Board must include the student’s thesis tutor. The Thesis Defense will last 1 hour, although it can be extended if the Board of Examiners considers it appropriate. The Final Master’s Thesis Defense is composed of two parts:

• Oral presentation (25 min.): The student must prepare the oral presentation following the guidance of the thesis tutor. It is recommended to use PowerPoint to support the oral presentation. The student who does not keep within the time scheduled will be penalized with negative points.
• Questions by the Board of Examiners (30 min.): Each member of Board has 10 minutes to ask questions and obtain answers from the student.

Once the thesis defense is considered finished, the Board of Examiners will meet to deliberate and make a decision. The Board will evaluate the student’s knowledge and skills related to the Master; originality of research paper; quality of the presentation; and the ability to answer the questions asked by the Board. The grade will be awarded by the Board of Examiners in accordance with the following aspects, whose assessment will be approved annually:
• Research paper made by the student.
• Final Master’s Thesis Writing (document).
• Thesis Presentation and Defense.

Exceptions can be contemplated on the Thesis defense date. If the student wants to postpone it, he/ she must submit a request guaranteed by his/her tutor and addressed to the Academic Commission and Quality of the Master 30 days prior to the defense date.  An acceptance letter will be sent within a period of seven working days. The written papers of the Final Master’s Thesis will remain on public exposition in the Master’s Secretariat.



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