Phases of a Bachelor's thesis


  • Instructor (Advisor): Someone with at least a master’s degree or equivalent. Usually the person who provides the subject for the thesis. The instructor follows the progress of the thesis and supports the student in the process.
  • Supervisor: A professor from the systems analysis laboratory that fits the subject area. (see list below). The supervisor can also be the instructor (and advice the student during the process even if he isn’t).
  • Seminar organizer: Coordinates the seminar meetings for the bachelor’s thesis. At the moment this is Juho Roponen.


1. Choosing the topic

  1. The students procure the topics for their theses themselves: suitable topics can be found for example from work in companies or research institutes if the work tasks relate to systems and operations research. The topic can also come from, for example hobbies, or personal interests of the student. It is also possible to choose a topic prepared by the SAL.
  2. The student contacts the instructor.
  3. If the instructor is from outside SAL, the student ABSOLUTELY has to also discuss starting the thesis with a SAL professor that fits the topic, who will also act as the supervisor:
    • Raimo P. Hämäläinen Emeritus Professor (another official supervisor is needed): environment, energy, systems intelligence, decision analysis, decision support 
    • Harri Ehtamo: optimization, game theory and numerical models relating to them
    • Ahti Salo: investment science, forecasting, risk and decision analysis, innovation and technology management, decision support
    • Kai Virtanen: dynamic optimization, dynamic system modeling, decision analysis, Bayes-networks ja influence diagrams, simulation, simulation optimization
    • Antti Punkka: decision analysis, decision support, efficiency analysis, resource allocation, resource management
    • Fabricio Oliveira: Operations Research, Mathematical Programming, Optimisation under Uncertainty, Supply Chain Management, Production and Operations Planning, Business Analytics
  4. The student fills Approval of topic for bachelor's thesis –form, gets a signature from the instructor (and the supervisor, if the instructor is from outside SAL) and delivers the form to bachelor’s degree program offices to Taru Bister (Computer science building, Konemiehentie 2, room B158, Mailing address: PL 15400, 00076 Aalto). The student will also keep a copy of the form himself.

2. Presenting the topic in the seminar

  1. The student familiarizes himself with the subject, prepares the presenation slideshow (presentation skeleton powerpoint) and asks the instructor look through and comment on the slides before the seminar. The length of the presenation should be around 10 minutes and it should include a plan for writing the thesis (incl. aims, limits, information sources, data, methods, tools, and schedule). Examples: 1, 2, 3
  2. The student enrolls for a seminar meeting at least a week in advance by sending email to seminar organizer. He will also send the email address of his supervisor and his presentation to the organizer in pdf-format. NOTICE! The topic of the thesis -form needs to be processed before the topic is presented! Schedule for the seminar meetings.
  3. The student needs to present for the duration of the whole seminar meeting to get credit for participating. It would also be preferable for either the instructor or the supervisor to be present.
  4. The seminar meeting also includes a short lecture about writing the bachelor’s thesis held by seminar organizer. (slides).

3. Writing the thesis

  1. The student writes the thesis with the instruction of the instructor. Example latex template (.zip), which you can also open directly in Overleaf.
  2. Both the student and the instructor commit to making sure the scope of the thesis work matches the study credits.
  3. It is advisable for the student to familiarize themselves with the writing instructions for the bachelor’s thesis.
  4. The thesis can be written either in Finnish or in English, as long as it has been agreed on with the instructor. If the thesis is written in English, an additional abstract in either Finnish or Swedish needs to be included in the beginning of the thesis, depending on the language the student has received their education in.
  5. If the instructor is from outside SAL, the final manuscript for the thesis needs to be shown to the supervisor as well.
  6. When the thesis is ready, it is given to the instructor for grading. The student also gives the instructor a grading form (or Finnish version) with the personal information filled in. The instructor then marks their suggestion for a grade on the form. After the thesis work has been presented in the seminar, the form is handed over to the supervising professor, who will give the final grade and sign the form.

4. Writing demonstration

  1. As a part of their bachelor’s degree, the students have to demonstrate their ability to write in their school education language. more information

5. Presenting the results of the work in the seminar and getting a grade

  1. With advice from the instructor, the student prepares a presentation about the main results of their work. (presentation template powerpoint; duration about 15 min). Examples: 1, 2
  2. The student enrolls for the seminar meeting at least one week before the meeting, in which they want to present their work. The topic and the results cannot be presented at the same seminar meeting. At the same time they will also send the presentation slides to the organizer in pdf-format as well as the email address of the instructor. Schedule for the seminar meetings.
  3. To get credit for the seminar meeting, the student needs to attend for the full duration excluding the part about writing the bachelor thesis at the end of the seminar meeting. It is preferable for the supervisor of the thesis to present at the seminar.
  4. The supervisor grades the thesis.
  5. The student (or someone else) hands over the filled grading form the seminar organizer (who sends it to Taru Bister).

6. Archiving the thesis

  1. The student sends the thesis in pdf-format to the seminar organizer, who adds it to the SAL bachelor’s thesis collection. If you add the following text to the front page either in Finnish or in English the thesis will be available on SAL web page:
    "Työn saa tallentaa ja julkistaa Aalto-yliopiston avoimilla verkkosivuilla. Muilta osin kaikki oikeudet pidätetään."
    "The document can be stored and made available to the public on the open internet pages of Aalto University. All other rights are reserved."
    All the theses can always be gotten from the laboratory regardless of whether they are available online.
  2. The student also has to make sure the thesis archived to the Aalto University’s library’s archive. This can be done through The thesis must be in PDF/A format.

7. Study credits

  1. The faculty of the seminar will send notification about accepted bachelor’s thesis to the office of the study program when both seminar presentations have been done, the supervisor has graded the thesis, and the thesis has been archived as described in 6.1.
  2. The office of the study program will add the credits for the thesis after the student has done his writing demonstration and the work has been added to the library’s archive as described in 6.2.


The instructions above should be the primary guidelines for your bachelor’s thesis, but if you want, you can also take a look at the bachelor thesis instructions of the study program.


Updated: 19.1.2021
Webmaster: Leevi Olander
Content creator: DI Juho Roponen