One of my advisees is defending his MA thesis today. I hadn’t realised, before becoming an advisor myself, that advisors get a bit nervous about this too. At our university the advisor is always in the three person committee that discusses and grades the thesis, which is good because the advisor can often clarify things for the other members, and because it’s often good for the candidate to have at least one person they know reasonably well in the oral defence. It’s also bad, or at least hard, because when you’ve read all the bits of a thesis a zillion times as it was being written it’s very, very hard to form a clear, objective opinion of the finished product as a whole. I imagine this is why the University of Oslo has exactly the opposite policy to the University of Bergen, and bars advisors from being in the committee that grades an MA thesis.

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