2023-2024 / SMEM0029-1

Final thesis


Number of credits

 Master in space sciences (120 ECTS)27 crédits 




Michaël De Becker

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

All year long


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

The students of the 2nd block of the master in space sciences have to present a master thesis. This is an individual work related to space sciences done under the supervision of a scientist. In the context of the research focus, the thesis must be fully research-oriented. In the framework of the professional focus, the thesis consists of an internship, for instance at the Liège Space Centre (CSL), in a private company, in non-university research centres, or in any external space organization such as ESA.

The subject of this work can be chosen among the list of topics provided to the students at the end of their first year, or can be established directly after discussion with a supervisor.

The supervisor must define the goals of the work and guide the student during its completion. The supervisor should have a PhD in science or applied science. If the supervisor is not attached to ULiège (including the CSL), a co-supervisor attached to Uliège must be nominated, in concertation with the chair of the board of studies.

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

The master thesis is a personal work that allows students to discover the work of a professional of the space sector, either from the point of view of fundamental scientific aspects or following applied approaches (depending on the focus and the specific thesis topic).


At the end of this assignment, students should be able to

  • manage their working time as part of a more ambitious activity than simply carrying out a practical activity as part of a course
  • show autonomy in their approach to work
  • critically analyse scientific data and results
  • use modern bibliographic tools
  • analyse bibliographic data critically
  • enhance the skills they have acquired throughout their studies
  • carry out a professional-level activity, depending on the selected focus in the master
  • supplement their skills through perso
  • conduct scientific discussions
  • communicate scientific results in writing, respecting certain standards of rigour in the wording of the content
  • reference their sources rigorously and appropriately
  • communicate scientific results orally

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

The supervisor can advise the student to take one or several optional courses that will allow him/her to acquire the skills needed to carry out his/her work.

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Leaning activities are intimately related to the thesis topic, taking into account the focus (either research or professional). These activities are established by the supervisor, in agreement with a co-supervisor if any.

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

Blended learning

Additional information:

Depending on the specific needs of the thesis topic, the practical activities will we led on-site in the department facilities (or the host institution) and in remote mode, with a weighting defined in agreement with the supervisor.


The student is encouraged to inform the supervisor on a regular basis about the progress of his/her work, and to discuss any relevant scientific question with the supervisor.

Recommended or required readings

If needed, the supervisor can recommend the reading of scientific articles or books allowing the student to improve his/her knowledge of the subject.

Exam(s) in session

Any session

- In-person

oral exam

Additional information:

The assessment of the master thesis is partly based on the manuscript. Some useful guidelines for its preparation are provided in the SPAT0000 e-Campus area, which is accessible to all Master's students. The manuscript of the master thesis has to be submitted to the MatheO repository at the latest on the deposit date discussed by the Board of Studies, following recommendation by the chair of the Board of Examiners. This date is notably communicated in the minutes of the Board of Studies meetings. The manuscript can be written in French or English. Following validation by the manager (see contacts), the electronic version of the manuscript is made available to the members of the board of reviewers.

The master thesis is presented on the date approved by the board of studies department council, following recommendation by the chair of the Board of Examiners. The presentation is made in front of the reviewers and the board of examiners of the master in space sciences. The duration of the presentation should not exceed 20 minutes, followed by a session of questions (maximum 20 minutes) by the members of the reading committee.

The board of reviewers consists of 4 to 5 members (including the supervisor and possible co-supervisor). Two of them must belong to another research team than the supervisor and the co-supervisor. If a reviewer cannot attend the presentation, he/she sends a brief report to the chairman and the secretary of the jury, at the latest the day before the presentation.

The score of the master thesis consists of 2/3 of the mean score on the manuscript attributed by the board of reviewers (the scores of the reviewers are communicated to the secretary of the board of examiners prior to the presentations), and 1/3 of the mean score on the presentation and the answers to questions. In the assessment of the manuscript, it is suggested to adopt the following criteria: (1) the content of the work (achievement of the work,  methodology, the students effort, quality and relevance of the analysis,...), (2) originality of the student's contribution (autonomy, initiative and critical thinking,...), (3) quality of the manuscript (structure of the manuscript, quality of the figures, correct spelling, correct citation of references for any figure, table, or text excerpts from a published work, ...). The suggested weights for these criteria are 50% for the content, 25% for the originality of the contribution, and 25% for the quality of the manuscript.

Work placement(s)

In the framework of the professional focus, the thesis must primarily consist in an internship out of the AGO department.
Students who are doing an intership for their master thesis must comply with the requirements in terms of internship agreement and risk analysis sheet. Students must contact Mrs Kristel Karrremans (K.Karremans@uliege.be) who is the contact person for the Faculty of Sciences.

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course

The manuscript can be written in French or English.


For students following the full master course (programme of 120 ECTS), the master thesis is worth 27 ECTS. For students directly accepted in the block 2 of the master (adapted programme of 60 ECTS), the master thesis is worth 15 ECTS.


Note that for the 60 ECTS adapted programme, only the research focus can be selected.


Michaël De Becker
Phone: 04/3669717
E-mail: Michael.DeBecker@uliege.be
Office: Institut d'Astrophysique et Géophysique, Building B5c, 1st floor, office 1/8

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