Master Thesis Diaries – Part I: Getting Started

My thesis in Kemakta Konsult AB has begun. It’s been two weeks now, and my thesis topic is “Developing an exposure model for Risk Assessment of Arsenic contaminated Agricultural Soils and Water in Europe”. It is part of an EU project called AgriAs.

Here is an insight into what doing a thesis in a Swedish Company entails, how to start off doing your Master thesis and other tips and tricks for starting your thesis right.

What is my work space like? 


My work environment is really cool with experts from all fields of Water treatment, environmental engineering, planning, civil engineering and chemical engineering.

The work environment in most Swedish companies is a blend of freedom, discipline, team work, but also being the boss of your own self. My supervisors guide me, but let me chose my own work path, which makes the work more interesting.

Filled with fikas, and intellectual discussions, break time is a great way to find out what other projects are going on in the company, and it’s a good way to work towards building a  connection with everyone at your work space. I recommend learning Swedish at an early stage as this will help you follow and join in conversations easily, since most of the conversations are in Swedish. However, if you’re a late beginner like me, it’s still cool since my teammates are now teaching me Swedish ! And it’s easier to learn in an environmental where you’re surrounded my people who speak Swedish, since now I can converse as I learn.

My work station

What to do in the starting stage of your thesis?

-Create a structure
Plan out a work and report structure. It doest have to be set in stone, but you do need a rough idea in your head to organise your time and work, otherwise, you might end up stressing out in the last few weeks.

-Literature Review: Skim and Scan, then read.
Doing a thesis, especially in a company will entail a lot of work, but you also need to do your research. And that can get quite taxing, so first skim and scan the documents you want to read, if you find relevant papers, read only those in detail.


-Don’t burn out:
You might be more enthusiastic in the starting stages of your thesis, but make sure you dont burn out. Do not over work yourself at the beggining. You have 20 weeks, so make sure you distribute your work load, time, and energy properly.

-Writing your report:
Start writing along with your work. You will obviously not be able to start your final thesis document now, but make notes and a rough structure and keep adding in your findings and work as and when you do it. Your final thesis document will be the most important document you produce during your thesis, and it will be around 70-90 pages, so you can’t push this till the last moment.

-Ask for help and guidance:
If and when you feel stuck, do not hesitate to ask for help from your supervisors, program coordinators etc.

In this series, I’ll keep updating you with practical details of doing a Master thesis based on my experience and that of my friends! Stay tuned 🙂

-For now, your Swe-Desi Seafarer signing off!

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Supritha

An Indian student studying Environmental Engineering and Sustainable Infrastructure at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden. Email : supritha.studyinsweden[at]gmail.com
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