Master’s Degree Project 60MASTPR

Learning outcome

The student will have acquired:

  • Knowledge of a specific traditional material, its cultural context and the role that it plays in a contemporary context
  • High-level performance skills and the ability to place their own performance practice in a wider cultural context
  • General competence in understanding culture, both from the performer’s perspective and through the researcher’s reflection

Course Description

The Master’s degree projects are developed individually by each student and will cover a broad spectrum of topics within the field of traditional arts. Since some projects will be theory-based and others practice-based, there will be great variation in the content and forms of presentation. For all projects it is important that students work systematically and scientifically to acquire knowledge and that students acquire knowledge from both theoretical and practical sources. Knowledge relating to archives, collections and technical aids will also be necessary for the majority of projects.

The project and supervision will be adapted to the individual student and will be related to the source material the student will be working with and the aim of the project. This source material will usually be found within the field of Norwegian traditional arts; however, students will also be encouraged to acquire insight into other traditional cultures, for instance, through study periods abroad. Further, foreign students would most likely take their own national culture as their starting point.

The written thesis must be submitted electronically using a particular template that is common to all of Telemark University College.

The content of the written part and the practical part should together comprise:

  • Formulation of problem
  • Choice and explanation of strategies and methods
  • Elucidation of relevant material and principal concepts
  • Execution of a project with the aid of sources, observations and practice
  • Relevant documentation, both theoretical and practical-aesthetic
  • Discussion of results

As a supplement to the Master’s degree project a written summary of 1-2 pages must also be drafted, for inclusion in a database of research projects.


The Master’s degree project should begin with documentation work.

Folk music:

Basic technical knowledge

Many folk music students will need to gain insight into the technical foundation for various sound and image formats, such as paper, film, celluloid film and various digital formats. They must be acquainted with the relevant differences between the various technical documentation alternatives that are available today.

Information and bearers of information

In many projects it will be important for students to understand how traditions can vary over a period of time, from area to area, between different performers, and with regard to performers over the course of their own lives. The use of different technical aids in registration and documentation may also result in different information being recorded with regard to the variations in traditional expressions. It may also be necessary to view information bearers and traditional expressions from a critical perspective.

General overview of archives

It is important to have knowledge of the public archives system, as well as the most important private archives in the country. In addition, students must understand how to use the various archives, and the current rules for making archival material available to the public.

Folk arts:


In many of the folk arts’ projects it may be important to acquire knowledge of various forms of recording and documenting folk art objects and work processes related to wood, textiles and metal. The student must often document and record basic material within the area in question. The basic material should not be too comprehensive, because this material should be used, disseminated and analysed within reasonable practical and theoretical frameworks.

Museums and collections

In many of the projects within the field of folk arts it will be necessary to have access to the various public institutions that are responsible for preserving folk art and cultural objects. It may be of importance to know why these institutions were founded, and how they have functioned up until the present day. Knowledge of private institutions may also be relevant. In such cases it may be useful for students to become acquainted with the various methods of recording and cataloguing which are relevant, as well as the relevant rules and guidelines for use/loans, and for making the material available to the public.


Practising the arts should also be part of the Master’s degree project. Students should experience and have an understanding of how knowledge is gained by practising the traditional arts.

In some projects, primarily those with a practice element, artistic instruction may be necessary. For instance, folk musicians may require instruction on their main instrument; similarly, folk artists may require instruction in working with the material they have chosen, techniques and artistic expression etc. This type of instruction would constitute part of the supervision; in such cases it is the supervisors who decide whether or not time allocated for supervision should be used in this way.


The Master’s degree project should include a dissemination element, but in some projects this part will receive more emphasis than in others. This should be clarified when the students are preparing their prospectuses. In addition, the student, in consultation with the supervisors, will evaluate which approach should be chosen for the dissemination, as well as the theoretical and practical extent of the part to be disseminated.

Teaching and Learning Methods

Individual supervision will constitute the most instructive aspect of the Master’s project. Students and supervisors will both sign a supervision agreement, which stipulates the rights and obligations of both parties. In addition to regular supervision seminars, other seminars will be arranged in which students will discuss topics relevant to their projects. During the seminars, students will present their projects to each other and to the 1st-year students in the Master’s degree programme.

Assessment Methods

Final Examination

The Masters Project (60 ECTS) includes a two-part examination, a combination of practical performance and a written thesis; in other words, two components will be assessed:

1) Performance component: This component may be completed by live performance or documented through video including commentary, DVD, audio recording, images, exhibitions and concerts, etc.

2) Written thesis.

It is possible to weight the performance component and the theoretical components differently. If the project has a practical performance focus, the grade for the performance component will be given the greatest weighting; if the project has a theoretical focus, then greatest weighting will be given to this component. It is nevertheless important for the evaluation that the practical and the theoretical components constitute a whole.

The Masters project will conclude with an oral examination, where the student will be examined in both the performance and theoretical components and the relationship between them.

On the basis of the assessment of the performance and written components of the Master’s project, and where appropriate the result of the oral examination, the final grade for the Master’s project will be determined by the examiner.

The diploma for the Master’s degree programme will include a final grade assessed on the basis of the following:

  • Written assignment in the joint theoretical component – grade counts for 25% of the final grade.
  • The preliminary project: pass / fail.
  • The Master’s degree project – grade counts for 75% of the final grade.

No grade is given for the oral examination (so it is not included on the diploma).

The grade for the Master’s degree programme will be entered on the diploma.

The grade awarded is on a scale A-F, where E is the lowest passing grade, and F is a failing grade.

If the student passes all parts of the assessment he/she will receive a grade from A to E. Each part of the assessment must receive a passing grade in order for the student to receive a final passing grade.

Please refer to Telemark University College’s examination regulations for further details.

Minor adjustments may occur during the academic year, subject to the decision of the Dean

Publisert av / forfatter Ian Harkness <>, last modified Ian Hector Harkness - 02/09/2012