Bachelor’s and Master’s Theses at the Chair of Professor Maurer

This FAQ was compiled to the best of our knowledge. In case of dissent with a regulation of the examination office, our statement regarding this matter is null and void, and only the regulation of the examination office is binding. It is the responsibility of the students to independently inform themselves about the regulations of the examination office and examination regulations ("Prüfungsordnung").


Part 1: Initial procedure regarding the thesis


1. How can I write my thesis at this chair?

You are welcome to apply for supervision of your thesis at the chair of Professor Maurer via the official allocation procedures. For the Bachelor programs, the allocation is run by the faculty/examination office. For the Master programs, the Department of Finance manages the allocation to the Finance chairs. Note that capacities are limited, and you may not be assigned to the chair of your highest preference.

We do not offer supervision apart from the official procedures.

More information on the allocation procedure can be found here: Bachelor Thesis and Master Thesis.

2. I was allocated to this chair, what now?

We will contact you within at most a few days. You do not need to reach out to us beforehand.

3. How to find my topic?

  1. Do I have to think about a topic by myself?

    Potential topics are discussed between the supervisor and the student. Together, we aim to develop a topic that aligns with your interests and skills.

    We strongly encourage you to propose own ideas for a topic. We will then evaluate how they can be adapted to meet the requirements. Please note that Master’s students are expected to have a high level of self-orientation in identifying interesting topics.

  2. What fields of research are possible at this chair?

    In principle, all topics in the areas of investment (including real estate and empirical asset pricing), portfolio management, and pension finance are possible, provided they are interesting and meet an appropriate level of difficulty. You can refer to the descriptions of research focus areas as well as Professor Maurer's publications for guidance.

    Another useful orientation for your topic is to explore recent papers (up to 3-5 years ago) in leading (field) journals such as the Journal of Finance, Review of Financial Studies, Journal of Financial Economics, American Economic Review, Journal of Banking & Finance, Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Journal of Risk & Insurance, ...) or leading working paper series (like NBER, CEPR, ...).

  3. Can I get a list of recent theses?

    An indicative list of theses supervised in the recent semesters follows.

    Bachelor’s theses:
    • Real Estate as an Asset Class
    • Performance Analysis of Portfolio Insurance Strategies
    • ESG Ratings and Stock Performance Style Analysis of Dynamic Asset Allocation

    Master’s theses:

    • Which Factors Drive Mutual Fund Investments?
    • Performance Analysis of Socially Responsible Funds
    • Lifecycle Strategies as an Instrument for Funded Old-Age Provisions: An Empirical Analysis
    • Assessing Interest Rate and Longevity Risk

4. What are the expectations of what is investigated in my thesis?

Bachelor students are free to pursue either pure qualitative work, but they are also welcome to conduct basic quantitative analyses (e.g., using Excel).

For Master’s students, we require quantitative research. This can be carried out using advanced software packages such as Matlab, Python, R, or Stata.

5. Can I write my thesis in cooperation with a company?

Yes. However, certain conditions must be met:

  • The topic must align with the chair's focus.
  • We must have the final say on the thematic scope.
  • The grading is solely our responsibility.
  • It is forbidden to provide data licensed through the chair or Goethe University / SAFE to the company.
  • Remark: Please consider that this may involve the additional challenge of satisfying two parties, whose interests and requirements may not necessarily align. This can also be demanding.

Additional Information: For the correction, we need all data obtained from the company and used in the analyses. We will confirm that we use the data only for correction purposes and will delete them within a specified period after the correction.

6. How does the registration process work?

  1. How to register the thesis with the examination office?

    You can register your thesis at any time until the end of the semester (except for MMF students who have an early deadline if taking the thesis seminar in the same semester). We recommend starting early in the semester. Also, please consider that our availability for supervision might be limited during semester breaks.

  2. When can I start writing my thesis?

    You can start as soon as you have been successfully allocated to our chair and have agreed on a topic with your supervisor.

  3. Can I discuss the topic with my supervisor but register the thesis at a later point?

    The thesis must be registered with the examination office as soon as you agree on a topic with your supervisor. Do not schedule a meeting with your supervisor unless you plan to start writing your thesis soon.

  4. Can I begin writing my thesis after the exam period?

    Yes, but you must register the thesis before the end of the semester for which you were allocated to our chair.

  5. When do I have to submit my thesis?

    The deadline will be set by the examination office.

Part 2: Writing the thesis


1. Which software for empirical work am I allowed to use?

Master students are allowed to use Matlab, Python, R, or Stata to conduct the analyses. In general, topics assigned to Master students will hardly be solvable using Excel alone. However, Excel can be used for generating graphics.

Bachelor students are allowed to use Excel without any restrictions.

Matlab is available free of charges via Goethe University’s campus license.

Please consider the possibility of remote access to software packages like Matlab and Stata available through the university.

2. What data resources are available to use?

You can use any reliable data source, such as public administrative databases, Yahoo Finance, etc. The SAFE Data Room offers many high-quality resources like Bloomberg, Eikon, WRDS (CRSP, Compustat, OptionMetrics, ...), etc.

3. Do I have to format my thesis in a certain way? Is there a page limit?

Once you are allocated, you will receive a set of thesis guidelines specifying all formal requirements, page limits, etc.

We will provide you with a Word template you can use. You can also use LaTeX to typeset your thesis, but ensure that the general structure, font size, and line spacing align with our guidelines.


Part 3: Submission of the thesis


1. Are there any specific details I have to consider when I submit the thesis?

Please refer to the information provided by the examination office on how to submit the thesis.

On the day of submission to the examination office, we kindly ask you to also send the printed version as a PDF file to the supervisor.

2. How and when will I receive my grade?

You will usually be able to see your grade in the university grade portal (QIS) within 6 weeks after handing in your Bachelor’s thesis. For a Master’s thesis, there will be a second (anonymous) reviewer and both reviewers together also have 6 weeks to submit their reports.