Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Finance Group

Writing a Master Thesis in Corporate Finance

Students who would like to write a Master thesis in the area of Corporate Finance must
have completed the Financial Economics concentration, and attend either the
Hauptseminar Corporate Finance or Financial Economics. In addition it is recommended
that students take Advanced Corporate Finance, the Case Seminar Corporate Finance,
and Private Equity. The purpose of the Hauptseminar is to introduce students to scientific
writing, and the requirements for writing a Master thesis in Corporate Finance.

To complete the Master program in four semesters we recommend the following
semester plan.

1st Semester 2nd Semester 3rd Semester 4th Semester
Corporate Finance
Asset Management
(Econometric Methods)
Advanced Corporate Finance
Case Seminar
Private Equity

Writing Thesis

All thesis topics will be in the area of corporate finance, and most theses will be of an
empirical nature. Therefore, good econometric skills are essential. The course
Econometric Methods, offered by Prof. Hautsch in the WS, is highly recommended.
Familiarity with statistical software, such as Stata or SAS, is also important. Since the
most relevant literature is in English, it is recommended to write the Diplom or Master
thesis also in English, but this is not a necessity.

If you are interested in writing a Master thesis in the area of Corporate Finance contact
Prof. Adam or one of his assistants to discuss a suitable thesis topic and expected
completion time. Currently we offer theses topics in the following areas:

  • Corporate Risk Management
  • Mutual Funds
  • Behavioral Corporate Finance
  • Syndicated Loans
  • Credit Rating Agencies
  • Financial Regulation

You should budget at least six months for completing your thesis. It is also possible and
encouraged to write a thesis jointly with another fellow student. This is not only more fun
than writing by yourself but you can also benefit from economies of scale.

After obtaining a topic the next step is to write and orally defend a research proposal.
During the defense you should explain why your topic is important, what new insights could
potentially be gained from your thesis, and discuss your research methodology.
It is important to demonstrate the feasibility of your project. After a successful defense
you can submit the form „Anmeldung zur Masterarbeit“ to the institute’s secretary,
Mrs. Bulwahn, and begin writing your thesis. Interim results should be presented at least

Master theses must be submitted in bound format (2 copies) by the due date to the
Prüfungsamt. Each Master thesis must include a DVD containing the thesis, all data used,
computer programs, and all references. Further information about how to write a thesis can
be found here.

Exceptional Master theses will be nominated for the David-Kopf Hochschulpreis.
See for details.


In addition, you can participate in the following Master theses competitions:


Past Master and Diplom Theses

  • Financial Risk Management Strategies of German Corporations
  • Auswirkungen der Finanzkrise 2007/08 auf den deutschen Primärmarkt für Konsortialkredite
  • Are real options priced by the market? Theory and Evidence from the Gold Mining Industry
  • Estimating the Probabilitiy of Bankruptcy of Non-Financial Firms
  • The Gold Lease Market
  • Corporate Risk Management and Executive Compensation
  • A Comparison of Risk Management Strategies in the Gold Mining Industry
  • The Effects of the Introduction of the Euro on Corporate Financing Strategies and Corporate Investment
  • The Value of Corporate Cash Holdings during Financial Crises
  • The Syndication of Venture Capital Investments



Regeln der Prüfungsordnung für Abschlussarbeiten:

  1. Eine Abschlussarbeit muss im Prüfungsbüro angemeldet werden. Das vorgesehene Formular wird im Prüfungs- bzw. Studienbüro ausgegeben. Dabei werden auch die Zulassungsvoraussetzungen zur Abschlussarbeit geprüft.
  2. Die festgelegte Zeitbefristung beginnt mit dem Tag nach der Themenvergabe. Sie gilt ausnahmslos für alle Studierende. Ausnahmen kann ausschließlich der Prüfungsausschuss genehmigen. Dafür müssen triftige Gründe nachgewiesen werden.
  3. Der Prüfer muss das Thema und den Zeitpunkt der Ausgabe mittels des Anmeldeformulars aktenkundig machen. Nach der Themenvergabe muss es unverzüglich an das Prüfungsbüro weitergeleitet werden. Die Studierenden erhalten nach Eingang der Anmeldung vom Studien- bzw. Prüfungsbüro eine Kopie der Anmeldung.
  4. Die Einhaltung oder Überschreitung der Abgabefrist wird durch die direkte Einreichung der Arbeit beim Prüfungsbüro festgestellt und aktenkundig gemacht.


Rules from the examination order concerning the graduation theses:

  1. A thesis needs to be registered at the examination office. The corresponding form is available at the examination office or the study office. The preliminaries for a thesis will also be examined there.
  2. The administered deadline starts the day after the announcement of the thesis topic. It applies to all students without exceptions. Any exceptions can only be granted by the examination board. An exception requires grave reasons and proof.
  3. The examiner needs to register the topic and the deadline via the application form. After announcement of the topic it needs to be transferred to the examination office without delay. The students will receive a copy of the application form after the entry at the examination office or the study office.
  4. The compliance with or exceedance of the deadline will be determined through direct deliverance of the thesis at the examination office and registered officially.