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This question doesn't seem to have an answer anywhere, which makes me suspect I'm missing a fundamental point.

Is it possible to do 2 separate Master's theses on topics related to your degree, but for 1 degree? Are there any benefits to doing so? I'm really not satisfied with the one I'm currently working on. It started out optimistically, but my advisor chose to take on something in which he has no specialist knowledge.

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    Why on earth would you want to do that? – eykanal Feb 21 '17 at 15:35
  • @eykanal Well, because I'm really not satisfied with the one I'm currently working on. Started out optimistically, but my advisor chose to take something in which he has no specialist knowledge. – Valentin Feb 21 '17 at 15:39
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    @Valentin Are you proposing that you double your amount of work? How would this help? – MJeffryes Feb 21 '17 at 15:49
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    @MJeffryes I really don't know what to do. I just want to have a good thesis that can help my application to a Phd program. I feel like my current thesis is extremely shallow. – Valentin Feb 21 '17 at 15:53
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    If the adviser is happy with the work, even if you think it's shallow, it doesn't matter a lot given that your adviser will right a good recommendation letter so that you can be admitted to the PhD program. Of course a good publication can help, but it is not always necessary. – PsySp Feb 21 '17 at 17:26
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This was originally a comment but it might serve as an answer:

The important thing here is your adviser to be happy with the work you have done.
If the adviser is happy with the work, even if you think it's shallow, it doesn't matter a lot given that your adviser will write a good recommendation letter so that you can be admitted to the PhD program. Of course a good publication can help, but it is not always necessary.

I understand that you might think that a master thesis is a "preparation" for the research you will do during your PhD. At least in my field, you won't dive immediately in research during your PhD. You will have a lot (depending) of time to study related material that you feel you missed because you should/could learn that on the Master thesis. From my point of view, you won't have any problem given your motivation.

So, I suggest, try to make the best out of your current thesis, while talking at the same time to your adviser about potential issues regarding your PhD application. If they are happy with your work, it will be reflected with a good recommendation letter which is the key for getting into a good PhD program.

  • Where did OP say he is interested in a PhD position? Also "the important thing here is your adviser to be happy with the work you have done" is complete nonsense. Nobody will earn a master's degree because he made someone happy. Hope this to be true in your contry as well. – ImportanceOfBeingErnest Feb 21 '17 at 19:00
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    @ImportanceOfBeingErnest Look above on the comments of the question: I really don't know what to do. I just want to have a good thesis that can help my application to a Phd program. I feel like my current thesis is extremely shallow – PsySp Feb 21 '17 at 19:03
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    @ImportanceOfBeingErnest If the adviser is happy with the work done, then the OP will earn the Master Thesis. I quote He wants me to finish this and he emphasizes things like "it is still possible to get a grade 5.0 for the thesis" or "the current topic is still good enough for a thesis" Did you even read OP's comments above? – PsySp Feb 21 '17 at 19:15
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    @ImportanceOfBeingErnest I do not know what are you talking about. Since when such an advise is dangerous? In what universe? Also, I strongly suggest to read all the comments. If the adviser is happy with the work of the OP in the thesis, as the OP claims, then the OP will not have any problem getting her/his MSc. And of course the adviser should be happy with the work done in a thesis. Are you advising otherwise? Hope this to be true in your contry as well. This is highly unconstructive and offensive. Im sorry. – PsySp Feb 21 '17 at 19:26
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    @ImportanceOfBeingErnest: I see that you live in Germany. You should then know that a master thesis (as it is the case in all European universities I have visited) is a formality to close your studies. Nobody cares about the content and there is statistically zero research in a MSc. So yes - the goal is to make your adviser happy and be done. This is maybe sad (I do not know) but also the reality of the world, and has been for at least two generations. Science did not die because of this. – WoJ Feb 22 '17 at 7:40
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No one cares about your masters thesis.

Stated differently, your masters thesis will serve a single, time-bound goal: earn you a masters degree. To that extent, the amount of work you put into the thesis itself should be just enough to get that goal, and no more.

That said, you should definitely look to publish your work in as many reputable journal articles as you can. Rather than focusing on writing a second thesis, I recommend (a) writing up your first thesis topic as a paper, and then (b) writing the alternative thesis that you want to write as a second paper.

Please please PLEASE talk to your thesis advisor before taking the above advice. He or she will know whether your research is at journal-level quality and can save you a lot of unnecessary work if the answer is "no".

  • I think one of the problems is that, according to OP's opinion, it might not be easy to publish the result of the thesis, at least not in some respectable venue (otherwise the OP wouldn't use the word "shallow") – PsySp Feb 21 '17 at 17:00
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    @PsySp - Thanks for pointing out the comment, I didn't see that. I don't think that changes my answer at all. If the shallow thesis gets him the degree then it serves its purpose. If it can't get him a degree, then it should be changed until it can, and no more. – eykanal Feb 21 '17 at 17:20
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    I am not sure I agree. If the OP's target is to get admitted to a PhD program, then the content of the thesis matter. It does not work simply as "just get is and that's it". On the other hand, if the adviser is quite happy with the work, even if the work is considered shallow by the OP, this can be reflected on a good recommendation letter. And in some cases this is much more important than the content of the thesis. (Of course a good publication can work wonders as well) – PsySp Feb 21 '17 at 17:25
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    @PsySp - That's a good point, post that as an answer! – eykanal Feb 21 '17 at 17:31
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Can you write two separate theses for the same degree? Probably not. The regulations for your course probably implicitly require you to write exactly one and, even if they don't, the department will feel under no obligation to grade a second thesis.

Writing a second thesis makes no sense. If the thesis you're working on at the moment really is inadequate, there are two possibilities: either you make it good enough or you abandon it and start a new one on a new topic. If you make your current thesis good enough, there is no need for the second one. If you start a second one, continuing to work on the bad one is a waste of your limited time and you'll end up with two bad theses instead of one.

You need to talk to your advisor about your situation. It is literally their job to... advise you.

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I gather you mean that you'd like to do two theses to the same department. If so, then you really should instead think of politely talking to your advisor and change the setting somehow. If you feel that the original work has promise then is it possible to change the advisor? Or change the topic? I've known a guy who became a PhD doing something he didn't like and it was consuming for him (to say the least). In fact he was a person who could've asked precisely the same question you did.

From that I gather that you're enthusiastic and want to do your best. Probably you don't want to hurt your advisor's feelings by doing something that would seem like you don't appreciate him/her. Don't worry about it. Have a talk and tell about your concerns and see what you can come up to. I'm quite sure you'll end up regretting it if you do your thesis when you're not comfortable with it.

And I'm pretty sure that they won't let you do another thesis, because it's a lot of work to everyone else too (even if it's not forbidden to do so).

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