Communication for Business, Media and Culture


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Admissions and enrolment
2 Years
Degree Classes
LM-19 (Informazione e sistemi editoriali) - LM-59 (Scienze della comunicazione pubblica, d'impresa e pubblicità)

The Degree Programme in Communication for Business, Media and Culture identifies a number of guidelines for the preparation of the graduate dissertation.

The following criteria are guidelines and will be used by each professor/lecturer according to the specifics of the subject.

There is a Dissertation Workshop (1 ECTS), with compulsory attendance. The workshop provides support for the correct drafting and design of the final paper, in line with the Dissertation Regulations.


1. Types of dissertations

The dissertation is electively an empirical and applied research pathway.

It must include an adequate review of the literature on the subject, with particular attention to the most recent developments in the debate; the focusing of a research question; the identification of the most appropriate research methodologies to the problem identified and their application to a sample constructed according to scientific criteria, of quantitative or qualitative representativeness. The dissertation should conclude with an interpretation of the empirical results in the light of the state of knowledge on the subject.

The graduate dissertation that only includes the descriptive empirical case is not an adequate content. The empirical case must be placed within a theoretical debate; its salience in the reference scenario must be demonstrated by means of an appropriate preliminary analysis that highlights its exemplarity with respect to a cluster or a trend; the results of the analysis must be commensurate with the exemplarity of the case itself.

The possibility of conducting theoretical dissertations is foreseen if practised on topics that have been little explored or for which the reference literature is particularly fragmented and dispersed. This work must include appropriate use of literature sources and philological and methodological research tools. The candidate must show adequate capacity for selecting knowledge; selective use of sources and original and insightful definition of the state of the art on the topics covered by the dissertation; also highlighting any research gaps.

The Graduate degree dissertation can usefully be realised in synergy with curricular internship and placement activities or study-abroad programmes carried out during the Graduate degree programme.

2. Assessment of the contribution

The Graduate degree dissertation is assessed on the basis of

  • clear formulation of research questions and their salience in relation to the debate;
  • ability to develop the research path independently;
  • a) correct use of sources b) appropriate methodological approach to the research c) soundness of the arguments d) ability to interpret the results obtained in order to produce a scientifically valid and useful contribution to the advancement of knowledge;
  • effective presentation of the results of the dissertation in the final examination.

3. Dissertation evaluation

The graduate dissertation work confers  10 ECTS to the students and will be assessed on a scale of 0 to 7+1 points, as follows:

  • 0 to 2 points: descriptive and summarising dissertation of a topic, which does not show any appreciable aspects of originality and personal interpretation;
  • 3 to 4 points: dissertation that partially achieved its objectives, but where the descriptive and summary dimension still prevails;
  • 5 to 6 points: good dissertation that met the objectives set, and that made a prevailing effort in terms of interpretation and well-founded and original commentary;
  • 7 points: excellent research dissertation, presenting all the characteristics of scientific work: originality, mastery of the literature, appropriateness of the methodology used, significance of the results and their interpretation.
  • 7+1: Excellent research dissertation which, in addition to having all the characteristics of a scientific work, is distinguished by having excelled in one or more of the above aspects.

In the case of proposals for marks of the 7+1 type, the Graduation Committee may unanimously decide to award honours during the defence. The awarding of honours cannot therefore depend solely on the curriculum and average achieved.

4. Dissertation defence

The defence usually lasts 15 minutes. The effectiveness of the presentation of the dissertation and the candidate's ability to justify the research route contribute to the final assessment (see point 2)

5. Language of the dissertation

The dissertation may also be written in a language other than Italian. With regard to the defence, the referent professor/lecturer must check with the chair of the committee that it is possible to proceed with the use of the language in which the dissertation was written.

6. Filing of the dissertation topic

The deposit of the dissertation topic takes place approximately 6 months before the presumed date of the final examination. The candidate must agree on the topic with a professor/lecturer from one of the courses of study, who will become the dissertation supervisor. Co-tutorships are possible with professors/lecturers from other universities and with professors/lecturers who hold seminars in the degree programme: they will be dissertation co-authors. In the case of co-tutorships, the professor/lecturer must inform the coordinator of the degree programme, who will then apply to the Dean of the Faculty for authorisation.

The deadlines for depositing the dissertation topic are defined by the Student Service and published on the University website on the Faculty page.

7. Submitting a graduation application

The application for graduation must be submitted approximately 45 days before the expected date of the graduation examination; the candidate must contact his or her professors/lecturer to have the application signed. An application for a graduation can only be submitted if the research and drafting work is already at an advanced stage. The deadlines for submitting programme applications are decided by the Student Services and published on the University website on the Faculty page.

8. Failure to complete the graduation project

Students who are unable to complete their graduate dissertation within the time allowed must immediately inform the supervising professor/lecturer and the Student Services. The graduation application is specific to a single session; in the event of its cancellation, the student is required to resubmit a new application within the deadline published on the University website on the Faculty page.

How do you approach the theoretical chapter?
The theoretical chapter(s) of the graduate dissertation are based on the 'classic' literature (manuals, fundamental reference texts), which the student is assumed to possess (and if not, must consolidate beforehand), but it must primarily include the recent debate, with particular reference to the last five to ten years.

Where are the sources for constructing the theoretical chapter(s)?
The Library and its electronic resources are the first and fundamental point of reference. Good research starts with an exhaustive reconnaissance of bibliographic sources, through the use of the Encore meta-search engine or through the use of more specific search engines indicated by the supervisor.

Which sources are eligible for the theoretical chapter?
The student's ability to discern sources is an element in the evaluation of the dissertation work. Scientific sources are essays or texts published in journals recognised by the relevant scientific community. Wikipedia is not a scientific source, but it is a useful source if the aim is to give an account of the widespread opinion or 'popularisation' on a certain theme or topic. 

How do I handle reference materials once I have collected them?
The best way to proceed is to index the documents (in electronic or paper format). For database searches (see point 2) it is advisable to note in a table the search engines used, the keywords entered, the number of results obtained and the number of essays/texts relevant to the theme of the dissertation and selected. Such a table (which proves the extent of the theoretical research work carried out by the student) may appropriately find its way into the appendix of the dissertation.

How do I handle reference materials once I have collected them / 2?
Once the bibliographical material has been collected, it is useful to draw up short sheets, noting the most relevant themes and aspects for the research being conducted and taking out exemplary quotations, which can then be referred to in the dissertation.
Warning: copying portions of text without declaring it is plagiarism. Plagiarism is an offence that invalidates the dissertation.

I have a lot of sources, how do I deal with them in the theoretical chapter?
The theoretical chapter should give the state of the debate on the topic of the dissertation and show the student's ability to master it. From the theoretical chapter, the following should emerge: the themes/aspects of the topic that are most treated; those that are least treated or absent from the scientific debate; for each topic (except for the absent ones), the debate should be reconstructed: what the different authors say, taking care to bring out both the points of contact and the diversity of perspectives. The theoretical chapter also serves to provide the "dimensions" (read also aspects and criteria) currently used in the analysis and interpretation of the research object/field and which can be appropriately taken up in the empirical-application part of the dissertation.

How is the sample for empirical research constructed?
The sample is not built up by speciously (i.e.: as it suits us best!) choosing case studies, but by setting selection criteria and collecting all cases that meet those criteria. For example. I want to analyse how much and how social media are used by Italian companies. First of all, I have to narrow the field! I can focus on companies operating in a specific sector, e.g. 'coffee'. If even then the number is too high, I can introduce a further filter: for example, the size of the company, which can be estimated through the market share it occupies or other indicators. And so on. The criteria I use to size the sample must be verifiable, i.e. they must refer to certified sources and verifiable data.

Once I have defined the sample, how do I proceed?
It depends on the objectives of the dissertation and the methods. One possibility is to proceed in two steps.
- The first step is the clustering of the sample. Let us return to the example in point 7. I have identified 24 brands of coffee companies and, given the objectives of this dissertation, I can sort them into groups/families by referring to their web presence: how many social spaces they occupy; how active they are (how much content the companies post on average); how vital the environments are (how many followers, how active they are in responding)... By cross-referencing the data (again, observable and ascertainable) I can proceed to group together the brands that adopt similar strategies.
- The second step is qualitative analysis. For each group constructed, I identify a case or cases, which I can subject to a more in-depth analysis, using different methods and tools (the supervisor will help you!), to investigate the phenomenon in greater depth.

The three most frequent (and least important) questions?
- How long should the Graduate degree dissertation be? The problem is not the length, but the appropriateness of the research question. Setting up the dissertation as outlined above will require at least 140 pages to develop the research question, define the sample and conduct the analysis.
- How many chapters should the Graduate degree dissertation include? It is recommended to imagine at least 4 chapters, or even more. Short chapters are easier to handle and reduce the risk of missing the point, introducing unnecessary topics, etc.
- How do you write notes? How do you cite sources? Ask your supervisor. If you have no preference, pick up any volume and stick to the editorial standards it uses. The important thing is to report sources in full and to use a single citation and source system throughout the dissertation.

Why do I have to engage in dissertation writing?
The dissertation is an important business card with which one presents oneself in the world of work. An experimental dissertation, grappling with strategic and new issues, is an important driver of promotion and personal branding. The dissertation should therefore be seen not as the end of your studies, but as the start of your career.

Is it useful to prepare a Power Point presentation of the dissertation?
Presenting something and presenting yourself in the best possible way is a key competence for CIMO graduates. In general, the PPT presentation is useful if you have something to show (graphs, images,...). Otherwise, it is preferable to choose other media (e.g. brochures to be distributed to committee members). Discuss with your professor/lecturer the most effective and appropriate tool and remember: the defence is not an exam, but an opportunity to give an account of the work you have done and to discuss it with an attentive and interested audience.

Where can I find the final examination calendar?
The calendar with the final examinations and some general information on administrative procedures can be found at the FOLLOWING LINK.
Please note that, for dissertations, CIMO follows the calendar of the Faculty of Humanities.

The aim of the Dissertation Workshop is to provide support for the correct drafting and design of the final dissertation, in line with the dissertation regulations and in accordance with the educational objectives of the study programme.

Students are invited to accrue the ECTS required for participation in the Dissertation Workshop BEFORE the start of the dissertation writing.

Before taking part in the workshop, it is the student's responsibility to read the Rules, the InTesi material (booklet and video by the CIMO faculty), the FAQ.

The Dissertation Workshop will explore the following topics:

  • how to set up and carry out systematic review and scenario analysis;
  • how to evaluate and make correct use of the sources found;
  • how to correctly set up research methodology; the difference between quantitative and qualitative empirical research;
  • how to structure introduction and conclusion;
  • how to prepare a presentation for defence and how to effectively set up the final speech.

The workshop will be repeated in several editions during the academic year. Students will be informed in advance by their contact person.

During the workshop, the bureaucratic aspects (application, title, dissertation delivery, etc.) will not be dealt with, as this is the responsibility of the student, who must refer to the information available online and at the relevant offices.

Attendance at the Dissertation Workshop is MANDATORY and will result in 1 ECTS after registering for the appropriate call.

The calendar with graduation examinations and some general information on administrative procedures can be found at the FOLLOWING LINK

Please note that, for dissertations, CIMO follows the calendar of the Faculty of Humanities.