No more bachelor thesis – students will write Wikipedia entries instead


To everyone's surprise, and to delight of internet users, University of Medical Sciences in Poznan, Poland, decided to cease writing bachelor thesis. They are useless. The truth is - and it is like that in Poland, as well as in many other countries - that no one reads them. Only the author, supervisor and official reviewers know what is inside the thesis. Later on, these papers lie on university's shelves for years, require proper storage, and bring no benefit to the people.

Therefore, the University came up with a great idea – instead of writing old-school texts, predestined to catch dust for years, let's make our students finish their bachelor degrees with professional Wikipedia entries on the variety of medical topics. Under the supervision of their professors, and with an official reviewing. That's the way to solve the problem of piling up volumes, and the way to improve the content and quality of Polish Wikipedia. Not to mention benefits for Internet users. As one of the students noted: instead of copying Wikipedia, it's better to create it!

The new form of obtaining the degree will apply to all undergraduate courses. Thanks to this idea, Polish Wikipedia will be enriched by a number of professionally prepared articles on medicine, and other medicine-related sciences like biotechnology, nutrition, hygiene, or dentistry. All entries will be prepared under the supervision, just as it is in case of traditional bachelor and master degrees.

It is worth noting, that the works will be also reviewed by thousands of Polish Wikipedia authors and enthusiasts. They will check whether it is original, and well sourced. Poor text will not survive. By the way, it is good to observe the change in the way polish scientific community looks at the Wikipedia. For me, it is the best source of knowledge available, and I claim that who despises Wikipedia, does not understand its essence. Do you think that Wikipedia is full of garbage? Try to edit any article - in a stupid way - and see how long this edit will survive online.

Of course, the whole idea of Poznan's university applies only to theoretical works. Theses, which have a character of research reports, as well as theses in engineering, where the aim is to present things designed for future implementation will not find place in encyclopedia.

Currently University of Medical Sciences expects an opinion from their lawyers, on the feasibility of the idea. If it will turn out to be positive, the change will come into force and will be implemented starting from people beginning their studies this year.

I really believe that although studies are worth it – writing BSc and MSc theses is a waste of time. The same with PhD. The latter is a special case - writing a dissertation usually takes several months and does not bring anything particularly significant to your scientific development. Therefore, in some countries, it is allowed not to write the PhD thesis, but to present the set of your already published scientific papers (usually preceded by an introduction, making the whole cohesive). Unfortunately, not yet in Poland!

[ In Poland, bachelor's degree is called a licencjat (licentiate). It is typically a three- or four-year degree. Students completing a licencjat often go on to complete a magister's degree (there's no way to skip it and proceed to PhD directly) ]