The thesis is the last phase of your research MA. It is based on original research (conducted largely during the research project in the third semester) and makes substantial use of primary material and scholarly literature. It is written in English, is maximally 30,000 words in length (including footnotes and bibliography, but excluding possible appendices), and reflects the scholarly virtues of originality, focus and concision.
The thesis must demonstrate the student’s ability to conduct original research under supervision, and to make a contribution to scholarship in a way that inspires confidence in the student’s ability to prepare written reports of good quality. Its author must show that they are conversant with the discourse that emerges from key publications in the field. Unless otherwise specified by the supervisor, the references should be formatted consistently in accordance with the Chicago Manual of Style or the American Anthropological Association Style Guide.. In consultation with the supervisor the format to be used can be determined, e.g. 1.5 spacing, with a standard font size (e.g. 12 pt Times New Roman or 10 pt Arial). Students should be aware that transgression of the stated length may lead to deductions in the grade.
The thesis is supervised by a staff member, preferable of one of the Institutes within the Faculty of Humanities involved in the MA Asian Studies (research) or the MA Middle Eastern studies (research) programme possessing the appropriate expertise in the field addressed in the thesis and holding a PhD degree. Students need to apply for a supervisor by 1 October in their first year by filling out this form. The supervisor will then be formally appointed by the Board of Examiners by the end of October. The form can be used to indicate the preferred supervisor(s). Note that in exceptional cases the supervisor may hold an appointment elsewhere than the above-named Faculty.
The official regulations regarding the Thesis of the Research Master are available as attachment to the Teaching and Examination Regulations of the MA Middle Eastern Studies (research) or the MA Asian Studies (research).
Throughout their 4th semester, students are in regular contact with their supervisor as they write their thesis. To facilitate this process and manage expectations, students and their supervisors are strongly advised to make clear appointments on when to meet, what to discuss during these meetings and what needs to be handed in when before the meetings. It is important to realize that students need to hand in and discuss the separate chapters of their thesis over the course of the semester. **They are not allowed to hand in a complete thesis at once at the end of the semester. **
Supervisors may not always be available during the periods when no classes are taught.
The Research Master thesis is assessed by at least two persons: a first reader (normally the supervisor) and a second reader, both appointed by the Board of Examiners. Both readers use a standard form for their assessment, in which the criteria are outlined. The second reader cannot have participated in the supervision of the thesis.
Defense of the Thesis
Students in the MA Middle Eastern Studies (research) or the MA Asian studies (research) programmes are required to defend their thesis publicly. This defense consists of an oral presentation of the thesis, of approximately 15 minutes, followed by a Q&A session with the two readers, of approximately 45 minutes. The defense is used to establish the final grade of the thesis.
Students do not need to register for this "course."
Rough time path
Graduation by 31 August
Students planning to graduate by 31 August need to hand in a first, complete version of their thesis by 1 June. The supervisor will then give feedback by 21 June. By 15 July the student must hand in the final version after which the first reader (in general the supervisor) and the second reader can assess it. The defense should take place before the end of August. This allows for sufficient time to officially graduate by 31 August.
Students are advised to discuss the actual time path with their supervisor as early as possible. Supervisors may not always be available during the periods when no classes are taught.
Graduation by 31 January
Students planning to graduate by 31 January need to hand in the first, complete version of their thesis by 1 December. Theses handed in by 1 December will receive feedback by 20 December. Students will have through the Christmas break to revise the thesis. By 7 January they will have to hand in the final version, after which the first reader (in general the supervisor) and the second reader can assess it. This allows for sufficient time to officially graduate on 31 January.
Students are advised to discuss the actual time path with their supervisor(s) as early as possible. Supervisors may have plans for research and may not always be available during the periods when no classes are taught.