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Thesis: Law and Society


Admission requirements

This course is open to students enrolled in the Master Law and Society, who have successfully concluded the course Thesis Proposal.


The writing of a thesis is the final project of the master Law and Society. Writing a thesis is generally regarded as one of the hardest and the most fun part of pursuing a master degree. It brings together previously acquired skills such as identifying relevant Law and Society issues, applying concepts and theories to socio-legal challenges, academic writing skills and the formulation of an autonomous and substantiated argument—all in one single project. It functions as proof of academic competence.

Course objectives

Through the thesis the student demonstrates:

  • The ability to independently develop, conduct, and report on scientific socio-legal research, including the identification of appropriate research methods and techniques, and the necessary data management and time management skills.

  • The ability to apply the knowledge and understanding acquired throughout the curriculum in a scientific manner, and use these for the research question of the thesis.

  • The ability to communicate through writing in a clear and comprehensive manner, and develop synthetic conclusions drawn from socio-legal analysis.

  • Substantial specialized knowledge of the subject selected for the thesis.


Not applicable.

Mode of instruction


The thesis is an individual project. The student and the supervisor together decide on the desired mode of supervision. Supervision consists of at least one individual meeting at the start of the programme, one individual meeting halfway and a meeting to discuss a full draft of the thesis document, provided the student has handed this in on time. Additionally, students have the right to an exit meeting after the thesis has been graded by the first and second supervisor.

Assessment method

Examination form(s)

Assessment of the thesis takes place on the basis of the thesis grading rubric. The first and second supervisor evaluate the thesis independently from each other, and then discuss and agree on the grade to be awarded. In case the first and second supervisor cannot come to an agreement on the appropriate grade, a third supervisor is appointed by the head of the VVI.

In case of an insufficient grade, the student receives clear and timely feedback from the supervisor on how the thesis needs to be improved. The student then has till 15 August to resubmit, in order for the resit to be graded and processed before the administrative end of the academic year.

Reading list

Obligatory course materials

Information and reading materials will be distributed via Brightspace.


Check the website under “course and exam enrollment” for information on how to register for the course.

Contact information

  • Coordinator: dr. Matthew Canfield

  • Work address: KOG (Steenschuur 25 Leiden)

  • Telephone number: +31 (0)71 5277260

  • Email:


  • Institute: The Institute for the Interdisciplinary Study of the Law

  • Department: Van Vollenhoven Institute for Law, Governance & Society

  • Room number secretary: KOG (Steenschuur 25 Leiden), room B1.14

  • Opening hours: Monday till Thursday and Friday morning

  • Telephone number secretary: +31 (0)71 527 7260

  • Email:


In case of (corona)restrictions imposed by the government, this course description is subject to change.