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MIRD Master Thesis


Admission requirements

Only students of the Advanced MSc International Relations and Diplomacy can take this course.


The MSc programme in International Relations and Diplomacy requires, besides the completion of the courses, the writing of a thesis. In the thesis, the student demonstrates his or her ability to apply the acquired knowledge and skills to a topic in the field of international relations and diplomacy. It is advised to select a topic related to the coursework followed, and particular attention should be paid to a conceptual or theoretical framework and a good methodology as acquired in the various courses in the programme.The thesis should be about 50 pages in length (between 16.000 and 24.000 words including tables and footnotes). A proposal for the thesis is prepared in the context of the Thesis Laboratory during block 3. In the Thesis Laboratory the conceptual, methodological and technical aspects of the proposal are emphasised; however, in the process of supervision adaptations may still be made.

Course objectives

In the Master’s thesis, students learn to conduct largely independent academic research. They carry out the plans developed in the framework of the thesis proposal and demonstrate their ability to conduct research at a level that meets the requirements of sound academic inquiry and presentation.



Mode of instruction

Students work on their thesis under the supervision of an instructor, but carry out the planned research in a largely independent manner.

  • In the ‘Thesis Laboratory’ offered during block 3 a thesis proposal is developed. Students pass the Thesis Laboratory course when their proposal is graded as a pass by the instructor.

  • The student works on the thesis with the supervisor during the fourth block. The supervisor, besides giving guidance on individual chapters, gives comments and suggestions on a complete draft version before the final version is submitted. The deadline for the first complete draft should be set for the beginning of May in consultation with the supervisor.

  • The deadline for the final version of the thesis is May 22, 2024. The student hands in the final version to the supervisor and the second reader. The thesis should also be submitted electronically as a Turnitin Assignment (on Brightspace).

  • The supervisor and second reader evaluate the thesis during a period of three weeks (15 working days). A thesis evaluation form is filled out highlighting the comments of both the supervisor and the second reader.

  • Student presents findings at the MIRD Thesis Symposium. This is not graded.

Assessment method

The final result will be evaluated by the supervisor and a second reader.

The thesis evaluation is based on specific criteria, among others clarity of research goals and questions, quality of theoretical and conceptual framework, methodology, academic and social relevance, originality, legibility and presentation.

The final version of the Master’s thesis needs to be submitted as a Turnitin Assignment (next to submission to both the first and the second reader).

Delayed students have the right to submit at the end of each block, if they have already completed thesis lab successfully.

  • Tuesday, 31 October 2023

  • Friday, 29 December 2023

  • Friday, 29 March 2024

  • Block 4 deadline consistent with the Thesis course deadline (22 May 2024)

Please note, you are only entitled to one more feedback moment with your supervisor if you failed or failed to submit.

Reading list

Various books, journal articles and manuscripts relevant to the topic of the students’ Master thesis.


Register yourself via uSis for each course, workgroup and exam (not all courses have workgroups and/or exams). Do so on time, before the start of the course; some courses and workgroups have limited spaces. You can view your personal schedule in MyTimetable after logging in.

Registration for this course is possible from Wednesday 13 December 13.00h

Leiden University uses Brightspace as its online learning management system. After enrolment for the course in uSis you will be automatically enrolled in the Brightspace environment of this course.


Naya Pessoa, JD
Prof. Dr. Madeleine Hosli


Thesis supervisors will be allocated by the programme based on the students thesis proposal developed in the course research design. The supervisors are allocated on the basis of the research topic and availability of supervisors from Leiden University, the Clingendael Institute a.o.

If a student is delayed s/he can resubmit at the end of each block in the following academic year.