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International Relations and Diplomacy Master Thesis


MAIRD thesis

The Master program 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 as acquired in the various courses in the program.

The thesis should be between 40 pages (16.000 words) and 60 pages (24.000 words, absolute maximum) in length, including tables and footnotes. A proposal for the thesis is prepared in the context of the Thesis Lab during block 2. In the Thesis Lab, the methodological and technical aspects of the proposal are emphasized; the precise conceptual and theoretical design may be adjusted in the process of supervision.
The writing of the thesis will be supervised by a staff member of the Department of Political Science or of the Institute Clingendael. The final result will be evaluated by the supervisor and a second reader (one of which among he staff of the Department of Political Science, one of which of Clingendael). The thesis evaluation is based on specific criteria, among others clarity of research goals and questions, quality of theoretical and conceptual framework, academic and social relevance originality, legibility and presentation.

1. In the course ‘Thesis Laboratory’ offered during block 2 (semester 1) a thesis proposal is developed.
2. During block 2, the department provides a list of staff members available for the supervision of Master’s theses in the IRD program. In the month of November, the student will indicate his or her preference for a thesis topic as well as a supervisor to the coordinator for thesis supervision, Dr F. Meijerink. The Director of Studies assigns the supervisor.
3. The thesis supervisor may require adjustments in the proposal and approves the thesis proposal by January 28, 2011.
4. The Director of Studies assigns a second reader, who must also approve the proposal by February 21. The supervisor ensures that a copy of the proposal signed by the supervisor and the second reader is submitted to the Political Science secretariat.
5. The student works on the thesis with the supervisor during the second semester. The supervisor, besides giving guidance on individual chapters, gives comments and suggestions on a complete draft version before the final version is submitted.
6. The deadline for final version of the thesis is June 10, 2011. The student hands in the final version to the supervisor and the second reader and a third copy to the secretariat. The thesis should also be submitted electronically through Ephorus.
7. The supervisor and second reader evaluate the thesis during a period up to three weeks (15 working days). A thesis evaluation form is filled out and a meeting is scheduled to discuss the comments of both the supervisor and the second reader. If a meeting in person is not possible, the evaluation and comments will be communicated by email.

Staff members available for thesis supervision in 2010-2011:

  • Hosli

  • Seymour

  • De Wijk

  • Van Willigen

  • Van Cranenburgh

  • Van der Meulen

  • Drieskens

  • d’Hooghe

  • Melissen

In very special circumstances it is possible to ask for a supervisor not mentioned in the list. In these exceptional cases four conditions must be fulfilled: 1) the thesis deals with a topic and research question that can solely be supervised by the preferred staff member; 2) this topic and research question cannot be changed or adjusted to make supervision by another supervisor possible; 3) a written and substantiated request has to be agreed to by the Director of Studies; and 4) the preferred supervisor agrees to supervise the thesis.