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Master Thesis



The MSc 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 and a good methodology as acquired in the various courses in the program.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 emphasized; 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.


On the Public Administration front page of the E-guide you will find links to the website and timetables, uSis and Blackboard.

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.

  1. In the ‘Thesis Laboratory’ offered during block 3 a thesis proposal is developed.
    1. The instructor of the Thesis Laboratory will facilitate the assignment of supervisors and second readers in consultation with the partner institutions involved in the program.
    2. Students pass the Thesis Laboratory course when their proposal is graded by the instructor; thereafter the proposal must be submitted to the supervisor and second reader for approval. The latter may ask for adaptations.
    3. 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.
    4. The deadline for the final version of the thesis is May 20, 2016. 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 Blackboard).
    5. The supervisor and second reader evaluate the thesis during a period of 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.
    6. At this last meeting the back side of the evaluation form with the non-plagiarism and publication statement is also filled out.
    7. After the last meeting the student submits the thesis in pdf format to be uploaded in the Leiden MSc International Relations and Diplomacy Master Thesis Repository.

Course Load

15 EC.

Assessment method

The writing of the thesis will be supervised by a staff member from the Faculty Campus The Hague, the Institute of Political Science or the Netherlands Institute of International Relations (Clingendael). The final result will be evaluated by the supervisor and a second reader (each from a different institute). 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 turned in as a Turnitin Assignment (next to submission in hardcopy format to both the first and the second advisor).

Reading list

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


Use both uSis and Blackboard to register for every course.
Register for every course and workgroup via uSis. Some courses and workgroups have a limited number of participants, so register on time (before the course starts). In uSis you can access your personal schedule and view your results. Registration in uSis is possible from four weeks before the start of the course.
Also register for every course in Blackboard. Important information about the course is posted here.


Ragnhild Drange
Coordinator MIRD