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Thesis Criminology and Criminal Justice


Admission requirements

Students who want to take this course need to be admitted to the Criminal Justice master’s program (Crime and Criminal Justice).


Every student is required to write a final thesis on a topic of his or her choice. It is important to choose a thesis subject well, because a master thesis is often considered to be an entry ticket to the labour market. You are encouraged to look for something you find especially interesting, that fits your profile, that crowns your work, yet that is feasible within the amount of time reserved for writing the thesis.

The Criminal Justice thesis has to be an original contribution to Criminal Justice studies/ Criminology, i.e. it should deal with a research question that has not already been exhaustively discussed in one or more publications. It is more than an exercise of reproducing what others have written about a given topic. A discussion of current literature should serve as a basis in which your research question is embedded. In addition, given the international scope of the Master, a Criminal Justice thesis should have an international dimension.

Coming up with an interesting and relevant research question is part of the academic work of writing a final thesis. In writing this thesis, you go through all steps involved in conducting research, that is: (1) identifying a research question, (2) designing, operationalizing, and conducting research, (3) analysing the collected data, and (4) writing the final thesis. Your thesis research can take several forms. Examples include:

  • Empirical social-scientific and/ or socio-legal research that yields new insights and thereby contributes to the current body of knowledge on a Criminal Justice topic;

  • Evaluation research that analyses the effects and/or possible unwanted side-effects of a specific policy, law or intervention in the field of Criminal Justice;

  • Evaluation research that analyses how Criminal Justice actors or institutions function by scrutinizing how policies, laws or interventions are implemented;

  • Literature research (also including jurisprudence and legislation) on a Criminal Justice problem or question which, possibly in combination with expert interviews, results in a policy plan or recommendations for the legislature;

  • Systematic review of the literature, meta-analysis or realist synthesis when there is uncertainty about the effectiveness of a specific Criminal Justice policy, law or intervention.

Course objectives
Upon completing this course, you will be able to (depending on the thesis format)

  • Adequately analyze a Criminal Justice problem by applying knowledge of social-scientific or legal theory;

  • Professionally and independently carry out research and report on it;

  • Formulate policy recommendations on the basis of research results;


The timetable of this course can be found in uSis.

Mode of instruction


  • 2

Assessment method

  • One assignment (thesis proposal)

  • Final thesis

Course grades are determined by

  • Final thesis (100%)

Submission procedures

  • All assignments must be admitted via SafeAssign (Blackboard)

Employability and (academic) career

This course prepares participants to plan and carry out an independent and original piece of desk-based or empirical research and showcases the skills and knowledge acquired during the master’s programme. The following skills that play a central role during this course are directly transferrable to the labor market:

  • Writing skills

  • Academic/research skills

  • Critical thinking

  • Policy development

Contact information

  • Course coordinator: mw. Dr. E.F.J.C. van Ginneken

  • Availability: Through the secretariat.

  • Phone: 071-5277462

  • E-mail:

Consultation hour:
If you have any questions or problems you can send an email to the course coordinator ( or you can come by during the consultation. The time and location will be announced through Blackboard at the start of the course. If you want to make use of this option, please send an email in advance to notify that you are coming. In principal, it is not possible to schedule an appointment at another time.


  • Institute: Criminal Law and Criminology

  • Department: Criminology

  • Opening hours: 09.00 to 12.30

  • Telephone secretariat: 071 – 527 74 62

  • E-mail: