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Master Thesis: Comparative Criminal Justice


Admission requirements

Students who want to take this course need to be admitted to the Comparative Criminal Justice master’s programme.

A prerequisite for this course is that students have achieved a ‘pass’ grade for the course Research Proposal.


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 comparative scope of the Master, a Criminal Justice thesis should have an international comparative dimension.

The master thesis builds on the preparatory work carried out in writing the research proposal in the previous semester. The student should have already conducted an extensive review of the literature, identified a relevant research question and designed a plan to address this question appropriately. In writing this thesis, the plan may be further polished and the student goes through the next steps involved in conducting research, that is: (1) conducting research, (2) analysing the collected data, and (3) 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 (impact evaluation);

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

  • Literature research (in the form of a systematic literature review or case law analysis) on a Criminal Justice problem or question, possibly in combination with (expert) interviews

Students are encouraged but not obliged to combine their thesis research with an internship. This can be a helpful orientation on the labour market and potentially give access to research problems and data. Students are supported in their search for internships and where available, research opportunities with faculty members will also be communicated.

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

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

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

  • Formulate policy recommendations on the basis of research findings.


The timetable of this course can be found in uSis.

Mode of instruction

Individual supervision

  • 3-5 supervisions

Assessment method

  • Final thesis (100%)

Submission procedures

  • All assignments must be admitted via Turnitin (Brightspace)

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

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 hours. The time and location will be announced through Brightspace 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

  • Room number: B3.11

  • E-mail: