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Thesis Seminar and Job Market Orientation (Religious Studies)


Admission requirements

The MA Thesis Seminar and Job Market Orientation class is mandatory for all students who wish to complete the MA Religious Studies in 2019-2020. The course is not open to any other students.


The course MA Thesis Seminar and Job Market Orientation consists of two modules.

The module Thesis Seminar supports the thesis writing process. It consists of five sessions in which we discuss how to formulate a good research question, how to manage the work process, and how to structure the argument of the thesis. The module also includes an advanced library workshop.

The module Job Market Orientation offers students an overview of the job and career prospects of religious studies alumni and stimulates students to reflect on their own skills and ambitions. It consists of four class sessions and three job market workshops organized by the students. In addition, over the course of the academic year, students are required to attend at least one academic or professional workshop or study day and report on it to the rest of the class.

Course objectives

Knowledge, insight, and content-bound skills
After successfully completing the MA Thesis Seminar and Job Market Orientation,

  • students can identify and describe the academic skills and virtues that the MA Religious Studies aims to confer:

  • students have an overview of the job and career prospects of religious studies alumni;

  • students have demonstrated their ability to formulate a research problem regarding a chosen topic, to set up a research design employing the most suitable methods and theories from the study-of-religion toolbox, and to carry out and report on their research according to the standards of the study of religion.

Transferable skills
After successfully completing the MA Thesis Seminar and Job Market Orientation,

  • students can identify and describe the academic skills and virtues they themselves possess;

  • students can set goals for their own professionalization and actively work towards realizing those goals;

  • students are confident with all aspects of the organization of a workshop (e.g., formulation of relevant program, contact with external speakers, booking and catering, advertising among the target group).


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

Individual supervision and seminar.

Assessment method


The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighed average of four marks:

  1. Academic skills and virtues portfolio (three ‘self-assessment and professional development assignments’ start semester 1, start semester 2, end of academic year; written report from attended academic or professional workshop): 25 %
  2. Thesis seminar portfolio (thesis idea and work plan; annotated bibliography; analysis of sample thesis; chapter-by-chapter outline): 25 %
  3. Organization of job market orientation workshop (group mark): 25 %
  4. Active participation in class discussions: 25 %


Please take note of the following: The final mark is determined as the weighed average of the foru marks. To pass the course, students must obtain at least a sufficient mark (5.5) as the weighed average of the four marks.


Students who score an overall insufficient mark for the course, may do a substitute written assignment of max 3000 words on job market prospects in the study of religion. This mark substitutes the marks for the academic skills and virtues portfolio, the organization of job market workshop, and active participation. Note: the thesis seminar portfolio can not be retaken. In addition, only students who scored a sufficient mark on their thesis seminar portfolio are entitled to hand in an MA thesis in 2020.

Exam review

Students receive individual, written feedback from the course instructor on each of the four sub-tests.

Reading list

Booth, Wayne C., Gregory G. Colomb, Joseph M. Williams, Joseph Bizup, and William T. FitzGerald (2016), The Craft of Research, fourth edition, Chicago & London: The University of Chicago Press. (Student may also use the third edition).


Students are required to register through uSis


Dr.S.A. Cramsey


Academic Integrity

Students are expected to be familiar with Leiden University policies on plagiarism and academic integrity. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. If you submit any work with your name affixed to it, it is assumed to be your own work with all sources used properly indicated and documented in the text (with quotations and/or citations).

Students with disabilities

The university is committed to supporting and accommodating students with disabilities as stated in the university protocol (especially pages 3-5). Students should contact Fenestra Disability Centre at least four weeks before the start of their courses to ensure that all necessary academic accommodations can be made in time conform the abovementioned protocol.