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Thesis Proposal: Law and Society


Admission requirements

This course is open to students enrolled in the Master Law and Society.


This module introduces students to research design and proposal writing. Through the course, students will learn to craft research questions, to anchor them in theoretical frameworks, and to critically reflect on the epistemic politics of socio-legal research. The course is designed, in tandem with the Researching Law and Society course, to help students to develop a concrete and actionable research proposal for their Master’s Thesis. In addition, students will be assigned to a supervisor on the basis of their research topic (combined with the capacity of available staff) and grouped with peers focusing on similar topics to help them develop their thesis proposals.

Each assignment focuses on a specific part of the proposal and builds on the former ones. Assignments are made individually, geared towards the individual thesis exploration. Additional to the assignments, students use this timeframe to read literature to add to the bibliography of their own projects. Class meetings are used to receive input on their own work and to learn by reflecting on the work of peers. Upon conclusion students have a full draft thesis proposal. This proposal must be approved by their supervisor, in order for students to continue with the thesis.

Course objectives

Objectives of the course

At the end of this course, students will be able to

  • Conduct a literature survey resulting in knowledge of the area of research;

  • Theoretically anchor their research question;

  • Evaluate the utility of various methods in relation to the research question;

  • Give and receive feedback;

  • Reflect on feedback received and defend choices;

  • Write an academically sound and feasible research proposal;

  • Orally present their research plans;

  • Motivate and justify their research question;

  • Write a workplan and time schedule.


The timetable of this course can be found here.

Mode of instruction


  • Number of (2 hour) seminars: 8 with additional meetings with Thesis Advisors and workgroups

  • Name of instructors: Amalia Campos Delgado and Matthew Canfield

  • Required preparation by students: Short practical assignments, thesis proposal and labor market interview

  • All students are required to attend and actively participate during seminars.

All students are required to attend and actively participate during seminars.

Assessment method

Examination form(s)

Throughout the course, students will draft different sections of the Thesis Proposal. The final thesis proposal will be evaluated on a go/no go basis by the thesis supervisor. In case of an insufficient thesis proposal, the student will receive clear and timely feedback from the supervisor on how the proposal needs to be improved. A new deadline will be set in mutual consultation with the student, though no later than the end of the next block. If the resubmitted proposal again fails to meet the thesis supervisor, the student cannot continue with the thesis.

Assessment of the thesis proposal will take place on the format of the rubric used to assess the final thesis, abbreviated to those categories relevant for the proposal. The proposal will also be assessed based on feasibility.

Submission of a labor market interview is a condition for passing this course.

Reading list

Obligatory course materials

All information and reading materials will be distributed via Brightspace.


Students have to register for the lectures and working groups through uSis. With this registration you have access to the digital learning environment of this course in Brightspace. You may register up to 5 calendar days before the first teaching session begins.

Students have to register for exams and retakes through uSis. With this registration you also have access to the digital learning environment of this course in Brightspace You may register up to 10 calendar days before the exam or retake.

Contact information

  • Coordinator: dr. mr. Danielle Chevalier (subject to change)

  • Work address: KOG (Steenschuur 25 Leiden), room B1.20

  • Telephone number: +31 (0)71 5271039

  • Email:


  • Institute: The Institute for the Interdisciplinary Study of the Law

  • Department: Van Vollenhoven Institute for Law, Governance & Society

  • Room number secretary: KOG (Steenschuur 25 Leiden), room B1.14

  • Opening hours: Monday till Thursday and Friday morning

  • Telephone number secretary: +31 (0)71 527 7260

  • Email: