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Thesis Research Master African Studies


Admission requirements

Compulsory for second year students of the ResMA AS program.


In this period students write their individual Research Masters Thesis. They are guided and supervised by two supervisors who are specialists in the field. Specific attention will be given to structuring an academic argument, digesting and analyzing empirical data and embedding research questions and their answers in current Africanist debates.

The thesis for the ResMA is 25 ec, and as a rule will not exceed a maximum of 30,000 words including notes, bibliography and appendices. The thesis is supervised by two supervisors, one of which is associated to the ResMA programme African Studies. The thesis is judged by the two thesis supervisors and a third reader.

Course objectives

  • Developing an academic argument based on empirical (fieldwork) data;

  • Applying theoretical perspectives to empirical findings;

  • Integrating methodological approaches and the analysis of empirical data.

  • Reflecting on one’s own positionality and experiences in the field.

  • Presentation of research findings in an academically sound written form.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

Writing a ResMA thesis under supervision of two academic supervisors

Assessment method

A completed ResMA thesis.

The thesis will be assessed on the following criteria:

  1. Knowledge and insight:
  • The research question is based on a problem that reflects insight into the key discussions and methods of the field;

  • Clarity, relevance, and definition of the problem;

  • Embedding in the existing literature;

  • Originality

  1. Application knowledge and insight:
  • Critical analysis of the material and sources (quality of the analysis);

  • Putting into practice and usage of concepts;

  • Usage secondary sources which are meant for an advanced academic audience;

  • Application of knowledge and insight into (unfamiliar) circumstances within a broader (or multidisciplinary) context;

  • Description and justification of the adopted method;

  • Originality / innovativeness of research subject;

  • Usage effective research methods.

  1. Reaching conclusions:
    Interpretation, argumentation, conclusion:
  • Logical and consistent reasoning; conclusions are well-founded and follow logically from the presented material;

  • The degree to which the thesis question is actually answered;

  • Degree to which results are connected to other and future research;

  • Critical reflection on the own role as researcher (social and ethical responsibilities);

  • Critical reflection on the existing theories and methods in the field, which push back the frontiers of knowledge;

  • Innovativeness of findings;

  • Social and ethical aspects taken into consideration in reaching a conclusion.

  1. Communication:
    Writing skills, structure:
  • Language use (language of instruction and/ or target language of the programme: degree of linguistic competence, readability, style, spelling, grammar, use and explanation correct terminology);

  • Structure and layout of the thesis (division into chapters and sections, table of contents, used illustrations);
    Apparatus including annotations (correct use of reference guidelines, completeness of references, bibliography, etc.).

  1. Learning skills:
    Process with:
  • Degree of independence;

  • Planning and time management;

  • Handling feedback supervisors;

  • If applicable: participation in thesis group;

The two supervisors and the third reader will use an assessment form to grade the thesis. During the academic year, the thesis will be graded within four weeks. Between 1 June and 31 August it may take six weeks at the most. The first supervisor is in charge of the evaluation process.

Reading list



Students do not need to register for their thesis. They are required to contact potential supervisors by themselves before the fieldwork starts.


For questions related to the content of the course, please contact the lecturer, you can find their contact information by clicking on their name in the sidebar.

For questions regarding enrollment please contact the Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats
E-mail address Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats:

For questions regarding your studyprogress please contact the Coordinator of Studies