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Graduation Project Applied Archaeology


Admission requirements

Admission to the Master Archaeology programme, specifically the track Applied Archaeology.


The Graduation Project Applied Archaeology is the masterpiece that demonstrates that you can plan, write and execute an academic research project autonomously while taking into account the environmental and/or societal conditions of the project and/or the expectations of a potential client/commissioner including a responsibility to the ‘client’.

A graduation project consists of an academic research resulting in an associated, societal relevant product which derives new knowledge, insights or views. You apply what you have learned so far, you gain (new) knowledge, all the while operating as an independent researcher.
The project is based on data derived from material culture, fieldwork, laboratory work or societal research, historical sources and/or academic literature. You have to apply what you have learned, develop (new) knowledge and be able to operate as an independent researcher.

A project should be based on a good and complete data description, in-depth data analysis and informed, well-argued interpretation. The research should be positioned in a broader field and should consist of a critical analysis on the theoretical and/or methodical perspectives that are related to the research goal and questions.

A graduation project results in an academic paper and an associated ‘product’. The ‘product’ is a real creation related to or preferably commissioned by a client, and can take different forms:

  • Policy document: for example evaluating policies including recommendations, impact analyses of policy, site management plan

  • Landscape (3D)model, archaeological expectation or value maps

  • An excavations’ catalogue or database

  • A public archaeology related product

  • etc.

To safeguard the academic level of the project the ‘product’ is accompanied by a scientific-style academic paper of approximately 10,000-15,000 words in which the product is embedded in an academic framework which includes among others academic relevance, goal and questions, and a critical reflection upon the framework and the project.
The academic paper includes figures and tables necessary to support your argument (this equals roughly 20-30 pages of text in total; figures, tables, references and appendices not included). Please note that the length of the paper is not a norm in itself, but too many pages are not permitted. See webpage Thesis and paper writing.

The first supervisor has to agree on the proposal before the start of the project; the project needs to be feasible and relevant, showing the student's academic knowledge and skills. The supervisor should be able to supervise the research topic. Therefore, the subject should be related to the research themes of staff members from the Faculty of Archaeology/Saxion University of Applied Sciences.

You choose a subject and ask an examiner affiliated to the topic for approval and supervision. In consultation with the supervisor you formulate a project proposal for which a format can be found on Brightspace. In this proposal the following needs to be addressed:

  • Preliminary title

  • Scientific context: why is this research important?

  • Research goal and (sub)questions

  • Dataset and its availability

  • Project design, approach and/or methodology

  • Contents

  • Realistic time frame: which steps are necessary to execute the project within the proposed time frame (for commissioned projects: taking into account the deadline as set by the client)

  • Valorisation of the results

  • Literature list of at least 5 sources

The proposal needs to be approved of by the Board of Examiners (see webpage Board of Examiners)

Course set-up

In the first block of each semester, a compulsory series of tutorials is offered that consist of general lectures and presentations by students.

Individual supervision
Meetings with the supervisor.
The student approaches a staff member with a request to act as supervisor. The student is expected to meet regularly with their supervisor (and occasionally with the client/commissioner) throughout the trajectory to discuss work that has been submitted prior to the meeting (e.g.: research plan, chapter, draft thesis). The student and supervisor meet approximately 5 times, online or in person.

Phase 1:

  • Initial meeting to discuss the research topic.

  • Meeting to discuss the supervisor’s feedback on the draft of your research proposal uploaded in Brightspace.

Phase 2:

  • Meeting to discuss the supervisor’s feedback on thesis progress (Please note that this meeting should be based on text or data that was handed in before the meeting).

Phase 3:

  • Meeting to discuss the supervisor’s final feedback on the complete first draft.

Deadlines are listed below.

Course objectives

For the academic paper; ability to:

  • Define subject and formulate clear, adequate and meaningful research goal(s) and questions;

  • Propose, select and apply an adequate and relevant methodology;

  • Collect and interpret data using sufficient and relevant primary scientific literature and dealing with the limitations of the data;

  • Justify used methods and/or approaches and to contextualise and analyse the results;

  • Relate the research to a broader academic debate and current theoretical and/or methodological perspectives;

  • Write in a correct academic style and present the research in a coherent, well-argued and logically formulated text, supported by adequate and relevant tables and figures and a structured layout;

  • Show a critical attitude and use feedback of stakeholders/thesis supervisor(s) in a constructive way.

For the product; ability to:

  • Define the goal and relating questions, the clients' objectives and the importance and necessity of the product;

  • Collect, analyse, interpret and critically assess the data needed for the product;

  • Deliver a relevant and high quality product (content and presentation) meeting the stated objectives and/or to formulate and explain where it falls short;

  • Take into account the environmental conditions and scientific insights of the project and/or the expectations of a ‘client’;

  • Independently organise, manage and execute a research project on an archaeologically related topic.


Course schedule details can be found in MyTimetable.
Log in with your ULCN account, and add this course using the 'Add timetable' button.

Mode of instruction

  • Series of tutorials
    These classes will deal with essential skills on a master level, such as academic writing, formulating a research question, structuring the thesis, plagiarism, data quality and source criticism;

  • Individual supervision
    A student is supervised by at least one member of our staff; the official supervisor, who is also first examiner and first reader. Please see the list of possible supervisors 2022-2023 and their areas of expertise on Brightspace or the Board of Examiners webpage.

Assessment method

  • Academic paper (50%);

  • Product (50%).

For both assessments a rubric is used. In the rubric elements such as necessity, usefulness, translating knowledge into a product, achieving objectives, coherence and form and presentation are graded.
If necessary, the client is also consulted.

The assessment forms can be found on Brightspace and on the webpage Thesis and paper writing.


The academic paper will be individually assessed by the supervisor, the first examiner, and an independent second examiner who was not involved in the research and is appointed by the Board of Examiners (BoE). The final grade is set by the two examiners who together fill in a final assessment form.

Both elements must score sufficiently and equally determine the final grade. This will be communicated to the student by the Administration Office.

In case the first and second examiner cannot come to an agreement, a third examiner is appointed by the BoE. Based on the assessments of the whole project of the first and second examiners and their own assessment, s/he will decide upon the final grade. This grade is final and will be communicated to the student.

A retake is possible only once and has a strict deadline. Should you receive a fail, you have 6 weeks after receiving your result to make improvements. The new grade will have a maximum of 7.0.
If you fail this new version, you need to start a new project on a new subject. See the Rules and Regulations of the Board of Examiners, article 4.9.4 for the complete procedure.

The graduation project will be assessed within 4 weeks after handing in the definitive version, see the Thesis and paper writing webpage for more information on the Faculty guidelines, assessment form, assessment criteria, etc.

Deadlines for graduating before 1 September:

  • 15 December: upload your final research proposal in Brightspace (phase 1);

  • 1 May: upload a complete draft of your project in Brightspace (phase 2);

  • 15 June: upload your final project in Brightspace (phase 3);

  • 31 August: last date that a project can be approved.

Thesis submission after 15 June requires prior permission by the Board of Examiners. There needs to be a valid reason for this delay.

Deadlines for graduating before 1 February:

  • 1 July: upload your final research proposal in Brightspace (phase 1);

  • 1 November: upload a complete draft of your project in Brightspace (phase 2);

  • 15 December: upload your final project in Brightspace (phase 3);

  • 31 January: last date that a project can be approved.

Thesis submission after 15 December requires prior permission by the Board of Examiners. There needs to be a valid reason for this delay.

Please note: you can submit your thesis in any month, but then the grading may take longer than in the regular schedules as listed above.

Reading list

To be compiled by the student, depending on the subject.


Enrolment through MyStudymap is mandatory.

General information about registration can be found on the Course and Exam Enrolment page.


For more information about this course, please contact dr. R. (Richard) Jansen.


  • Compulsory attendance for the tutorials;

  • Examination is also possible in Dutch;

  • The tutorials are taught in both semesters. If you start your programme in September, you participate in semester 1. If you start your programme in February, you participate in semester 2;

  • More information can be found in the Brightspace module and on the webpage Thesis and paper writing;

  • The graduation project should always be defined, reported and assessed as a separate educational component, even when a close substantive or organisational connection with an internship is present.