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MA Thesis Global Order in Historical Perspective


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA International Relations, track Global Order in Historical Perspective, and completion of the course Thesis Seminar and Methods in International Relations Research.


A thesis is an academic essay, written by a student in consultation with their supervisor. It demonstrates a student's ability to conduct independent research. Key elements of any research are: ability to draft research question(s), critically review existing academic literature, skilled use of methodology, and advanced analysis that culminates in credible research findings.

Students are encouraged to choose a thesis topic which broadly coheres with their MA specialization. Accordingly, for the Global Order in Historical Perspective specialization, it is imperative that your thesis topic and methodology are within its remit, broadly defined. 

During the first semester, students will complete the 5 EC course 'Thesis Seminar and Methods in International Relations Research' in which they will choose a topic for their thesis, formulate a research question, and submit a research proposal and literature review. Students who have not fulfilled the requirements of this course or have not received the approval of the Examinations Committee will not have their MA thesis supervised.

Course objectives

The thesis for the MA International Relations is a maximum of 15.000 words. The word count is including notes, bibliography and appendices (corresponding to OER art.2). The thesis is supervised by a lecturer in the Humanities Faculty, who possesses expertise in the relevant field. The thesis is evaluated by two lecturers involved in the program.

Thesis supervision

The following list provides an indication of some of the available thesis supervisors in the MAIR programme. The decision regarding the supervisor is determined within each specialization and subject to the approval of the Board of Examiners. Students may not be able to work with their preferred supervisor and may be assigned a supervisor who is not currently listed here.

Dr. Max Bader has a research and supervision interest in issue pertaining to Russia and Eurasia. M.S. Berger supervises students working on Erdogan and neo-Ottomanism, as well as diplomatic relations between the Abbasid and Frankish empires.

Dr Rogier Creemers research focuses on the law and policy of digital technology in China, in both the domestic and international spheres. He welcomes theses in these topics, as well as about the participation of China in, and impact on global governance regimes, geopolitical and geostrategic questions more broadly.

Dr. Matthew Frear can supervise theses on the following broad topics: 1) Russia in global affairs; 2) regional integration in Eurasia; 3) the authoritarian politics and external relations of non-democratic regimes. His specialisation includes Belarusian and Ukrainian foreign and security policy specifically.

Dr. Andrew Gawthorpe can supervise theses on contemporary and historical aspects of U.S. foreign and defence policy, and on historical or contemporary military intervention and nation-building practices.

Prof. Andre Gerrits supervises all International Relations theses that show initiative, imagination and motivation.

Prof. Alanna O’Malleyis a historian focusing on the United Nations, decolonization, Congo and the Cold War. She welcomes supervision of theses on the UN, the Global South, international organizations, decolonization and peacekeeping.

Dr. Florian Schneider supervises thesis on politics, political communication, and international relations in the East Asian region, with a specific focus on the Chinese-speaking world (China, Taiwan, Hong Kong). He is particularly interested in thesis topics that deal with digital East Asia and the politics of technology, or that focus on questions of nationalism.

Prof. Giles Scott-Smith welcomes students who want to work on one of the following fields of research for their thesis: Transatlantic relations, Public diplomacy, cultural diplomacy, and international cultural relations, Intelligence history and Cold War history.

Dr. Karen Smith is interested in supervising theses on a number of topics including, but not limited to, Decentering International Relations / non-western approaches and contributions to International Relations, Global South agency (historical and contemporary) in shaping and challenging the global order; The emerging powers/BRICS in global governance, How global norms are created, shaped, internalised, and contested (e.g. women’s rights, LGBTI rights, responsibility to protect, etc).

Dr. Vineet Thakur is interested in the politics of knowledge production from the perspectives of the Global South, and diplomatic histories (with focus on South Asia and Southern Africa). He is happy to supervise students on these themes.

Prof. Nira Wickramasinghe is a historian of modern South Asia and the Indian Ocean world. She can supervise theses on labour migration in the longue durée, diasporas, colonialism, resistance movements in the Global South.

Dr. Alp Yenencan supervise MA theses on the global order of the Muslim world during the age of empires, the First World War, and Interwar years as well as on the international relations of the Middle East during the Cold War. Furthermore, he is specialized on Turkey in international history as well as transnational contentious politics in the Middle East.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

Not applicable.

Assessment method

The thesis for the MA International Relations is a maximum of 15.000 words. The word count is including notes, bibliography and appendices (corresponding to OER art.2). The thesis is supervised by a lecturer in the Humanities Faculty, who possesses expertise in the relevant field. The thesis is judged by two lecturers involved in the program.

In assessing the quality of the thesis, the following aspects play an important role:

  • Formulating and analyzing the research question;

  • Structure of the thesis;

  • Integration of primary and secondary literature into the argument;

  • Argumentation skills;

  • Style, use of language and lay-out;

  • Independent and original research

Also see the regulations concerning the procedure surrounding the master’s thesis.

Reading list

Students who need help finding suitable literature for starting the thesis can make a one-on-one appointment.( with the subject librarian. Students can also consult the subject guides, created by the subject librarians, which give an overview of resources on each specific field of study.


Enrolment through My Studymap is mandatory.


The co-ordinator of studies or your thesis supervisor.