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MA Thesis (International Studies)


Admission requirements

  • Completion of MA Thesis Seminar (for students entering the program in September)

  • Approval of the MA Examinations Committee (for students entering the program in February)


A thesis is an academic essay, written by the student in consultation with a supervisor. The thesis must show that the student is capable of analyzing existing literature in a critical manner, and of conducting independent research. Moreover, this process must be recorded in an academically sound report.

Generally speaking, students are encouraged to select the topic of their thesis themselves, based on a Master’s course that they followed. In most cases, the first supervisor of the thesis will be the lecturer responsible for the Master’s course which inspired the thesis. In case of doubt, students can always consult other supervisors within the Humanities Faculty.

In the first semester, students will complete the 10 EC MA International Studies Thesis Seminar in which students 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 the Thesis Seminar or have not received the approval of the Examinations Committee will not have their MA theses supervised.

Building on the Thesis Seminar, students should meet with their supervisor to discuss the progress they have made on their thesis. Students are encouraged to select and approach their (potential) supervisors at any time during the course of the Thesis Seminar. Preferably, students have a supervisor by early November.

Course objectives

Completion of a 10,000 word thesis based on original and independent research.


Semester I and II

Mode of instruction

Choose from:

  • Thesis MA

Assessment method

The thesis for the International Studies MA programme is a maximum of 10.000 words including notes, bibliography and appendices. 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


Students are required to submit their completed thesis as a word document via blackboard.

Reading list



This has to be filled out by the key-user of the department.


The thesis has to be written in English. Another language might be possible only after approval of the Board of Examiners
Once the entire thesis is completed, the student should hand in two bound copies; one to each reader. Their comments and feedback must be integrated into the final version. In addition, a digital copy must be submitted via blackboard in word format.
The thesis will be graded within four weeks. Between 1 June and 31 August it can take six weeks at the most.