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Thesis Seminar in Middle East and Islamic Studies (Fall)


Admission Requirements

This course is intended and accessible for students admitted to the MA Middle Eastern Studies only.


Once every two weeks, students who are actually engaged in research and writing for their MA thesis convene in a seminar under the guidance of Prof. Dr. E.J. Zürcher. The objective of this seminar is to offer the student a platform to present the outline of the MA thesis and to discuss it with the lecturers and the fellow students. The main issues involved in the construction and writing a thesis (Defining the topic, formulating the research question and hypothesis, theory and methodology, seeking out sources, building a bibliography, structuring the thesis) are each dealt with in class. Students present papers on one of these topics, linking it to their own project. The teacher and the rest of the class give feedback.

Course objectives

The student learns how to construct their thesis and how to present orally the results of their research. The student learns how to use Powerpoint or Prezi effectively to support the presentation. The student learns to participate actively in an academic discussion and to receive and formulate criticism. The student learns to meet deadlines.


Students take part in this seminar during one semester, preferably the one in which they are writing their thesis.
See Timetable

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

For this seminar bi-weekly attendance and participation is required. Classes missed for a good reason (to the discretion of the conveners and to be discussed BEFORE the class takes place) will have to be made up with an extra assignment.

Assessment method

Active class participation and presentation of the research outline. The course is graded pass or fail.


Blackboard will be used for internal communication.

Reading list

Not applicable


Students are required to register through uSis. To avoid mistakes and problems, students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the timetable in the column under the heading “Act.nbr.”.


Prof. Dr. E.J. Zürcher


Students with disabilities

The university is committed to supporting and accommodating students with disabilities as stated in the university protocol (especially pages 3-5). Students should contact Fenestra Disability Centre at least four weeks before the start of their courses to ensure that all necessary academic accomodations can be made in time conform the abovementioned protocol.

Academic Integrity

Students are expected to be familiar with Leiden University policies on plagiarism and academic integrity. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. If you submit any work with your name affixed to it, it is assumed to be your own work with all sources used properly indicated and documented in the text (with quotations and/or citations).