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MA Thesis Russian and Eurasian Studies


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the MA Russian and Eurasian Studies


The MA-Thesis is a scholarly report on an extended piece of independent research, written by the student in consultation with a supervisor who possesses expertise in the relevant field. In the thesis, the students demonstrate their ability to formulate a research question, to analyse existing literature in a critical manner, and to conduct their own research using primary sources/empirical data as appropriate for the chosen discipline. The MA-thesis conforms to academic standards regarding structure, methodology, language use, system of reference.
While supervision takes place mostly on an individual basis, the students are asked to report on their progress in a group setting twice. During the first meeting, the students present their work in progress to their supervisors and their peers, where they receive feedback on their own work and provide input to the work of others. The second meeting is a symposium that takes place at the end of the semester, where all students present their completed research to their supervisors and their peers, and which is accompanied by a panel discussion.
Participation in these meetings is obligatory and performance is included in the final grade for the thesis.

Course objectives

The student is able to to conduct academic research independently, and report on this by means of a written thesis and an oral presentation. The student is able to formulate a research question within the discipline of his choice, handle primary and secondary sources, apply appropriate methods, and place the research topic within current academic discussions.

Course Load

20 EC = 560 hours

Assessment method

A thesis for the Russian and Eurasian Studies MA programme contains 20.000 words with a 10% margin above or below, including notes and bibliography. The thesis is marked by two lecturers.
In assessing the quality of the thesis, the following aspects play an important role:

  • Formulation and analysis of the research question;

  • Structure of the thesis;

  • Integration of secondary literature into the argument;

  • Originality and creativity of research;

  • Good argumentation of student’s answer to the research question;

  • Style, use of language, and lay-out;

  • Student’s ability to work independently

  • Presentation at the two meetings.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • communicating with students

  • sharing study materials

  • submitting assignments

  • providing feedback and grades


The timetable is available on the Timetable.


For questions about the content of the course, you can contact the co-ordinator Dr. E.L. Stapert


Once the entire thesis is completed, an digital copy should be submitted online via Turnitin and the student should hand in two hard copies to their supervisor, who will pass one copy on to the second reader.
The thesis will be graded within four weeks by the two markers. Between 1 June and 31 August it can take up to six weeks. To guarantee that the marking of a thesis can be completed in time to permit graduation after one academic year, it should be submitted by 1 July for students who start their MA in September, and 1 December for students who start their MA in February. It cannot be guaranteed that any thesis submitted after that date can be marked in time and final graduation may have to take place in the following academic year.
After the marking of the thesis, the student will need to upload a digital copy of the final and graded version of his/her MA-thesis to the Leiden University Repository. Please note that the repository accepts only one upload per student. Consequent revised versions will therefore not be accepted