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MA Thesis History & Final Exam


Admission requirements

This course is part of the (Res)MA History Programme. It is not accessible for BA students.


The MA History programme is concluded by a 20 EC MA-thesis. The thesis is based on original research in primary sources and will be at minimum 16.000 and at maximum 18.000 words in size (excluding front page, table of content, footnotes and bibliography). Students are guided by thesis supervisors in writing their thesis.

Thesis Supervisor

Students are expected to approach themselves a member of staff with a request to act as supervisor of their MA Thesis. In order to do so, the student draws up a concise research proposal for the thesis during the second half of the first semester. All students are strongly advised to approach a member of staff sooner rather than later. An overview of all members of staff and their fields of expertise is found in the list of staff and research themes.
In some instances the approached member of staff will refer the student to a colleague with more expertise in the particular proposed subject. In exceptional cases a scholar from outside the History Department will be invited to (co-)supervise the thesis. If the member of staff agrees on supervision, the student will start writing the thesis.

Course objectives




Mode of instruction

  • Thesis Seminar and individual supervision

Course Load

Total course load 20 EC x 28 hours = 560 hours

Assessment method


  • Thesis (ca. 16.000-18.000 words, based on research in primary sources, excluding front page, table of content, footnotes and bibliography)


  • Thesis: 100%

Assesment Criteria MA Thesis

For the assessment of the MA Thesis we evaluate these aspects:

  • 1) Knowledge and insight;

  • 2) Application knowledge and insight;

  • 3) Reaching conclusions;

  • 4) Communication (language, annotation);

  • 5) Learning skills;

  • 6) Formal requirements, including the knock-out criteria specific for the programme.

The knock-out criteria specific for the programme are that the thesis

  • 1) Contains a clear, well-argued and original research question, taking into account the theory and method of the field;

  • 2) Is convincingly situated within theoretical, conceptual and methodological debates of the specialization;

  • 3) Accounts for the chosen research method(s);

  • 4) Is based on critical research and interpretation of an independently collected and selected corpus of sources;

  • 5) Contains an analysis and evaluation of a large body of independently collected scholarly literature;

  • 6) Is based upon a well-structured and consistent argument;

  • 7) Is written in correct English, when required, or Dutch, meeting the criteria of the discipline;

  • 8) Displays thorough knowledge and comprehension of the relevant specialization and its corresponding historiography;

  • 9) Produces an original scholarly argument.

In case of an insufficient Thesis, the student will have the opportunity to revise the Thesis according to the feedback provided by the assessment form and the supervisor’s instructions. Student who plan to hand in an improved version of their Thesis need to contact the Coordinator of Studies to discuss the possibilities. A revised Thesis can be handed in either 1 December or 1 June to the supervisor, who then, together with the second reader, assesses the Thesis again. If the Thesis is still considered insufficient the student cannot continue with the current topic and supervisor, but has to find a new topic and supervisor before continuing.


Not applicable.

Reading list

Not applicable.


Not applicable.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Not applicable.


Six weeks before the planned date of graduation students have to apply for entry to the final examination. This can be done by following the several stages of the Graduation Procedure.

The defence will cover an hour and consists of several parts. First, the student gives a short 15-minute presentation about his/her thesis. Student are allowed to use a PowerPoint presentation for this, using their own laptop. After this presentation, the first and second examiner will ask the student questions regarding the thesis, and it is expected that the student is able to defend the thesis during this brief debate. The ceremony will be concluded by the handing out of the diploma and the laudation by one of the examiners.