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Master Thesis Global Archaeology


Admission requirements

Admission to the Master Archaeology programme Global Archaeology.


The Master thesis is the final masterpiece that demonstrates your ability to write, plan and execute an academic research project. The research is a contribution to an academic debate related to your specialisation. It is based on data derived from material culture, fieldwork, societal or laboratory research, historic sources and/or academic literature.
The thesis is a contribution to an academic debate related to your specialisation. You have to apply what is learned, develop (new) knowledge and be able to operate as an independent researcher while executing your research for the thesis.

The supervisor has to agree on the project proposal before the start of the research; the project needs to be feasible and the supervisor should be able to supervise the research topic. Therefore, the subject should always be related to the research themes of staff of of the Faculty of Archaeology.

The research problem has to be defined in a research proposal, in which a.o. clear research questions, methodology and planning are defined. A research project should be based on a good and complete data description, in-depth data analysis and informed, well-argued interpretation. The research should be positioned in a broader field and should consist of a critical analysis on the theoretical and/or methodical perspectives that are related to the research problem.

The thesis consists of ca. 20,000-30,000 words, and includes figures and tables necessary to support your argument (this equals roughly 40-60 pages of text in total, figures, tables, references and appendices not included). Please note that the length of the thesis is not a norm in itself, but too many pages are not permitted; quality is valued over quantity.

More information on writing your thesis, deadlines, forms and criteria can be found on the Archaeology thesis webpage.

Course objectives

Ability to:

  • independently organise, plan and execute a small research project on an archaeologically relevant topic;

  • maintain a critical attitude and use feedback in a constructive way;

  • formulate clear, unambivalent, adequate and meaningful research questions;

  • relate the research to a broader academic debate and current theoretical perspectives;

  • propose, select and apply an adequate and relevant methodology;

  • provide a scientific analysis of a sufficient amount of academic data;

  • interpret archaeological and/or heritage data using sufficient and relevant primary academic literature and to deal with limitations of the data;

  • present the research in a coherent, well-argued and clearly formulated text, supported by adequate tables and figures.

Time schedule

Course schedule details for thesis tutorials can be found in the MA and MSc time schedule.

Mode of instruction and supervision

The Master thesis tutorial has 2 modes of instruction:

1) Thesis tutorial
Practical assignments, presentations and discussion in the thesis tutorial of your chosen research group of the supervisor provide you with individual feedback on your research proposal.

2) Individual supervision
You choose a subject and ask an examiner affiliated with Global Archaeology for approval and supervision. In consultation with the supervisor you formulate a project proposal. In this proposal the following needs to be addressed:

  • aim

  • motivation

  • research question

  • research design/approach

  • realistic time frame

  • which steps are necessary to execute the research within the proposed time frame

  • valorisation of the results/disseminate the results (communication plan)

The proposal needs to be approved by the supervisor.

The norm for individual supervision is 5 meetings between student and first supervisor:

  • Start-up meeting discussing the topic;

  • Meeting on feedback and discussion of the research plan (before submission of the research proposal);

  • Meeting on feedback on a chapter and thesis outline;

  • Meeting discussing the progress of the research;

  • Meeting on feedback and discussion of the first draft.

You can always ask for an appointment, but the supervisor may ask for a progress report as well.


  • Submission of the research proposal: September start > 1 December; February start > 1 May

  • Submission of first draft: September start > 1 May; February start > 1 November

  • Submission of final version for assessment: September start > 15 June; February start > 15 December

Thesis tutorial coordinators for Global Archaeology t.b.a.

Course load

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • Thesis of ca. 20,000-30,000 words (10 ec);

  • Ca. 280 hours of individual research (10 ec).


MA thesis (100%).

See the Faculty website for thesis guidelines and assessment criteria.

Retake of the thesis: should you receive a fail for your thesis, you have 6 weeks after receiving your result to make improvements. The new grade will have a maximum of 7.0. If you fail this new version, you need to write a new thesis on a new subject.

Deadlines for the thesis:

  • June 15th: for graduation at the end of August

  • December 15th: for graduation at the end of February

Reading list

To be compiled by the student, depending on thesis subject.


  • Compulsory attendance;

  • Apart from submitting a hardcopy of your thesis proposal and 2 hardcopies of the final version of your thesis, you have to enroll in the general MA BlackBoard module and submit your thesis proposal and the final version of your thesis through TurnitIn there:
    MA thesis Archaeology (SafeAssign/TurnItIn) 4ARX-0910ARCH.