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Master’s thesis and requirements for graduation


The research master’s programme offers students an excellent basis for their academic
career. It provides ideal preparation for future PhD research, and the students’ chances of
successfully completing such research projects are maximised.
By the end of the programme, students will have acquired:

  • thorough knowledge and understanding of the field;

  • thorough knowledge and understanding of the interdisciplinary position of the field;

  • insight into the relevance of the field for society at large.

  • the ability to independently select and compile relevant literature and sources, using
    traditional and modern techniques (heuristic skills);

  • the ability to independently study relevant literature and sources and to assess their
    quality and reliability;

  • the ability to formulate, under supervision, a clear and substantiated research problem
    and to break it down into well-defined and manageable sub-problems;

  • the ability to make the results of research clear in a substantiated fashion in an oral
    and/or written report;

  • the ability to set up and execute a research project under supervision.
    The programme aims to raise students to a level of knowledge and skills that allows them
    to proceed to PhD research. Alternatively, graduates qualify for positions outside the
    university that require an academic level of thinking.


The research master’s programme has seven tracks, students select one of these tracks:
Arabic, Persian and Berber (track 1 with three specialisations); Turkish Studies (track
2); Islamic Studies (track 3); Hebrew-Aramaic (track 4); Christianity of the Middle East
(track 5); Egyptology (track 6); and Mesopotamia and Anatolia (track 7).
The programme consists of four semesters with a course load of 30 ects each. The courses
have a weight of 10 ects each and students generally follow three courses per semester.
The following three courses are required for all students: ‘Sources and Methods of
Middle East Studies: History and Social Theory’ (semester I) and Íntellectual and cultural
debates’(Semester III) and a thesis seminar in which students, doctoral candidates and
lecturers report on their research (Semester III). All students write a bibliographical
essay during the second semester in preparation of their thesis. Some of the tracks offer
the possibility to spend a semester or summer abroad at an affiliated institution. Besides
these common core courses, every track has several obligatory courses specific to the
track and a number of elective courses. Therefore, students can, within limits, compose a
programme matching their own interests.

Master’s thesis and requirements for graduation

In the third semester start working on their individual research, which will result in
a master’s thesis. The thesis must be based on the student’s own research, including
primary data. Whether this material is gathered during fieldwork and/or a studyabroad
period depends on the track chosen by the student. The fourth semester is
entirely reserved for the writing of the thesis. This phase can also be used to prepare an
application for a PhD position.
In order to graduate, students need to have successfully completed the 120 ects
programme and have completed the thesis (40 ects) as part of that programme. The
thesis should be related to the expertise of at least one of the members of staff involved in
the chosen track. Also see: