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Thesis and Thesis Seminar: Safe City


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA Urban Studies, who have successfully completed the first year (propedeuse) of the Urban Studies programme as well as the second year Thematic Electives and Methodological Electives.


Thesis Seminar

The focus of the seminars is informed by the themes of the Urban Studies programme: The Multicultural City, The Safe City, The Healthy City and The Sustainable City. After an introduction on a theme relevant to urban studies, students will reflect on their own topic of research, choose their own approach, and consider their topic of research from a multidisciplinary perspective (see below under general academic skills).

The Thesis Seminar provides collective and individual supervision and feedback, by teaching staff and peers. The aim is to guide students through the process of designing a research question or hypothesis and appropriate research method(s), collecting and analyzing literature and writing a literature review, and collecting other research data and materials that are necessary for answering research question or hypothesis .

The exact set-up of the seminars may vary, due to the nature of the research theme, the teaching approach of the seminar leader, and the number and interests of the students. The Thesis Seminar culminates in a Thesis Proposal, which contains a problem definition and research question or hypothesis, theoretical and methodological considerations, a literature overview and a time frame for the thesis research.

To successfully complete the Thesis Seminar, students hand in their Thesis Proposal before the deadline set by the Thesis Seminar instructor. The instructor takes a go/no-go decision after which the student can either proceed to write the Thesis or amends his proposal based on the instructor’s feedback.

The Safe City

Students in this Thesis Seminar are free to pursue a range of topics relating to the theme of Safe City, which is broadly defined. You may wish to build upon ideas and approaches you have studied as part of the Safe City Lecture Series or the thematic elective Crime, Criminalisation and the Right to the City (both second year), or you may wish to devise your own approach to the Safe City theme. You are free to focus your study on any geographic location(s) and any time period – historical or contemporary. Methodologically, the thesis seminar will focus on qualitative research methods rooted in the humanities, drawing on a range of critical, theoretical and disciplinary perspectives.

Topics could include:

Crime and Safety in the City;
Planning and Managing the City;
Policing, Security and Surveillance;
Public and Private Spaces;
Privatisation and Securitisation of the City;
Architecture, Environment and Behaviour;
Perceptions and Experiences of Urban Crime and Safety;
Gendered Experiences of Urban Safety;
Urban Community and Cohesion;
Gentrification, Segregation and Social Exclusion;
Urban Poverty;
Slums and Informal Urbanism;
Sociology of the Modern City;
Urban Traffic and Safety;
Safe Cities for Minorities and Migrants;
Safe Spaces for Urban Politics, Activism and Protest;
Safe Spaces for Urban Subcultures.

This list is not exhaustive and we will develop your thesis topic through a series of group workshops and individual discussions.


The bachelor’s Thesis is the final and most important written assignment of the programme. It builds on exercises in essay-writing throughout the curriculum. The bachelor’s Thesis is a research paper of 10,000 words (margins between 9,000 and 11,000 words), excluding front page, table of contents, footnes and bibliography, which is the result of independent research and writing.

Apart from collective supervision during the seminar, students will receive individual guidance, specifically focused on the subject of their research. The Thesis Seminar lecturer provides this guidance. Students will have four individual meetings with their supervisor during the semester.

Deadline for the submission of the Thesis is June 1. Students that have submitted their theses before the deadline will be eligible for participation in the yearly Graduation Ceremony.

Course objectives

General learning outcomes

See tab Additional information for the overview of the programme's general learning outcomes. In the assessment methods below is outlined which general learning outcome will be tested through which method.

Course objectives, pertaining to the Thesis Seminar and Thesis

  • 1) work with research techniques that are current in the discipline(s) applied

  • 2) analyze and comprehend relevant academic debates

  • 3) report on their studies and research in properly written English

  • 4) participate in debates in an active, prepared and informed way, respecting other people’s convictions and ideas.


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Tutorial (compulsory attendance)
    This means that students have to attend every session of the course. If a student is unable to attend a tutorial, they should inform the lecturer in advance, providing a valid reason for absence. The teacher will determine if and how the missed session can be compensated by an additional assignment. If they are absent from a tutorial without a valid reason, they can be excluded from the final exam in the course.

Assessment method


  • Written Thesis (9.000 – 11.000 words, excluding front page, table of contents, bibliography and foot- or endnotes)
    -measured general learning outcomes: 1-2, 4-11, 13-21, 25-26
    -measured course objectives: 1-4

  • Thesis proposal (750 – 800 words, excluding bibliography and foot- or endnotes)
    -measured general learning outcomes: 1-2, 4-11, 13-21, 25-26
    -measured course objectives: 1-4

  • Participation during Thesis Seminars
    -measured general learning outcomes: 1-2, 4-5, 8-9, 13-26
    -measured course objectives: 4


Partial grade Weighing
Thesis 100
Thesis Seminar grade: participation and Thesis Proposal 0

End grade

To successfully complete the course, please take note of the following:

  • The grade for the Thesis Seminar is determined by the Thesis grade.

  • The grade for the Thesis needs to be a 6.0 or higher.


Students who have been active participants in class and submitted the Thesis on time but scored an overall insuffient mark are entitled to a resit. For the resit, the students are given a chance to hand in an improved version of the Thesis based on the feedback from the Thesis Assessment Form. The deadline for resubmission is to be consulted with the thesis supervisor. In case the improved Thesis is still deemed insufficient, the student must contact the Coordinator of Studies to discuss further possibilities.

Reading list



Registration occurs via survey only. Registration opens 14 December:

  1. On 14 December you will receive a message with a link to the survey.
  2. Indicate there which Thesis Seminar has your preference, and your reasons for this preference.
  3. Based on preferences indicated by 30 December the Coordinator of Studies will assign you to a specific Thesis Seminar by 20 January.
  4. Students will then be enrolled for the specific groups by the Administration Office.
  5. All students are required to enroll for their group in Brightspace to access all course information.

Students cannot register in uSis for the Thesis Seminar, or be allowed into a Thesis Seminar in any other way.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Dr. A. Kefford