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Graduation Project Applied Archaeology


Admission requirements

Admission to the Master Archaeology programme, track Applied Archaeology.


This is a graduation project that can have various forms. To graduate within the MA Applied Archaeology you can choose between 2 formats:

  1. A regular MA thesis, conform the course description of the general Master Thesis Global Archaeology or Master Thesis Heritage and Museum Studies.
  2. A Graduation Project that consists of a shorter MA thesis and an associated ‘product’.

The Graduation Project Applied Archaeology is the masterpiece that demonstrates that you can plan, write and execute an academic research project autonomously, as well as taking into account the environmental and/or societal conditions of the project and/or the expectations of a potential client/commissioner, including a responsibility to your ‘client’.

The Graduation Project is a societal relevant contribution to an actual academic/professional issue (from a client) related to your career profile.
You apply what you have learned so far, you gain (new) knowledge, all the while operating as an independent researcher while executing this project. A project is based on data derived from material culture, fieldwork, laboratory or societal research, historical sources and/or academic literature.

The Faculty supervisor has to agree on the proposal before the start of the project; the project needs to be feasible and relevant, showing the academic knowledge and skills, and the supervisor should be able to supervise the research topic.
Therefore, the subject should preferably be related to the research themes of staff members from the Faculty of Archaeology/Saxion University of Applied Sciences.

The research problem has to be defined in a research proposal. A 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 ‘product’ can consist of, for example, a:

  • Policy document: e.g. evaluating policies including recommendations, impact analyses of policy, site management plans;

  • Digital work: e.g. predictive modelling, landscape modelling, 3D-modelling, GIS spatial analysis, archaeological expectation maps;

  • The elaboration and interpretation of (a part of) an excavation, evaluation of fieldwork techniques, a catalogue or database.

To safeguard the academic level, the graduation project is accompanied by a written thesis of approximately 10,000-15,000 words in which the product is embedded in an academic framework, which includes among others an academic relevance and a critical reflection upon the framework and the project.
The thesis includes figures and tables necessary to support your argument (this equals roughly 20-30 pages of text in total, figures, tables, references and appendices not included).

See the Archaeology thesis page for more details.

Course set-up

Meetings with the supervisor (and client/commissioner). The norm for individual supervision throughout the trajectory is ca. 5 contact moments between supervisor(s) and student (this can be online or on campus) and are based on texts and products that have been handed in before the meeting.

  • Start-up meeting on the research topic;

  • Feedback on the research plan;

  • Feedback on a chapter and the thesis outline;

  • 1 meeting to discuss the progress;

  • Final feedback on the complete first draft.

Course objectives

Ability to:

  • Independently organise, plan and execute a small research project on an archaeologically related topic;

  • Formulate clear, adequate and meaningful research goal(s) and questions;

  • Propose, select and apply an adequate and relevant methodology. Scientific analysis of a sufficient amount of academic data;

  • Interpret archaeological and/or heritage data using sufficient and relevant primary academic literature and dealing with limitations of the data;

  • Take into account the environmental conditions of the project and/or the expectations of a potential client;

  • Have a critical attitude and use feedback of stakeholders/thesis supervisor(s) in a constructive way;

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

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


Course schedule details can be found in MyTimetable.
Log in with your ULCN account, and add this course using the 'Add timetable' button.

Mode of instruction

You choose a subject and ask an examiner affiliated with Applied Archaeology for approval and supervision. In consultation with the supervisor you formulate a project proposal for which a format can be found on Brightspace. In this proposal the following needs to be addressed:

  • Aim

  • Motivation

  • Goal and research questions

  • Project design/approach/methodology

  • Realistic time frame (for commissioned projects: taking into account the deadline as set by the client)

  • Which steps are necessary to execute the project within the proposed time frame

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

The proposal needs to be approved of by the Board of Examiners.

Course load

  • A thesis of ca. 10,000-15,000 words (5 ec);

  • A ‘product’ (5 ec);

  • Ca. 280 hours of individual research for the whole project (10 ec).

Assessment method

  • MA thesis (50%);

  • Product (50%).

The thesis will be individually assessed by the supervisor, the first examiner, and an independent second examiner who was not involved with the research and is appointed by the Board of Examiners (BoE).
The final grade is set by the two examiners who together fill in a final assessment form.

The product is assessed by the supervisor (the first examiner), based on a rubric in which elements such as necessity, usefulness, translating knowledge into a product, achieving objectives, coherence, and form and presentation are graded. The client is also consulted. The independent second examiner appointed for the thesis by the BoE also approves the final rubric.

Both elements should be sufficient and equally determine the final grade. The grade will be sent to the student by the Administration Office.

In case the first and second examiner cannot come to an agreement, a third examiner is appointed by the BoE. Based on the assessments of the first and second examiners and their own assessment, s/he will decide upon the final grade. This grade is final and will be communicated to the student.

Both parts must score sufficiently. A retake is possible only once and has a strict deadline. Should you receive a fail, 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. See the Rules and Regulations of the Board of Examiners, article 4.9.4 for the complete procedure.

The thesis will be assessed within 4 weeks after handing in the definitive version. See the thesis page for more information on the Faculty guidelines, assessment form, assessment criteria and information on submitting the thesis.

Deadlines for the thesis

  • Submission of the research proposal: 1 November (if you started your programme in September), or 1 April (if you started your programme in February);

  • Submission of first draft: 1 May (if you started your programme in September), or 1 November (if you started your programme in February);

  • Submission of the final version for assessment: 15 June (if you started your programme in September), or 15 December (if you started your programme in February).

Please note that if you fail to meet the deadlines above, you can hand in your project at any moment, except for July-August and January.

Reading list

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


Registration in uSis is mandatory. You can register for this course until 5 days before the first class.

Registration in uSis automatically leads to enrollment in the corresponding Brightspace module. Therefore you do not need to enroll in Brightspace, but make sure to register for this course in uSis.

You can use the study activity number in the timetable for registration.


For more information about this course, please contact dr. R. (Richard) Jansen.


  • Compulsory attendance;

  • Examination is also possible in Dutch;

  • The graduation project should always be defined, reported and assessed as a separate educational component, even when a close substantive or organisational connection with an internship is present. Both count for separate ec’s and the one cannot count for the other component.
    If you expect that your internship activities will play a role in the content of the graduation project, you should discuss this with your (intended) supervisor, and you and your supervisor agree on the desired elaboration. For example, an internship report may have the status of an appendix to the MA thesis.