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Thesis Seminar International Politics - Fall 2021


General information meetings on the Thesis Seminar Fall 2021:

Online, 6 May 2021.

Theme 01: Foreign Policy (dr. C.C. v.d Wetering) - activity nr = 1750
This thesis seminar aims at helping students to develop their research projects within the field of Foreign Policy Analysis broadly conceived. Foreign policy is often regarded as a state-centered enterprise, but even if that is often the case, specific domestic or international concerns are channeled by foreign-policy makers. In this course students are encouraged to undertake wider assessments by analyzing foreign policy in a multi-causal or multi-level manner and gaining an understanding of how foreign policy can evolve. The range of foreign policy issues are vast, such as peace and security, climate change, terrorism, trade, and health, as are the actors that engage each other. The course addresses substantive questions about the nature of foreign policy as well as methodological questions on how to study foreign policy. A syllabus will be provided at the beginning of the semester.

Theme 02: International Politics (dr. A. Rrustemi) - activity nr = 1751
In the current global order, many states are confronted with difficulties in fulfilling their central functions vis-à-vis its citizens, leading in the worst cases to violence, hybrid warfare, organized crime, poverty, massive flows of refugees, internally displaced people, child soldiers, grave abuses of women and the destruction of world culture and heritage. In an interconnected world, state and peace weakness and failure have thus been identified as one of the central threats to global peace and stability and their prevention has become a main priority of the international community.The approach adopted by the international community, international organizations, to prevent state and peace failure and decrease security threats include measures as diverse as military (humanitarian) intervention, and state, nation and peace building missions.
Therefore, the course provides an analysis of interventions on security and peace building processes, and ultimately aims to understand how to construct sustainable and inclusive security and peace. The following questions are raised: What are the theoretical lenses that we can study peace and security building processes? How are security and peace building interventions developed and implemented? What is their impact (read effectiveness) in the targeted countries/communities? How can we anticipate spoilers of peace and security building and how can we counter them in a timely and appropriate manner to create a more secure world and sustainable peace?
The course outlines the main theoretical underpinnings, various methodologies and relevant societal challenges. More specifically, it addresses the main theoretical frameworks on post-conflict reconstruction, such as military interventions, early warning mechanisms, peacekeeping, liberal and post liberal peace, peace infrastructures, nation building, state building, religion and reconciliation. It also focuses on the role of different actors in shaping the post-war states and current theoretical and societal debates, including states (the role of the US, China, Russia), local communities (grassroots), international community (international organizations), networks (organized crime, illegal migration/trafficking of human beings, violent extremism, and countering and preventing violent extremism), individuals (dictators, oligarchs) and companies (technological, artificial intelligence). The methods employed in the course are mixed, mainly qualitative. Special attention is paid to state-society-industry and local-international relations in the post-conflict reconstruction by assessing different case studies from Africa, Middle East, Asia and Europe.

To follow this course, it is a pre-requisite to have followed qualitative methods. Please note that qualitative interviews are integral part of the course. The students are also advised to select the course, if their thesis falls clearly in one of the above-mentioned themes/keywords.

Additional Information

Please note that for some seminars there will be no additional substantive readings than the ones discussed in the courses they build on.


Registration for the Thesis Seminar in the Fall semester is possible from Friday 16 July 2021 - Sunday 22 July 2021. Registration is open for students that started their Master in one of the Political Science specialisations, in February 2021. All other students should contact the Exam Committee to request permission to take this thesis seminar. Students can take the thesis seminar only once in their academic year.


The thesis seminar is composed of a research proposal (first 8 weeks) and a thesis (remaining of the course). The research proposal ensures that the student is on the right track to carry out the research and write the thesis. It must be approved by both readers (see below), but is not awarded a grade. The grade of the thesis corresponds to 100% of the grade of the thesis seminar.

Research Proposal

The research proposal includes a problem statement, theoretical foundation, conceptualization as well as a sound explanation of the methods and techniques for data collection and analysis.The proposal must be approved by the supervisor and a second reader. The second reader will be designated by the Director of Studies. Please note that teachers are not obliged to provide thesis supervision if the proposal is not approved. The research proposal is not graded, it receives only a pass/revise/fail evaluation.

Master Thesis

The MSc thesis needs to comply with high standards of academic research. The formal requirements of the Master thesis are stated on the page ‘Thesis seminar information and deadlines’. The thesis evaluation form with the evaluation criteria will be published on Brightspace.

Students that drop or fail the course have to retake the complete thesis seminar (in the 2nd semester of the next academic year). Students should contact the Exam Committee if they are unable to complete the master thesis by the deadline due to circumstances beyond their control.