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Thesis Research Project Governance of Sustainability


Admission requirements

To participate in the Thesis Research Project, students need to have completed at least 48 EC of the first year MSc courses and participated in the Qualitative and Quantitative Research skills courses.


The Thesis Research Project is the final course of the MSc programme where students will apply the knowledge and skills acquired throughout the programme. The core activity of the Thesis Research Project consists of a research project, i.e., the capstone project, that students will independently conduct under the supervision of two supervisors. This typically results in a written report that can be complemented with additional products resulting from the research work, such as a product/process design or a piece of software. Ancillary activities to this course include a module to prepare students to the common practices involved in conducting scientific research and a final oral defense, where students will present their work and respond to questions from an appointed committee.

Course objectives

By the end of the Thesis Research Project, you should be able to:

  • Integrate perspectives from both environmental science and governance disciplines to analyze and/or develop governance solutions to sustainability problems.

  • Learn to communicate effectively with and integrate the expertise of different stakeholders in the research project.

  • Critically evaluate results of scientific and/or policy literature.

  • Independently design and carry out a research project.

  • Gather and analyze data by employing qualitative and/or quantitative research techniques.

  • Effectively manage the feedback of others (e.g., supervisors, peers, stakeholders).

  • Synthesize your findings in the form of a written report and convincingly present them.


You will find the timetables for all courses and degree programmes of Leiden University in the tool MyTimetable (login). Any teaching activities that you have sucessfully registered for in MyStudyMap will automatically be displayed in MyTimeTable. Any timetables that you add manually, will be saved and automatically displayed the next time you sign in.

MyTimetable allows you to integrate your timetable with your calendar apps such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar and other calendar apps on your smartphone. Any timetable changes will be automatically synced with your calendar. If you wish, you can also receive an email notification of the change. You can turn notifications on in ‘Settings’ (after login).

For more information, watch the video or go the the 'help-page' in MyTimetable. Please note: Joint Degree students Leiden/Delft have to merge their two different timetables into one. This video explains how to do this.

Mode of instruction

Capstone topics are proposed by supervisors prior to the start of the course and consist of a broad research topic. Each capstone topic comprises about five potential capstone projects. This means that up to five students will be working in a capstone topic, each on a different capstone project that aims at answering different research questions within a common research topic. The Thesis Research Project is always supervised by two supervisors, one from the Faculty of Science and one from the Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs. The first supervisor is involved with the day-to-day supervision of the student. The second supervisor is (at least) involved in the four formal process moments: kick-off meeting, midterm meeting, greenlight meeting and defense.

Assessment method

The thesis assessment form, including the criteria used for assessment, can be found on the Brightspace page.

Reading list

Not applicable


From the academic year 2022-2023 on every student has to register for courses with the new enrollment tool MyStudyMap. There are two registration periods per year: registration for the fall semester opens in July and registration for the spring semester opens in December. Please see this page for more information.

Please note that it is compulsory to both preregister and confirm your participation for every exam and retake. Not being registered for a course means that you are not allowed to participate in the final exam of the course. Confirming your exam participation is possible until ten days before the exam.

Extensive FAQ's on MyStudymap can be found here.


Dr. Valerio Barbarossa


This course is only open for students from MSc Governance of Sustainability.