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Thesis Seminar International Politics - Spring 2023



Students choose (one of) the thesis seminar(s) offered within their specialisation. It is strongly recommended that students start thinking about the topic of their thesis before the start of the classes. Attendance is compulsory for all classes. Detailed information about the study material and the writing process can be found on Brightspace.

Course Objectives

Objective 1. To deepen the understanding of theories and methods related to research on the theme of the Master Specialisation.
Objective 2. Applying them to a specific topic as part of the student’s Master thesis project.

General Introduction Meeting

See 'Information and Deadlines' for the time and date of the introduction meeting.

Thesis Seminar Themes:

Theme 01: Armed Conflict (J. Masullo-Jimenez)
The MA Thesis Seminar is designed to aid students in the timely and successful design and completion of their MA thesis. While the course will be mainly on the core components of research design in political science, the substantive focus will be on armed conflict and peace. This focus is meant to be broad to accommodate a wide variety of research topics and questions. Topics that fall within this theme include: inter-and intra-state conflict, political and criminal violence; peace-building and peacekeeping; post-conflict reconstruction; policy approaches to combat crime; the protection of civilians; and the role of international actors and unarmed civilians in conflict processes and dynamics.

The seminar aims to be open to different epistemological and methodological approaches. Participants are welcome to work on research projects using qualitative and/or quantitative methods, observational and/or experimental data, as well as employing a wide range of research designs, from intensive case studies to quasi-experimental and experimental designs. The only essential condition is that projects involve empirical research - i.e., purely conceptual or theoretical projects are discouraged.

Theme 02: The Politics of Human Rights (G. Macaj)
This TS has been cancelled

Theme 03: The Politics of Mobilization and Repression (B. Rezaeedaryakenari)
The substantive focus of this seminar is on the dynamics of contentious collective actions, where dissidents in society challenge the status quo and the state responds to these challenges. Therefore, a broad range of research questions on the dynamics of mobilization and repression can be explored. Participants can explore topics like how popular uprisings start, turn into a movement, and then succeed or demobilize; how dissidents collectively challenge the status quo; how dissidents mobilize resources and recruit new members; whether the methods of resistance, violent or nonviolent, matters for the success of a movement; why states use repression against dissidents; whether state repression is effective; why elites and security forces defect during a movement; and so forth. Conflict events from French Revolution to the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street to Black Lives Matter and Climate Movement are within the scope of this seminar.
Since this seminar's primary goal is helping participants prepare for writing their MA thesis, besides the substantive focus on the dissent-repression nexus, it provides reading materials and discussions on commonly used research methods in this literature and required academic skills. Although this seminar is open to different epistemological and methodological approaches, it best suits those students interested in the scientific study of politics, which requires developing an empirical analysis (quantitative or qualitative) to evaluate your theoretical arguments.


See 'Information and Deadlines'


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.

Master Thesis

The MSc thesis needs to comply with high standards of academic research. The thesis must be between 8.000 and 10.000 words, including tables, footnotes and bibliography. 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.


See 'MyTimetable'