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Thesis Seminar International Politics - Spring 2024



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: Power and World Politics (dr. I. Bakalov)
This thesis seminar is designed to provide a productive environment for pursuing research questions related to the study of power in world politics. The concept can be variously understood in terms of what actors are (e.g., great powers, rising powers, declining powers), have (e.g., military capabilities, economic resources), and/or do (e.g., coerce, persuade, attract). Beyond these rationalist frameworks, power can also be understood to underlie the structural transformations shaping social hierarchies and guiding the intersubjective construction of interests and identities. Notably, the concept has been used extensively in both problem-solving studies (aimed at explaining how the contemporary world order ticks) and critical investigations (aimed at understanding how the world order came about and what can replace it). Whether you are doing research on economic interdependence, violent conflict, cultural relations, or international organisations, the concept of power provides leverage for understanding the studied phenomenon. Dealing with the diversity of meanings is no easy task, but it can be facilitated by the available analytical tools for studying the various modalities of power, as well as through the intellectual exchanges among the seminar participants. The seminar offers insights into key categories, variables and mechanisms that will help you get a grip on your research topic. Students will receive extensive guidance in sharpening their research design, preparing a sound research proposal and completing a compelling master thesis. Students can make use of qualitative research methods, including positivist (e.g., comparative case studies, process tracing) and interpretive (e.g., discourse analysis) approaches.

Theme 02: International Governance (dr. C. Toenshoff)
This seminar will support students in writing a master’s thesis related to the broad theme of international governance. International governance encompasses the international management of various issues, such as trade, finance, the environment, human rights, health, peace and security, and new technology. It includes the actions of formal international organizations at the global and regional levels and less formalized interactions between national, supra- and sub-national actors. Appropriate research topics might include, for example, the determinants of countries’ participation in regional trade and investment agreements, the emergence and effects of rules governing environmental pollutants, the development policies of international institutions, and the role of self-regulation by non-government actors. This seminar will provide substantive and methodological instructions to help you produce a thesis proposal and thesis. Although the seminar is open to different epistemological and methodological approaches, students will be expected to test their theoretical arguments with quantitative or qualitative empirical evidence. Solely conceptual or theoretical work is discouraged. A full syllabus with a reading list and practical details will be provided at the beginning of the semester.


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'