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Research Project (Fieldwork) (ResMA)


Admission Requirements

1) Successful completion of the course Critical Area Studies: Placing Your Research; and,
2) successful completion of the course Methologies in the Social Sciences and Humanities; or, at least 5 EC of Research School Courses.


After the completion of their first year, in semester 3, students are expected to undertake an original research project for a minimum of 20 and maximum of 30 EC. A maximum of 10 EC can be used to study abroad at one of the institutions affiliated with the programme or to take additional course work in Leiden (or at another university or national research schools). Students are strongly encouraged to start discussing their wishes and expectations as early as possible with their supervisor, preferably at the beginning of their second semester at the latest.

Students need to write a sound proposal before they can start their research. This proposal needs to be submitted to their supervisor before 1 June (semester 2) if they want to begin research in September. The supervisor offers comments and feedback, which can then be addressed in the final version to be submitted by 1 July.

Safety first

  • Students should be aware that Leiden University is adhering to the travel advises given by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Students are allowed to go abroad for study-related activities to countries that are classified as code green or yellow according to Dutch government travel advice. Travel to code orange or code red countries is never permitted.

  • All students going abroad for study-related activities are obliged to attend one of the Health and Safety Information Sessions before they leave.

  • They are furthermore expected to have read and act according to the regulations as laid down in the Leiden University Regulations on Studying Abroad.

  • See for more information this webpage on health and safety for students going abroad.

Combining research with studying abroad

Students who plan to go abroad and want to combine doing research with Studying Abroad can contact the International Co-ordinators of the Faculty of Humanities for advice.

Please be reminded that the deadline for applications for Study Abroad beyond Erasmus agreements is 1 December (year X) for Study Abroad in Fall semester of year X+1 and Spring semester year X+2. Study Abroad in Spring semester year X+1 is only possible if there are places left.

Financial planning

For students planning to go abroad it is important to consider financial matters such as tuition fees, other costs, their budget and scholarship applications.

Grants and scholarships

The University and the Faculty of Humanities offer several scholarships for students of various research MA programmes who wish to either study or conduct (field) research abroad. Other grants can be found through the grantfinder at Wilweg, a website which contains also other useful information.

If the research involves a stay abroad for a minimum period of 60 days students may want to apply for the Uhlenbeck scholarship programme which has been set up especially for research master and master students who are doing mandatory research abroad. The programme provides a (supplementary) scholarship for their stay.

Course objectives

Inasmuch as there is a clear-cut boundary between doing research and writing the thesis, the Research project semester is about the former of these two.

During your first year of studies, you:

  • identified a research topic;

  • formulated a research question;

  • conducted a preliminary literature review;

  • identified primary sources of various kinds (texts and other artifacts, interlocutors/interviewees etc.) and considered your access to these sources;

  • designed a methodology;

  • reflected on the theoretical orientation to be taken

  • acquainted yourself with principles and pragmatics of doing research

Your second year will be dedicated to:

  • gathering and compiling a collection of various data (in your third semester);

  • and last but not least, reporting on the research in writing (in your fourth semester) in your ResMA Thesis.


Not applicable.

Mode of instruction

  • Independent Study

During the project students will regularly report to their supervisor, i.e. at least every three weeks by email unless otherwise agreed upon with their supervisor. The structure of these reports will reflect conventions in the field in question, and be determined in consultation with the student’s supervisor.

Assessment Method

Academic integrity

Students should familiarize themselves with the notion of academic integrity and the ways in which this plays out in their own work. A good place to start is this page. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Students may not substantially reuse texts they have previously submitted in this or other courses. Minor overlap with previous work is allowed as long as it is duly noted in citation.

Students must submit their assignment(s) to Brightspace through Turnitin, so they can be checked for plagiarism. Submission via email is not accepted.

ChatGPT: What is possible and what is allowed? Dos and Don'ts.


After students finish their research project, they hand in a research report. The final grade for the research project is based on this report. The final report builds on the intermediate reports regularly submitted to the supervisor, and is considered to be the culmination of these. The reflective report should consist of the following elements:

  • a description of the research context (whether library, archive, museum, or physical or digital fieldwork site) and an account of the research undertaken;

  • a preliminary answer to the research question posed in the research proposal;

  • a critical discussion of the methodology employed and its application in practice;

  • an evaluation of the value of the research project for the student’s project and its contribution to the field;

  • a critical personal reflection: evaluation of the skills and experience acquired and challenges encountered during the research process.

The research report is an official examination and needs to be written in English. It should consist of 5,000 words (+/- 10%, excluding bibliography and/or appendices) and be handed in to the Leiden supervisor(s) within 3 weeks of completing the research semester.

Reading list

Not applicable.


Students do not need to register for this "course."