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Academic Excellence Programme


Admission requirements

  • Only students of the MSc Crisis and Security Management can take this course, plus a number of extra conditions need to be met:
  1. Students should have (almost) finalised the regular CSM-programme. This means that the research trajectory starts only after the student has formally passed all the courses including the course Portfolio and defence meeting.
  2. The mean rounded grade for all the CSM-courses should be at least an eight – so, a 7.75 or more.


Excellent students who have a strong wish to further develop and demonstrate their research skills - for instance, because they aspire to an academic career or another research-led career - have the opportunity to join an Academic Excellence Project. This is not part of the formal CSM-programme and cannot be used to obtain ECTS in order to graduate. It is an extra-curricular achievement on the CSM diploma supplement.
The research project can take two different forms:
I. An individual independent research project proposed by the student under the supervision of a lecturer/researcher from ISGA that fits into the broad field of crisis and security management
II. An independent research project proposed by the student within the confines of a focal research topic put forward by an ISGA lecturer/researcher, which can be found on the Brightspace General Master Page.

Course Objectives

By the end of the Academic Excellence Project:

  • Students are able to give a clear problem outline of a research topic, explain the academic and social relevance, and construct a clear research question

  • Students are able to develop a consistent theoretical framework to define the research question, clearly conceptualise the terms used, and properly embed in and evaluate the academic literature in the field;

  • Students are able to construct an appropriate research design and data collection strategy, in line with the research question and available sources of data, which is replicable, and clearly justifies the choices made with respect to the operationalisation

  • Students are able to analyse whether the methods chosen are appropriate and sufficient given the research design, systematically analyse quantitative and/or qualitative data, and correctly interpret it;

  • Students are able to give an accurate and succinct overview of the results, give a clear answer to the research question they posed, and discuss limitations and possible avenues of further research.

  • Student are able to work independently


On the right side of programme front page of the studyguide you will find links to the website and timetables, uSis and Brightspace

Mode of Instruction

Students first apply for a position in the Academic Excellence Project, either by presenting an independent individual project, or subscribing to one of the focal research areas and coming up with a relevant and related individual project (to be found in the Call for Papers section of the Brightspace General Master page). They have only one opportunity to apply for a position. If the CSM-staff decides to decline the application, there is no resit-option nor the opportunity to appeal to the Board of Examiners.

Students are expected to work independently on their research project. Supervision will be provided for, but will be limited to approximately five discussion sessions.

If students don’t meet the deadline for handing in the final research paper, or if the final research paper is not accepted by the supervisor because it does not meet the requirements, the student will not obtain the extracurricular ECTS. There is no resit option or appeal possible regarding this decision.

  • Total study load: 420 hours

  • No lecturers

  • A limited number of meetings with the supervisor (normally: five) to discuss progress.

Assessment method

One final research paper, grade weights 100%
The exact requirements of the paper and the deadlines will be listed on Brightspace.

Information on the AEP will be posted on the Brightspace General Master page

Reading list




Dr. Joery Matthys