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MA Thesis History


Admission requirements

This course is part of the (Res)MA History Programme. It is not accessible for BA students.


The MA History programme is concluded by a 20 EC MA-thesis. The thesis is based on original research in primary sources and will be at minimum 16.000 and at maximum 18.000 words in size (excluding front page, table of content, footnotes and bibliography). Students are guided by thesis supervisors in writing their thesis.

Thesis supervisor

Students are expected to approach themselves a member of staff with a request to act as supervisor of their MA Thesis. In order to do so, the student draws up a concise research proposal for the thesis during the second half of the first semester. All students are strongly advised to approach a member of staff sooner rather than later. An overview of all members of staff and their fields of expertise is found in the list of staff and research themes.

The student approaches the potential thesis supervisor by e-mail. If the (potential) supervisor does not respond within two weeks, please send another e-mail with the Coordinator of Studies in the cc.

In some instances the approached member of staff will refer the student to a colleague with more expertise in the particular proposed subject. In exceptional cases a scholar from outside the History Department will be invited to (co-)supervise the thesis. If the member of staff agrees on supervision, the student will start writing the thesis.

Course objectives



The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Individual supervision

Assessment method


  • Thesis (ca. 16.000-18.000 words, based on research in primary sources, excluding front page, table of content, footnotes and bibliography)


  • Thesis: 100%

Assesment Criteria MA Thesis

For the assessment of the MA Thesis we evaluate these aspects:

1) Knowledge and insight;
2) Application knowledge and insight;
3) Reaching conclusions;
4) Communication (language, annotation);
5) Learning skills;
6) Formal requirements, including the knock-out criteria specific for the programme.

In case the Thesis is graded between 6.0 - 6.5, the Board of Examiners will appoint a third reader. The third reader will check whether the Thesis meets the criteria from the Prospectus, and grades the Thesis a final time.

If the Thesis is graded as insufficient, the student is given the option to individually correct the thesis based on the feedback from the grading form and/or instructions from their supervisor. If this revised Thesis of a student is graded insufficient as well, the student cannot continue with the current topic and supervisor, but has to find a new topic and supervisor before continuing. In this case, the student must also contact the Coordinator of Studies to discuss further possibilities.

Reading list

Not applicable.


Not applicable.


Not applicable.


Six weeks before the planned date of graduation students have to apply for entry to the final examination. This can be done by following the several stages of the Graduation Procedure.

The defence will cover an hour and consists of several parts. First, the student gives a short 15-minute presentation about the thesis. Students are allowed to use a PowerPoint presentation for this, using their own laptop. After this presentation, the first and second examiner will ask the student questions regarding the thesis, and it is expected that the student is able to defend the thesis during this brief debate. The ceremony will be concluded by the handing out of the diploma and the laudation by one of the examiners.