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Thesis Research Master Area Studies

Vak 2011-2012

Description

The thesis is based on original research (possible conducted largely during Fieldwork in the third semester) and makes substantial use of primary material and professional literature. It is written in English, is up to 30,000 words in length (including footnotes and bibliography), and reflects the scholarly virtues of originality, focus and concision. The thesis must show the student’s ability to conduct original research under supervision, and to make a contribution to scholarship in a way that inspires confidence in his/her ability to prepare written reports of good quality. Its author must show that s/he is conversant with the discourse that emerges from influential publications in the field. If the supervisor does not specify otherwise, the references should be formatted consistently in accordance with the Chicago Manual of Style.
The thesis is supervised by a staff member of one of the Departments involved in the ResMA Area Studies programme possessing the appropriate expertise in the field addressed in the thesis. Formally, the supervisor is appointed by the Board of Examiners. Students must fill out a form to request the Board of Examiners to appoint a supervisor. In this form they may indicate their preferred supervisor(s).
The official regulations regarding the Thesis of the Research Master are available as attachments to the Teaching and Examination Regulations on the website of the department.

Defense of the Thesis

Students in the Research Master Area Studies are to defend the first version of their thesis, when they have handed this in. This defense consists in the preparation of a short (3 to 5 pages) thesis abstract, with reference to relevant literature and sources, the most important works consulted (with annotation), and central hypotheses. The thesis is defended before the supervisor, second supervisor/reader and other faculty members as appropriate. The purpose of this defense is to allow students to get a review of their thesis on the basis of which they may rewrite parts for the final version.
This defense is to be graded PASS/NO PASS. A PASS is required in order to proceed to submission of the final version of the thesis, and therefore is required for graduation from the program.

Assessment

The Research Master thesis is assessed by at least two persons: a first reader (in most cases the supervisor) and a second reader, both appointed by the Board of Examiners. Both readers use a standard form for their assessment in which the criteria are laid down.

Rough time path

Students planning to graduate by 31 August need to hand in a first, complete version of their thesis by 1 June. The supervisor will then arrange for the defense to take place later in June. The students will have the summer to revise the thesis. By 15 August they must hand in the final version after which the first reader (in general the supervisor) and the second reader can assess it. This allows for sufficient time to officially graduate on 31 August.
Students are advised to discuss the actual time path with their supervisor as early as possible. Supervisors may have plans for research and may not always be available during the periods when no classes are taught.

Students should be aware that official graduation is NOT the commencement ceremony in which they receive their diploma. If students want to receive their diploma (i.e. the actual paper) before leaving at the end of August, they must officially graduate by 1 August. The time path accordingly shifts by one month.

Students planning to graduate by 31 January need to hand in a first, complete version of their thesis by 1 November. The supervisor will then arrange for the defense to take place later in November or early December. The students will have through the Christmas break to revise the thesis. By 15 January they will have to hand in the final version after which the first reader (in general the supervisor) and the second reader can assess it. This allows for sufficient time to officially graduate on 31 January.
Students are advised to discuss the actual time path with their supervisor as early as possible. Supervisors may have plans for research and may not always be available during the periods when no classes are taught.

Students should be aware that official graduation is NOT the commencement ceremony in which they receive their diploma. If students want to receive their diploma (i.e. the actual paper) before leaving at the end of January, they need to officially graduate by 2 January. The time path accordingly shifts by one month.