The thesis is based on original research and makes substantial use of primary materials and professional literature. For the specialisations of Arabic Studies, Persian Studies and Turkish Studies, the literature should consist of a reasonable amount (to the discretion of the supervisor) in the relevant language. The thesis is written in English, and is up to 20,000 words in length, including footnotes and bibliography and reflecting the scholarly virtues of originality, focus and conciseness. 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 as it emerges from influential publications in the field. References should be formatted consistently in accordance with the Chicago Manual of Style or the American Anthropological Association Style Guide.
The thesis is preferably supervised by a lecturer of the School of Middle Eastern Studies who possesses the appropriate expertise in the field addressed in the thesis. The Department ensures that students are put in contact with a lecturer from the department for thesis supervision, preferably at the commencement of the programme. As soon as the students have an idea about the probable topic of their thesis they may ask the Board of Examiners to appoint this supervisor. A standard form is available for this request.
Rough time path
Students planning to graduate by 31 August need to hand in a first, complete version of their thesis by 1 June. Students will get feedback before 1 July. They 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 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 (first complete version handed in by 1 May, feedback 1 June, final version 1 July).
Students planning to graduate by 31 January need to hand in a first, complete version of their thesis by 1 November. 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.