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Thesis Writing Seminar (Area Studies, Asian Studies and Middle Eastern Studies (research))


Admission requirements

This seminar is meant for all students who have been admitted to the MA Middle Eastern Studies (research) or the MA Asian Studies (research). In the first year attendance is strongly advised. In the second year attendance is compulsory. In case students are abroad for fieldwork or studies, they should report this well in advance to the coordinator of the course.


During the seminar every week two students will give a presentation on the progress of their research and Research Master thesis. One week before the scheduled presentation, the presenter should send an outline and/or writing sample of their research or thesis not exceeding 10 pp to all participants through blackboard. Every week both presentations will be commented upon by a discussant from amongst the other participants. Also the supervisor of the research / thesis will be invited to join the seminar for comments.

Course objectives

The students will learn to present the initial results of their research and to communicate this to a specialist and non-specialist academic audience. The students will learn to participate in an academic discussion on a topic related to area studies. The students will receive input to their research findings from faculty and fellow students. The students will learn how to meet deadlines. While the paper may contain factual background information on the specific research topic, the presentations should focus on methodology and the (im)possibilities of it for the students’ research. The presentation, therefore, should at least touch upon the following topics: state of the art, research question, source materials (what, where and how to deal with them), position within the field of area studies.


Once every two weeks. For exact dates see timetables.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

  • Attendance of the meetings (compulsory in the second year)

  • Presentation of research outline and draft writing (10 pp.)

  • Act as a discussant for one of the presentations

  • Preparation of the meetings by studying draft writings and active participation in the discussions.

At the end of the second semester of the second year a paper is required in which the student responds to at least five presentations given during the seminar. In addition to mere reporting, in this paper the student should indicate what he or she has learnt from the presentations in relation to their own thesis or, in case nothing was taken from it, why not. The paper should be not shorter than 1500 and longer than 2500 words and should be handed in before 1 June. In case these requirements have been fulfilled the seminar brings in 10 EC.

Students will either get a Pass or non-Pass for this seminar.



Reading list

Draft writings of the participants, distributed one week in advance through blackboard.


Registration via uSis is compulsory.

Contact information

Dr. Nico J.G. Kaptein LIAS/SMES


The seminar is coordinated and supervised by Dr. Nico J.G. Kaptein. In addition to him, the individual thesis supervisor of each presenter will be invited for expert comments.