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MA Thesis Asian Studies (60 EC)

Vak 2013-2014

Admission requirements

60 MA Asian Studies students only


Half of the programme’s final term is reserved for writing the MA thesis. The thesis must demonstrate the student’s ability independently to prepare written reports of good quality. The thesis is based on original research and makes substantial use of primary material. For students whose MA coursework includes advanced language training in one or more Asian languages, use of primary and/or secondary Asian-language material is required. However, no more than one-third of the total thesis shall consist of translations into English, unless the supervisor has given prior permission. The thesis should also provide ample evidence of the student’s grasp of the relevant specialist scholarly literature and the ability of the student to make an original contribution to knowledge. The thesis is written in English and up to 15,000 words in length, including footnotes and bibliography.

Course objectives

-Designing and executing a research project
-Academic writing and publishing

Mode of instruction

Choose from:

  • Thesis MA

Assessment method

Thesis 100%

Program in Asian Studies
Leiden Institute for Area Studies
Leiden University

• A proposal for the thesis (question/hypotheses, outline of main argument, list of references) must be submitted to the supervisor by email AND on Blackboard to the instructor of the student’s thesis class before 1 February 2014.
• The MA thesis submission procedure works with a two-deadline system. The first submission deadline is June 1st, 2014. The second and final submission deadline is July 15th, 2014. Students submitting a thesis draft or part thereof to their supervisor on or before the first deadline have a right to receive feedback on their work, and will receive their papers back, with commentary, with a minimum of two weeks remaining for revision and resubmission by the second deadline. Students who do not submit a draft by the first deadline forfeit the “right to a rewrite.” They retain the right to submit a final version of their thesis by the final deadline without penalty besides their forfeiture of the opportunity to revise and resubmit.
• All MA theses to be assessed in the current academic year must be submitted by the final deadline of July 15th, 2014. Theses submitted after this date will be not be assessed or receive feedback until after the start of the first semester of the following academic year, i.e. from September. All thesis drafts submitted after the first submission deadline of June 1st and before the final submission deadline of July 15th will automatically be considered to represent the final version, with no further changes or adjustments allowed.
• The final version of the thesis will be submitted to a common Blackboard Site established for this purpose and accessible to all supervisory staff. They will thereby automatically be checked by SafeAssign.
• All final theses submitted by July 15th will be simultaneously made available to, read, and assessed by, both the primary supervisor and a second reader, who should then meet to discuss their findings before deciding upon a final mark according to standard practice. Both first and second reader should each prepare and submit a thesis assessment form for distribution to the student and registration in the academic record. Under normal circumstances, the verdict should be reached—and a final grade issued—within six weeks, thus before the end of August.
• Strict guidelines and deadlines, along with the current prospect of increased financial penalties for those who fail to meet them, mean pressure for both students and teachers. Inevitably, some students will respond to this pressure with attempts to circumvent requirements both in terms of time (deadlines) and content (thesis-writing). In this situation, it is essential that staff remain fair and consistent in enforcing deadlines and requirements for all students. Students seeking to “cut corners” by simply copying and rewording the data, statements and arguments appearing in the secondary literature should be clearly and consistently made aware that this is in itself not acceptable as university-level work and opens the risk of accusations of academic fraud, with all its associated penalties. The internet makes the possibilities for attempted circumvention through plagiarism more tempting and accessible than ever. This can range from the copying of digital information readily accessible from any computer (which is easy to catch, through the use of programs such as SafeAssign), to the copying of “analog” (written) information appearing in sources only available in printed form (harder to catch without a greater investment of time and effort on the part of the assessor), to the hiring of third parties to compose original research papers (nearly impossible to catch on their own merits). Particularly for the purpose of guarding against the sorts of plagiarism less-easily detected by software such as SafeAssign, students should be advised to produce not only a neat finished product in the form of a final, submitted draft, but also to retain for the record—and to be able to produce if necessary—(copies or records of) the notes/rough drafts etc. that they produced along the way.