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International Relations and Diplomacy Master Thesis


MAIRD thesis

The Master program in International Relations and Diplomacy requires, besides the completion of the courses, the writing of a thesis. In the thesis, the student demonstrates his or her ability to apply the acquired knowledge and skills to a topic in the field of international relations and diplomacy. It is advised to select a topic related to the coursework followed, and particular attention should be paid to a conceptual or theoretical framework and a good methodology as acquired in the various courses in the program.

The thesis should be about 40 pages in length (between 15.000 and 17.500 words including tables and footnotes). A proposal for the thesis is prepared in the context of the Thesis Lab during block 3. In the Thesis Lab the conceptual, methodological and technical aspects of the proposal are emphasized; however, in the process of supervision adaptations may still be made.


The writing of the thesis will be supervised by a staff member from the Institute of Political Science, The Faculty Campus The Hague and the Institute Clingendael. The final result will be evaluated by the supervisor and a second reader, each from a different institute. The thesis evaluation is based on specific criteria, among others clarity of research goals and questions, quality of theoretical and conceptual framework, methodology, academic and social relevance, originality, legibility and presentation.


  1. In the ‘Thesis Lab’ offered during block 3 a thesis proposal is developed.
    1. The instructor of the Thesis Lab will facilitate the assignment of supervisors and second readers in consultation with the partner institutions involved in the program.
    2. Students pass the “Thesis Lab” course when their proposal is graded by the instructor of the Thesis Lab; thereafter the proposal must be submitted to the supervisor and second reader for approval. The latter may ask for adaptations. a.
    3. The student works on the thesis with the supervisor during the fourth block. The supervisor, besides giving guidance on individual chapters, gives comments and suggestions on a complete draft version before the final version is submitted. The deadline for the first complete draft should be set for late May in consultation with the supervisor.
    4. The deadline for the final version of the thesis is June 10, 2015. The student hands in the final version to the supervisor and the second reader. The thesis should also be submitted electronically through Turn-it-in.
    5. The supervisor and second reader evaluate the thesis during a period of three weeks (15 working days). A thesis evaluation form is filled out and a meeting is scheduled to discuss the comments of both the supervisor and the second reader. If a meeting in person is not possible, the evaluation and comments will be communicated by email.
    6. At this last meeting the back side of the evaluation form with the non-plagiarism and publication statement is also filled out.
    7. After the last meeting the student uploads his thesis in pdf format in the Leiden Master IRD Student Repository.

Thesis Supervisors

Prof.dr. Jan Melissen
Dr. Maaike Okano Heijmans
Dr. Wilbur Perlot
Dr. Frans-Paul van der Putten

Leiden University
Dr. Corinna Jentzsch
Prof.dr. Madeleine Hosli
Dr. Francesco Ragazzi
Dr. Maria Spirova
Prof.dr. Daniel Thomas