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RMA thesis Archaeology second year


Admission requirements

Research proposal (RMA year 1) approved.


The RMA-thesis is the final masterpiece that demonstrates that a student can write, plan and execute an innovative academic research project that may serve as a basis for ongoing (PhD-)research. The research is based on data derived from material culture, fieldwork, laboratory research, or historic sources and additional academic literature. It is researched and written over the course of 2 years and should be related to the research track.

The research has to contain innovative and critical analyses of complex data and should lead to new theoretical or methodical approaches, related to a broad academic debate.
The thesis consists of approximately 30,000 words. The RMA-thesis is a report of an academic research project and should be competed in 2 years. Ideally, an RMA-thesis should be used to write an academic paper that meets the international academic standards of peer-reviewed journals or to write a project proposal for PhD-research.
More information on writing your thesis, deadlines, forms and criteria can be found on the Archaeology thesis webpage (see guidelines below).

Course objectives

The RMA thesis demonstrates that the student is able to:

  • independently design, plan and execute innovative archaeological research, while maintaining a critical attitude and using feedback in a constructive way;

  • define clear research questions and choose the correct methodology;

  • combine alpha-, beta and gamma applications in a creative and confident way;

  • collect, analyse and interpret complex academic data;

  • select and use relevant specialist literature and current theoretical perspectives;

  • build an argumentation structured and in a good academic style;

  • clearly describe and present data both in text and graphically;

  • deal with incomplete or limited information, typical of archaeological datasets;

  • function in academic networks and teams;

  • reflect on ethical-social aspects of archaeology and to discuss this from an international globalising perspective

Course load

The course load will be distributed as follows:
560 hours of individual research (20 ects).

Mode of instruction

Individual feedback based on submitted text and analyses of data.
The individual supervision is usually based on submitted text. Students can always ask for an appointment, but the supervisor may ask for a progress report as well. In general 5 meetings with your supervisor in which you discuss your progress and discuss feedback is sufficient.

Planning of the thesis in the second year:

  • In blocks 1 and 2 (3 and 4 for February intake) the student carries out research independently and progress is discussed with the individual supervisor.

  • 1 May (or 1 November for February intake): submission of thesis draft.

  • 15 June (or 15 December for February intake): submission of final thesis, both as hardcopy and via Turnitin.

Assessment method

Thesis (100%).

See the Faculty website for thesis guidelines.


Thesis seminar coordinators per RMA research track:

Human Origins: prof. dr. J.W.M. Roebroeks
Prehistoric Farming Communities: prof. dr. H. Fokkens
Religion and Society: Native American Cultures: prof. dr. C.L. Hofman
Town and Country: Mediterranean Region and the Near East: prof. dr. P.M.M.G. Akkermans & dr. M.J. Versluys
Transformation of the Roman World: prof. dr. F.C.W.J. Theuws
Archaeological Heritage in a Globalising World: prof. dr. M.E.R.G.N. Jansen & prof. dr. J.C.A. Kolen
Bioarchaeology: prof. dr. M. van Kolfschoten & mw. dr. A.L. Waters


Compulsory attendance.