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Political Science and Public Administration RM Thesis



Objective: As the capstone of the Research Master programme, students are expected to write a thesis (20 ECTS) in the format of a research paper that conforms to the requirements and standards of leading political science or public administration journals.

Type of research: The Research Master thesis research should fit within the research programme of the Institutes of Political Science or Public Administration and within the broad focus that characterises these programmes. Students are expected to develop their own research question and theoretical framework and to conduct their own empirical research and analyses.


Students are expected to have developed an initial thesis topic before the start of the last semester. At the beginning of block 3, students make an appointment with the track director Political Science (for those following the Political Science track) or Public Administration (for those following the Public Administration track). In cooperation with the track director they choose their supervisor and second reader among the faculty members of one of the two institutes. (conditional on approval by the Director of Studies). Under the guidance of their supervisor students develop their thesis topic into a thesis proposal. The proposal (10-15 pages) must include a problem statement, the theoretical foundation, conceptualization and operationalization of key variables, and present the methodology and techniques for data collection and analysis. The proposal must be approved by the supervisor and second reader. A signed proposal has to be handed in by the supervisor to the Instituutsbureau Politieke Wetenschap (Secretariat of Political Science). After supervisor and second reader have approved the proposal, students devote their time during block IV to conduct further research and write their thesis.


The length of the thesis including tables, footnotes and bibliography (but excluding an optional appendix) should not exceed 8.000 to 10.000 words using 12 point Times New Roman font (or equivalent) and double spacing.


The main criteria for the assessment of the thesis are whether it makes an original contribution to and is embedded in the previous research and literature on the topic of the thesis, the justification of the academic and societal relevance of the research, whether it includes a theoretical elaboration of the research problem, and whether it includes an appropriate empirical test of the hypotheses related to the theory or theories under consideration. The final thesis should have a level of sophistication equal to that of an article in an internationally renowned journal.

Final steps

By the deadline agreed with the supervisor, students must submit paper copies of their thesis to the supervisor and to the second reader (or PDF by email if they prefer), and an identical copy in PDF format via Turnitin. Go to the course on Blackboard and follow the instructions under ‘Uploading your Master Thesis’.

After the thesis has been analyzed using Turnitin the supervisor and second reader will approve and grade the thesis. Both supervisor and student fill in and sign the Non-Plagiarism and Publication Statement. The supervisor will send this statement and a PDF of the Thesis to the Student Services Centre (OSC) for publication in the Thesis Repository.