This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies who have successfully completed the second year elective course.
The student writes the thesis in the area of specialization.
The number of participants is limited to 12.
Focus: the main themes will reflect the topics studied in the two African courses: African history and African economics. Therefore, in terms of the disciplinary approach, the accent will be placed on history and on economics. The possibility exists for students to propose new areas of study (not covered in previous courses). For history, any such proposal must relate to events prior to 1989 (without any limit regarding how far back in time); for economics, students must be able to clearly master her/his selected theme.
The following is a list of relevant topics:
issues in the histories of various African nations and countries;
histories of African regions and peoples;
histories of African societies and social movements;
history of culture and cultural movements;
development and statistical analysis;
capitalist transformation of economy and society;
history of capitalism in Africa;
African labour history;
economic policies and analysis;
Africa and international organisations.
Building on earlier exercises in essay-writing, in particular the essay for the second year’s elective course, a bachelor’s thesis is the finishing paper of the program. It is a research paper of 10,000 words (± 10%, excluding bibliography and notes), which to a considerable extent is the result of research and writing that is independently done.
Collective supervision is provided in thesis seminars. The aim of the thesis seminar is to guide students through the process of designing a research question; collecting literature, sources, data, and other materials that are necessary for answering the question; bringing logic and persuasive order in the material and in the arguments supported by it; and designing appropriate research methods.
Assignments within the seminar include designing a research question and plan, writing a literature review (3-4,000 words), and presenting one’s research.
Attending a seminar is mandatory; no thesis can be submitted that has not been written in the context of a thesis seminar.
Apart from collective supervision, students will receive individual supervision, specifically focused on the subject of their research. The thesis seminar leader is also the one who provides this individual supervision. Students will have four individual meetings with their supervisor during the semester.
Each seminar will be devoted to one of the geographical areas covered by International Studies. Most seminar leaders will have expertise on political and economic subjects. For some larger areas, there will also be a limited number of seminars where stronger emphasis is laid on language, history, culture, religion, and society.
The exact set-up of the seminars may vary somewhat, due to the nature of the area, the number of seminars taught for each area, and the teaching approach of the seminar leader. The theme of a seminar lends focus to the class discussions, and provide extra guidance for students to decide on their research topic.
Based on the knowledge and skills acquired, students will be able to:
work with research techniques that are current in the discipline(s) applied by them;
comprehend sophisticated academic debates;
report on their studies and research in good written English;
work and write under time-pressure, and deal with deadlines.
report on their studies and research in good spoken English;
participate in debates in an active, prepared and informed way, respecting other people’s convictions and emotions;
understand fundamental cultural differences and divisions.
The general academic skills covered by these aims are:
collect and select specialized literature using traditional and electronic methods and techniques;
analyze and evaluate this in terms of quality and reliability;
formulate a well-defined research problem based on this;
set up, under supervision, a study of limited size, taking into consideration the traditional and electronic methods and techniques relevant for the discipline;
formulate a reasoned conclusion on the basis of this;
explain research findings in writing, in a clear and well-argued way.
The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.
Mode of instruction
Six seminar class meetings of two hours, spread over semester; four individual meetings with supervisor (30 min. on average).
Active participation in class: 21 hours.
Research question and plan: 21 hours.
Literature review: 63 hours.
Thesis: 315 hours.
Total: 420 hours.
Assessment & Weighing
5% active participation in class;
5% research question and plan (1,200-1,500 words);
15% literature review (3,000-4,000 words).
- 10,000 words; ± 10%, excluding footnotes and bibliography.
To succesfully complete the course, please take not of the following:
The end grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average of the individual components.
The grade for the thesis needs to be 6.0 or higher.
In case of an insufficient grade for the thesis (6.0 or lower) you are allowed to resubmit your thesis. This will lead to an appropriate deduction of the mark as a consequence of the longer process of completion. The deadline for resubmission of the thesis is 10 working days after receiving the grade for the thesis and subsequent feedback. When you passed your thesis but receive a fail grade for the entire course, you will be given an alternative assignment as resit for the other components (25% of the End Grade).
Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis can be found here.
Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs
No thesis can be submitted that has not been written in the context of a thesis seminar.
There are four important due dates during the seminar: in the Fall semester, student are to submit a research question in week 40; a literature review in week 43; a draft version of the thesis in week 48; and the definitive version in week 1 of January, 2018.
The due dates are not negotiable.
Since both the number of individual meetings with the supervisor, and their duration is limited, it is important that students go to them well-prepared.