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Thesis Seminar Arts and Culture


Admission requirements

Not applicable.


The Thesis Seminar will introduce students to the requirements and processes of writing a Master Thesis. Students will be introduced to the standards of evaluation for the thesis, and guided through the process of designing a research project and preparing a thesis outline, including practical aspects of academic writing such as source citation according to the Chicago-Style . Special focus will be given to the formulation of the main research question. Part of the Seminar consists of giving a presentation of the research proposal, finding the main relevant literature to your thesis topic and writing a research proposal.

The seminar starts with a general introduction meeting in which the procedure regarding the Master Thesis and the requirements will be explained. In the following seminar meetings all the aspects of designing a study for a Master’s thesis will be discussed, for instance: how to find an appropriate topic and how to formulate a research question. Concepts and methods from each of the three specializations of the Master Arts and Culture will serve as a guide in the discussion on how to approach a topic theoretically and methodologically. The more practical aspects of conducting research, such as planning and reference management, will be discussed too. In the course of the semester students will propose a research topic and will be assigned to a supervisor by the Board of Examiners. In-between the seminar meetings students will work both independently as well as in peer groups on their research proposal and presentation. The presentation takes place during a presentation day at the end of the seminar which will be organized in the form of a small academic conference.

Course objectives


  • develop a thorough knowledge of the ways of writing an academic research proposal and presenting it to an audience;

  • acquire the necessary skills for writing a Master Thesis:

  • analyse their research interests and formulate a pertinent research question;

  • compile an up-to-date relevant bibliography according to the Chicago-Style manual;

  • critically review the relevant literature;

  • design a thesis outline/proposal.


Please consult the timetable on the MA Arts and Culture website.

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

  • Seminar

  • Attendance is compulsory. Students are allowed to miss a maximum of two seminars, provided they present a valid reason beforehand. Students who have missed more than two seminars will have to aply to the Examination Committee of the Ma Arts and Culture in order to obtain permission to further follow and complete the course.

Course Load

Total course load for the course 5 ec x 28 hours = 140 hours (5 ec):

  • seminar meetings 8 × 2 hours = 16 hours;

  • compulsory readings/seminar preparations: 10 × 2 = 20 hours;

  • assignments (incl. preparation of presentation and critical review paper: 104 hours.

Assessment method

  • Presentation of thesis topic; research question (25%);

  • Critical review paper (75%).


The final grade is the average of the two grades (25%, 75%). A student passes the class if the weighted average is a 6.0 or higher (marks under 5.0 are not allowed) and the paper is a 6.0 or higher.


The re-sit consists of two parts: a re-sit of the paper (75%) and/or an alternative assignment for the presentation of thesis topic and research question (25%).

Exam Review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


Blackboard will be used throughout the course for announcements; assignments, literature and for peer review of written assignments.

Reading list

  • Wayne C. Booth; Gregory G. Colomb; Joseph M. Williams, The Craft of Research. The University of Chicago Press: Chicago & London, 2016 (4th ed.)


Students are required to register for this course via uSis, the course registration system of Leiden University. General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable




Arthur Crucq
Administrations Office Huizinga