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Thesis and Thesis Seminar East Asia D, Sem 1


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies who have successfully completed the second or third year elective course and who have passed courses of the first two years of the International Studies programme worth a total of 100 EC. The student writes the thesis in the area of specialization. The number of participants is limited to 12.


The supervisor’s research focuses on social developments and change, political communication and propaganda, and media in the PRC, with minor attention for Taiwan and Hong Kong. His thesis classes emphasise research methods like visual communication analysis and media studies. Thesis topics may include any subject related to politics or media in East Asia, but preferably in the PRC.

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 programme. 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, as well as writing a literature review (3-4,000 words).

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, and will focus on a broad theme relevant to the programme.

The exact set-up of the seminars may vary somewhat, due to the nature of the 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.

Course objectives

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;

  • 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 the semester; four individual meetings with supervisor (30 min. on average).


Attending a seminar is mandatory; no thesis can be submitted that has not been written in the context of a thesis seminar. If you are unable to attend a session, please inform your lecturer in advance. If you are absent at two or more class meetings or more than one individual meeting, the lecturer may have you disenrolled from the seminar.

Course Load

Total course load for this course is 15 EC (1 EC = 28 hours), which equals 420 hours, broken down by:

  • Active participation in class: 14 hours.

  • Research question and plan: 21 hours.

  • Literature review: 70 hours.

  • Thesis: 315 hours.

Assessment method


Submission of the following assignments is prerequisite for submitting your thesis:

  • Research question and research plan (1200-1500 words);

  • Literature review (3000-4000 words).

  • Draft version of the Thesis.

End Grade

The grade for the thesis seminar is determined by the thesis grade.
To successfully complete this course, the grade for the thesis needs to be a 6.0 or higher.


Blackboard will be used. Students are requested to enroll on Blackboard, but only after correct enrolment in uSis.

Reading list

Not applicable.


  • Enrolment through uSis for the Thesis Seminar is mandatory. Use the code at the top of this page.

  • Toward the end of June you will receive a message with a link to a survey, where you can indicate which Thesis Seminar has your preference, and your reasons for this preference.

  • After the Thesis Coordinator has divided all students across the Thesis Seminar groups, students will be enrolled for the specific groups by the Administration Office.

  • General information about uSis is available here.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


When contacting your lecturer, please include your full name, student number, and course title.


  • 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 2 of January, 2019.

  • 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.