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Thesis Seminar Information and Deadlines - Fall 2018

Vak 2017-2018


Please read carefully what applies to your situation.

• For regular students who started in February 2018 in the International Politics specialization: you have a choice between the Thesis seminars of Blarel and De Zwart. Please send your first preference choice by e-mail to (Attn: Desiree van Drongelen) after June 18, 10.00 hrs. These will be processed in the order they come in (first come, first serve). You will receive a confirmation of whether you could be enrolled in the Thesis Seminar of your preference as soon as your e-mail has been processed (usually within a few working days).
• For regular students who started in February 2018 in any other specialization (NECD, PPD, PLJ, Dutch Politics, IO): you will be automatically enrolled in the Master Thesis Seminar that corresponds to your specialization (NECD: De Zwart, PPD: Louwerse, PLI: Vrousalis, Dutch Politics: Louwerse, IO: Verdun).

Other students

• For students who are retaking the Thesis Seminar and/or started their Master studies before February 2018: if you have not already done so, please first check whether you need permission from the Board of Examiners or the Director of Studies to participate in the Thesis Seminar Fall 2018. After obtaining this permission, please send a message to (Attn: Desiree van Drongelen) after June 18, 10.00 hrs. This message should contain the thesis seminar for which you are registering. Please note that the Board of Examiner and/or the Director of Studies have very likely indicated for which seminar(s) you are eligible to enroll. These messages will be processed in the order they come in (first come, first serve). You will receive a confirmation of whether you could be enrolled in the Thesis Seminar of your choice as soon as your e-mail has been processed (usually within a few working days).

The formal registration in the Usis system will take place at the end of August (this will be done for you, no action required). If you have any questions about this procedure, please refer to the Thesis Seminar Coordinator, Tom Louwerse (

General Information

To ensure timely completion of the Master thesis, it is essential for students to follow the steps as described subsequently and as shown in the time table below. Attendance is compulsory in all meetings of the thesis seminar. It is strongly recommended that students start thinking about the topic of their MSc thesis at an early stage.

Formal Requirements

  • The MSc Political Science program requires the writing of a thesis (20 ECTS points) as the final product of a thesis seminar, in addition to successful completion of the five courses. In general, the number of words of the thesis must be between 8,000 and 10,000, including tables, footnotes and bibliography.
  • Working on the MSc thesis starts with writing a research proposal. The research proposal must include a problem statement, theoretical foundation, conceptualization and, if applicable, operationalization of key variables, and present the methodology and techniques for data collection and analysis.
  • The MSc thesis needs to comply with high standards of academic research and writing. It is important that the thesis is consistent, clear and original in the sense of constituting an own contribution to ongoing research. In various courses offered in this program, students learn how to conduct research and how to write academic papers. Among the criteria used to evaluate the thesis are its originality, consistency, academic (and, if applicable, societal) relevance, the choice of an adequate theoretical framework, the correct application of analytical methods, the quality of the data collection, and the presentation of the text.
  • The first and final versions of the thesis should adhere to the following formatting and layout requirements:
    • The thesis should include a cover page stating the title, the student’s name, student number, course specialization, word count, submission date, and the names of the supervisor and of the second reader.
    • The thesis should include a short abstract (maximum 200 words).
    • The thesis should be typeset in an appropriate font, such as Times New Roman, size 12, double line spacing. Pages should be numbered. The layout of the text and formatting of tables and figures should conform to standards for political science research articles.
    • The thesis should use a consistent style of referencing throughout.
    • The thesis seminar instructor can provide additional advice, requirements and/or guidelines regarding layout and formatting.

Working on the research proposal

During August, students are expected to read the literature for their thesis seminar as announced on Blackboard by their thesis seminar teacher. Students should also individually search for literature and background information concerning their specific research topics. Students must use the assigned literature to start working on their research proposal that will be further developed in the first part of the thesis seminar.
Thesis seminar classes
Attendance is compulsory in the thesis seminar classes. Participation in the thesis seminar classes, the assignments for these classes, and the final version of the research proposal constitute the ‘practical part’ of the course and are all mandatory. The final grade for the thesis seminar is based on the grade received for the thesis. It is of utmost importance that students attend all seminar classes and have a thesis proposal of high quality and academic standards finalized during the first part of the thesis seminar.

Submitting final version of research proposal

The deadline for submitting the final version of the research proposal (through Turnitin and in print) is Friday 12 October 2018, noon An approved proposal is essential for the start of the thesis-writing process. Although students may continue working on their thesis without a formally approved proposal, they are then doing so ‘on their own’ (thesis seminar teachers are no longer obliged to provide supervision). The proposal must be approved by the supervisor and by a second reader. The second reader will be designated by the Director of Studies. Once the supervisor and second reader accept the research proposal, a copy of the proposal, signed by the supervisor and the second reader will be submitted to the student’s file of academic records. If a proposal is not completed in time or not approved, a record of this will be deposited in the student’s file of records.

Working on first complete draft of the Master thesis

After the approval of the research proposal by their supervisor and the second reader, students work on their thesis for about seven weeks. During this phase, students have individual and/or group meetings with their supervisor. A number of meetings and subsequent revisions may be needed before the thesis is considered to meet the required academic standards. The deadline for submitting the first complete draft of the thesis (through Turnitin and in print) is Friday 7 December 2018, 12 pm.

Submitting final version of Master thesis

In the days following submission, the thesis seminar instructor will read the first complete draft of the thesis. During this period, students can double-check various aspects of their thesis, such as references, bibliography, data or facts, preparing for last corrections on their work. After the supervisor’s comments on the first complete draft have been received, students revise their thesis. The deadline for submitting the final version of the Master thesis (through Turnitin and in print) is Thursday 10 January, noon. Students submit this final version to their supervisor and to their second reader. The supervisor and second reader (both members of the departmental faculty) together decide on the final grade for the thesis. This final grade is communicated to students within 15 working days.


If the student is unable to complete the master thesis by the deadline due to circumstances beyond his/her control, a suitable solution will be sought by the Exam Committee after consultation with the student. Students may be allowed by the Exam Committee to complete the thesis after January 2019, provided that they have met all other obligations of the master and the thesis seminar, as demonstrated amongst others by an approved research proposal and the submission of a first complete version of the thesis. If necessary, the supervision of the master thesis may be continued by someone other than the first supervisor, and the research proposal may have to be adjusted in consultation with the new supervisor.
Students can take the thesis seminar only once in their academic year. If the thesis (seminar) is not finalized with a passing grade before the end of January, students will have to retake the complete thesis seminar in the next Fall. Requests for an exception must be addressed to the Exam Committee.

Time Table MSc Thesis Seminar Fall semester 2018/2019

Students study literature list (announced on Blackboard) and start working on their research proposal.
Monday 3 September
Start of thesis seminar classes and actual supervision.
Friday 12 October, noon
Deadline Students submit final version of research proposal to the thesis seminar teacher and second reader.
Monday 29 October – Friday 2 November
Final version of research proposal approved by thesis seminar teacher and second reader.
Saturday 3 November – Friday 7 December
Time period devoted to individual work on the thesis, including individual and/or small group meetings.
Friday 7 December, noon
Deadline Students submit the first complete draft of their Master thesis.
Thursday 20 December and Friday 21 December
Feedback and comments on first complete draft thesis by supervisor.
Saturday 22 December – Thursday 10 January 2019
Revision of the thesis.
Thursday 10 January 2019, noon
Deadline Students submit two copies of the final version of the Master thesis: one to the supervisor and one to the second reader.
Wednesday 30 January 2019
Student is informed about thesis assessment.
Thursday 31 January or Friday 1 February 2019
Final meeting with supervisor.