nl en

Thesis Seminar International Organisation - Spring 2020



Students choose (one of) the thesis seminar(s) offered within their specialisation. It is strongly recommended that students start thinking about the topic of their thesis before the start of the classes. Attendance is compulsory for all classes. Detailed information about the study material and the writing process can be found on Blackboard.

Course Objectives

Objective: 1. To deepen the understanding of theories and methods related to research on the theme of the Master Specialisation.
Objective: 2. Applying them to a specific topic as part of the student’s Master thesis project.

General Introduction Meeting

On Tuesday 3 December 2019 there will be a general introduction meeting from 13:15-15:00 in room 3.48 at Wijnhaven, in which the instructors will explain and discuss the general thesis seminar procedures and expectations and students can ask questions about the thesis seminars.


Theme 01 : Global Public Goods and Commons - Hagen (act. code: 7192)

This thesis seminar applies insights from political economy and addresses the difficulties countries, organizations and individuals have in achieving successful collective action. By using and comparing theories from public goods and commons literature, students will use an empirical example of their own choosing in their individual project that delves into how collective action has / is / or can be, achieved and what the difficulties in that specific instance are. (Global) public goods and commons are multidisciplinary subjects combining fields such as political economy, law and philosophy and uses them to explore the workings of international action and decision making. Examples of such issues are found for instance in climate mitigation, defense, refugee protection and the Internet. By writing a thesis on this subject students will gain an understanding on the necessary conditions of achieving successful collective action in these complicated settings.

Theme 02: International Institutions - Mos (act. code: 7193 )

The thesis seminar is aimed at supporting the students in preparation and writing their MSc thesis with a focus on the European Foreign and Security Policy. As part of the seminar, students will develop a thesis proposal in Block 3 and, after conducting their independent research, will write their Master thesis in Block 4. Students are invited to propose theoretically informed research projects, which study the politics, policies and decision-making processes of the European Union and/or its member states in the area of foreign and security policies. Broader projects dealing with the external policies of the EU and/or its member states may also be considered, after consulting with the seminar leader. Possible examples of projects include: explaining the policies of the EU (or/and its member states) towards certain country or region; explaining the relationship between NATO and the EU; studying different aspects of the transatlantic relationship; explaining the decision-making or inter-institutional relations in the making of EU’s external relations, including moments of crisis; analyzing the development of the European defence policy and PESCO; analyzing various EU’s engagements in the world, e.g. CSDP missions; explaining EU’s impact in its neighbourhood. The seminar is open to a variety of methods, but there will be a focus on qualitative research methods and designs.

Theme 03: Challenges of European integration - Theuns (act. code: ntb)

This seminar has only 2 places available for IO students

The purpose of the thesis seminar is to accompany students when they write their master thesis. Students develop draft proposals into a full research proposal, which will be the basis of their master thesis. Methodologically, qualitative, interpretative and mixed methods research designs are encouraged and may include ethnography, discourse and narrative analysis, interviews, the history of ideas, the study of ideologies, critical theory, archival and document analysis, argumentation analysis, case studies or grounded theory. Readings will be initially chosen in dialogue with students with a view to their specific interests.

Thematically the focus is on challenges of European integration. The European integration project has been under sustained pressure now for some time. Whether it is rising illiberalism and polarization, the sovereign debt and banking crises, the so-called refugee 'crisis', or the climate emergency, the function and purpose of the EU is increasingly and continually contested. For the first time, it looks like a member state will soon leave the EU, calling into doubt the Federalist vision of an 'ever closer Union'. This thesis seminar is open to analyses of the accomplishments, setbacks and challenges of European integration. With appropriate attention to the institutional, organizational, legal and practical realities of EU politics, students can evaluate and critically engage the EU's performance in crucial areas of competence such as competition, regional policy, agricultural and rural development, migration and freedom of movement, justice cooperation, external policy, enlargement and neighbourhood policy, trade, climate change and the environment.

Additional Information

Please note that for some seminars there will be no additional substantive readings than the ones discussed in the courses they build on.


Registration in uSis for one thesis seminar is possible from Monday 16 December 10.00h until 22 December 23.59h. Placement is on a first come first served basis and subject to availability.

Registration is open for students that started their Master in one of the Political Science specialisations, in September 2019. All other students should contact the exam committee to request permission to take this thesis seminar. Students can take the thesis seminar only once in their academic year.


Research Proposal
The research proposal includes a problem statement, theoretical foundation, conceptualization as well as a sound explanation of the methods and techniques for data collection and analysis.The proposal must be approved by the supervisor and a second reader. The second reader will be designated by the Director of Studies. Please note that teachers are not obliged to provide thesis supervision if the proposal is not approved.

Master Thesis

The MSc thesis needs to comply with high standards of academic research. The thesis must be between 8.000 and 10.000 words, including tables, footnotes and bibliography. The thesis evaluation form with the evaluation criteria will be published on Blackboard.

Students that drop or fail the course have to retake the complete thesis seminar (in the 2nd semester of the next academic year). Students should contact the Exam Committee if they are unable to complete the master thesis by the deadline due to circumstances beyond their control.