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MA Thesis European Union Studies


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA International Relations, track European Union Studies and completion of the course Thesis Seminar and Methods in International Relations Research.


The thesis for the MA International Relations is a maximum of 15.000 words. The word count is including notes, bibliography and appendices (corresponding to OER art.2). The thesis is supervised by a lecturer in the Humanities Faculty, who possesses expertise in the relevant field. The thesis is judged by two lecturers involved in the program.

Students are guided in writing their thesis by thesis supervisors. Students are also expected to follow the course Thesis Seminar and Methods in International Relations Research during the semester prior to the one in which they plan to write the Thesis. This seminar consists of a number of meetings in which students are given the opportunity to present their work and to comment on the work of others.

Course objectives

The thesis is a written report of research which the student has carried out under supervision by a lecturer but with a high degree of independence. In principle, the thesis must be of sufficient quality (possibly following some modifications) to be published in an academic journal in the relevant field. The thesis must demonstrate among others that the student is able to:

  • a. completely independently formulate a research question which displays insight into the methodological principles, central issues and state of the art of his or her field of research;

  • b. independently formulate a realistic research plan which fulfills the criteria set in the relevant field of research;

  • c. critically and analytically report on existing academic debates and propose creative solutions based on secondary literature;

  • d. apply the more complex concepts/methods of his or her field to a corpus of primary source material (whether existing or collected during the student’s own research);

  • e. formulate ideas clearly and correctly.

Also see the regulations concerning the procedure surrounding the master’s thesis.

Thesis supervision

The following list provides an indication of some of the available thesis supervisors in the MAIR programme. The decision regarding the supervisor is determined within each specialization and subject to the approval of the Board of Examiners. Students may not be able to work with their preferred supervisor and may be assigned a supervisor who is not currently listed here.

Dr Matthew Broad would eagerly supervise students interested in any aspect of the contemporary or historical EU and European integration more broadly. Specific topics, which reflect his research interests, include diplomacy and trade negotiations, small states, the Cold War, enlargement, political parties, institutions, alternative forms/models of European integration, the Nordic region, Brexit, and Euroscepticism.

Dr Maxine David is available to supervise MAIR and MA EPS theses in the area of Foreign Policy Analysis generally, particularly as focused on the EU, its relations with Russia and/or the US. Foreign policy analysis requires: a good understanding of the domestic politics of the actor being analysed; of the global and regional contexts in which that foreign policy is negotiated and enacted; of how the domestic and the foreign connect; and of the issues and events both shaping and shaped by policy and behaviour. Thus, a wide range of issues and challenges might be the focus of analysis, e.g. EU enlargement, EU actors, EU-Russia Strategic Communication, the European Neighbourhood Policy, and foreign policy strategies, doctrines or discourse.

Dr Eugenio Cusumano (on leave 2020–21) is eager to supervise theses on European security, and especially interested in the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CSFP), Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and protection of EU external borders.

Prof dr Andre Gerrits is especially interested in the international relations and foreign policy of the EU.

Dr Eske van Gils would happily supervise any dissertations related to EU external relations, the Eastern Partnership, Post-Soviet politics, history and politics of the USSR and Eastern Europe, frozen conflicts, and authoritarianism.

Dr Jan Oster is available to supervise theses in all areas of law, particularly EU law and human rights, and of IT and media policy, such as Artificial Intelligence, data and internet governance, media regulation and media discourse analysis. Dr Oster would be particularly interested to supervise theses on the following topics:

I. Data law and governance:
1. Should data ownership rights be introduced in the EU?
2. To what extent is EU data protection law concerned with ‘data’, and to what extent is it concerned with ‘information’?

II. European integration theory: To what extent is private law an instrument to foster European integration?

III. Internet governance: An analysis of EU policies on combatting online hate speech and/or fake news.

Dr Dennie Oude-Nijhuis is willing to supervise MA students on projects concerning labor market development, welfare state formation, monetary integration, neoliberalism, and the development of macro-economic policies at the EU level

Dr Anne-Isabelle Richard (on leave 2020–21) is interested in supervising theses related to the history of European integration, in particular transnational approaches and the connection to colonial and global history; regionalism; International Organizations; civil society - all from a historical perspective. Her own research interests relate to relations between Africa and Europe in the 20th century (Eurafrica) and she welcomes thesis proposals related to this.

Dr Nicolas Rodriguez Idarraga is especially interested in human rights, the production of knowledge about violence, memory and visual studies, drug policy and the war on drugs.

Dr. Vera Scepanovic supervises theses on issues related to European economic integration and policymaking, including macroeconomic policy, regional development, EU energy policy and the digital single market, as well as theses more broadly related to the issues of interest group competition and comparative political economy. Her specific interests are in the area of EU economic relations with third countries, including especially trade and development policy.

Dr Brian Shaev welcomes thesis proposals on topics of European integration history; social policy in the European Union; economic history of the European Union; Western European history and politics, in particular French, German, and Spanish politics and history; the history and politics of social movements in Europe, including left- and right-wing political parties; socialism and social democracy in Europe; and transatlantic (Europe-US) and Mediterranean politics and history.

Drs Marije Cornelissen is interested in supervising MA research into lobbying in the European Union or the workings of the European Parliament. Furthermore, she is available to contribute to theses concerning women’s rights and the human rights of LGBTI persons abroad and those concerning the accession processes of Western Balkan countries.

Dr Aad Correljé is available to supervise theses in the field of national or EU energy policy, geo-politics, low carbon policy and the evolution of energy markets and their regulation. This may involve theories from International Relations, (Institutional) Economics, Political Science, etc. Themes may be related to the development towards sustainable energy systems but also the evolution of traditional sources of energy: oil, gas, coal, etc.

Thijs Etty LLM is available to supervise MA EUS theses in the areas of European and transnational environmental law and policy; trade and environment; biotechnology governance; and food law.

Gerrie Lodder LLM is an expert in migration and EU migration law.

Dr Bart van Riel is eager to supervise MA EUS theses in the area of European Economic and Monetary Union. He is especially interested in the following topics: the origins, consequences and repair of the design flaws in the Treaty of Maastricht, the balance between risk sharing and risk reduction in EMU, the development of governance in EMU, the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, and ECB policy. He also is eager to supervise theses on Brexit.


As of 2019/20, thesis submission is limited to two deadlines per academic year. Students of the February ’20 intake can submit the thesis before 3 January 2021 in order to graduate in January 2020. If this deadline is not met, the next opportunity for submitting the thesis will be before 3 June 2021.

Mode of instruction

  • Coaching by supervisors

Assessment method


Reading List

Students who need help finding suitable literature for starting the thesis can make a one-on-one appointment with the subject librarian. Students can also consult the subject guides, created by the subject librarians, which give an overview of resources on each specific field of study.


Via uSis.


The co-ordinator of studies and the thesis supervisors.