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Academic Skills and Thesis Seminar


Admission requirements

This course is part of the MA History Programme. It is not accessible for BA students or ResMA students.


This seminar consists of 6 bi-weekly meetings in which students reflect on practical matters and will get started on their MA thesis. During the first half of the course we will discuss fundamental issues such as professional conduct, ethical dilemmas, the relevance of history for society and the job market. The students will also participate in brainstorm sessions on possible topics for their MA thesis and hopefully discuss their first thesis proposals. At the end of the first semester the students will hand-in a thesis proposal or another final assignment. Attendance and active participation in the thesis seminar is compulsory for students in the MA History.

Course objectives

General learning objectives

The student has acquired:

  • 1) The ability to independently identify and select literature, using traditional and modern techniques;

  • 2) The ability to independently identify and select sources, using traditional and modern techniques;

  • 3) The ability to analyse and evaluate a corpus of sources with a view to addressing a particular historical problem;

  • 4) The ability to analyse and evaluate literature with a view to addressing a particular historical problem;

  • 5) The ability to independently formulate a clear and well-argued research question, taking into account the theory and method of the field and to reduce this question to accessible and manageable sub-questions;

  • 6) The ability to independently set up and carry out an original research project that can make a contribution to existing scholarly debates;

  • 7) The ability to give a clear and well-founded oral and written report on research results in correct English, when required, or Dutch, meeting the criteria of the discipline;

  • 8) The ability to participate in current debates in the specialisation;

  • 9) The ability to provide constructive feedback to and formulate criticism of the work of others and the ability to evaluate the value of such criticism and feedback on one’s own work and incorporate it;

Learning objectives, pertaining to this Thesis Seminar

  • 10) Understanding of the relevance for society of the historical discipline in general and the specialisation in particular


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar (compulsory attendance)
    This means that students have to attend every session of the course. If a student is not able to attend, he is required to notify the teacher beforehand. The teacher will determine if and how the missed session can be compensated by an additional assignment. If specific restrictions apply to a particular course, the teacher will notify the students at the beginning of the semester. If a student does not comply with the aforementioned requirements, he will be excluded from the seminar.

Assessment method


  • Final assignment (3000 words, excluding title page, table of contents, footnotes and bibliography)
    measured learning objectives: 1-8, 10

  • Active participation
    measured learning objectives: 9-10

  • Weekly assignments
    measured learning objectives: 1-10

Students from the subtrack ‘Governance of Migration and Diversity’ (Leiden-Erasmus-Delft) write as their final assignment a paper on the main challenges when preparing an MA Thesis, that will be graded by the instructor of this class. All others will write a thesis proposal that will be handed-in on 25 January, 2021, and will be graded by the supervisor of their MA thesis.


  • Final assignment: 60%

  • Participation: 20%

  • Weekly assignments: 20%

The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average with the additional requirement that the final assignment must always be sufficient.


Assignments and written papers should be handed in within the deadline as provided in the relevant course outline on Brightspace.


Should the overall mark be unsatisfactory, the paper is to be revised after consultation with the instructor.

Inspection and feedback

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

Reading list

The reading list will be listed on Brightspace.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


R. Fagel