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MA Thesis Classics and Ancient Civilizations (Research)



The MA thesis (research) is based on original research and makes substantial use of primary material and professional literature. It is written in English, is up to 25.000 words in length (including footnotes and bibliography), and reflects the scholarly virtues of originality, focus and concision. The thesis must show the student’s ability to conduct original research under supervision, and to make a contribution to scholarship in a way that inspires confidence in his/her ability to prepare written reports of good quality.

Thesis application form

The Board of Examiners has to approve of the thesis plan and is responsible for appointing the thesis supervisor and a (independent) second reader. Students themselves approach one of the staff members possessing the appropriate expertise in the field addressed in the thesis as a supervisor for their MA thesis.

N.B. All theses in the Classics specialization are based on a substantial amount of primary texts in Greek or Latin relevant to the line of investigation, which is either of a linguistic or literary nature, or of a cultural-historical nature; in the case of the latter, one of the two (either the supervisor or the second reader) should be from a language section and one from the cultural-historical disciplines. In these cases, the thesis plan must be approved by both the supervisor and second reader before the start of the writing process.

Students are required to (digitally) hand in the Thesis application form to the Board of Examiners. Students planning to graduate in June/July/August, have to submit the form before 15 March at the latest. In case of graduation at the end of the first semester, students have to submit the form before 15 October at the latest.
The Thesis application form is available via the website of Classics and Ancient Civilizations > Study > Education information > Thesis and paper writing.

Time path

Students should be able to write their MA Thesis in one semester. Make sure that you start early with the orientation on your thesis subject.
Students are advised to discuss the actual time path with their supervisor as early as possible. Supervisors may have plans for research and may not always be available during the periods when no classes are taught. On the Thesis application form you can indicate your timepath.

For students planning to graduate in January, the deadline for handing in the final version of their MA thesis is 15 January, after which the supervisor and second reader can assess it. This allows for sufficient time to officially graduate on 31 January 2020 (ceremony in February/March).

Note: To make sure that arranging your graduation can be guaranteed, the Board of Examiners advises the following time path:

  • handing in final draft MA thesis: 15 December

  • if necessary, handing in the MA thesis retake: 15 January

For students planning to graduate in August, the final deadline for handing in the definite version of their MA thesis is 15 June, after which the first supervisor and second reader can assess it. If necessary, students can hand in the thesis retake on 15 August. This allows for sufficient time to officially graduate on 31 August (ceremony in September/October).

Note: From the 1st of July until the middle of August supervision of theses does not take place. In case students miss out on the 15 June deadline, they need to contact their supervisor before 15 June. The thesis supervisor has to approve of finishing the thesis without supervision.

Mode of instruction

Independent research.

Assessment Method

The thesis for the Research MA program Classics and Ancient Civilizations contains a maximum of 25,000 words including notes, bibliography and appendices.

More information about the official regulations regarding the MA thesis can be found in the attachment of the Teaching and Examination Regulations.

N.B. The date on which the thesis is submitted via Turnitin is the exam date of the thesis.

Please put the following information on the cover/title page of the thesis:

  • Title (and subtitle)

  • Name and student number

  • E-mail address

  • Name of supervisor(s)

  • Date

  • Master Thesis Classics and Ancient Civilizations

  • Faculty of Humanities, Leiden University


Students are required to submit their Research MA Thesis via Turnitin in order to check the thesis for plagiarism. When handing in the paper versions of the thesis to your supervisor and second reader, please also to upload your final version via Turnitin on Blackboard (code: 5864VMA-0000FGW). The date on which the thesis is submitted via Turnitin is the exam date.


Registration for the Research MA Thesis in uSis is not required. Registration for the Thesis Presentation and Research Proposal course via uSis (code: 5864VPPR) is mandatory.

Contact information

For questions concerning this component of the programme please contact the coordinator of studies, Mrs. J.K. (Joëlle) Koning MA