nl en

Thesis Seminar International Organisation - Spring 2021



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 Brightspace.

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 Wednesday 25 November 15.15 - 17.00, there will be a general introduction meeting ONLINE 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 (8568)
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 and Security Governance - van Meegdenburg (8569)
Abstract: This thesis seminar will guide students through the process of designing and carrying out an academic research project studying International Institutions and Security Governance. Students are invited to propose theoretically informed research projects that study the politics, policies and decision-making processes of international actors involved with, or influencing, international security. This seminar advances a broad concept of international institutions understood as including both formal institutions such as NATO and the UN and informal institutions and norms. Moreover, students are invited to analyse different actors, aspects or outcomes of security ‘governance’. Examples would be the study of the role of inter-governmental organisations (IGOs), non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society organisations, the role and consequences of the involvement of for- profit actors such as Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs) or the interactions between states and an array of non-state actors. This seminar is open to a variety of research methods but there will be an emphasis on qualitative research designs and more critical perspectives.

Theme 03: Security and Peace Building - Rrustemi (22318)
In the current global order, many states are confronted with difficulties in fulfilling their central functions vis-à-vis its citizens, leading in the worst cases to violence, hybrid warfare, organized crime, poverty, massive flows of refugees, internally displaced people, child soldiers, grave abuses of women and the destruction of world culture and heritage. In an interconnected world, state and peace weakness and failure have thus been identified as one of the central threats to global peace and stability and their prevention has become a main priority of the international community (read international organizations). The approach adopted by the international community, international organizations, to prevent state and peace failure and decrease security threats include measures as diverse as military (humanitarian) intervention, and state, nation and peace building missions. The seminar also focuses on the role of different actors in shaping the post-war states and current theoretical and societal debates on security and peace building, including the role of the states (the role of the US, China, Russia), local communities (grassroots), international community (international organizations), networks (organized crime, illegal migration/trafficking of human beings, terrorism, and countering and preventing violent extremism), individuals (dictators, oligarchs) and companies (technological, artificial intelligence). Students are invited to develop projects within the aforementioned themes, concepts, theories and methodologies. This seminar is open to a variety of research methods but there will be an emphasis on qualitative and/or mixed research designs and critical perspectives.

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 14 December 2020 10.00h until 20 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 2020. 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 Brightspace.

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.