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Thesis Seminar Political Legitimacy and Justice - 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.

Thesis Seminar Theme:

Political Legitimacy and Justice (2539)
The purpose of the thesis seminar is to accompany you when you write your master thesis. Students develop draft proposals into a full research proposal, which will be the basis of their master thesis. All students of the specialization ‘Political Legitimacy and Justice’ are required to take this seminar. For this reason, this seminar is a broad church. Students are free to pick a subject of their liking, as long as it touches on the themes of political legitimacy and justice, broadly understood. This includes themes in contemporary political theory, political philosophy, and the history of political thought. As well as the standard conceptual/normative approach of analytic political philosophy, students are also welcome to use methodologies from critical, applied, comparative or interpretive political theory, the history of ideas, or ideology studies. Mixed-methods work incorporating empirical political science in a theoretical/philosophical research design is also possible. In consultations with the instructor, students are supposed to garner their own literature.

Additional Information

Students are recommended to check the substantive readings listed in the Reading List prior to the beginning of the seminar. The reading list will be available on Brightspace at least two weeks before the seminar starts.


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 argumentative outline. 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 instructors 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. In the thesis, students need to show a high level of understanding of the relevant academic debates as well as satisfactory argumentative skills.
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.