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Research Project Preparation


Admission Requirements

1) Successful completion of the course Critical Area Studies: Placing Your Research; and,
2) Enrolment and participation in the course Methodologies in the Social Sciences and Humanities; or having successfully completed or being enrolled and participating in other Research School Courses for minimally 5 EC.


This module helps students lay the foundations of the Research Project and aims to prepare the students for undertaking this project. This module is meant to accompany students as they are working on their Research Proposal with the input and support of their respective supervisors.

Course objectives

  • Students will become acquainted with the relevant debates and concrete challenges posed by doing independent and original research in the social sciences and humanities.

  • Students will become familiar with and engage with fundamental aspects of: scientific integrity, research ethics, and safety and security concerns related to the research process.

  • Students will learn about and reflect on the practical and logistical arrangements and considerations needed to successfully set up and carry out a research project.


Students should be aware that Leiden University is adhering to the travel advises given by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The website of the Ministry gives further details.

Since the easing of corona measures, you are allowed to go abroad for study-related activities to countries that are classified as code green or yellow according to Dutch government travel advice. Travel to code red countries is never permitted. In two exceptional situations you may also ask the International Incident Team (IIT) permission to travel to code orange areas. For more information and the form used to ask for permission see the following webpage. Please note that this information may be updated and changed pending the Covid-19 developments. So always check the referred website for the most recent information.

Students who plan to go abroad and want to combine doing research with Studying Abroad can contact the International Co-ordinators of the Faculty of Humanities for advice.

Please be reminded that the deadline for applications for Study Abroad beyond Erasmus agreements is 1 December (year X) for Study Abroad in Fall semester of year X+1 and Spring semester year X+2. Study Abroad in Spring semester year X+1 is only possible if there are places left.

Students going abroad are furthermore expected to have read and act according to the regulations as laid down in the Leiden University Regulations on Studying Abroad. More information can also be found on the university website with information for students travelling abroad in the context of their studies.

Financial planning

For students planning to go abroad it is important to consider financial matters such as tuition fees, other costs, their budget and scholarship applications.

Grants and scholarships

The University and the Faculty of Humanities offer several scholarships for students of various research MA programmes who wish to either study or conduct (field) research abroad. Other grants can be found through the grantfinder of EP-Nuffic or Beursopener.

If the research involves a stay abroad for a minimum period of 60 days students may want to apply for the Uhlenbeck scholarship programme which has been set up especially for research master and master students who are doing mandatory research abroad. The programme provides a (supplementary) scholarship for their stay.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Assessment Method

Note: The 1 EC of this course is graded with a Fail/Pass and counts towards the total EC for the research project of the third semester.


Reflection paper

At the end of the module, the students will write a brief reflection paper. Students draw up a reflection of about 300 words (in English) on principles and pragmatics of research in relation to their own projects with the relevant context: this module, the nature of their field, prior training, future prospects, etc. This reflection is assessed as Pass/Fail. The criterion for a Pass mark is an adequate grasp of the issues addressed in this module.

The reflection paper is meant to act as a stepping stone for students as they independently prepare their Research Proposal in consultation with their assigned Leiden supervisor.

Research proposal

The Research Proposal needs to be submitted to the assigned supervisor, and consist of 5000 words (+/- 10%, excluding footnotes and bibliography). This proposal should be discussed with the Leiden supervisor(s) and (if applicable) the local advisor. When they have approved of the proposal, you are requested to send a copy of the proposal and coversheet also to the Student Advisor, Dr. Nicole A.N.M. van Os.

The proposal should consist of:

  • filled out standard cover sheet

  • research question; objectives of the research project

  • a preliminary literature review and the theoretical framework;

  • description and critical reflection of methodology

  • activities (what, where) and data (what kind, where to be found)

  • work plan and budgeting (an outline of how your time will be spent)

  • relevance of project to the student's thesis and their overall aims

  • identification of safety and ethical issues (if applicable)

Reading list



Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website.

Registration Studeren à la carte en Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Vrieshof.