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RMA Thesis Archaeology Year 1


Admission requirements

Admission to the Research Master Archaeology programme.


RMA thesis research proposal

The RMA thesis is the final masterpiece that shows that a student can independently write, plan and execute an innovative academic research project that may serve as a basis for ongoing PhD- research. The research proposal is the main interim output and has to be written in year 1 and needs to be approved by the supervisor, whose effective feedback is essential in this early research stage.

A research project is always based on a proposal, that is assessed on its quality (theoretical background, originality) and its feasibility. The proposal shows proof of the current research level of a student and helps to determine what they need to do to progress in research and writing skills and complete their research master project successfully.

A proposal for a research master thesis has to contain innovative and critical approaches to the analyses of complex data that may lead to new theoretical or methodical approaches, related to a broad academic debate.

A good proposal contains a detailed work plan (and time schedule), a proper and complete data description and a well-argued, in-depth methodology and/or a theoretical background. The proposal is based on a thorough literature review and may also comprise the start of an analysis of a dataset.

More information on writing your thesis, deadlines, forms and criteria can be found on the Archaeology thesis webpage.

Course set-up

Individual supervision and feedback by the supervisor on text or data. The coordinator can always be consulted for general questions or issues.

Course objectives

After completing the research proposal for the RMA thesis, the student:

  • Is able to independently set up an original, high standard, but feasible research plan within the given time frame (2 years in total);

  • Knows the requirements of solid research questions;

  • Is able to explain the relevance of the research;

  • Is aware of the theoretical background of the research;

  • Is aware of the constraints of the dataset and applied methodologies;

  • Is acquainted with academic standards of writing and the requirements of publishing formats for style and referencing stated by the Faculty;

  • Is acquainted with the concepts of plagiarism and academic fraud;

  • Knows the essential deadlines in the planning and writing stage.


Not applicable.

Mode of instruction

The individual supervision is usually based on submitted text. You can always ask for an appointment, but the supervisor may ask for a progress report as well.
In general, 5 meetings with your supervisor in which you discuss your progress and discuss feedback should be sufficient.

Assessment method

Research proposal according to standards, that shows proof of 15 ec of workload (= 3 months full-time) to be assessed on its originality, theoretical background and feasibility.
The research proposal is based on a thorough literature review (c. 10,000 words), but can be replaced partly by a dataset (but should contain sufficient text that shows proof of your level of academic writing).

The proposal should minimally consist of:

  • A title

  • Chapter 1: Introduction with clear, unambiguous research questions and sub questions or hypotheses

  • Chapter on theoretical background and methodology

  • Proposal for the next chapters

  • Detailed workplan (schedule) for year 2, to show the feasibility to complete the programme in a realistic time frame

  • Literature list (>20 references) according to the Faculty guidelines (APA 7).

The proposal should be uploaded in Brightspace within 1 year after the start of the programme: 31 August or 31 January.

Reading list

To be compiled individually.


Enrolment through MyStudymap is mandatory.

General information about registration can be found on the Course and Exam Enrolment page.


For more information about this course, please contact dr. J.A. (Joanne) Mol.


The proposal will be graded as completed/approved and is intended to offer effective feedback in an early stage of the research project.