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Thesis Seminar Nationalism, Ethnic Conflict and Development - Spring 2023



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

See 'Information and Deadlines' for the time and date of the introduction meeting.

Thesis Seminar Themes:

This seminar will be capped at 5 students
Theme 01: Ethnic Diversity and Political Institutions - (dr. M. Spirova) - activity nr. tba
The thesis seminar aims to help students write theses on a topic related to ethnic diversity and political institutions broadly defined. Ethnic diversity and representative democracy often come at clash with each other and the representation of the interests of (minority) groups is a common challenge for contemporary democracies. The seminar welcomes projects aimed at the explanation of particular political outcomes in that area using a variety of methods. Topics might include the representation of ethnic groups, ethnic voting and ethnic parties, electoral system design and diversity, governmental set-up and representation of minorities, and multi-level governance and ethnicity. The focus of the seminar is broadly defined to allow students who are interested in diversity and institutions to benefit from working together on their projects. It will not provide substantive instruction, but will build upon the one provided in the NECD core seminar. The thesis seminar will focus on methodological instruction to support the completion of coherent thesis proposals and MSc theses.

Theme 02: Development, Governance and Conflict – (dr. D. Gómez) - activity nr. tba
This thesis seminar aims to help students in the process of writing their master theses. It will guide students in the different steps to build a coherent and consistent research procedure to complete the final thesis. The seminar focuses on the broad theme of development, governance and conflict in the developing world. What are the debates regarding development governance? What is the relationship between development and conflict? What role should the state play in the development process? Are there non-western understandings of development? What are the consequences of recognition and redistribution for development processes? Specific issues might include the impacts of global/local development on local communities; how development influences violent conflicts; the relationship between large-scale extraction of natural resources and local communities; the politics and policies of poverty and inequality; and the consequences of recognition and redistribution. The students who opt for this seminar are invited to develop their own focus (regional, theoretical, and thematical) within these broadly sketched fields, and turn it into research and eventually an MSc thesis. The seminar entails a focus on qualitative research methods.

*(Please note that this group is indicated as nr. 4 in MyTimetable)

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.


See 'Information and Deadlines'


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.


See 'MyTimetable'