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MA Thesis Arts, Literature and Media (research)


Admission requirements

Before they embark on their ResMA thesis, students must have obtained at least 70 EC for ResMA courses.

Current ResMA’s: In order to graduate, students must have completed 95 EC worth of courses and the 25 EC ResMA thesis (approximately 25.000 words).

New ResMA per 1 September 2021: In order to graduate, students must have completed 90 EC worth of courses and the 30 EC ResMA thesis (approximately 30.000 words).

The thesis must be written under the supervision of a lecturer affiliated with LUCAS (Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society). See below for a list of supervisors who specialize in the societal dimensions of literature. The thesis is evaluated by the supervisor and a second reader (selected by the supervisor and approved by the Board of Examiners).


Aim of the Research Master’s Thesis

A thesis is an extended academic essay based on independent research, in which a student demonstrates extensive knowledge of their chosen topic, as well as a degree of originality in research and approach. Written under the supervision of a staff member, the thesis demonstrates your ability to summarize and critically analyse existing scholarship; to formulate one or more well-defined and well-motivated research questions; to offer indepth analysis of literary texts; and to construct a logical argument in clear academic English.

Choosing a Topic

You are encouraged to choose a topic and research question for your thesis yourself, but you should do so in consultation with your prospective supervisor. Your thesis topic can – but does not have to – be linked to one of the courses which you took as part of the Research Master. Be aware that your topic should fit in with a supervisor’s research expertise; this means that not all topics can be supervised. Moreover, there is a maximum number of theses which a supervisor can take on during each academic year. It is therefore advisable to contact a possible supervisor at an early stage. The supervisor (also known as ‘first reader’) will be able to help you on your way, recommend relevant primary and secondary literature, and draw up a theoretical framework and supervision plan with you.

Possible supervisors

Visit the instructors' profile pages for information about their fields of expertise.

  • Dr. Nadine Akkerman

  • Prof. dr. Wim van Anrooy

  • Dr. Carmen van den Bergh

  • Dr. Sara Brandellero

  • Prof. dr. Stijn Bussels

  • Prof. dr. Yra van Dijk

  • Dr. Jan-Frans van Dijkhuizen

  • Dr. Anna Dlabacova

  • Dr. Ksenia Fedorova

  • Dr. Pepita Hesselberth

  • Dr. Yasco Horsman

  • Dr. Bram Ieven

  • Prof. dr. Frans-Willem Korsten

  • Prof. dr. Sybille Lammes

  • Dr. Evert Jan van Leeuwen

  • Prof. dr. Peter Liebregts

  • Dr. Angus Mol

  • Dr. Johannes Müller

  • Dr. Michael Newton

  • Dr. Esther Op de Beek

  • Dr. Sara Polak

  • Dr. Annelies Schulte Nordholt

  • Dr. Nanne Timmer

  • Dr. Geert Warnar

  • Dr. Helen Westgeest

Timeframe and deadlines

You are expected to complete the ResMA thesis within one semester. In planning your thesis, bear in mind that instructors have a limited number of hours allocated for thesis supervision, and that there is no thesis supervision during July and the first three weeks of August and between 24 December and 2 January.

A detailed trajectory has been drawn up to guide you through the process of writing your thesis; you can find this on the Brightspace module for the the MA Thesis Literary Studies (research) / MA Thesis Arts and Culture (research) / MA Thesis Arts, Literature and Media (research).

For students who wish to graduate at the end of the 2nd semester, submission deadlines are as follows:
Submit final thesis proposal to the Board of Exams: 1 February
Submit complete draft version of the thesis: 1 June
Submit final version to supervisor: 21 June.
For students who wish to graduate at the end of the 1st semester submission deadlines are as follows:

Submit final Thesis proposal to the Board of Exams: 1 July of the year preceding graduation
Submit complete draft version of the thesis: 1 December
Submit final version to supervisor: 21 December

Submitting the Thesis Proposal

Once you have selected a topic, formulated a research question and put together a provisional bibliography, you can complete the Thesis Proposal Form, which you should submit to the Board of Examiners. The Thesis Proposal form should include the title of the thesis and a short description of the topic. Before you submit your proposal to the Board of Examiners, it has to be discussed and approved by your supervisor. The Board will then assess the proposal to ensure that it forms a solid starting point for the thesis as a whole.

Individual supervision meetings on your research and writing

During the second stage of the thesis, you will have regular meetings with your supervisor. During the first of these, you and your supervisor will draw up an overall structure and chapter division for your thesis (if you have not already done so in an earlier stage). You will then set up a schedule for submitting the individual chapters. During supervision meetings, your supervisor will offer and discuss feedback on each of these, which you then incorporate into a revised version.

Submitting Your Thesis

Once your supervisor has approved the final version of your thesis, it can be sent to the second reader for assessment. The supervisor and second reader have a total of four weeks to assess the thesis, plus an additional two weeks during July and August. Check with your supervisor for guidelines regarding the format and stylesheet for the thesis. For practical information on the thesis repository and the graduation procedure, see the graduation page.

Assessment method


Your thesis is assessed on the basis of the following criteria:

  • Clarity, depth and originality of your research question;

  • Informed, appropriate, critical and creative use of relevant secondary and theoretical literature;

  • Critical analysis of your primary source materials;

  • Accuracy and clarity of structure and language;

  • The degree of independence which you have soon during the research and supervision process. (For more detailed information on the assessment criteria, see the Assessment Form for the MA theses on the Brightspace module).


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website.


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

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


Not applicable.