Admission to the European Politics and Society Joint Master Programme
Students are required to write and submit a thesis on a substantive issue related to European politics and society. The topic of the thesis is chosen by the student, supported through a process that begins in the first semester of the two year degree programme.
About the thesis
The Master’s thesis is an extended piece of original academic writing, which students deliver to complete their studies. The thesis must be well researched, focus on an original research question and/or hypothesis, employing research design appropriate to answer the research question/hypothesis and contain a critical analysis.
The process of thesis production starts in the first semester of the MA EPS degree programme at Charles University, Prague, when students deliver the first proposal of their topic in the course Qualitative Methods in Social Sciences. Based on feedback received in that course, students adapt their thesis proposal in order to present it in January at the Barcelona Research Seminar. During the second semester, students continue working up the MA thesis proposal as part of methodological courses at either Jagiellonian University in Krakow or Leiden University.
Students then begin to write their thesis at the partner university where they are spending their final year. Students writing their thesis at Leiden will be allocated a supervisor at the end of semester two and begin working with their supervisor at the beginning of the final year in September. The thesis is to be largely the product of independent study. However, students are expected to avail themselves of the supervision process, to draft and submit chapters to their supervisor on a regular basis through the year in order to receive feedback and develop the work on the basis of that feedback. In January, students will again receive feedback from fellow students and EPS academics at the Barcelona Research Seminar.
As the culmination of a two year Master’s programme in which students have received multiple rounds of feedback on their proposal and their research, expectations are that students will deliver a thesis that demonstrates excellent subject knowledge and understanding, as well as skills learned over the course of their programme, especially in respect of original research.
Students on the MA EPS programme and writing their thesis at Leiden University will write a thesis of 20, 000 words (± 10 %) including footnotes/endnotes and excluding bibliography and appendices.
Submission and grading
The thesis itself is submitted in the final semester of your studies, usually in mid-June. The supervisor acts as the first reader and an academic at one of the other three partner universities will act as the second reader. Each reader grades independently of the other and each will submit a written report on the quality of the thesis. Both reviews will be available to students in advance of the final, oral exam.
Oral defence of the thesis
Following confirmation the thesis has been passed, students undertake an oral, public defence of the thesis. The precise timing will be established during the final semester, but for students who meet the submission deadline, the defence is likely to be scheduled for mid-July.
It is the student’s responsibility to ensure they access their copies of the reviews once they are informed grading is complete and those reviews made available to them. The student should read the reviews carefully, to help them anticipate what might be asked of them at the defence. They should also engage in a thorough reading or readings of their own thesis. The defence must be passed in order for an overall passing grade for the thesis to be given.
NB: The supervisor and the second reviewer are not necessarily members of the defence committee; this depends on the availability of academic staff.
Various, Co-ordinator M.E.L. David