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MA Thesis Media Studies: Film and Photographic Studies


Admission requirements

Only open to students of the track Film and Photographic Studies of the MA Media Studies.


The final component of the MA program consists of writing a Master’s thesis: a written report of research that the student has carried out in consultation of a supervisor with a high degree of independence. The thesis must show that the student is capable of critical analysis and reflection, appropriate use of primary sources and secondary literature, and of conducting independent research. The thesis is an academic report of this process.

Choosing a topic

At the heart of a thesis lies a specific research problem that addresses a theoretical and/or art historical question that is then examined in an academic way. Before a research question can be formulated, students do the necessary preparatory reading. Once the student has selected a topic, motivated relevance, chosen a corpus of cases to work with, formulated a research problem and put together a provisional bibliography, the thesis proposal can be submitted to the supervisor. It should include a title of the thesis, a bibliography and a description of the problematic, a motivation of relevance, an indication of theoretical framework and methodology, and a selection of possible cases to work with.

Research and writing

In principle, students will already have made a start on their research in the course of formulating the research question. They should have a clear time schedule for the research, in consultation with the supervisor. The amount of research should be proportionate to the time available (560 hours). It is advisable to start writing as soon as possible.


Students are encouraged to select the topic of their thesis themselves, after which the track leader assigns a supervisor (or “first reader”) whose research interests match the topic in question, and an examiner (or “second reader”) who will read and grade the thesis upon completion. In most cases, the supervisor of the thesis will be the lecturer responsible for the course which inspired the topic. Once the match has been made students are asked to approach their assigned supervisors in order to discuss the chosen topic and formulate a potential research question or claim. If necessary, the supervisor may assist in finding relevant secondary literature. Supervision arrangements are made in consultation between the supervisor and the student. Please note that hours for supervision are limited, and that an extension has to be formally applied for.

Submission of the final version

You have to submit the final version of the MA thesis by e-mail to your supervisor and second reader. When doing so, you have to put the e-mail address of MAthesis in cc. If the supervisor and/or second reader request a paper copy, the student should hand in a paper copy to the supervisor and/or second reader.

Thesis seminar

There will be a series of meetings to prepare students for the Master’s thesis.

Course objectives

The thesis demonstrates the student’s capacity:

  • to formulate, completely independently, a research question that testifies to their insight into the central issues, methodological principles, and state of the art of their field of research

  • to independently formulate a realistic research plan that fulfils the criteria set in the relevant field of research

  • to critically and analytically examine and report on existing academic debates and propose new insights based on secondary literature

  • to work with (“apply”) the more complex concepts and methods of their field to a corpus of primary source material (whether existing or collected during the student’s own research)

  • to explain the relevance of their research in a contemporary context,

  • to formulate ideas, observations and conclusions, clearly and correctly, with a high degree of precision.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

Thesis seminar.
Personal supervision.

Assessment method

Thesis of approximately 20.000 words (ca. 1000 words per EC including notes, bibliography and appendices). In the assessment of the quality of the thesis, the following aspects are taken into account:

  • The formulated research problem and subsequent question(s);

  • The research process and use of research methods;

  • Use of relevant concepts or theories;

  • Integration and use of relevant secondary scholarly literature;

  • Originality of the arguments;

  • Innovative perspectives;

  • Scholarly and professional relevance of subject and outcomes;

  • Structure of the thesis;

  • Quality of style and use of language

Reading list

Not applicable.


Enrolment through My Studymap is mandatory.


  • For substantive questions, contact the coordinator of the thesis seminar, Pepita Hesselberth

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


Not applicable.