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Thesis and Thesis Seminar Latin America A, sem 2


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies who have successfully completed a Thematic Seminar course (10 ects) and who have passed courses of the first two years of the International Studies programme worth a total of 100 EC.

The student writes the thesis in the area of specialisation.


This seminar will focus on history and politics in Latin America from the twentieth century to the present. Issues students will be encouraged to explore include political transitions, international relations, cultural politics, and political movements in Latin America. Our aim with such topics is to understand contemporary events in Latin America in their historical context and examine the relationship between culture, politics, and economics in the region.

Building on earlier exercises in essay-writing, in particular the essay for the second year’s Thematic Seminar course, a bachelor’s thesis is the finishing paper of the programme. It is a research paper of 10,000 words (± 10%), excluding bibliography and notes, which to a considerable extent is the result of research and writing that is independently done.

Collective supervision is provided in thesis seminars. The aim of the thesis seminar is to guide students through the process of designing a research question; collecting literature, sources, data, and other materials that are necessary for answering the question; bringing logic and persuasive order in the material and in the arguments supported by it; and designing appropriate research methods.

Assignments within the seminar include designing a research question and plan, as well as writing a literature review (ca. 2500 words).

Apart from collective supervision, students will receive individual supervision, specifically focused on the subject of their research. The thesis seminar leader is also the one who provides this individual supervision. Students will have four individual meetings with their supervisor during the semester.

Each seminar will be devoted to one of the geographical areas covered by International Studies, and will focus on a broad theme relevant to the programme.

The exact set-up of the seminars may vary somewhat, due to the nature of the area, and the teaching approach of the seminar leader. The theme of a seminar lends focus to the class discussions, and provide extra guidance for students to decide on their research topic.

Course objectives

Based on the knowledge and skills acquired, students will prove themselves to be able to:

  • work with research techniques that are current in the discipline(s) covered;

  • comprehend sophisticated academic debates;

  • deliver their research results in good written English (see Appendix);

  • work and write under time-pressure, and deal with deadlines.

The general academic skills covered by these aims are:

  • collect and select specialized literature using traditional and electronic methods and techniques;

  • analyze and evaluate this in terms of quality and reliability;

  • formulate a well-defined research problem based on this;

  • set up, under supervision, a study of limited size, taking into consideration the traditional and electronic methods and techniques relevant for the discipline;

  • formulate a reasoned conclusion on the basis of this;

  • explain research findings in writing, in a clear and well-argued way.

This course will provide an opportunity for students to write a thesis focusing on the Latin America region from a variety of disciplinary perspectives including economics, political science and history.

Essential criteria for theses

  1. Contains a clear academic research question.
  2. Is situated within a relevant academic debate.
  3. Analyses the topic from at least two different disciplinary perspectives, and/or
    places the analysis of the regionally defined topic in a global perspective.
  4. Accounts for the chosen research method(s) and materials.
  5. Is based on the evaluation of a sufficiently large body of independently collected scholarly literature and/or sources (10-20, depending on whether books and/or articles are discussed).
  6. Contains a well-structured and consistent argument.
  7. Is written in correct English.
  8. Produces a scholarly argument and analysis.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

Four to six seminar class meetings of two hours, spread over the semester; four individual meetings with supervisor (30 min. on average).
Class seminars and self-study research. Attendance is mandatory (you are allowed to miss a maximum of two of the six sessions).


Attending a seminar is mandatory; no thesis can be submitted that has not been written in the context of a thesis seminar. If you are unable to attend a session, please inform your lecturer in advance. If you are absent at two or more class meetings or more than one individual meeting, the lecturer may have you disenrolled from the seminar.

Assessment method


Submission of the following assignments is prerequisite for submitting your thesis:

  • Research question and research plan (1200-1500 words);

  • Literature review, extensive intro or background (ca. 2500 words);

  • Draft version of the Thesis.

  • Final Thesis (10,000 words +- 10%) excluding bibliography and notes

End Grade

  • The grade for the thesis seminar is determined by the thesis grade.

  • To successfully complete this course, the grade for the thesis needs to be a 6.0 or higher.

  • Late submissions of the final version, without previous permission, can lead to a deduction in the grade. This is at the lecturer's discretion.


Students who score an insufficient grade for the thesis (below 6.0) are allowed to resubmit a reworked version of their thesis. The deadline for resubmission of the thesis is 10 working days after receiving the grade for the thesis and subsequent feedback.
In case of resubmission of the thesis the grade will be lowered as a consequence of the longer process of completion.

Students who fail to hand in their thesis on or before the original deadline, but still within 5 working days of that deadline, will receive a grade and feedback on their thesis. This will be considered a first submission of the thesis; however, the grade will be lowered as a consequence of the longer process of completion.
Students who fail to hand in their thesis on or before the original deadline, and also fail to hand in their thesis within 5 working days of that deadline, get 10 working days, counting from the original deadline, to hand in a first version of their thesis. However, this first version will count as a resubmitted thesis with consequential lowering of the grade, and there will be no option of handing in a reworked version based on feedback from the supervisor.

Reading list

Some Useful Readings

  • V. Bulmer-Thomas (2014) The Economic History of Latin America Since Independence, 3rd ed. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press (Ch.1)

  • ECLAC (2016) Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean 2016

  • ECLAC (2008) Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean 2007-8 (Section V provides a neat summary of the region’s economic history from the 1940s through to the middle of the last decade.)

  • P. Franko (2007) The Puzzle of Latin American Economic Development, Lanham, Rowman & Littlefield (Ch. 1)

  • D. Green (2003) Silent Revolution: The Rise and Crisis of Market Economics in Latin America, London, Latin America Bureau (Chs. 3-4)

  • J. Ocampo & J. Ros (2011) (eds.) Oxford Handbook of Latin American Economics, Oxford University Press (Ch.1). Also online:

  • M. Reid (2014) Brazil: The Troubled Rise of a Global Power, New Haven, Yale University Press (Parts I and II)

  • J. Reyes & C. Sawyer (2016) Latin American Economic Development 2nd ed. Abingdon, Taylor & Francis (Ch. 2).


Registration occurs via survey only. Registration opens 15 December 2023:

1) On 15 December 2023 you will receive a message with a link to the survey.
2) Indicate there which Thesis Seminar has your preference, and your reasons for this preference.
3) Based on preferences indicated by 8 January 2024 and spots available per seminar, the Thesis Seminar Coordinator will assign you to a specific Thesis Seminar by 22 January 2024.
4) Students will then be enrolled for the specific groups by the Administration Office.
5) All students will be enrolled for their group in Brightspace to access all course information.

Students cannot register in uSis for the Thesis Seminar, or be allowed into a Thesis Seminar in any other way.



  • No thesis can be submitted that has not been written in the context of a thesis seminar.

  • There are four important due dates during the seminar: in the second semester, students are to submit a research question in week 9; a literature review in week 12; a draft version of the thesis in week 18; and the definitive version in week 23 (deadline 7 June, 2024).

  • The due dates are not negotiable.

  • Since both the number of individual meetings with the supervisor, and their duration is limited, it is important that students go to them well-prepared.

  • Consult the Thesis Seminar Guidelines.