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MA Thesis European Union Studies


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA International Relations, track European Union Studies and completion of the course Thesis Seminar and Methods in International Relations Research.


The thesis for the MA International Relations is a maximum of 15.000 words. The word count is including notes, bibliography and appendices (corresponding to OER art.2). The thesis is supervised by a lecturer, who possesses expertise in the relevant field. The thesis is judged by two lecturers involved in the program.

Students are guided in writing their thesis by thesis supervisors. Students are also expected to follow the course Thesis Seminar and Methods in International Relations Research during the semester prior to the one in which they plan to write the Thesis. This seminar consists of a number of meetings in which students are given the opportunity to present their work and to comment on the work of others.

Course objectives

The thesis is a written report of research which the student has carried out under supervision by a lecturer but with a high degree of independence. In principle, the thesis must be of sufficient quality (possibly following some modifications) to be published in an academic journal in the relevant field. The thesis must demonstrate among others that the student is able to:

  • a. completely independently formulate a research question which displays insight into the methodological principles, central issues and state of the art of his or her field of research;

  • b. independently formulate a realistic research plan which fulfills the criteria set in the relevant field of research;

  • c. critically and analytically report on existing academic debates and propose creative solutions based on secondary literature;

  • d. apply the more complex concepts/methods of his or her field to a corpus of primary source material (whether existing or collected during the student’s own research);

  • e. formulate ideas clearly and correctly.

Also see the regulations concerning the procedure surrounding the master’s thesis.

Thesis supervision

The following list provides an indication of some of the available thesis supervisors in the MAIR programme. The decision regarding the supervisor is determined within each specialization and subject to the approval of the Board of Examiners. Students may not be able to work with their preferred supervisor and may be assigned a supervisor who is not currently listed here.

Dr Matthew Broad would eagerly supervise students interested in any aspect of the contemporary or historical EU and European integration more broadly. Specific topics, which reflect his research interests, include diplomacy and trade negotiations, small states, the Cold War, enlargement, political parties, institutions, alternative forms/models of European integration, the Nordic region, Brexit, and Euroscepticism.

Dr Aad Correljé is available to supervise theses in the field of national or EU energy policy, geo-politics, low carbon policy and the evolution of energy markets and their regulation. This may involve theories from International Relations, (Institutional) Economics, Political Science, etc. Themes may be related to the development towards sustainable energy systems but also the evolution of traditional sources of energy: oil, gas, coal, etc.

Dr Maxine David is available to supervise MAIR and MA EPS theses in the area of Foreign Policy Analysis generally, particularly as focused on the EU, its relations with Russia and/or the US. Foreign policy analysis requires: a good understanding of the domestic politics of the actor being analysed; of the global and regional contexts in which that foreign policy is negotiated and enacted; of how the domestic and the foreign connect; and of the issues and events both shaping and shaped by policy and behaviour. Thus, a wide range of issues and challenges might be the focus of analysis, e.g. EU enlargement, EU actors, EU-Russia Strategic Communication, the European Neighbourhood Policy, and foreign policy strategies, doctrines or discourse.

Thijs Etty LLM is available to supervise MA EUS theses in the areas of European and transnational environmental law and policy; trade and environment; biotechnology governance; and food law.

Dr. Andreas Hofmann is interested in work that studies Europe from the perspective of law and politics. Possible thesis topics include: legal and political developments in EU policies (such as market integration, social policy, migration or the environment), the use of law and legal procedures by civil society actors to achieve policy goals, or the role of courts and judges as political actors. He is open to both quantitative and qualitative research methods (or a combination of both).

Dr Dennie Oude-Nijhuis is willing to supervise MA students on projects concerning labor market development, welfare state formation, monetary integration, neoliberalism, and the development of macro-economic policies at the EU level

Dr Anne-Isabelle Richard is interested in supervising theses related to the history of European integration, in particular transnational approaches and the connection to colonial and global history; regionalism; International Organizations; civil society - all from a historical perspective. Her own research interests relate to relations between Africa and Europe in the 20th century (Eurafrica) and she welcomes thesis proposals related to this.

Dr Bart van Riel is eager to supervise MA EUS theses in the area of European Economic and Monetary Union. He is especially interested in the following topics: the origins, consequences and repair of the design flaws in the Treaty of Maastricht, the balance between risk sharing and risk reduction in EMU, the development of governance in EMU, the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, and ECB policy. He also is eager to supervise theses on Brexit.

Dr. Vera Scepanovic supervises theses on issues related to European economic integration and policymaking, including macroeconomic policy, regional development, EU energy policy and the digital single market, as well as theses more broadly related to the issues of interest group competition and comparative political economy. Her specific interests are in the area of EU economic relations with third countries, including especially trade and development policy.

Dr. Daniel Schade is interested in supervising theses touching on the EU’s role and activity in foreign policy-making; the EU’s overall institutional set-up and balance; EU crisis politics; the European Parliament and national parliaments in European politics; divisions of competencies between the national and European level.

Dr Brian Shaev welcomes thesis proposals on topics of European integration history; social policy in the European Union; economic history of the European Union; Western European history and politics, in particular French, German, and Spanish politics and history; the history and politics of social movements in Europe, including left- and right-wing political parties; socialism and social democracy in Europe; and transatlantic (Europe-US) and Mediterranean politics and history.

Professor Sarah Wolff welcomes theses in general that deal with EU foreign policy, migration, religion/secularism and gender, including topics in IR that tackle these domains. More specifically I am interested in EU-Islam relations, EU -Maghreb relations, role of the religious and the secular in EU Foreign policy, decentring and inclusive approaches to diplomacy/IR and foreign policy, EU gender policy and feminist foreign policies, EU migration and asylum policies, Migration diplomacy in general, Brexit and impact on European integration and British foreign policy.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Coaching by supervisors

Assessment method


Reading List

Students who need help finding suitable literature for starting the thesis can make a one-on-one appointment. ( with the subject librarian. Students can also consult the subject guides, created by the subject librarians, which give an overview of resources on each specific field of study.

On this webpage you will find all sorts of information regarding the history of the European Union.

The historical documents section contains nearly all information about European Integration from 1945 - present available online. It includes (references to) a unique collection of audiovisual fragments, documents, pictures and a dedicated collection about specific themes. This collection is still being annotated and upgraded. It may include references to documents that have yet to be located on-line.


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The co-ordinator of studies and the thesis supervisors.


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