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Thesis seminar: The Middle East in the International System


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies who have succesfully completed the second year elective course.


A bachelor’s thesis is the students’ largest and most important piece of work in the program. It is a research paper of substantial size, 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. In addition, attention is paid to the relevance of the students’ research to a wider academic or non-academic audience.

This seminar is designed to guide International Studies students specializing in the Middle East through the bachelor thesis process. The seminar theme, “The Middle East in the International System,” will allow students to engage broadly with the position and modes of interaction of the region in the global order. Students will build upon their regional knowledge of historical, political, economic, and cultural topics and assess how actors and structures influence and are in turn influenced by the dialectic between transnational and domestic phenomena. Students will engage with six subtopics: deconstructing history and its continuities; modes of intervention and subjugation; socio-cultural and political intervention; foreign policy and conflict mediation; global flows of capital and labour; and revolutions and counter-revolutions. These will provide students the opportunity to examine several aspects related to the overarching theme, providing them a view of the possibilities for their research this term.

A bachelor’s thesis is the students’ largest and most important piece of work in the program. It is a research paper of substantial size (10,000 words). This seminar is designed to guide students through the challenges of the research and writing process. Active engagement in the seminars and regular meetings with supervisor will enable students to complete their thesis successfully and in a timely fashion.

This thesis seminar has 6 subtopics:

Subtopic 1: Deconstructing History and its Continuities
Subtopic 2: Modes of Intervention and Subjugation
Subtopic 3: Intervention: Socio-Cultural and Political
Subtopic 4: Foreign Policy / Conflict Mediation
Subtopic 5: Global Flows of Capital and Labour
Subtopic 6: Revolutions and Counter-Revolutions

Course objectives

Based, and further elaborating 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) applied by them;

  • comprehend sophisticated academic debates;

  • report on their studies and research in good written English;

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

  • report on their studies and research in good spoken English;

  • participate in debates in an active, prepared and informed way, respecting other people’s convictions and emotions;

  • understand fundamental cultural differences and divisions.

The general academic skills covered by these aims are:

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

  • analyse 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 a clear and well-argued way, both orally and in writing.


The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.

Mode of instruction

Eight seminar meetings of two hours, spread over semester.

Course Load

Attendance: 16 hrs.
Collective presentation: 12 hrs.
Individual presentation: 8 hrs.
Literature review: 80 hrs.
Relevance note: 12 hrs.
Total: 140 hrs.

Assessment method

Common presentation: 10 %
Individual presentation 1: 10%
Individual presentation 2: 20%
Literature review, chapter 1: 40%
Relevance note: 20%


Blackboard will be used. For tutorial groups: please enroll in blackboard after your enrolment in uSis
Students are requested to register on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

The reading list will be available on blackboard the week before the first class.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


In addition to the thesis seminars, there will be individual supervision. However, no thesis can be submitted that has not been written in the context of a thesis seminar.


Please contact your instructor during office hours (TBA) or by appointment:
Dr. C.A. Ennis, email