Prospectus

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Research MA Thesis (Middle Eastern Studies, Asian Studies)

Course 2015-2016

See also the item theses on the programme website.

Important remark

Students should be aware that Leiden University will not allow students to do fieldwork for their thesis in areas colored red and orange (meaning “no travelling allowed” and “only necessary travelling allowed”, respectively) by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The website of the Ministry gives further details (in Dutch). For further questions, contact the director of studies.

Students going abroad are furthermore expected to have read and act according to the regulations as laid down in the Leiden University Regulations on Studying Abroad.
More information can also be found on the university website with information for students travelling abroad in the context of their studies.

Description

The thesis is based on original research (possibly conducted largely during Fieldwork in the third semester, alternatively in situ) and makes substantial use of primary material and professional literature. It is written in English, is up to 30,000 words in length (including footnotes and bibliography, but excluding possible appendices), and reflects the scholarly virtues of originality, focus and concision. The thesis must demonstrate the student’s ability to conduct original research under supervision, and to make a contribution to scholarship in a way that inspires confidence in his/her ability to prepare written reports of good quality. Its author must show that s/he is conversant with the discourse that emerges from influential publications in the field. If the supervisor does not specify otherwise, the references should be formatted consistently in accordance with the Chicago Manual of Style or the American Anthropological Association Style Guide. In consultation with the supervisor the format to be used can be determined, e.g. 1.5 spacing, with a standard font size (e.g. 12 pt Times New Roman or 10 pt Arial). Students should be aware that transgression of the stated length may lead to deductions in the grade.

The thesis is supervised by a staff member of one of the Departments involved in the MA Middle Eastern Studies (research) or the MA Asian studies (research) programme possessing the appropriate expertise in the field addressed in the thesis. Formally, the supervisor is appointed by the Board of Examiners. Students must fill out a form to request the Board of Examiners to appoint a supervisor one month after the start of their studies (1st October or 1st of March, respectively) at the latest; in exceptional cases the supervisor may hold an appointment elsewhere than the above-named units. In this form they may indicate their preferred supervisor(s).
The official regulations regarding the Thesis of the Research Master are available as attachment to the Teaching and Examination Regulations on the website of the department.

Defense of the Thesis Proposal

Students in the MA Middle Eastern Studies (research) or the MA Asian studies (research) are to defend their thesis proposal. This defense consists in the preparation of a short (3 to 5 pages) thesis proposal, with reference to relevant literature and sources, the most important works to be consulted (with annotation where possible), and central hypotheses. The thesis proposal is defended before the supervisor, second supervisor/reader and other faculty members as appropriate. The purpose of this defense is to provide students a review of and feedback on their thesis proposal, on the basis of which they more fruitfully work toward an excellent final product. The defesne itself consists of the studetnt’s short and oral presentation of the main points of the proposed work, followed by questions from, and discussion with the supervisors (and others as appropriate). It is anticipated that this process will take approximately 1 to 1.5 hours.
This defense is to be graded PASS/NO PASS. A PASS is required in order to proceed to submission of the final version of the thesis, and therefore is required for graduation from the program.
NB: the proposal deals with the thesis, not the (field) research antecedant to the thesis, although of course the nature and scope of this research will play a role in it.

Assessment

The Research Master thesis is assessed by at least two persons: a first reader (in most cases the supervisor) and a second reader, both appointed by the Board of Examiners. Both readers use a standard form for their assessment, in which the criteria are laid down.

Rough time path

Students planning to graduate by 31 August need to hand in the thesis proposal by 1 February with a defense of the proposal by the end of February at the latest. The first, complete version of their thesis is due by 1 June. Theses handed in by 1 June will receive feedback by 1 July. Students will have the summer to revise the thesis. By 1 August they must hand in the final version, after which the first reader (in general the supervisor) and the second reader can assess it. This allows for sufficient time to officially graduate on 31 August.
Students are advised to discuss the actual time path with their supervisor(s) as early as possible. Supervisors may have plans for research and may not always be available during the periods when no classes are taught.

Students should be aware that official graduation is NOT the commencement ceremony in which they receive their diploma. If students want to receive their diploma (i.e. the actual paper) before leaving at the end of August, they must officially graduate by 1 August. The time path accordingly shifts by one month.

Students planning to graduate by 31 January need to hand in the thesis proposal by 1 September with a defense of the proposal by the end of September at the latest. The first, complete version of their thesis is due by 1 December. Theses handed in by 1 December will receive feedback by 1 January. Students will have through the Christmas break to revise the thesis. By 15 January they will have to hand in the final version, after which the first reader (in general the supervisor) and the second reader can assess it. This allows for sufficient time to officially graduate on 31 January.
Students are advised to discuss the actual time path with their supervisor(s) as early as possible. Supervisors may have plans for research and may not always be available during the periods when no classes are taught.

Students should be aware that official graduation is NOT the commencement ceremony in which they receive their diploma. If students want to receive their diploma (i.e. the actual paper) before leaving at the end of January, they need to officially graduate by 2 January. The time path accordingly shifts by one month.