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Master thesis archaeology


Admission requirements

Admission to the Master Archaeology programme.


The Ma/MSc thesis is the final master piece that shows that you can write, plan and execute an academic research project. The research is a contribution to an academic or scientific debate related to your first specialisation. It is based on data derived from material culture, fieldwork, laboratory research, or historic sources and academic literature.
The supervisor has to agree on the project proposal before the start of the research; the project needs to be feasible and the supervisor should be able to supervise the research topic. Therefore, the subject should always be related to the research topics of the Faculty of Archaeology.

The research problem has to be defined in a research proposal, in which clear research questions, methodology and planning are defined. A research project should be based on good and complete data description, in-depth data analysis and informed, well-argued interpretation. The research should be positioned in a broader field and should consist of a critical analysis on the theoretical and/or methodical perspectives that are related to the research problem.

The thesis consists of ca. 20,000-30,000 words, and includes figures and tables necessary to support your argument (this equals roughly 40-60 pages of text in total, figures, tables, references and appendices not included). Please note that the length of the thesis is not a norm in itself, but too many pages are not permitted.
More information on writing your thesis, deadlines, forms and criteria can be found on the Archaeology thesis webpage.

Course objectives

Ability to:

  • independently plan and execute a small research project on an archaeologically relevant topic;

  • maintain a critical attitude and use feedback in a constructive way;

  • formulate clear research questions;

  • relate the research to a broader academic/scientific debate and current theoretical perspectives;

  • apply an adequate and relevant methodology;

  • present and analyse a sufficient amount of academic/scientific data;

  • interpret archaeological information using sufficient and relevant primary academic/scientific literature and dealing with limitations of the data;

  • present the research in a coherent, well-argued and clearly formulated text, supported by adequate tables and figures.

Time schedule

Course schedule details can be found in the MA time schedule.

Course load

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • Reading literature about the subject and planning research (150 hours);

  • Collection and analysis of data (200 hours);

  • Writing (210 hours).

Mode of instruction and supervision

The Master thesis tutorial has 3 modes of instruction:

1) Collective thesis tutorial
The tutorial deals with essential academic skills, including subjects such as plagiarism, referencing, academic writing, formulating a good research question, constructing good arguments, and structuring the thesis.
At the end of the collective thesis tutorial, you have defined the topic and formulated a preliminary research question.

2) Thesis tutorial
Practical assignments, presentations and discussion in the research group of the supervisor provide you with individual feedback on your research proposal.

3) Individual supervision
The norm for individual supervision is 5 meetings between student and first supervisor:

  • Start-up meeting, discussing the topic;

  • Meeting on feedback and discussion of the research plan (before submission of the research proposal);

  • Meeting on feedback on a chapter and thesis outline;

  • Meeting discussing the progress of the research;

  • Meeting on feedback and discussion of the first draft.

Students can always ask for an appointment, but the supervisor may ask for a progress report as well.

  • Submission of the research proposal: September start > 1st December; February start > 1st May;

  • Submission of first draft: September start > 1st May; February start > 1st November;

  • Submission of final version for assessment: September start > 15 June; February start > 15 December.

Thesis tutorial coordinators per section:


MA/MSc-thesis (100%).

See the Faculty website for thesis guidelines and assessment criteria.


Compulsory attendance. You are obliged to attend all thesis tutorials in order to obtain the ects for the thesis.