Separate rules and guidelines per specialization concerning deadlines, introductory lectures, etc. are posted on the Blackboard environment for the respective specializations.
Students with a minimum of 20 EC or three completed courses in their master’s program, can start their master’s thesis, i.e. are entitled to supervision by a lecturer.
The master’s thesis is the final assignment in the master’s program. You will perform, mostly independent and self-relying, scientific research on a legal subject. You will show that you are capable – with supervision – to recognize a legal issue or problem, formulate a thesis question, critically interpret and analyze, and come to an argumented response and/or solution, substantiated by carefully selected legislation, jurisprudence, and literature. Knowledge, theory, insight and skills need all to be methodologically applied and expressed through a critical and argumented opinion in a clear scientific discourse of 10000 to 15000 words (including notes and references).
Learning goals master’s thesis
Upon completion of the master’s thesis, students should have gained the following qualifications:
Knowledge and insight:
- The student has a thorough command of the legal issue he/she researched for his/her thesis.
Applying knowledge and insight:
- The student is able to formulate a relevant research question with the aid of knowledge gained from legislation, literature, jurisprudence and other sources and to structurally separate this question in sub-questions.
- The student is able to create a suitable analytical framework for his/her research question.
- The student is able to independently collect and select the information (legislation, literature, jurisprudence, if applicable other materials like policy documents, research reports etc.) necessary to answer his/her thesis question(s).
- The student is able to understand legal subject matter (legislation, literature, jurisprudence), to thoroughly, critically and adeptly analyze it, and to apply it to answering his/her thesis question(s).
- The student is able to assess the worth and impact of scientific legal literature on the legal issue he/she researched for his/her thesis.
- The student is able to judge and weigh the various facts and opinions formulated in the selected and analyzed material.
- The student is able to reach an argumented responsible solution for his/her thesis question(s).
- The student is able to formulate well-founded conclusions based on the results of his/her research and to present these in a broader (legal) spectrum.
- The student is able to present his thesis question, research and conclusions – including references – as a clear , readable and structured discourse, which fulfils all requirements of scientific legal research.
Your thesis has to be submitted digitally. The digital version will be checked for plagiarism with designated software. Many thesis supervisors will appreciate a printed copy as well. You can find the full submission procedure on the Blackboard environment.
The master’s thesis is generally largely written in the second semester of the program (and in the first semester of the academic year for students who have started in February). In some specializations however, students will receive an introductory lecture on the thesis or will be asked to make a planning and thesis outline in the first semester. In any case it is advisable to start as soon as possible – during the first semester of the program – with your orientation on the master’s thesis, to prevent any possible study delay.
Two examinators will evaluate the master’s thesis independently.
In case of an insufficient grade for the master’s thesis, there are two possibilities:
- Adjustment of the thesis: a revision of the original thesis, with a maximum of a 6 as the final grade.
- Retake of the thesis: the students starts over with a new subject. In this case all final grades are possible, depending on the result of the new thesis.
More information on the master’s thesis
You can find more information on what is expected from you, as well as on what you might expect from your supervisor, in the thesis manual. Additionally, most specializations have separate thesis guidelines and/or a dedicated Blackboard environment, please check the website and Blackboard environment of your specific specialization.
Additionally, there are some rules on the master’s thesis included in the Onderwijs- en examenregeling (OER, see the relevant articles), as well as in the Regels&Richtlijnen Tentamens en Examens (R&R, see the relevant articles)