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Thesis Seminar North American Studies


Admission requirements

This course is intended for MA students in North American Studies.


Students will be guided through the process of writing their MA thesis through group discussions in a thesis seminar and regular individual meetings with their thesis supervisor. The thesis seminar will be held four times in each of the two semesters. In the first semester, we will discuss digital databases for research (some of which are unique for Leiden), citation styles, research methods, avoiding plagiarism, and thesis planning and supervision. The main purpose of the thesis seminar in the first semester is for you to find and narrow down a thesis topic and, under the guidance of your thesis supervisor, to produce a draft thesis proposal by November 21 (May 1 for February starters). The final thesis proposal is due Feb. 1 (July 1 for February starters).
In the second semester, there will be four seminar meetings to discuss a.o. and academic writing skills, drafts of introductions and individual chapters, which students are asked to submit electronically on Blackboard via Discussion Board for in-class discussion and peer-feedback.
Throughout the semester, you will also meet regularly with your thesis supervisor to discuss progress and provide feedback on written chapters.

Course objectives

Students learn:

  • to practice research methods and skills, including use of digital databases to locate primary and secondary sources and correct use of citation styles (MLA, Chicago/Turabian, etc.);

  • how to write a thesis research proposal;

  • thesis planning and academic writing skills in English.


See timetable.

Mode of instruction


Course load

Not applicable.

Assessment method

Students have to submit short assignments, (draft) thesis proposals, thesis introductions, and thesis chapters for in-class discussion and peer feedback (Discussion Board Blackboard).


Blackboard will be used as resource and for submission of and feedback on thesis drafts.

Reading list

Not applicable.


Via uSis.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Attendance is required for MA students in North American Studies. Class attendance and active participation will be taken into account in the assessment of the MA thesis.


Mw. Dr. J.C. (Joke) Kardux (Chair MA North American Studies).
Dhr. Dr. E.F. (Eduard) van de Bilt.