Master thesis and requirements for graduation
The programme has the following objectives:
- to enable students to acquire academic knowledge, understanding and skills, and train them in the use of scientific methods in the field of International Relations;
- to enable students to develop the following academic and professional skills:
- independent academic reasoning and conduct,
- the ability to analyse complex problems,
- academic writing;
- to prepare students for an academic career and further education;
- to prepare students for a career outside academia.
During the first semester students take the following compulsory basic courses of 5 EC each:
History of European Integration
Institutions of the EU
Economics of the EU
Regionalism in World Politics
Thesis Seminar and Methods in International Relations Research
Whilst each course maintains its own unique identity, their content has been designed to produce an integrated interdisciplinary core of overlapping and mutually reinforcing conceptual tools of analysis.
In addition to these six courses, students attend a number of EU Seminars (continued in the second semester).
During the second semester, students can choose three electives from a wide range of courses (15 EC total) and write their thesis. By writing the thesis, students will explore a topic of their own choice in-depth. Students wishing to replace one of the three electives with an elective from the International Studies specialisation or with an external course or internship, please contact the Co-ordinator of Studies to discuss your options.
The September 2017 semester of students who started in February 2017 (30 EC):
For students starting in February 2018, the programme looks slightly different:
February semester, 30 EC:
Institutions of the EU (5 EC – block III)
Economics of the EU (5 EC – block III)
Thesis Seminar and Methods in International Relations Research (5 EC – block III)
Three electives (15 EC – block IV)
September semester, 30 EC:
Master thesis and requirements for graduation
The thesis will be based on original research and will be 13.000 – 15.000 words in size (excluding footnotes and bibliography, including annexes) and contain an integrated interdisciplinary approach (for students of the February 2014 intake and earlier: 20.000 words).
Students are guided in writing their thesis by thesis supervisors. Students are also expected to follow the course Thesis Seminar and Methods in International Relations Research during the semester prior to the one in which they plan to write the Thesis. This seminar consists of a number of meetings in which students are given the opportunity to present their work and to comment on the work of others.
The thesis is a written report of research which the student has carried out under supervision by a lecturer but with a high degree of independence. In principle, the thesis must be of sufficient quality (possibly following some modifications) to be published in an academic journal in the relevant field. The thesis must demonstrate among others that the student is able to:
1. completely independently formulate a research question which displays insight into the methodological principles, central issues and state of the art of his or her field of research;
2. independently formulate a realistic research plan which fulfills the criteria set in the relevant field of research;
3. critically and analytically report on existing academic debates and propose creative solutions based on secondary literature;
4. apply the more complex concepts/methods of his or her field to a corpus of primary source material (whether existing or collected during the student’s own research);
5. formulate ideas clearly and correctly.
Graduates of the programme have attained the following learning outcomes, listed according to the Dublin descriptors:
- Knowledge and understanding
a. Comprehensive knowledge and understanding of
the contemporary and historical dimension, the evolution and interdependency of bilateral and multilateral relations among states and non-state actors,
the importance of government institutions and frameworks for the development of these relations,
b. and the main areas and issues of current global and regional politics and international relations. knowledge of the main academic terminology, theories and paradigms pertaining to the past, present and future of current global issues and politics, with a special focus on ideas and approaches related to the humanities.
Applying knowledge and understanding
a. the ability to locate, analyse and critically assess primary documents emanating from relevant sources and secondary (academic) sources, relating to areas and issues relevant to International Relations, including the process of European integration;
b. the ability to conduct independent multi-disciplinary research and to formulate and conduct substantial pieces of academic research (including a master’s thesis) in the field of International Relations, thereby showing the ability to comprehend and apply relevant theoretical insights and methodological approaches;
c. with regard to major regional and global areas and issues, the ability to successfully transfer and apply research to non-academic settings and environments;
d. the ability to initiate and conduct research into the relevant areas and issues of regional and global politics, economics and culture;
e. the ability to follow and understand the evolution of academic and non-academic discussions on the complex interdependency of national, regional and global politics;
f. the ability to apply and evaluate qualitative and, if applicable, quantitative methods to the relevant contexts.
a. the ability to independently and critically evaluate evidence and sources relating to the variety and interdependency of areas and issues of regional and global economics, politics and culture;
b. the ability to evaluate the historical, political, economic and cultural factors that shape the interests and behaviour of major state and non-state actors in the contemporary world, including the European Union;
c. the ability to recognise, reflect upon and judge between different academic opinions and arguments on the complexity and interrelationship of contemporary politics, cultures and economics.
a. the ability to clearly and convincingly present academically-supported arguments and analyses with respect to the evolution of relations among states, international organisations and non-state actors before peer-group and professional audiences both orally and in writing;
b. the ability to present research in the relevant areas and issues.
a. the learning abilities required to be able to follow post-master’s professional training or a PhD training of a largely self-determined or autonomous nature.
In addition to the above programme-wide achievement levels, graduates will have obtained the following achievement levels per specialisation:
Specialisation in European Union Studies
Knowledge and understanding
a. comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the main policy areas (including external policies), institutions and decision-making procedures of the European Union);
b. knowledge of the main academic paradigms and theories pertaining to the past, present and future evolution of the process of European integration;
c. knowledge and understanding of the problem areas of the European Union, including issues such as foreign and security policy, relations with neighbouring countries, economic and monetary union, institutional reform, agricultural and rural policy, cultural policy.
Applying knowledge and understanding
a. the ability to critically analyse primary documents emanating from the European Union and other relevant sources that relate to the European Union and its member states;
b. the ability to follow the evolution of academic and non-academic discussions on European Union policy issues.
a. the ability to evaluate evidence and sources relating to the European Union and its member states;
b. the ability to assess different academic opinions and arguments about European issues;
c. the ability to evaluate policies of the European Union and its member states.
European Union Studies is one of the specialisations of the Master International Relations.
The Master International Relations has five specialisations:
For more information, please contact the Co-ordinator of Studies.