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Social Sciences (Research Master's)

Choosing a Research Topic and Research Problem

In choosing your research topic for the thesis, it is important to look at how your research interest(s) overlaps with the in-house expertise at the UvA. This can be done by looking at the research projects of the staff members in the research programmes of the AISSR. The specialisation tutor can be of help here by identifying staff members that have some of your research interests in common. The thesis should start from a scientifically or socially relevant research problem, be it theoretical or empirical.

The Research Proposal

A detailed description of what the research proposal should look like is given in the Thesis Manual. It is important to stress here the formal procedure and the deadline for handing it in. The research proposal should be approved upon by the thesis supervisor. The Research Proposal Form needs to be signed by you, the thesis supervisor and your tutor. In case you follow the course Ethnographic Methods and Fieldwork Preparation, Qualitative Research, or the Research Proposal Workshop for Quantitative Research, you don't need a signature of your tutor, just a pass for the course. The Research Proposal Form needs to be handed in at


Your supervisor(s) will guide you through the process of conducting your research and writing the thesis. In the RMSS programme, you are responsible for finding a suitable supervisor, which means that it is important to discuss what both of you expect from the supervision process. Your thesis supervisor has to be from the AISSR. The specialisation tutor is able to give you advice during the process of finding the right thesis supervisor. Supervision consists of regular meetings between the supervisor and the student (approximately 7 to 10 meetings is common); reading of and commenting on draft chapters by the supervisor; assistance during the research; assessing the final thesis and finding a second reader for examination; and finally organizing the oral examination with the second reader. Find more information about the thesis supervision in the thesis manual.

Students in the Research Master Social Sciences write a thesis in the form of an academic article. Students who have done an (extensive) fieldwork project can also choose to write an ethnographic thesis. Please find below all relevant information for writing your thesis and organising your graduation.

Manual for Writing a Thesis

You can find more information on how to write a thesis in the RMSS Thesis Manual.  

Thesis Manual_Batch 17-19 Thesis Manual_Batch 18-20 Thesis Manual_Batch 19-21

Research Proposal Forms

Students in the qualitative and mixed methods specialisation implementing a fieldwork submit their research proposal form to before the start of the third semester and before starting fieldwork. Students need a pass for Ethnographic Methods and Fieldwork Preparation before handing in the thesis proposal form.

Students in the mixed and quantitative methods specialisation who do not implement a fieldwork submit their research proposal form to no later than 15 February. The Research Proposal must have been approved by the thesis supervisor and tutor. In case students follow the Research Proposal Workshop for Quantitative Research or the course Qualitative Research, a signature of the tutor is not needed.

Please download the research proposal form for your programme below.

Research Proposal Form

Scholarships for thesis research and fieldwork

Students in GSSS English taught Master's programmes can apply for a GSSS fieldwork subsidy (guaranteed) for doing thesis research or fieldwork. For more information see the link below.


The thesis manuscript will be evaluated by the thesis supervisor and the second reader. The supervisor will find a second reader. The second reader is an independent examiner and his or her involvement during the writing process should be kept at a minimum. The thesis should be handed in hardcopy to both of your supervisors. The evaluation is done by way of an oral examination in the form of a discussion between the student, the supervisor and the second reader. The examination will mainly be a debate between the second reader and the student chaired by the supervisor. By way of preparation for the exam, the supervisor and the second reader may want to fill in a Thesis Evaluation Form independently. However, after the oral examination the supervisors fill in and sign a joint Thesis Evaluation Form (which can be found in the thesis manual). After this is done in absence of the student, the student will be informed about the grade. The supervisor will make sure that the oral examination will be held within approximately two weeks after the thesis has been submitted.

You can find more information about the graduation proces by clicking the link below.

GSSS Fieldwork Subsidy