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Social Sciences

Fieldwork is a mandatory element in the curriculum of the Master's programmes Cultural and Social Anthropology, International Development Studies, Medical and Social Anthropology and in the Reseach Master's programmes International Development Studies and Social Sciences. After completing your fieldwork, you are expected to write a well-argued thesis.

For information on various funds you can apply for to accomodate your fieldwork, see the Fieldwork Finance entry in this A-Z list.


  • Specific information for students Cultural and Social Anthropology

    The Master's programme consists of three stages: designing your research project, conducting fieldwork for 12 weeks and writing your thesis.

    See the Fieldwork and Thesis Manual for more information on the proces and procedures. In this document you can find the Fieldwork and Thesis guidelines and forms. If you have any questions, please contact your fieldwork coordinator or study adviser. You can find the Fieldwork and Thesis Manual on your Canvas Cohort Page.

    In all three stages, you will be supervised individually by a member of the academic teaching staff. The staff of department of Anthropology at the UvA covers a broad range of thematic specialization and regional knowledge. When choosing a research topic, consider who would be your preferred supervisor. Students are matched with a suitable supervisor, but your preference will be be taken into account as far as possible. Below is an overview of all staff members.

    • Dr. L. Bakker: Questions of governance, law and justice with a focus on land use, resource conflict, discourses of authority and non-state violence; Southeast Asia, Indonesia.
    • Prof. dr. N. Besnier: Anthropology of globalization, gender, sexuality, sports, mobility, language; the Pacific Islands, the United States and Japan.
    • Dr. Y. van Ede: Art, dance, performance, gender, passion, cultural adaptation and creolization in global processes, creative writing.
    • Dr. R. Gerrets: International health governance and organizations, development, science and technology studies, medical anthropology; East African societies and cultures,  linguistic anthropology.
    • Dr. T. Gerrits: Reproductive health, infertility, assisted reproductive technologies (IVF), surrogacy, egg and sperm donation, reproductive traveling, adoption, medicalization, ethics, hospital ethnography.
    • Dr. R. van Ginkel: History and/of anthropology, maritime cultures and fishing communities, animal symbolism, ecological anthropology, European ethnology, national and local culture and identity formation, Suburbia and the ethnography of the Netherlands, WWII memorials and commemorations.
    • Dr. E. Grassiani: Military anthropology, anthropology of conflict and violence, (privatized) security, peace and conflict, nationalism, Israel, Palestine, activism and research.
    • Dr. F. Guadeloupe: Anthropology of racism, naturalization of class hierarchies, diversity, decolonization, religion, capitalism, the anthropology of music, the Netherlands, the Caribbean.
    • Prof. dr. A. Hardon: Anthropology of health and health care, globalization and medical technologies, gender, reproductive health and sexuality, health systems research, social science and HIV/AIDS.
    • Dr. T. Harris: Mobility, aviation, infrastructure, commodities, cross-border trade, political economy, labour; Himalayas, East Asia, South Asia.
    • Dr. A. Hiddinga: Science and technology studies (specifically related to medical science and practice), concepts of health and disease, disability, diversity, deafness and sign language, (Dutch) practices of home birth and delivery, visual anthropology, historical methods.
    • Dr. A. de Jong: Political Anthropology, Violence, non violence and power, radical activism and social movements, human rights, racism, Middle East, Nepal, South Africa.
    • Dr. B. Kalir: Cross border mobility, state bureaucracy and civil-society actors in the migration control field, ethnic and racial tensions, deportation and detention, illegalized migrants, national belonging, racism, Europe, Latin America, Israel.
    • Dr. B. de Kok: Anthropology of health care and health systems;  human rights, sexual, reproductive and maternal health; care; provider-client interaction, discourse and conversation analysis; Africa, Malawi, Europe.
    • Dr. K. Krause: Anthropology of the state, citizenship and political subjectivity, anthropology of care, transnationalism, care infrastructures, care relocation, care in the city, urban diversity and space, Europe, postcolonial.
    • Dr. S. Lan: Urban anthropology, migration and mobility regimes, comparative racial formations in Asia and Euro-America, transnational student mobility, class and social stratification, multiculturalism and diversity in global cities, African diaspora in China, East Asian societies and cultures.
    • Dr. J. McBrien: Religion (esp. religion and politics, Islam), secularism, dreams and disillusions, modernity, marriage, labor, national belonging, gender and kinship; former socialist countries.
    • Prof. dr. A. M'charek:race, genetic diversity, forensics, physical anthropology, biomedical practice, anthropology of science, postcolonial science studies, science and technology studies, material semiotics
    • Prof. dr. A. Mol: Reality in practice, material semiotics, empirical philosophy, appreciation in  practice, qualification (as good or bad), eating and metabolic relations, waste and wasting; water quality, toilets and using them; anthropology in ‘the West’, traveling and social topology.
    • Dr. E. Moyer: Sexuality, anthropology of space and place, popular culture.
    • Dr. G. Nooteboom: Green Futures: Critical anthropology of sustainable development, green policies and technological innovation; environmental change, adaptation, resilience and protest; social security and social policy in Indonesia; risk, poverty, livelihood, and inequality Development theory; rural Development; rural transformations; food and food (in)security; Southeast Asia, Philippines, Indonesia.
    • Prof. dr. R. Pool: Medical anthropology, applied anthropology, malaria, sustainable health interventions, migration and health, end-of-life, euthanasia, wilderness; Africa (currently Uganda), Netherlands.
    • Prof. dr. M. van de Port: Visual anthropology, arts-based ethnography, religions and spiritualities, popular culture, media , (Afro-)Brazil, Balkans, Portugal       
    • Prof. dr. R. Reis: Medical anthropology, religious and symbolic anthropology, child health and wellbeing, idioms of distress, post-conflict and post-disaster settings, prevention and community care; (Southern) Africa, Netherlands.
    • Dr. P. van Rooden: Religion and modernity, religion and politics, Christianity, oral history; Western Europe, United States.
    • Dr. V. de Rooij: Language and identity (with a focus on gender and class identities); language and the (re)production of stigmatization, discrimination, racism; uses and impact of technology-mediated communication; contemporary rural change in the Netherlands; place & place making; school ethnography.
    • Dr. Y. Sastramidjaja: Political and urban anthropology, activism, youth cultures, digital cultures, education, entrepreneurship, memory, Indonesia, Asia.
    • Dr. O. Sooudi: Art, creative workers, cities, cultural production, cultural translation, modernity,  urban anthropology, anthropology of art, migration, popular culture, youth, transnationalism; Japan, India, United States.
    • Dr. R. Spronk: Gender, sexuality and desire (re/un-thinking “sexuality”), love and intimacy,   modernity and globalization, personhood and agency, theory from the South, middle-classes and cosmopolitanism in Africa.
    • Dr. L. Steur: Indigenous mobilization, political anthropology, political-economy, capitalism, class; race and caste; (post) socialism, working-class communities; India, Cuba.
    • Dr. A. Strating: Political and economic anthropology; Europe.
    • Dr. M. Veenis: Consumption, material culture, materiality, political anthropology (dictatorship, repression), socialism, post-socialism, Cold War; Europe, Eastern Europe.
    • Dr. O. Verkaaik: Religion and secularism; nationalism, populism and ethnicity; ritual and performance; mosques; (religious) architecture; agriculture; animals (especially cows); ecological issues.
    • Dr. D. de Vries: Global health, community health, human resources for health, infectious diseases, HIV/AIDS key populations, emergency preparedness and disasters mitigation, collective surprises, memory-networks and temporality, floodplains, historical ecology; North America, Africa.
    • Dr. E. Yates-Doerr: Anthropology of science, health, reproduction, food, metrics, sustainability, global institutions; Latin America.


  • Specific information for students Medical and Social Anthropology

    MAS Fieldwork and Thesis Manual

    The Master's programme consists of three stages: designing your research project, conducting fieldwork and writing your thesis. In all three stages, you will be supervised individually by a member of the academic teaching staff. Your supervisor will be assigned during the first semester. In the first semester, you will design your research and write a research proposal.

    After getting approval for your proposal, you can leave for fieldwork. The fieldwork is a period of 8 weeks, starting in February. You can choose to do your fieldwork abroad or in the Netherlands. After returning from fieldwork, you will start writing your thesis.

    See the MAS Fieldwork and Thesis Manual on the Canvas MAS Cohort page for information about key steps in your fieldwork and thesis project, including the roles and responsibilities of various persons involved (students, supervisors, fieldwork coordinators, lecturers, study adviser/programme manager and GSSS support staff). It further includes information on practicalities and deadlines, and the MAS code of conduct. The manual is renewed every year. If you have any questions, please contact your fieldwork coordinator or study adviser.

  • Specific information for students Research Master Social Sciences

    Fieldwork is a mandatory element in the curriculum of students in the Interpretative and Mixed Methods with mandatory fieldwork specialisation. Fieldwork is in-depth empirical and qualitative/ethnographic field research and is an integral part of the thesis project.

    Students work on fieldwork and the thesis throughout the programme, in several courses. Besides theoretical preparations, there are also practical matters that need to be borne in mind. These include arranging visa, vaccinations (if applicable), tickets, housing and possibly funding. During the course Fieldwork Preparation and Proposal you will prepare for your fieldwork, and the international office will inform you about the standing procedures concerning the fieldwork subsidy and the local supervision fee. Here you will also receive tips and pointers about how and where you can find and apply for additional financial grants, how and where to get your vaccines or travel visas etc.


    It is crucial to start orienting yourself on a possible thesis supervisor already as early as in block three of the first year. This can be done by studying the bibliographies of the different researchers affiliated to the AISSR, by informing with your specialisation tutor or by contacting yourself potential thesis supervisors. The thesis supervisor is expected to give supervision during the preparations and writing of the research proposal, during the implementation of the fieldwork and during the writing of the final thesis. Supervisors are expected to at least spend between 7 to 10 contact hours on supervising the pre-fieldwork and fieldwork period, in addition to reading drafts and reports from the field, so do not hesitate to approach your supervisor when you need advice. For more information about finding a supervisor and the fieldwork and thesis process, see the RMSS Thesis Manual.

    The Research Proposal

    The theoretical and methodological preparations are formalized in the form of the research proposal and will be written in the course Fieldwork Preparation and Proposal. During this course, you will be guided in thinking through the research design and the practical side of the research project (e.g. planning and budget). The requirements for the research proposal, and how the approval of your proposal is organized, can be found in the RMSS Thesis information and the attached RMSS Thesis Manual.

    Students who will be doing their fieldwork abroad are entitled to the GSSS Fieldwork Subsidy. For more information, see Fieldwork Finance.

    Fieldwork Report

    In order for you to receive the credits for the fieldwork after returning from the field, you have to write a Fieldwork Report.

    The Fieldwork Report can consist of the following elements:

    • a description of the field and the research undertaken
    • a preliminary answer to the research question posed in the fieldwork proposal
    • a description of the problems encountered
    • a reflection on the fieldwork based on your initial proposal

    Make sure to discuss these elements with your supervisor; in some cases your supervisor might want to adjust these.  

    The fieldwork report should be between 5 to 10 pages (excluding appendices). After completion of the fieldwork and approval of the report, the student will receive a completed (an A.V.V. = aan voorwaarden voldaan) and not a grade.

    The Fieldwork Report will be written in block three of year two, and needs to be approved by the thesis supervisor. To this purpose the thesis supervisor fills out the grade sheet for the fieldwork, not with a grade, but with a stamp of completion (an A.V.V. = aan voorwaarden voldaan). The grade sheet needs to be signed by the thesis supervisor and sent to  

    The programme culminates in the writing of a thesis (24 EC). It is the final process for the completion of your Master’s degree and the ultimate test of your academic skills. The goal of the thesis is to prove that you have acquired sufficient academic knowledge, skills and insights to set up, write up, empirically investigate and substantiate a clear, systematic argument. Indeed, the thesis is the capstone of the research profile you have been developing during the two years of the programme and should show your ability to conduct research independently.

    For a detailed description of the thesis objectives, the thesis process and a general overview of how to write a thesis, see the 'Thesis' entry in this A-Z list and the RMSS Thesis Manual.