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Thesis

Social Sciences

The thesis is not just a long paper. It is an academic project, and for most students it turns out to be a personal project as well. In addition to academic skills it will take self-discipline and good planning to complete your thesis in a satisfactory way. Below you find all relevant information for writing your thesis and organising your graduation.

Please select your programme below.

Bachelor's programmes

Master's programmes

  • Human Geography

    The thesis in Human Geography (all tracks) starts in October with a kick-off meeting, where the structure and important deadlines for the thesis are introduced. Shortly after, all students will be asked to provide their preference for one of the thesis projects offered. By early december the final list of participants in each thesis project will be published through Canvas.

    The official course starts in semester 2 with writing a thesis proposal and a literature study in relation to this.

    Thesis Topics

    Each student can pick a topic provided within their track. Besides 3 thematic projects are offered for all tracks.

    Click on the tracks / thematic topics below to read more. 

    If you select a topic outside of your own track, you will only be accommodated if the number of places allows this.

  • International Development Studies (Msc)

    Second reader

    Besides your fieldwork and thesis supervisor, you also need a second reader to evaluate your thesis during your defense.

    To make sure your thesis is evaluated as unbiased as possible the dept. of IDS has decided that a second reader should be present during the last fase of your thesis, during thesis defense. He/she will take the lead and will only consult the supervisor for procedural questions.

    The second reader is appointed to you and can be a specialist in your thesis topic or region where your fieldwork was conducted.

    If your supervisor is from the IDS staff the second reader can be an external person. If you have an external supervisor, the 2nd reader has to be from IDS staff, to make sure all IDS stardarts are met.

    Defense

    The thesis defense takes place after the final draft of your thesis has been submitted and read by both your supervisor and your second reader. It is best if you, your supervisor and your second reader select a date for the defense on your own, based on your own availability. There is no official scheduling. The only thing to keep in mind is that the defense should take place sometime in the two weeks after the thesis deadline so that grades can be submitted on time for you to graduate. If you foresee any problem with this (such as you can only find a date when all are available for the defense a few days after grades need to be submitted), please let the study advisor know. It is not likely to be a problem, but we do need to be aware and get the final grade as soon as possible.

  • International Development Studies (rMSc)

    Second reader

    Besides your fieldwork and thesis supervisor, you also need a second reader to evaluate your thesis during your defense.

    To make sure your thesis is evaluated as unbiased as possible the dept. of IDS has decided that a second reader should be present during the last fase of your thesis, during thesis defense. He/she will take the lead and will only consult the supervisor for procedural questions.

    The second reader is appointed to you and can be a specialist in your thesis topic or region where your fieldwork was conducted.

    If your supervisor is from the IDS staff the second reader can be an external person. If you have an external supervisor, the 2nd reader has to be from IDS staff, to make sure all IDS stardarts are met.

    Defense

    The thesis defense takes place after the final draft of your thesis has been submitted and read by both your supervisor and your second reader. It is best if you, your supervisor and your second reader select a date for the defense on your own, based on your own availability. There is no official scheduling. The only thing to keep in mind is that the defense should take place sometime in the two weeks after the thesis deadline so that grades can be submitted on time for you to graduate. If you foresee any problem with this (such as you can only find a date when all are available for the defense a few days after grades need to be submitted), please let the study advisor know. It is not likely to be a problem, but we do need to be aware and get the final grade as soon as possible.

    Contrary to how it sounds, the thesis defense is not an interrogation of the thesis, but most often an inspiring conversation about it. It gives the students a chance to clarify certain points, or say more than what they could include in the written text. The thesis defense takes one hour and is structured in the following way:

    • Students get five minutes for opening statements regarding their thesis. This can be a summary, highlights, reflections, etc. – whatever you deem most important at that time. You should not do this as a powerpoint presentation, but simply at the table, with notes if needed.
    • After the student makes the opening statements, the second reader takes the lead in the defense. The second reader will have read the thesis and prepared a number of questions to ask you related to relevance, theory, data collection, data analysis, findings, recommendations, etc. In other words, they can ask a wide range of questions. The question/answer time usually lasts between 35-40 minutes. The first supervisor may also have input or ask questions, but most of the defense should be left up to the second reader.
    • After the students have finished the answering the questions, they will be asked to leave the room for 5-10 minutes while the first supervisor and the second reader fill out the Thesis Evaluation form and decide on the final grade.
  • Medical Anthropology and Sociology

    MAS Fieldwork and Thesis Manual

    The MAS Fieldwork and Thesis manual provides information to students Medical Anthropology and Sociology (MAS) about key steps in their fieldwork and thesis projects, including the roles and responsibilities of various persons involved (students, supervisors, fieldwork coordinators, lecturers, study adviser/ program manager and GSSS support staff). It further includes information on practicalities and deadlines, and the MAS code of conduct.

    Writing Skills and Style Guide

    While writing your thesis it can be helpful to (re)read the Writing Skills and Style Guide (vaardighedengids). The guide provides tips for reading and listening, information about format, layout and structure of a text, rules on quoting and paraphrasing and much more useful information.

  • Social Sciences (rMSc)

    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. Your 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. You can find the thesis manual of your year below. 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 and your tutor. Make sure to arrange the formal approval by filling in the Research Proposal Form, via the link below. In case you follow the course Fieldwork Preparation and Proposal (former name: Ethnographic Methods and Fieldwork Preparation), Qualitative Research in Mixed Methods, or the Research Proposal Workshop for Quantitative Research, you don't need formal approval from your tutor, just a pass for the course, and the approval of your thesis supervisor.

    Supervision

    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. Your 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 final discussion 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 a monograph. 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.  

    Research Proposal Form

    Make sure to arrange the formal approval by filling in the Research Proposal Form, via the link below.

    Students in the qualitative and mixed methods specialisation with mandatory fieldwork fill in the form before the start of the third semester and before starting fieldwork.

    Students in the mixed methods specialisation with a mandatory internship and Empirical-Analytical methods specialisation submit their research proposal form no later than mid February (see the timeline in the Canvas Cohort Page for the exact deadline). 

    In case you follow the course  Fieldwork Preparation and Proposal (former name: Ethnographic Methods and Fieldwork Preparation), Qualitative Research in Mixed Methods, or the Research Proposal Workshop for Quantitative Research, you don't need formal approval from your tutor , just a pass for the course, and the approval of your thesis supervisor.

    Please find the link to the research proposal form below.

    Scholarships for thesis research and fieldwork

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

    Evaluation

    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. Preferably within two weeks after submitting the thesis, a final discussion between the student, the supervisor and the second reader takes place, chaired by the supervisor. In the final discussion the student will be informed about the grade. Before the final discussion takes place, the supervisor and the second reader may want to fill in a Thesis Evaluation Form independently. However, they fill in and sign a joint Thesis Assessment Form (which can be found in the thesis manual) for handing in the grade. The final discussion is mandatory, but will not be taken into account when determining the final grade.

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

  • Sociology

    The Master’s in Sociology culminates in the writing of a thesis, which is the final test of your academic skills. Your thesis should show your ability to carry out independent and creative research, written up in a format which adheres to academic conventions. This makes your thesis the most important and most challenging, but also the hardest part of your master’s programme. Previously gained knowledge, scientific insight, theories and methodological skills are all considered, but this time in one combined project for which you have to conduct your own empirical research.

    Below you will find all relevant information for writing your thesis.

    Thesis Rules & Guidelines

    You can find more information on how to write a thesis in the Thesis Rules and Guidelines.

    The Master’s thesis is supervised in thesis groups, which start in the beginning of the 2nd semester. They usually consist of 5-10 students. You can find an overview of the different thesis groups in the booklet below. 

    The thesis is 24 EC in total. This consists of 6 EC for successfully completing the thesis seminar, which takes place in the first block of the 2nd semester and focuses on the writing of your research proposal. The other 18 EC is for the thesis itself.

    GSSS Ethical Guidelines for Students

    If you are collecting your own data your research proposals has to comply with generally accepted ethical standards for conducting research and handling data. Students are expected to have read the guidelines. 

    Assessment of the thesis

    The final version of your thesis needs to be submitted to your first supervisor and second reader. They decide together what your thesis grade will be. A thesis assessment form needs to be used in order to grade the thesis. In a final, individual meeting your supervisor and second reader will explain how they have come to the grade. You can check the assessment form here.

  • Urban and Regional Planning (MSc)

    The thesis in Urban and Regional Planning starts in October with a kick-off meeting, where the structure and important deadlines for the thesis are introduced. Shortly after, all students will be asked to provide their preference for one of the thesis projects offered. By early december the final list of participants in each thesis project will be published through Canvas.

    The official course starts in semester 2.

    Thesis topics

    Thesis topics within the Master Urban and Regional Planning will be published on this website mid-October. Besides the specific topics in Urban and Regional Planning - linked to the thematic courses Real Estate, Strategic Planning and Transport - three thematic projects are offered for all tracks.

Thesis Archive

UvA Scripties is a service through which the University of Amsterdam (UvA) enables worldwide digital access to the theses (master/bachelor) of its students.