The Master’s thesis is the critical and final test of this programme. Research-active staff members who have exciting research and publication agendas supervise your research. Writing the master’s thesis completes the empirical cycle and constitutes the final test of your academic skills, theoretical, conceptual and anthropological knowledge, ethical responsibility, scientific integrity, methodological training and ethnographic research capabilities.

You demonstrate your ability to formulate an innovative research question that addresses a major anthropological debate or opens up a new area of scientific inquiry, to find a suitable field site, to select the most appropriate field method to gather data, to use current anthropological theories to analyse the data, and to write a scientific text that communicates the research findings to an academic audience. In addition, you write a summary of the research outcomes for a general public.

Thesis defence

You will defend your thesis during the Thesis Defence at the end of your second year. During this defence for your fellow students and teachers, a member of the Board of Studies will also be present. They will present you with several questions regarding your thesis.


The final grade for your thesis is given by the members of the Boards of Studies, after consultation with the supervisor, second, and third examiner, and is based on the degree of it being publishable in an international journal. A standard form for the evaluation of the thesis has been developed by the Board of Studies and can be found in the course manual of CASTOR12: Masters' Thesis.


Ethical review

From 1 September 2020, all Bachelor's and (research) Master's students must have their thesis project ethically reviewed by the FERB through the online tool UU-SER. More information about the procedure and associated protocols can be found on the Student Ethics Review & Registration Site (UU-SER) website.