Earth, Life and Climate has a list with proposals for topics for your MSc project: Graduation Research Projects.

Your Masters’s research project ─ concluding in a Master’s thesis ─ represents the culmination of your programme. Through your research, you’ll demonstrate both your ability to pursue independent research and your grasp of advanced knowledge in your programme’s field. Your thesis is an individual project, which you carry out under the supervision of a staff member. You’ll round of your research with a presentation of the results to fellow students and staff members.

You must have earned at least 30 EC in the theoretical modules of the Master’s programme before starting your final research. Check this with your Personal Advisor (see 'Contact') to ensure you satisfy the prerequisites.

The topic of your Master’s research and thesis may be either theoretical or practical. It can be based on fieldwork, laboratory work and/or computer-based simulation/modelling.


To find a topic for your thesis, it makes sense to take the initiative and talk to academic staff members about your ideas. To get an idea of topics you can consult the Master’s Theses Online (Igitur) archive where you’ll find the theses written over the last few years.

Your research project and thesis should, together, equal at least 30 EC and at most 45 EC.

Before starting your MSc project, your proposal has to be approved by the Board of Examiners ( Your proposal has to contain the following:

  • Your personal information: name, student number, email address, telephone number.
  • Title of the project.
  • Name and signature of the first supervisor.
  • Name and signature of a second supervisor, if there is one, or of a second reviewer, if there is one who is only involved in the project’s assessment. If the project involves a second supervisor from another Utrecht University faculty, indicate his or her relative contribution (in percentage terms).
  • Number of credits.
  • The research plan (not exceeding 1,000 words) including the research objective, the research questions and the research methodology.
  • Time planning.
  • No-go criteria. Indicate what minimum progress you have made approximately one-third of the way through your thesis work. After this period, you have to schedule a progress-evaluation meeting with your supervisor.
  • In the event your project involves fieldwork, include a signed declaration regarding safety and behaviour during excursions and fieldwork.

Your thesis supervisor will assess your work after obtaining a “second opinion” from a colleague.


The academic skills that you will be using and will be assessed in your thesis, include:

  • preparing and initiating a research project;
  • analysing and processing data;
  • writing and presenting a research report.

After your thesis has been approved, it must be uploaded into the thesis archive. Within one month after registration of your grade in OSIRIS, the student will receive a request by email to upload the reviewed thesis (in PDF format) through OSIRIS Case.

When you log in to OSIRIS Student, the Case "Archive/publication of thesis" is displayed on the homepage. Make sure the pop-up blocker of your browser is off. The thesis archive is only accessible to employees.

In the same OSIRIS Case, you can decide to get your thesis published on the Google/Worldcat platform of the Utrecht University Library. It is possible to upload a specific version of your thesis that meets the requirements for public publication. Other students and staff can thereby benefit from your research work.

Read the complete overview of the structure and procedures for your Master’s research and thesis, including the required forms. There is also more information available on BlackBoard

If you need financial support with your MSc research, contact your supervisor to find about what options are available. If your project involves mineralogical, chemical or isotope analysis, the Olaf Schuiling Fund might be of assistance.