Your work on your Master’s thesis will train you to conduct research independently as an innovation analyst, as well as allows you to specialise in a particular innovation subject.

In your Master’s thesis you’ll be specialising in a subject within one of the current research Innovation Sciences themes.

Research subject

Depending on your aspirations and interests, you will focus on one of these research themes and develop your own research subject, with support from your thesis supervisor. In doing so, you will draw on the content of your programme courses.


The first step is to select a research theme and the associated supervisor. Your research can be conducted in an organisation other than Utrecht University, depending on the data needed to answer your research question. In general, you can conduct parts of your MSc thesis work at a wide range of firms and institutions, both within and outside the Netherlands. Although the thesis research work is not generally expected to be experimental in nature, the possibility of including some experimental work in your research project is not ruled out.

The programme’s lecturers keep an updated file of possible topics for research projects. Although students may propose their own topics, proposals will only be accepted if an experienced supervisor for the topic is available. You can find all current topics on Blackboard.


You can find some proposals in the Blackboard Community of your master programme.

Prior to actually conducting your research, you’ll have to write a research proposal. The course manual of the thesis instructs you on how to go about this. A series of short web lectures offers you assignments to help you with the task. Many students haver found these very helpful.


You must submit your research proposal to the secretariat for approval by the Board of Examiners.

Every months students present the results of their research. You are very welcome to attend these presentations.

At least ten

You have to attend at least ten presentations, in order to be allowed to give your own Master’s thesis presentation. This way you can develop a broad view on various recent research topics. And keep in touch with your fellow students and teachers in the final -sometimes rather solitary- stage of your studies. You should attend at least six presentations of students from your own Master’s programme. The other four presentations may also be from another programme of the Copernicus Institute or a (lunch) lecture from a staff member of the Copernicus Institute. You will find the schedules of the presentations on Blackboard.

Research topics

Of course you are most welcome to start attending the presentations if you are not working on your thesis yet. Attending and discussing the research of students in their graduation phase, is a useful way to prepare yourself for your own thesis and it might bring you some inspiring ideas on the topics you will want to research yourself.


You have to sign an attendance list, that is kept at the secretariat. Keep track of the number of presentations you have attended.

Presentation dates

​The dates that are available for the graduation presentations can be found on Blackboard.

Your supervisor will assess your Master’s thesis using the Master’s Thesis Rubrics & Assessment Form. It makes the items the supervisor assesses and the criteria he or she uses transparent. You will receive the form when you start the Master’s thesis process. Please use it to acquaint yourself with the assessment criteria and to assess yourself during the thesis process. Your supervisor is expected to tell you early on which items he or she considers most important and the order they should take in the thesis, so you will not get any surprises later on.

After your thesis has been approved, you must upload it in Master’s Theses Online (Igitur). Other students and staff can thus benefit from your research work.