The final research project is an important part of the Master’s programme. Your research will culminate in a Master's thesis, and you will be expected to give an oral presentation on your chosen subject. This part of the programme earns you 45 EC.

You must have passed four courses (obtained at least 30 EC) in the programme and have an approved thesis contract, before starting with your final research project.

  • You will write your Master’s thesis proposal in the course GEO4-3631 (year 1, period 4).
  • You will spend a term abroad in the first and second term of your second year (September-January).
  • In January you will give a presentation about the progress of your thesis for your fellow students and staff members of the programme
  • You will finish your Master’s thesis in March (for thesis report) or in April (for thesis publication).
  • In June you will present the final thesis for first and second year student of the programme.

During you period abroad (September-January), you will carry out a fieldwork or collect additional data for your Master’s thesis research project or take an extra course abroad. You might also present a paper on an international scientific conference.

International students

If you are an international student, you can participate in international activities outside the Netherlands. You are also allowed to join activities at other Dutch universities.

Where to go?

Which host institution you choose depends on your individual trajectory, interests and ambitions and the specific combination of study activities. You will arrange your study term abroad most easily with the so called ‘partner institutions’. These universities provide high-standard Master’s Programmes in a research-rich environment. Longstanding relationships of exchange will make it easy to join in at these universities. See the list of Geosciences partner universities (check under ‘i’ if a university is a Human Geography and Planning Master’s destination).

Your thesis must:

  • be embedded in previous research and literature on that topic.
  • include a theoretical elaboration of the research problem, based on the relevant international literature.
  • be based on sound research questions.
  • be based on an independent collection of empirical data from primary and/or secondary sources.
  • include empirical testing of some implications of the applied theories or theoretical notions.

You can choose between writing a thesis report or a thesis publication for a peer-reviewed scientific journal. Your supervisor and the programme director will decide together whether you will write a thesis publication instead of a thesis report. They will base their decision on your result for the course Writing Competences for Scientific Publication (minimal grade 8.0), your proficiency in English and your general progress and results in the programme. When you are writing the thesis report you need also to write a scientific publication, which is based on your report.

Your thesis must be in English or Dutch to be assessed. In exceptional cases the Board of Examiners may allow you to deviate from this rule. Your thesis should in any event comprise the following elements:

  • social and scientific problem reconnaissance
  • unambiguously formulated key questions (problem definition), with derived research questions
  • conceptual model
  • research methodology
  • in-depth theoretical study, based on international literature study
  • empirical inventory
  • processing
  • analysis and interpretation
  • conclusions and forecasts
  • critical reflection on content and methodology

For examples of theses take a look in Master’s Theses Online.

Your final mark will be based on three components:

  • thesis proposal (10 %);
  • January presentation (10 %);
  • final thesis (80 %).

Second opinion

Your thesis supervisor will assess your work after obtaining a 'second opinion' from a colleague in another section.