You must complete your Research Master's programme by writing a Research Master's thesis (30 EC) that is based on original research. A Reseach Master's thesis is a scholarly text in which you are expected to contribute, on the basis of independent research, to a debate within your discipline.

Thesis requirements

The central research question should be clearly formulated at the beginning and its relevance to scholarly discussions within the discipline set out. The body of the text should show how you went about trying to answer this question, why you proceeded the way you did, and what your findings were. In your conclusion you should analyze your findings in the light of your original question and explain the broader implications of your conclusions.


The thesis should be written in correct and clear English. Subject to approval by the programme coordinator students in the Comparative Literary Studies programme may be permitted to write their thesis in French, German, Italian, or Spanish if this is appropriate to their topic and specialisation. The thesis will normally be around 30,000 words long and may be no longer than 40.000 words (including notes and bibliography). You will have to submit your thesis proposal for approval to the programme coordinator, the supervisor, and second assessor by 1 March or (in the case you started in February) 1 October. You are also expected to attend regular thesis labs.

More information

See more detailed information on deadlines and procedures Guidelines and procedures Master's thesis (pdf).

Thesis Archive

You can use Utrecht University's thesis archive as a reference point to see what your fellow students have submitted. 

Finished? Upload your thesis to the Digital thesis Archive

Once you have finished writing your thesis, you will need to upload the final version and publish it in this thesis archive (in Osiris). The Exam Secretariat will notify you about this by mail. Your thesis will be kept for 7 years.

  • M.I. Zirra: The Troubled Workings of Multidirectionality: Reading Seamus Heaney’s Intertextualities [2012]
  • A. van Engelenburg: Virginia Woolf and the Soul of Technology [2011]
  • T.S.E. Laros: Coetzee, Reeve, and the Post-Secular [2010]
  • I. van de Ven: The Literary Work as Stranger: The Disrupting Ethics of Defamiliarization and the Literariness of Literature [2010]
  • G.A.B. de Vugt: I celebrate myself, that is to say, Democracy. an essay on radical democratic literature [2010]
  • E.M. Kopman: Reading Rape: Toward an Ethics of Responding to Literary Depictions of Suffering and Violence [2010]
  • N. Vilanueva Nieves: Transnationalism and Chicana Literature: Transnational Perspectives and the Representation of Transnational Phenomena in three Chicana Narratives [2010]
  • R. Brekelmans: Medium, Book & Convergence: The Novelisation [2010]
  • A.M. Rychlicka: Central Europe Imagines Central Europe: The Construction of Regional Identity in the Works of Andrzej Stasiuk [2009]
  • I. Bûtot: The Linguistic Homelessness of the Language of the Novel. An Evaluation of the Debate on Language in African Literatures Based on Two Contemporary Mozambican Novels [2009]
  • A.G. Nacheva: The social role of the writer as enacted in the (literary) life of Roberto Bolaño and represented in his novels [2009]

forms and procedures master's thesis

Your Master's thesis will be assessed following specific evaluation procedures. You can prepare for this by reading the following documents and explanations prior to starting your thesis.

All theses will be evaluated by two separate evaluators. If your supervisor is a professor connected to your Master's programme, he/she will also be the first evaluator. 

Your Research Master's thesis will be evaluated using a standardised assessment form (pdf). In some cases a third evaluator will be asked to assess your paper. This third evaluator will use another form (pdf) to evaluate your thesis.

Utrecht University considers any form of academic dishonesty to be a serious offense. Utrecht University expects each student to be familiar with and to observe the norms and values that ensure academic integrity.

Therefore, when you start writing your thesis you will have to hand in the Plagiarism rules awareness statement (pdf). With this, you declare to know about and abide by the norms and rules on fraud and plagiarism of Utrecht University. When your professor or supervisor suspects fraud or plagiarism, they will notify the board of examiners by filling in this form (Dutch, pdf).