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

It should be structured around a central research question (set out in the introductory sections) to which the thesis provides a response and thereby offers an original contribution to existing scholarship (explicated in the individual chapters and in the conclusion). The central research question must be clearly formulated in the thesis and its relevance to scholarly discussions within the discipline must be demonstrated. The body of the text should give a clear description and justification of the methodological and theoretical framework that is used to develop the response(s) to the research question, and should employ a case study relevant to the research question or problem and its sociopolitical relevance.

The thesis should be written in English. The length of the thesis should be between 30,000 and 35,000 words. More detailed information on deadlines and procedures can be found in the programme book.


The thesis will be assessed and graded by the supervisor and by a second assessor who has not been involved in the supervision. 

Digital thesis archive

You are required to upload your Master’s thesis to Utrecht University Library's digital thesis archive. This archive is also an interesting reference point to see what your fellow students have submitted. You can search or sort through it by faculty or study programme.

forms and procedures master's thesis

Your Master's thesis will be assessed according to 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 assesment 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. When your professor or supervisor suspects fraud or plagiarism, they will notify the board of examiners by filling in this form (Dutch, pdf).