Together with an internship, your thesis constitutes your individual graduation trajectory. During your internship, the focus is on research questions defined by the project the student is participating in. For your thesis, emphasis is placed on original research driven by your own questions.

Students are responsible for finding their own supervisor. In all cases student must have an internal supervisor affiliated with the programme. A student may have an additional internal or external supervisor. An external supervisor is a senior researcher affiliated with UiL OTS or another institution. The internal supervisor is responsible for the final grade and its registration in Osiris.

The size of the Master's thesis is 30 EC, the equivalent of one semester of work. In addition to a supervisor, the finished work needs to be graded by a second reader. As in the case of your term paper and internship you must formally register for your thesis. Please make sure you are aware of the rules and regulations surrounding registration, choice of supervisor and submission (see below).

Please get in touch with the programme coordinator if you feel you are having real problems getting to grips with your thesis. 


The topic of the Master's thesis is chosen in consultation with the supervisor. In their theses, students are expected to make a genuine contribution to the advancement of the knowledge in the field. 

The output of the thesis research meets the standards of a scientific publication in the subdiscipline of linguistics at hand. The thesis should be structured around a central research question to which it provides an answer. 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 the question was answered, why the approach chosen is adequate, and what the final outcomes are. The conclusion should contain an analysis of the findings in the light of the original question, and explain the broader implications of the research carried out. There are no strict guidelines as to length, but most theses are between 40 and 70 pages long (i.e. between 30,000 - 35,000 words long;  including notes, bibliography and appendices).

Registration is handled by enrolling for the course "thesis" in Osiris (see the course planner) as well as providing your programme coordinator with the following information:

  • Name of supervisor(s)
  • Topic
  • Intended completion date
  • Name of an independent/outside reader

You submit the final version to both your supervisor and the second reader. The supervisor and the second reader (jointly) propose a grade. If the second reader is not convinced the grade is justified, he consults with the supervisor. If the consultation results in agreement, the new jointly established grade (which may but need not be the original grade) is awarded. If the final grade is a passing grade the thesis cannot be withdrawn for the purpose of correction and resubmission.

The supervisor and the second reader will fill out and sign the forms (see below) required by faculty regulations. 

It is essential to make good arrangements with your supervisor and the second reader about when you are going to hand in the final version and when it will be graded. Please keep in mind that the second reader will require time to prepare his evaluation of your thesis. No thesis grade will be entered into OSIRIS without the second reader's consent.

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.

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).