In the second year of the program, students  start working on a thesis, based on independent research.

The Research Seminar History and Philosophy of Science (FI-MHPSSR) is a required course in this part of the programme. It includes participation in regular research seminars on either history of science, philosophy of science, or philosophy of physics.

Part of the requirements for this seminar is the attendance of at least 20 colloquiums in the field. It is strongly advised start doing this during the first year of study.

The second year is devoted to your own research project, resulting in a master’s thesis according to the rules and methods current in the field. The thesis should demonstrate that you are able to produce new scholarly knowledge and insights, and can share the results with fellow researchers in a coherent way. It is based on independent research, refers to relevant litera­ture, assesses earlier work on a chosen topic and contributes to scholarly debate.

You can also choose to do a 15 EC internship or extra courses (subject to approval by the Board of Examiners), in combination with a smaller thesis (37,5 EC).

A full (52.5 EC) HPS master’s thesis will normally consist of around 30.000 words; theses on philosophical topics or foundations of physics can often be shorter.

Examples of research topics:

  • Spacelike and Timelike Non-Locality
  • Function, Object, System – Kant’s transcendental logic and the foundations of the exact sciences 
  • Early Dutch Interest in Newtonian Mathematics: Adriaen Verwer (1654-1717) and Newton’s usefulness
  • Knowledge, Entertainment, Superstition: Imagining the Arctic in the Netherlands, 1555-1685
  • In and Out of Magelang Asylum: A Social History of Colonial Psychiatry in the Netherlands Indies, 1923-1942
  • The Reception of the General Theory of Relativity in Belgium
  • Sow, don’t tell. The meaning of nature and technology in Dutch seed breeders’ communication strategies
  • Profiling in electronic coaching and authenticity and individuality of the user
  • The historical relation between knowledge of explosive technology and terrorism

Within all Master's programmes one or more research projects are mandatory. Please see ‘Study programme’ for general information on such projects in your curriculum. In many cases, a research project may be carried out outside of the university, in the form of an internship at a company, research institute, or another university. This can be in the Netherlands as well as abroad (see also: ‘study abroad’). 

You are required to fill out the following forms in order to be able to either start or finish your research project or internship. Please fill out the forms digitally and use a print-out for signing and handing in. The documents require macros to be enabled in Word to use all of the form functionality. After approval of your registration you will be automatically registered in OSIRIS.

  • Make sure you e-mail the co-signed Research Application Form at the Science Student Desk ( prior to starting your project. Important: this form can only be filled out completely after you have discussed the project setup with your intended project supervisor! 
  • Please DO NOT register yourself in OSIRIS for the relevant research project courses. You will be automatically registered upon approval of the Research Application Form.
  • Please note that this protocol (English version) applies when a project is delayed.
  • In case of a project or internship outside of Utrecht University, please make sure you fill out the Work Placement Agreement in Osiris Student/My Cases. This agreement will be available for filling out in Osiris Student/My Cases after you have submitted your initial request for research project approval.
  • If your project is split into two parts, your project supervisor will fill out the assessment form part 1 at the end of the first part of your project. At the end of your project your supervisor will fill out the assessment form part 2 and hand it in (in pdf) at the Science Student Desk in order to have your grade registered in OSIRIS.