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ResMA Thesis History & Final Exam


Admission requirements

This course is part of the (Res)MA History Programme. It is not accessible for BA students.


The ResMA History programme is concluded by a 30 EC ResMA Thesis. The thesis is based on original research in primary sources and will be at minimum 20.000 and at maximum 25.000 words in size (excluding front page, table of content, footnotes and bibliography). The Thesis has to meet a high scholarly standard; it should be possible to rework the results of the Thesis in to an article for an academic journal. Students are guided by thesis supervisors in writing their thesis.

Thesis Supervisor

Students are expected to approach themselves a member of staff with a request to act as supervisor of their ResMA Thesis. In order to do so, the student draws up a concise research proposal for the thesis during the second half of the first semester. All students are strongly advised to approach a member of staff sooner rather than later. An overview of all members of staff and their fields of expertise is found in the list of staff and research themes.
In some instances the approached member of staff will refer the student to a colleague with more expertise in the particular proposed subject. In exceptional cases a scholar from outside the History Department will be invited to (co-)supervise the thesis. If the member of staff agrees on supervision, the student will start writing the thesis.

Course objectives




Mode of instruction

  • Thesis Seminar and individual supervision

Course Load

Total course load 30 EC x 28 hours = 840 hours

Assessment method


  • Thesis (between 20.000 and 25.000 words, based on research in primary sources, excluding front page, table of content, footnotes and bibliography)


  • Thesis: 100%

Assesment Criteria ResMA Thesis

For the assessment of the ResMA Thesis we evaluate these aspects:

  • 1) Knowledge and insight;

  • 2) Application knowledge and insight;

  • 3) Reaching conclusions;

  • 4) Communication (language, annotation);

  • 5) Learning skills;

  • 6) Formal requirements, including the knock-out criteria specific for the programme.

The knock-out criteria specific for the programme are that the thesis

  • 1) Contains a clear, well-argued and original research question, taking into account the theory and method of the field;

  • 2) Is convincingly situated within theoretical, conceptual and methodological debates of the specialization;

  • 3) Accounts for the chosen research method(s);

  • 4) Is based on critical research and interpretation of an independently collected and selected corpus of sources;

  • 5) Contains an analysis and evaluation of a large body of independently collected scholarly literature;

  • 6) Is based upon a well-structured and consistent argument;

  • 7) Is written in correct English, when required, or Dutch, meeting the criteria of the discipline;

  • 8) Displays thorough knowledge and comprehension of the relevant specialization and its corresponding historiography;

  • 9) Produces an original scholarly argument.

In case the Thesis is graded between 6.0 - 6.5, the Board of Examiners will appoint a third reader. The third reader will check whether the Thesis meets the criteria from the Prospectus, and grades the Thesis a final time.

If the Thesis is graded as insufficient, the student is given the option to individually correct the thesis based on the feedback from the grading form and/or instructions from their supervisor. If this revised Thesis of a student is graded insufficient as well, the student cannot continue with the current topic and supervisor, but has to find a new topic and supervisor before continuing. In this case, the student must also contact the Coordinator of Studies to discuss further possibilities.

Reading list

Not applicable.


Not applicable.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Not applicable.


Six weeks before the planned date of graduation students have to apply for entry to the final examination. This can be done by following the several stages of the Graduation Procedure.

The ResMA History is rounded off with an oral examination of approximately 45 minutes, during a public ceremony, in which students have to defend their MA thesis and be able to discuss additional scholarly literature.