Political Science (Leiden), 2012-2013

The Leiden Master programme in Political Science aims to provide its students with a deep and comprehensive understanding of political issues, studied from the perspective of one of its subfields. Due to its wide scope of academic expertise, the Department of Political Science is capable of offering students an in-depth training in the most important (empirical and normative) subdisciplines of political science. Thus, students will be well prepared for a variety of careers in politics and public service, the media, non-profit organisations, consultancy, and (inter)national business, as well as further academic work in Political Science (e.g. a PhD programme). The Leiden Master Political Science programme offers five specialisations:

• Comparative Politics & Democracy (CPD)
• Dutch Politics (DP)
• International Relations (IR)
• Political Philosophy (PPh)
• Political Behaviour & Communication (PBC)

Welcome meeting: Tuesday 4 September, 15.00 hrs. in room SA49


Five sub-disciplinary specialisations of which students choose one:

The specialization within the master’s program requires a minimum of 45 ects in one specific sub-discipline. At least two out of three seminars should be within one specialisation, including the seminar in the third block, plus the colloquium (second block) and the thesis seminar.

At the start of the academic year students will be asked by the secretariat to submit their choice for one of the five specialisations. At the end of the first block, students who want to change their specialisation have the opportunity to do so. Changes later in the academic year are not possible.

Seminars in the first block will be relatively broad and do count for at least two specialisations; seminars in the second block may count for two or more specialisations; seminars in the third block are specific for the chosen specialisation and count for that specialisation only. As a result the program offers a relatively broad start and the opportunities for specialization are optimized by the funnel-shaped structure.


Students have to submit their first and second preference for a seminar course in block I to the secretariat by e-mail (of course we will deviate from the first preference only if absolutely necessary due to, for instance, capacity considerations).

Please send an e-mail with your choice to onderwijspol@fsw.leidenuniv.nl as of Tuesday 14 August 10.00 a.m. and ultimately before Friday 24 August 4.00 p.m. E-mails received before 14 August 10.00 a.m. will not be handled.

Please note that seminars have a maximum of 20 students. If fewer than 5 students register for a seminar, we cannot guarantee that it will take place. Assignment to a particular seminar is on a first come first served basis. The time at which your e-mail is received by our secretariat is crucial. It will be handled in the order in which it is received.

Block 1

Political Science: approaches and concepts

Seminar 1

Block 2

Colloquium *

Seminar 2

Block 3

Thesis seminar I: Research design and thesis proposal < specialisation>*

Seminar 3 *

Block 4

Thesis seminar II: Thesis *

Graduation in one particular specialisation requires completion of the courses marked with an *, plus at least one of the two remaining seminars within the specific subfield.


This information is subject to change. Please check the Political Science website regularly before the start of the new academic year.


This information is subject to change. Please check the Political Science website regularly before the start of the new academic year.


This information is subject to change. Please check the Political Science website regularly before the start of the new academic year.


This information is subject to change. Please check the Political Science website regularly before the start of the new academic year.


This information is subject to change. Please check the Political Science website regularly before the start of the new academic year.

Thesis Info

MSc Thesis Seminar Procedure 2012-2013

To ensure timely completion of the Master thesis, it is essential for students to follow the steps as described subsequently and as shown in the time table below. Attendance is compulsory in all meetings of the thesis seminar. It is strongly recommended that students start thinking about the topic of their MSc thesis at an early stage.

Working on the research proposal

During the study period in January, students are expected to read the literature for their thesis seminar as announced on Blackboard by their thesis seminar teacher. Students should also individually search for literature and background information concerning their specific research topics. Students must use the assigned literature to start working on their research proposal that will be further developed in the first part of the thesis seminar (block 3). Actual supervision starts in February with the start of the thesis seminar classes (block 3).

Thesis seminar classes

Attendance is compulsory in the thesis seminar classes. Participation in the thesis seminar classes, the assignments for these classes, and the final version of the research proposal constitute the ‘practical part’ of the course and are all mandatory. The final grade for the thesis seminar is based on the grade received for the thesis. It is of utmost importance that students attend all seminar classes and have a thesis proposal of high quality and academic standards finalized during the first part of the thesis seminar (block 3).

Submitting final version of research proposal

The deadline for submitting the final version of the research proposal (through Ephorus and in print) is Monday 18 March. An approved proposal is essential for the start of the thesis-writing process. Although students may continue working on their thesis without a formally approved proposal, they are then doing so ‘on their own’ (thesis seminar teachers are no longer obliged to provide supervision). The proposal must be approved by the supervisor and by a second reader. The second reader will be designated by the Director of Studies. Once the supervisor and second reader accept the research proposal (on or before the start of the fourth block), a copy of the proposal, signed by the supervisor and the second reader, is submitted to the Political Science secretariat as part of the student’s file of academic records. If a proposal is not completed in time or not approved, a record on this will be deposited in the student’s file of records.

Working on first complete draft of the Master thesis

After the approval of the research proposal by their supervisor and the second reader, students work on their thesis for about seven weeks. During this phase, students have individual and/or group meetings with their supervisor. A number of meetings and subsequent revisions may be needed before the thesis is considered to meet the required academic standards. The deadline for submitting the first complete draft of the thesis (through Ephorus and in print) is Monday 13 May, 12 pm.

Submitting final version of Master thesis

In the days following submission, the thesis seminar teacher will read the first complete draft of the thesis (Thursday 23 and Friday 24 May feedback and comments on the first complete draft will be given). During this period, students can double-check various aspects of their thesis, such as references, bibliography, data or facts, preparing for last corrections on their work. After the comments of the supervisor have been received, students revise their thesis. The deadline for submitting the final version of the Master thesis (through Ephorus and in print) is Monday 10 June, 12 pm. Students submit this final printed version to their supervisor and to their second reader. The supervisor and second reader (both members of the departmental faculty) together decide on the final grade for the thesis. This final grade is communicated to students after 15 working days.

Final meeting with supervisor

Students have a final meeting with their supervisor to discuss the thesis and its assessment. The final grade received is submitted to the Political Science secretariat by the supervisor and is added to the student’s file of academic records. At this last meeting the back hand side of the evaluation form with the non plagiarism and publication statements is filled out. After the last meeting the student uploads his thesis in pdf format in the Leiden Student Repository.


It is extremely important that students follow the deadlines as indicated here (also see the time table below). If the thesis (seminar) is not finalized with a passing grade before the end of June, students will have to retake the complete thesis seminar in the 2nd semester of the next academic year. If the student is unable to complete the master thesis by the deadline due to circumstances beyond his/her control, a suitable solution will be sought by the Exam Committee after consultation with the student.

In exceptional circumstances, students may be allowed by the Exam Committee to complete the thesis seminar in the autumn, provided that they have met all other obligations of the master and the thesis seminar, as demonstrated amongst others by an approved research proposal and the submission of a first complete version of the thesis. Where necessary, the supervision of the master thesis may be continued by someone other than the first supervisor, and the research proposal may have to be adjusted in consultation with the new supervisor.

Time Table MSc Thesis Seminar 2012/2013


Students study literature list (announced on Blackboard) and start working on their research proposal.

Monday 4 Februari

Start of thesis seminar classes and actual supervision (block 3).

Monday 18 March, 12 pm

Deadline Students submit revised and final version of research proposal to the thesis seminar teacher and second reader.

Tuesday 19 March – Friday 22 March

Final version of research proposal approved by thesis seminar teacher and second reader.

Saturday 23 March – Sunday 12 May

Time period devoted to individual work on the thesis, including individual and/or small group meetings.

Monday 13 May, 12 pm

Deadline Students submit the first complete draft of their Master thesis.

Thursday 23 May – Friday 24 May

Feedback and comments on first complete draft thesis by supervisor.

Saturday 25 May – Sunday 9 June

Revision of the thesis.

Monday 10 June, 12 pm

Deadline Students submit a total of two copies of the final version of the Master thesis: one to the supervisor and one to the second reader.

Wednesday 26 June

Supervisor and second reader decide on the grade for the thesis, sign the evaluation report and inform the student about this outcome.

Thursday 27 June – Friday 28 June

Final meeting with supervisor.


• The MSc Political Science program requires the writing of a thesis (20 ECTS points) as the final product of a thesis seminar, in addition to successful completion of the five courses. In general, the number of words of the thesis must be between 16.000 and 20.000, including tables, footnotes and bibliography.

• Working on the MSc thesis starts with writing a research proposal. The research proposal must include a problem statement, theoretical foundation, conceptualization and, if applicable, operationalization of key variables, and present the methodology and techniques for data collection and analysis.

• The MSc thesis needs to comply with high standards of academic research and writing. It is important that the thesis is consistent, clear and original in the sense of constituting an own contribution to ongoing research. In various courses offered in this program, students learn how to conduct research and how to write academic papers. Among the criteria used to evaluate the thesis are its originality, consistency, academic (and, if applicable, societal) relevance, the choice of an adequate theoretical framework, the correct application of analytical methods, the quality of the data collection, and the presentation of the text.

Comp Req

Competence Requirements (Not for Leiden Political Science bachelors)

The Master Political Science Admissions Committee requests that applicants demonstrate competency in several sub-fields of Political Science and in Research Design & Measurement in the Social Sciences. You can find the specific competency requirements that were assigned to you on your Statement of Admission.

As regards the Research Design and Measurement in the Social Sciences, competency should be demonstrated by completing the conversion course Research Design & Measurement in the Social Sciences. This conversion course will be offered by the Institute of Political Science and may be followed along with courses from the regular Master of Science programme. The full conversion course comprises 5 ECTS. This conversion course is not part of the regular curriculum of the Master of Science programme. Information on its contents and schedule is displayed in the link on the right hand side of this page.

As for the other sub-fields of Political Science competency should be demonstrated by taking an exam on the basis of a literature list (self study). Examination is either by oral or by written exam. Examining Teachers and Literature can be found in the link on the right hand side of the page. Students should contact the professor for the specific time and place of the exam. Please note that it is the responsibility of the student to arrange the appointment for the exam (or re-examination) on the dates mentioned below.


Exams take place on 4, 5, 6, 9, 10 or 11 September 2012
Re-examinations take place on 10, 11, 14, 15, 16 or 17 January 2013

More info

More about our Master programme

In this Master’s programme, students acquire knowledge of the state of the art in Political Science. Alongside the current approaches and theories new insights or paradigms will be addressed. The programme starts with courses on the current level of scientific advancements and achievements in Political Science and its subdisciplines. Students will become acquainted with important classical and recently published studies and the milestones of contemporary work in the main subfields of Political Science. They will examine the frontiers of theoretical knowledge in Political Science. A combination of seminars and the thesis work will provide students with a strong critical grounding in the core issues of both political science and politics. In this way, they acquire the capacity for actively engaging in explaining and/or evaluating political phenomena. Their comprehensive knowledge and critical insight into their field of study enable students to formulate key questions in political science. Students learn to view theory and theory-testing as an integral part of understanding politics. The result of the programme will be that they are capable of producing instead of consuming knowledge.

At the end of the programme, students obtain a Master of Science degree in Political Science. The diploma supplement includes the specific subfield in which they have specialised (Dutch Politics, Comparative Politics & Democracy, International Relations, Political Philosophy or Political Behaviour & Communication).

More information on grading, graduation and other information can be found on the website of Political Science .

More information on the entry requirements of the programme can be found on Masters in Leiden .