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Thesis and paper writing

When writing a thesis or paper you must make good use of the insights you have gained during your lectures and studies so far. You should also refer to relevant literature and carry out your own research on the topic.

One of the most important things you will learn during an academic study programme is how to write an interesting piece of work that meets the criteria of scientific quality, whilst also being accesible to the broader public.

Refer to our Study tips pages for more information on academic writing skills. 

Faculty regulations

The criteria of the thesis are outlined in the faculty-wide regulation shown on the right side of this page. For both papers as well as thesis the rules on plagiarism and academic integrity apply.

Request for appointing thesis supervisor

The Board of Examiners is responsible for appointing a supervisor for the master’s thesis and the bachelor’s thesis. 

Every study programme has its own procedure for appointing supervisors. Please consult the course description of the master’s thesis or bachelor’s thesis in the e-prospectus. 

Need help with your writing assignment? Come to the Writing Lab

Do you need help with an academic written assignment (i.e. a thesis, a paper or an essay)? If so, you can make use of the help offered by the Writing Lab. The Lab is meant to aid all BA students of the Faculty of Humanities who would like to improve their writing skills.

The main emphasis is on helping you to improve your own thesis or other writing assignment. The Writing Lab is part of the Academic Language Centre.

Individual tuition

Each session with one of our tutors takes approximately 45 minutes. Appointments can be made for a single session, or for several sessions, to discuss one specific assignment. The services provided by the Writing Lab are free of charge for students.

What can we do for you?

The writing tutors are specially selected (Res)MA students, who have been trained to focus on the analysis of problems that occur during the writing process and of issues related to text writing. They have also been trained how to give feedback. For example, they advise you how to structure your topic by means of a clear chapter outline. They can also give you advice with regard to academic style and clarity of language.

The  tutors do not discuss the content of your assignments: that is up to you and your supervisor. Nor will the tutors evaluate your text  (“Is my assignment fine as it is now?”). Furthermore, the tutors will not correct the spelling or the grammar for you; their role is to advise you on how you can improve your written work yourself.

Make an appointment

Should you want to make use of the Writing Lab, you can contact us through filling out the ‘Sign-up form’.

Make sure that you e-mail any relevant documents you wish to discuss during your session 24 hours in advance. If you have no text yet to discuss, but do need help with formulating a hypothesis or writing a research proposal, you can also make an appointment with a tutor. 


You can contact our team by sending an e-mail to writinglab@hum.leidenuniv.nl.

Faculty thesis seminar

For students of Humanities who are unable to participate in the thesis seminar of their own programme there is a Humanities thesis seminar in semester 1.

The thesis seminar begins in the week of September  11th (week 37). Please register for it beforehand in uSis (code 5003VSCRSW). Information about the times and locations of the meetings can be found in the timetables for semester 1.

The language of instruction in the thesis seminar is Dutch. If you would like to join the seminar and you do not speak Dutch, please contact the lecturer, dr. Grace Rowicka, at eav@hum.leidenuniv.nl.

Before the seminar begins: Please take your time to think about a thesis topic. Which course did you enjoy most? What topics did you find intriguing? Which questions were left unanswered during the course? It is also advisable to contact your potential supervisor and make sure they can supervise you. The seminar will then help you the best to be quick out of the starting blocks.

Working towards a good thesis

This seminar consists of a number of sessions, each focused on a step in the thesis writing proces or on a common stumbling point. At the beginning of the series there are weekly sessions in order to help you draw your research plan and thesis outline. In the following three months you will be carrying your plan out under the supervision of your thesis supervisor. The seminar groups meet then once a month. During the last session the students present briefly their research results.

The thesis seminar is meant to complement the guidance you receive from the supervisor within your study programme; it is not meant to replace it. The seminar will not provide any instruction with regard to the content of your thesis; it is meant to support you during the planning and writing process. The seminar instructor will not be involved in the grading of your thesis; the responsibility for the content and therefore for correcting and grading your thesis lies with your supervisor within your study programme. However, the seminar instructor will be in touch with your supervisor.

Thesis Database

Leiden University Repository

Theses written since July 2011 can be found in the Leiden University Repository. 

MA theses
Research MA theses

Collection of theses written between 1962 and 2009

These theses are present in the University Library, open stock ('open magazijn'). 

Ancient History 
Medieval History 
Dutch History 
Economic History 
Social History 
General History 

Medieval and Early Modern European History 
History of Migrants and Cities in a Changing World 
History of European Expansion and Globalisation 
History of Political Culture and National Identity

Thesis prizes

The Fruin Prize

At the start of every Academic Year the best Master Thesis of the preceding year will be awarded the ''Fruin Prize'', named after the Dutch historian Robert Fruin. The prize includes a certificate and 250 euro. The winner is chosen by a jury, consisting of members of the Institute of History. 

Nynke Anna van der Mark
Steam and Steel in Suriname. A Socio-Economic Analysis of the Lawa Railway, 1903-1987

Honourable mentions
Patrick van der Geest ‘The Banker’s Banker, Hope & Co and the Credit Crisis of 1772-1773’
Friso van Nimwegen ‘Prinsgezinder dan de Prins. Burgerlijk Orangisme en Oranjesociëteiten in de politiek, 1787-1788’

Frederique Visser
“The Watch on the Danube’’: a Bridge between Stability and Conflict - Territorial Identification in Linz, 1908-1928

Patricia Kret
Functions of amulets: the power of objects in the ancient world

Jip Barreveld
Two Worlds? State Space and Marginal Peoples in Late Antique North Africa.

Maurits den Hollander
Comparative Cultures of Accountability. The Scottish Exchequer and the Audit Chamber of Holland between 1477 and 1515

Arne Muis 
Deutschlands Europaïsche Sendung (Germany's European Mission) 

Kaspar Pucek 
Institutions in Transition. The Russian Aluminium Industry after Communism 

Matilda Greig 
Narrating war and nationality: Identity as presented in the memoirs of Grande Armee veterans of the 1807-1814 Peninsular War 

Peter van den Hooff 
Antonio Guaineri’s, De matricibus, sive De propriis mulierum aegritudinibus 

Stefan Penders 
Imperial waters. Roman river god art in context 

Rosa den Heijer 
Trotz alledem: over-leven en geloven in de DDR 

Jeroen Bouterse 
Years of Silence. Holy men and knowledge in late Antiquity. 

Esther Zwinkels 
Het Overakker-complot. Verzetsgroepen in confrontatie met de Japanse bezetter op Sumatra tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog. 

Paul Gill 
Between Rabbis and pagans. Proposing a solution for the discrepancy in the evidence for the development of the Jewish community in Syria Palaestina A.D. 150-350. 

Kim Beerden 
"Omen-mindedness" - Greek divination in context 

Anna Woltz 
'There are things worse than death!' 
Zwart-blanke seksuele relaties in het Zuiden van de Verenigde Staten tot 1940 

Arie van Steensel 
Dienaars van de stad 
Het ambtelijke personeel van de laatmiddeleeuwse steden Haarlem en Leiden, 1428-1572  

Damian Pargas 
Weathering Different Storms. Een vergelijkende analyse van slavengezinnen in Fairfax County, Virginia en Georgetown District, South Carolina gedurende de antebellum periode 

Brian Heffernan 
The churches and the Anglo-Irish War. An appraisal of the role of the bishops of the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of Ireland in the Anglo-Isrish War, 1919-1921 

Bartel Stompedissel 
Grillig en ambitieus. Een onderzoek naar drie Nederlandse ontwikkelingsprojecten in Indonesië (1968-1983).  

Colette Planken 
Rome aan tafel. Over de ideologische waarde van het Romeinse diner 

Antoine Buyse 
De laatste harmonie. Johannes Kepler en de wetenschapsidealen van de zeventiende eeuw 

Jet Burgert 
Zorgzaam binnen eigen kring. Haagse armenbestuurders, 1854-1912 

Matthijs Lok 
Tussen God en Machiavelli: Spaansgezinde politieke theorie in de Nederlandse Opstand 1580-1620 

Stephan Kras 
Houphouët-Boigny en Senghor in conflict met het Franse bestuur 1948-1951 

Soedish Verhoeven 
Civilisatie en Menselijke Natuur. De sociologie en civilisatietheorie van Norbert Elias  

Karin Mössenlechner 
Op het breukvlak van wetenschap en politiek: Donald F. Hornig in het Witte Huis, 1963-1968  
Tabitta van Nouhuys 
Iets nieuws boven de maan. De Nederlandse kometentraktaten 1577-1620 en de val van het aristotelisch wereldbeeld   

R.J.H.A. de Vreede 
De landbouw in een Zuidhollandse droogmakerij tijdens de agrarische depressie (1878-1895). De negotiatie `Land is een zekere bezitting' en de landbouw in Bleiswijk en Bergschenhoek in de tweede helft van de 19de eeuw   

Sebastiaan Reyn 
Lyndon Johnson's policy of restraint toward De Gaulle. The case of the MLF 

Rienk Eggink 
A.A. Zjdanov. Een politieke biografie, 1896-1948 

M.Th.R.M. Dolmans 
De medische verzorging in het Romeinse leger van de eerste tot het begin van derde eeuw n.Chr.  

Eric van Luijk 
Van Opiumregie tot heroïne verstrekking. Het drugbeleid in Nederlands-Indië en Nederland, 1889-1989

Volkskrant-IISG History Thesis Prize

Volkskrant-IISG Scriptieprijs voor Geschiedenis
Every year MA theses that deal with a national or international historical subject are eligible for this prize. Students from other degree programmes are also invited to compete for the prize. The student with the best thesis receives a monetary prize and a feature in the Volkskrant newspaper. During the last few years many other media have shown their interest in running a feature on the winner. 

Further information on the Volkskrant-IISG History Thesis Prize.

Elsevier/Johan de Witt-Thesis Prize

Elsevier/Johan de Witt-scriptieprijs
The Elsevier/Johan de Witt-thesis prize is awarded by the History Society of Friends of De Witt in collaboration with the weekly magazine Elsevier. This prize is awarded annually to the student with the best History thesis on the Dutch Republic in the period of 1625-1688. Students of both bachelor’s and master’s theses (in Dutch or English) are eligible for this prize. The prize for the best thesis consists of a sum of money and a selection of books. Part of the successful thesis will also be published in the weekly magazine Elsevier and on the websites of Elsevier and the Society of Friends of De Witt. 

Further information on the Elsevier/Johan de Witt-Thesis Prize.

Holland Historical Magazine Thesis Prize

Holland Historisch Tijdschrift Scriptieprijs
Annual prize for the best history thesis on the history of North or South Holland, open to all students who have written a History bachelor’s or master’s thesis. Two prizes are awarded: one for the best bachelor’s thesis and the other for the best master’s thesis. The winners receive a sum of money and the chance to have their work published as an article in Holland Historisch Tijdschrift. 

Further information on Holland Historical Magazine Thesis Prize.

Johanna W.A. Naber Prize

Johanna W.A. Naberprijs
Annual prize for the best graduation thesis (master’s level or PhD thesis), written at a Dutch or Flemish college or university, on the subject of women's/gender history. This prize is awarded by Atria, knowledge institute of emancipation- and women's history, and by the Society of Gender History (Vereniging voor Gendergeschiedenis, VVG). The winner receives a monetary prize. 

Further information on the Johanna W.A. Naber Prize.

Trade Union Thesis Prize

Scriptieprijs van de vakbeweging
This annual prize is an initiative by De Burcht, the Scientific Bureau of Trade Unions and is designated for master’s students (who have recently or almost graduated) at a Dutch college or university, who have written a thesis about a topic dealing with the territory or role of the trade union. There are two different prizes: one for a student or graduate from a college and one for a student or graduate from a university. Each winner receives a monetary prize; a publication of the thesis on the website of De Burcht; support in writing an article for the magazine Zeggenschap; and a chance to spend a day with the FNV Trade Union. 

Further information on the Trade Union Thesis Prize.

The Erik Hazelhoff Young Talent Prize

De Erik Hazelhoff Jong Talentprijs
A biennial literary prize awarded to the student with the best master’s thesis written in Dutch or English at a Dutch or Flemish university. The Erik Hazelhoff Young Talent Prize aims to encourage young and talented (academic) writers to aspire to a career in writing alongside their 'normal' career. The winner of this prize receives an author's contract (which entails a publication of the thesis in revised form) with the publishers Unieboek | Het Spectrum and a monetary prize. 

Further information on the Erik Hazelhoff Young Talent Prize.

ICOM thesis prize

ICOM scriptieprijs
Every three years the ICOM Thesis Prize is awarded by ICOM Nederland to a student who has carried out an innovative study on the international developments in the museum world. It concerns research carried out within the framework of a successfully completed bachelor’s or master’s degree at a Dutch college or university. The winner receives a monetary prize as well as an invitation to the ICOM General Conference, held every three years, each time at a different location somewhere around the world. 

Further information on the ICOM thesis prize.

Roggeveen Thesis Prize

Every three years the Roggeveen Thesis Prize is awarded by the Royal Zeeland Association of Sciences for the best thesis in the field of the Humanities of Zeeland, namely in its cultural, architectural and art history and philosophy. Students who have written their thesis at a Dutch university between 1 August 2013 and 10 September 2016 and whose thesis has been approved (minimal grade 7 or equivalent) are eligible for this prize. The winner receives a sum of money and a publication of the summary of thesis in the Yearbook of the Royal Zeeland Association of Sciences. 

Further information on the Roggeveen Thesis Prize.

Virtus Thesis Award for Nobility Studies

Virtus scriptieprijs voor adelsgeschiedenis

Every two years, the Society for Nobility Studies presents the Virtus Thesis Award for Nobility Studies for the best (Research) Master’s thesis that is substantially devoted to (an aspect of) nobility studies. Eligible are (research) master’s theses in completion of an academic programme in history or another relevant discipline at a Dutch or Belgian university. The thesis must be written in Dutch, English, French or German and officially completed between 1 September 2016 and 1 September 2018.

In addition to the award, the winning student receives the sum of €500,- and is given the opportunity to rework the thesis into an article that will be published in Virtus, Journal of Nobility Studies, pending the judgement of the editors and two external referees. 

Further information on Virtus Thesis Award for Nobility Studies 2018.

Scriptieprijs Brabantse Geschiedenis (Dutch)

De Scriptieprijs Brabantse Geschiedenis is een initiatief van Erfgoed Brabant, de Historische Vereniging Brabant en Zuidelijk Historisch Contact en heeft als doelstelling de wetenschappelijke beoefening van de Brabantse geschiedenis aan de Nederlandse en Belgische universiteiten en hogescholen te bevorderen. Deelname staat open voor alle studenten die de voorafgaande twee jaren een masterthesis hebben afgerond op het terrein van de geschiedenis van Brabant in brede zin.

De prijs bestaat uit een geldbedrag van € 1.000 en de mogelijkheid de bekroonde scriptie, omgewerkt tot een artikel, te publiceren in het Noordbrabants Historisch Jaarboek (NHJ).

Meer informatie op Scriptieprijs Brabantse Geschiedenis.

Jan Brouwer Scriptieprijs voor Geschiedenis (Dutch)

De Koninklijke Hollandsche Maatschappij der Wetenschappen keert, daartoe in staat gesteld door het Jan Brouwer Fonds, scriptieprijzen uit voor de geestes- en maatschappijwetenschappen, o.a. in het wetenschapsgebied Geschiedenis. 

Elke prijs bestaat uit 2.000 Euro. Zij worden ieder jaar toegekend door het bestuur van de Maatschappij, na verkregen advies van door de Maatschappij telkenmale voor dit doel te benoemen commissies. De uitreiking van de prijzen geschiedt door de Maatschappij.

Meer informatie op Koninklijke Hollandsche Maatschappij der Wetenschappen.

De Skriptieprijs (Dutch)

Is jouw scriptie geschreven voor Geschiedenis of een aanverwante studie? En beoordeeld met een 7,5 of hoger?

Stuur hem dan op naar Skript Historisch Tijdschrift en maak kans op de felbegeerde Skriptieprijs voor beste scriptie met historische insteek!

De winnaar ontvang €100, een jaarabonnement op het tijdschrift en eeuwige roem! Meer informatie: https://www.skript-ht.nl/

Gewina-Descartes-Huygens Scriptieprijs voor Wetenschaps- en Universiteitsgeschiedenis (Dutch)

Driejaarlijkse scriptieprijs. In aanmerking komen masterscripties over wetenschaps- en universiteitsgeschiedenis in de ruimste zin, van studenten die afstudeerden aan een Nederlandse of Belgische universiteit. De prijs bestaat uit €750. Bovendien wordt de winnaar hulp aangeboden bij het omvormen van de scriptie tot een wetenschappelijk artikel, indien de gelauwerde de wens tot publiceren koestert. Meer informatie: https://www.gewina.nl/activiteiten/gewina-100-jaar/scriptieprijs/

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