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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.

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.

You can find information on the BA thesis South and Southeast Asian Studies in the e-prospectus. The relevant forms can be found under the links on the right and below:

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