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Arranging graduation

You're about to graduate. That means there’s a lot to be arranged. The university expects you to take certain steps, as does your faculty and/or institute. Your faculty has various regulations and procedures in place that you need to follow carefully when arranging your graduation.

Steps towards graduation

Graduation means there’s a lot to be arranged. Below you will find a general overview of the steps to be taken. Make sure to first read the information provided by your faculty and department, as regulations and procedures can vary.

  1. You receive the final grade needed to fulfil your examination requirements.
  2. You request graduation: look under the faculty/study programme tab to find out exactly what steps your programme requires you to take to arrange graduation. You may receive a message from uSis entitled ‘You can graduate’. This message will explain the options available if you wish to delay graduation.
  3. Your student registration will not automatically be cancelled when you graduate. You have to cancel your registration yourself via Studielink. However de-registration is not compulsory if you have a reason for not wishing to do so. Make sure to carefully read the information on de-registering or re-registering.

Requesting postponement of graduation

If you receive a message from uSis entitled ‘You can graduate’, but you don’t yet want to graduate because you are taking additional courses or an internship that you want to be mentioned on your final transcript, you can request postponement of graduation. Look under your faculty or study programme tab for more information.

Conditions of postponement

The maximum duration of postponement you can request is until you have been registered on your study programme for the official programme duration plus one additional year. For Bachelor’s programmes this is 3+1 years, for most Master’s programmes this is 1+1 year. If you are more than a year behind in your studies your request will not be granted.

Official regulations on postponing graduation

The regulations and agreements concerning the postponement of graduation have been laid down by Leiden University Executive Board in the Leiden University Regulations on Postponing Graduation.

Graduation procedure

Have you nearly completed your Bachelor or Master and is graduation on your mind? Fill in your graduation form no later than on the last working day of the month preceding the date of the exam.

Graduation September until June

The graduation date is always the last working day of the month in which all components of the programme are completed. The form needs to be handed in no later than on the last working day of the month preceding the date of the exam. If you have completed all components, but you are awaiting your grade for one or more of those, please specify so on the form for each component.

Graduation in August

Students who graduate on the last working day of August need to hand in the form no later than June 1st. If you have completed all components, but you are awaiting your grade for one or more of those, please specify so on the form for each component. Note that all the results should be available in uSis by the 31st of August 16:00 hours.

Bachelor graduation form

Follow the steps described in the Graduation Form Bachelor Exam. Hand in the filled in form together with the required supplements at the Secretary's Office of your programme. In the form you will also find more information about deregistration. 

Questions about the form or the procedure? Contact your Coordinator of Studies.

Master graduation form

Follow the steps described in the Graduation Form Master Exam. In the form you will also find more information about deregistration. 

Questions about the form or the procedure? Contact your Coordinator of Studies.

Student repository

In the Student Repository, Leiden University programmes are building an online archive that makes Bachelor and Master theses easily searchable and publicly available (if desired). This is also a useful tool for future graduates. Uploading your thesis to the student repository is part of the graduation procedure. Please note that you will have to upload the final and approved version (in PDF) of your thesis yourself. The thesis itself can only be made publicly available if the student and the supervisor have given their consent. If one of the parties does not agree with publication, your thesis stays under embargo. Do not forget to fill out the consent form and hand it in to the Secretary’s Office. For more information and an FAQ, please see the Student Repository Website

Please note that the repository accepts only one upload per student. Consequent revised versions will therefore not be accepted. The thesis grade can only be registered after a copy of the thesis has been uploaded into the Repository.

Requesting postponement of graduation

If you receive a message from uSis entitled ‘You can graduate’, but you don’t yet want to graduate because you are taking additional courses or an internship that you want to be mentioned on your final transcript, you can request postponement of graduation. To do so, please fill out this form.

Conditions of postponement

The maximum duration of postponement you can request is until you have been registered on your study programme for the official programme duration plus one additional year. For Bachelor’s programmes this is 3+1 years, for most Master’s programmes this is 1+1 year. If you are more than a year behind in your studies your request will not be granted.

Official regulations on postponing graduation

The regulations and agreements concerning the postponement of graduation have been laid down by Leiden University Executive Board in the Leiden University Regulations on Postponing Graduation.

1. BA Thesis Procedure for students

Students write their BA-thesis in the last semester of their bachelor, usually the second semester of the third year. If you have a good reason to write your thesis in another semester than your final semester, you will need to acquire permission from the Board of Examiners. Please contact your study advisor to discuss your study plan.

Students are required to take part in the BA-thesis seminar, which consists of two parts:

  • In the semester prior to writing the thesis, the study advisor will organise an information session to explain the procedure. Furthermore, there will be a hands-on university library instruction to help you find a topic and appropriate sources. 
  • Once you have been assigned a supervisor, you will need to attend three seminars organised by the section. The Student Administration Arsenaal will register you for the thesis seminar. Which seminar you will join, depends on the specialisation of your supervisor.

20 August

The student has to complete the digital form to submit the topics of their choice. The chosen topics must be from two different specialisations within the English programme. The first topic will usually become the actual thesis topic, unless it is impossible to find a suitable supervisor, or the topic cannot be approved. Both topics must be accompanied by a description of no more than 150 words and must include 3 secondary academic sources - examples of the topic description: Language AcquisitionLinguisticsLiterature, and Philology.

For more information, see the tab “Choosing a topic” below.    

NB. The board of examiners shall only process requests that have been submitted via the form above and that meet the requirements listed above. The form must be fully completed; incomplete forms will not be processed.

1 September

The Board of Examiners will appoint your supervisor. The student contacts the appointed supervisor, takes part in the assigned thesis seminar, does more research, and starts writing. The student and supervisor will determine deadlines and consultation arrangements.  

1 October

You will need to hand in a Proof of Progress by sending an email to the Board of Examiners (excie-ba-eng-ba-duits@hum.leidenuniv.nl) with your supervisor in cc. The Proof of Progress can, for example, be your introduction. Please discuss with your supervisor what to hand in.

10 December

Submit the final version of the BA thesis to the supervisor and second reader by either hard-copy or email. You also need to upload your thesis on Brightspace. The supervisor and second reader will assess the BA thesis and give their feedback within four weeks after receiving your thesis.

If the grade is insufficient, the student will have two weeks to rewrite based on the feedback given.

15 January

You will receive the grade for your thesis if you have handed it in before the deadline.

31 January

Resit date. NB. This date can also be used by students who have not used the first deadline to hand in their thesis. However, a thesis handed in between 10 December and 31 January will count as a resit.

The student is not entitled to any further supervision on the current topic.

If the (revised) BA thesis is not submitted during the additional month or does not lead to a passing grade, the student has to write a new BA thesis, and the procedure will have to be started anew.

All extensions for the official deadlines must be approved by the Board of Examiners and are only possible in case of extenuating circumstances. Please contact your study advisor first.

10 January

The student has to complete the digital form to submit the topics of their choice. The chosen topics must be from two different specialisations within the English programme. The first topic will usually become the actual thesis topic, unless it is impossible to find a suitable supervisor, or the topic cannot be approved. Both topics must be accompanied by a description of no more than 150 words and must include 3 secondary academic sources - examples of the topic description: Language AcquisitionLinguisticsLiterature, and Philology.

For more information, see the tab “Choosing a topic” below.

NB. The board of examiners shall only process requests that have been submitted via the form above and that meet the requirements listed above. The form must be fully completed; incomplete forms will not be processed.

1 February

The Board of Examiners will appoint your supervisor. The student contacts the appointed supervisor, takes part in the assigned thesis seminar, does more research, and starts writing. The student and supervisor will determine deadlines and consultation arrangements.  

1 March

You will need to hand in a Proof of Progress by sending an email to the Board of Examiners (excie-ba-eng-ba-duits@hum.leidenuniv.nl) with your supervisor in cc. The Proof of Progress can, for example, be your introduction. Please discuss with your supervisor what to hand in.

10 May

Submit the final version of the BA thesis to the supervisor and second reader by either hard-copy or email. You also need to upload your thesis on Brightspace. The supervisor and second reader will assess the BA thesis and give their feedback within four weeks after receiving your thesis.

If the grade is insufficient, the student will have two weeks to rewrite based on the feedback given.

14 June

You will receive the grade for your thesis if you have handed it in before the deadline.

1 July

Resit date. NB. This date can also be used by students who have not used the first deadline to hand in their thesis. However, a thesis handed in between 10 May and 1 July will count as a resit.

The student is not entitled to any further supervision on the current topic.

Your grade for the resit will be announced on the 31 August at the latest

If the (revised) BA thesis is not submitted during the additional month or does not lead to a pass mark, the student has to write a new BA thesis and the procedure will be followed from step 2 onwards.

All extensions for the official deadlines must be approved by the Board of Examiners and are only possible in case of extenuating circumstances. Please contact your study advisor first.

2. Tips for writing your BA thesis

It is important to incorporate all your supervisor(s) comments. If you disagree with your supervisor, you may start a discussion. Ignoring their remark is not an option. It’s better to hand in each chapter of your thesis to your supervisor separately instead of as a whole. This way, the supervisor can detect any crucial mistakes sooner. If you submit your complete thesis, you risk having to rewrite it.

In consultation with your supervisor, you will make an overview of when you will meet with your supervisor and the deadlines to submit certain parts or chapters. The supervision will terminate on 1 July due to the summer break. If you cancel several appointments with your supervisor, for whatever reason, this may result in missing the initial deadline

More tips to help you write your BA thesis.

3. Choosing a topic

The chosen topics must be from two different specialisations within the English programme. Please state clearly which specialisation the topic relates to. You can find examples of topics for each specialisation (Language Acquisition, Linguistics, Literature en Philology) below. You can watch this video if you want more information on choosing a topic.

It is advisable to look at old theses, which you may find in the thesis repository, to get an idea of what is expected from you. Some are open access; of others, you can only view the title and abstract. Please find the link to the repository here.

In the next section, you will find information about different supervisors, including inspiration for your topic. Note that you cannot give a preference for a supervisor, nor will your choice of topic guarantee a specific supervisor.

Dr. L. Fonteyn
    Usage-based linguistics; Grammatical variation; (Historical) Socio-linguistics; Register and genre variation; Internet Language

Dr. J.V. Jeffery
   Composition studies; genre studies; writing development; educational assessment

Dr. D. Smakman  
   Sociolinguistics; phonetics; language teaching & learning

Topic inspiration (these are examples, you are, naturally, free to compose your own topic):

  • Analysing varieties of English
    • In the past, it has been shown that speakers of any language make different linguistic choices depending on the situation they find themselves in. Throughout your studies, you will have noticed that Academic English, for instance, is characterised by rather strict rules, which differ vastly from the structures and words you would use in English conversation. In the past, linguists have tried to demonstrate that the ways in which such situationally defined varieties of English differ linguistically can be explained when we look at language-external factors, such as the mode of communication, the directness of the channel of communication, the specificity and visibility of the audience, and so on. Yet, as the world around us and the ways in which we can communicate with each other change, new varieties of English emerge with them which yet remain to be described and analysed. In a thesis project, you can set out to collect a data set and study the linguistic features of new text types, such as blog posts, phishing e-mails, YouTube tutorials, twitter fleets, etc. 
  • Changes in internet language
    • Relatively speaking, the internet has not been around for long, but it has left its mark on the English language. In a study from 2015, for instance, it was shown that younger people have started to assign different interpretations to punctuation marks in Instant Electronic Messages. Furthermore, by integrating images into text, the traditional grammatical rules of the English sentence appear to be altered. While such developments often trigger negative reactions about how English is becoming ‘unruly’, it is certainly not true that internet language is chaotic. In fact, it is bound by very strict rules as well, and fluent netspeak users have a clear understanding of what is and is not acceptable. In your thesis project, you can home in on an interesting linguistic phenomenon that is popular in some form of online language to determine how the phenomenon works (by collecting and examining data you find online), and investigate to what extent speakers of different ages find different versions of that phenomenon acceptable by setting out a questionnaire. 
  • Language change: specific case studies
    • The number of specific linguistic constructions that have emerged or disappeared or changed somewhere over the past is virtually endless. Some interesting examples you could study are the following:
    • In informal language, speakers often use prepositions to express how they feel about something or someone (e.g., I’m over the drama, I’m into you, I’m (all) about electronic music). All of these expressions seem to have emerged in the 20th century, and are in some way related to the literal, spatial use of these prepositions (e.g., I walked over the hill, I got into the car, she is running about the house). But do speakers of English still recognise the connection between the subjective use and the spatial use of prepositions? And if so, does that limit the types of objects that can be used with into, about and over in the subjective sense?
    • The second person pronouns you and your used to have a competitor: thou, thee, and thine. The latter forms were mainly used informally, whereas you was considered the polite form. When revealing this to present-day speakers of English, they may be surprised, as they would associate thou, thee, and thine with highly formal and archaic language. Possibly, thou, thee and thine started disappearing and subsequently became archaic forms, which speakers who are not familiar with the old system then reinterpreted as meaning ‘formal’ – but such a theory has never been tested.
    • It is believed that the grammatical rules we acquire as children cannot be changed during adulthood. Or can they? By focussing on a grammatical rule, the language of individual writers with a long and productive career, you may be able to contribute to one of the most vibrant, long-standing discussions in Linguistics.
  • The Language of Science Communication
    • With false information and misunderstandings spreading like wildfire, it is undeniably becoming increasingly important of establishing a connection between academics and the general public. As such, academics are working actively on their science communication skills. However, it can be difficult to determine how certain scientific findings are best communicated. In a thesis project, you could examine and analyse texts produced by successful science communication authors to tease out the features that make their texts appealing to a general audience. Alternatively, it may be interesting to scrutinise news reports of scientific projects and discoveries that are deemed false or misleading and compare them to the original scientific report. That way, you may be able to determine whether issues of miscommunication may have been caused by complex or ambiguous language and suggest ways of preventing these issues in the future.
  • Artificial Language
    • In recent years, language generation systems based on neural networks have made the news for writing texts that are not distinguishable from human-produced texts. In a thesis project you could set out to try such a language generation experiment yourself by training a model to generate Shakespearian sonnets and asking humans to evaluate whether the sonnet has been written by the bard himself, or a digital version of him. Such experiments allow you to evaluate the performance of a computer system, but also to reflect on which aspects of language and literature may be impossible for computers to grasp.

Dr. A.G. Dorst  
  Literary machine translation; computer-assisted literary translation; style in translation; metaphor in translation; gender in translation; corpus-based translation studies; literary translation; audiovisual translation; song translation; comics in translation

Mr. drs. A.A. Foster
   Terminology (especially legal terminology); translation studies (especially legal translation); English for Specific Purposes

Drs. K.L. Zeven  
   Translation studies; literary translation

S. Santos Ângelo Salgado Valdez Ph.D.
   Translation Studies, Translation Norms, Reception Studies, Translation Technology, Medical Translation, Audiovisual Translation

Past theses:

Dr. E.D. Botma  
   Phonology; phonetics; morphology; historical linguistics; comparative linguistics

Dr. M.B. Elenbaas   
English syntax; English word formation; syntax-morphology relation; language change; (morpho-)syntactic change in English; comparative syntax; varieties of English

Prof. Dr. J. Grijzenhout
  Phonology, morphology, historical linguistics, comparative linguistics, first language acquisition, multilingualism

Dr. A.K. Lipták   
   Generative syntax; comparative syntax; morphology-syntax interface; English syntax; structure of elliptical sentences; information structure; syntax of digital registers; abbreviation in digital registers

Past theses:

Dr. J.F. van Dijkhuizen   
   British literature, 1500-1800 (especially Shakespeare and other Renaissance playwrights, John Milton, John Donne, George Herbert, Edmund Spenser, eighteenth-century fiction); modern-day stagings and adaptations (including film) of Shakespeare and other Renaissance playwrights; literary theory; twentieth-century poetry.


F. Korovsky Moura MA
   British Literature (1700-1900), Victorian culture, 19th-century productions of Shakespeare, 19th-century American literature, 19th-century medievalism; Women's literature in the 19th century


Dr. E.J. van Leeuwen   
   British and American literature from the eighteenth century to the present; classic gothic, Romanticism, horror, science fiction and westerns. 


Prof. Dr. P.T.M.G. Liebregts     
   Literatures in English (fiction and poetry 1800-present, with an emphasis on the Modernist period, and on contemporary  literature); the Nachleben (appropriation/ translation) of classical culture in modern English-language literatures/cultures;  Film/TV adaptations of literary texts; Anglo-American film, esp. Orson Welles, Terrence Malick, Christopher Nolan, Martin Scorsese, Stanley Kubrick, Alfred Hitchcock, Francis Ford Coppola, and 1970s American cinema.

I do not supervise theses on children’s literature, young adult literature, and fantasy.


Dr. S.A. Polak    
   19th-21st-century American literature and culture; Graphic narrative, comics, and political cartooning; Digital media studies; Disability studies; Memory and identity; Play and media; Presidential image-making.

I do not supervise theses on children’s literature, young adult literature, and fantasy.


Dr. M. Newton   
British and Irish Literature (1800-1970) (especially Austen, Wordsworth, Keats, the Brontes, Dickens, George Eliot, Hardy, Hopkins, Victorian and Edwardian children's literature, Wilde, Kipling, Conrad, the short story, Gothic and ghost stories, the literature of the Second World War, W. H. Auden, the Inklings, Karen Blixen, Muriel Spark, and Philip Larkin); British and American Film (especially Hitchcock, Powell and Pressburger, Carol Reed, Frank Capra, Ealing films, screwball comedy, film noir, Billy Wilder, Polanski, Gothic).

I do not supervise theses on Terry Pratchett, contemporary fantasy, and Disney Princesses


Dr. K. Rolfe
   British Literature (1500-1800); textual studies (editing); early modern news; early modern political writing; early modern medical writing

Jessie Morgan-Owens
American literature and culture, beginnings to 1900; photography, visual culture, and image studies; archival projects & understudied authors; race, gender, and feminisms in the American context; ecocritical and environmental writing

Past theses:

Dr. L.M.D. Caon   
   Old and (especially) Middle English language and literature; Middle English dialectology; history of the English language; palaeography; codicology and Middle English textual editing.

Dr. K.A. Murchison
   Literature in Old English, Middle English and Anglo-Norman (including vernacular chronicles, religious texts, women’s literature, and Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales), multilingualism in medieval England, book history, manuscript studies, medieval reading communities, and the theory and practice of scholarly editing (including digital editions). 

Dr. M.H. Porck      
   Old and Middle English language and literature; Anglo-Saxon culture and history; medievalism; fantasy literature (especially Tolkien) For an overview of theses I have supervised in the past, see 
here.

Dr. M.S. Gordon
   Early and Late Modern English; Early and Late Modern English grammar, morphology, lexis and spelling; historical sociolinguistics; sociolinguistics, corpus linguistics; language variation and change, the historical development of varieties of English, language ideologies and language attitudes, language standardisation, language and gender.

Past theses:

4. Graduation

We advise you to keep track of your study plan in your third year to prevent any unpleasant surprises right before graduating. If you’re not sure whether you have passed all study components, please contact your study advisor.

Did you almost finish your bachelor’s? Check this page describing the administrative part of the graduation process.

Graduation ceremony

The degree/graduation ceremony will take place in October (for students graduating in August) or in March (for students graduating in January). This means that you will be awarded the diploma in October or March, even if your official graduation date is earlier. In this case, you do not have to re-enrol for the next academic year (please note: if you graduate by the end of January, you have to de-register via Studielink, see below!).

The graduation ceremony will be held in the Academy Building. The exact date of the graduation ceremony will be announced in an invitation sent to the student. You can invite your family and friends; the invitation will contain more information. 

Please notify the education administration in advance if you cannot attend the graduation ceremony. The education administration will contact you when your diploma is ready. You can then collect it yourself at the administration (osz-oa-arsenaal@hum.leidenuniv.nl). Do not forget to bring your identification.

Terminating your registration

When you graduate, you can submit a request for termination of enrolment via Studielink. Log in and choose the option ‘request for termination of enrolment’ at ‘my enrolments’. You also have to do this when you haven’t finished and don’t want to continue your bachelor’s. You can find more information on this website.

Upon graduating  
You can terminate your registration via 
Studielink in the month following your graduation date at the latest. The de-registration will take effect on the 1st of the month following the month in which the last mark has been obtained. Log in and choose the option ‘request for termination of enrolment’. If you have already paid the tuition fee for the months following the month of graduation, then the amount overpaid will be refunded. This does not apply for July and August. For more information, you can contact Front Office Student Affairs Plexus. There will be no refund when you de-register from 1 July or 1 August..

Student finance
The right to study finance lapses as of the month during which your registration has been terminated. This is the case only when you cancel your registration for all programmes for which you are registered as a full-time student. You have to cancel the study finance yourself by sending a change notification form to the 
Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs (DUO).

Public transport card 
Please remember that you no longer have the right to study finance and the OV public transport card from the moment of de-registration. Do not forget to cancel your student travel product in time. If you use your student travel product after you should have cancelled it, you will receive a fine from the 
Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs (DUO) of about €160. You can find information about how to cancel your student travel product on this website. Moreover, all study finance you have received in this period will be re-claimed. From September to June, you can submit a request to the Executive Board/Student Registry via Studielink to receive a refund for part of (the remaining part) of the tuition fee.  

The request must be submitted in the month following the month of graduation at the latest (the graduation date mentioned on the diploma, not to be confused with the date of issue of the diploma).

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