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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 July 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. 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.

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.

The Protocol Graduation Phase provides all you need to know about the concluding part of the MA programme: the final attainment levels and assessment criteria of the MA thesis, agreements on supervision and deadlines, the graduation procedure, and the MA examination.

0. Objective of this Protocol

The objective of this Protocol relating to the graduation phase is to provide clear information as to what is expected of whom in the graduation phase of the MA programmes in Philosophy (60 EC and 120 EC). In addition, it is anticipated that a well structured graduation phase will lead to a reduction in study delays.

1. The MA thesis, final attainment levels and assessment criteria

The student is required to write an MA thesis in the last semester of the MA programme in Philosophy. There are 20 ECTS available for the thesis. The MA thesis should clearly show that the student meets the attainment levels which have been set for this programme in terms of knowledge and skills. 

More specifically, the MA thesis and the working method for the thesis should demonstrate that the student in the one-year MA programme in Philosophy (60 EC): 

  • has acquired knowledge of systematic philosophy and its history, and of recent developments in contemporary philosophy, that is founded upon and extends that associated with the bachelor’s level, and that provides a basis for originality in developing and applying original ideas and analyses;  

and that the student in the second-year MA programme in Philosophy (120 EC): 

  • has acquired knowledge and understanding of the history, the foundations, the methodology and/or ethics of the specific discipline, that is founded upon and extends that associated with the level of the bachelor’s programme in Philosophy of a Specific Discipline;

  • has acquired knowledge and understanding of the social and cultural impact of philosophy in general and of the philosophy of the specific discipline in particular;

  • has acquired knowledge and understanding of the main parts of the philosophy of the specific discipline, of their problems, methods, and central concepts, that is founded upon and extends that associated with the bachelor’s level, and that provides a basis for originality in developing and applying original ideas and analyses; 

Further, for both MA programmes the MA thesis and the working method for the thesis should demonstrate that the student:

  • knows the discussions in the forefront of their field, and is able to take part in them;
  • is able to contribute to current discussions on philosophy and in new and complex contexts related to philosophy;
  • is able to handle philosophical complexity and to formulate judgments based on information from diverse sources, even if this information is limited or incomplete;
  • has a realistic view of the tenability and reliability of his/her own conclusions;
  • is able to integrate or confront different approaches to philosophical questions;
  • in short, is able to write philosophical papers whose quality shows the potential to come close to that of articles in refereed journals in the field. 

In order to assess whether the required final attainment levels have been achieved, the MA thesis will be assessed on the basis of the following criteria:

Working plan 
Has the student demonstrated the ability (under the guidance of the supervisor) to devise a working plan for the MA thesis? Have the agreed deadlines been met? Has the student been able to incorporate the comments of his/her supervisor correctly? 

Presentation   
Does the MA thesis make a good impression visually? Has the thesis an appropriate length?   

Structure  
Is the problem definition and its relevance sufficiently clear? Has the problem definition been well-defined? Presents the introduction a good survey of the argument? Is the title adequate? Is the thesis logically structured in view of the problem definition? Are the conclusions the outcome of the argument? 

Composition 
Is the argument well composed and is the thesis adequately structured by chapters and paragraphs? Does the MA thesis make sufficient use of explicit arguments for the points of view which it contains? Are the sub-arguments well-founded, do they demonstrate sufficient cohesion, are they relevant to the problem or objective and do they adequately support the conclusion? 

Sources 
Does the reading list comprise an adequate selection of the relevant literature? Does the student have a thorough command of the relevant literature? Are the assumptions and points of view of third parties adequately represented, and are the selected texts carefully examined? 

Use of language 
Is the use of language sufficiently clear and comprehensible? Have proper spelling and grammar been used? Is the use of language appropriate for the subject matter? Is the technical terminology, where necessary, explained clearly enough? 

Use of instruments 
Does the MA thesis make effective and correct use of citations, reference notes, digressive notes and formulas? Has the bibliography been compiled with care? 

Philosophy 
Does the MA thesis have sufficient philosophical content? Is the technical terminology used correctly?

2. The graduation phase

The graduation phase starts at the point in time when the student and the supervisor of the MA thesis confirm arrangements in the Agreements relating to the MA thesis form regarding planning and any other requirements relating to the thesis. For students in the one-year MA programme in Philosophy this takes place on or before the point in time when the student has completed half the MA programme. For students in the two-year MA programme in Philosophy this takes place in or before the last semester of the programme, or on or before the point in time when the student has completed 90 ects credits of the MA programme. The student’s tutor will see that the graduation phase starts at the appropriate time. The graduation phase ends with the MA examination.

3. Agreements relating to the graduation phase and supervision

The agreements relating to the planning and supervision of the writing of the MA thesis are set out in writing by the student and the supervisor in the Agreements relating to the MA thesis form. The agreements relate to the choice of subject of the thesis and the phasing of the research leading up to the thesis. At least four reporting/feedback instances should be included in the phasing, which should relate to the following:

1. The research question and the selection of literature; 
2. The structure of the research; 
3. The pre-final version; 
4. The final version.

In addition, once the research question has been determined, an indication of the scope of the MA thesis should be established. The thesis has a workload of 20 ECs, and the length of the thesis is normally approximately 20,000 words, including notes, bibliography and appendices. Depending on the subject, the student and the supervisor may agree on a different length. 

The schedule chosen should be realistic, taking into account the time which is available for writing the thesis (560 hrs) and the student’s other teaching obligations. The student will provide the Coordinator of Studies with a copy of the relevant form. 

The supervisor ensures that the agreed periods within which the student is required to provide a report are observed. In the event of a failure to meet any of the deadlines, if such failure is expected to result in a substantial delay, the schedule will be modified and the student will keep the tutor informed of this modification accordingly. The supervisor will respond as quickly as possible to the reports submitted by the student, but in any event within 5 working days in the case of reports 1 and 2, within 15 working days for report 3 and in the case of report 4, within 10 working days after receipt of the report.

4. Approval by supervisor and second reviewer

As soon as the supervisor has approved the MA thesis, he/she will notify the Board of Examiners. He/she will submit a digital copy of the thesis and will propose a second reviewer to assess the thesis from among the staff members at the Institute for Philosophy. If there is no suitable expert available within the Institute for Philosophy, an expert from outside the Institute will be proposed as second reviewer. Furthermore, the supervisor should confirm that the thesis has been checked for plagiarism by submission to the SafeAssign system. If the Board of Examiners adopts the proposal, the committee will ask the relevant person to act as second reviewer, and, if he/she agrees, will provide him/her with a hard copy of the MA thesis. 

The second reviewer will give a marginal assessment of the thesis, based on the assessment criteria included under section 1 of this protocol, and will advise the Board of Examiners of his/her findings within 10 working days by means of the appropriate assessment form. The Board of Examiners will inform the supervisor on the second readers' assessment. In the event that the supervisor does not share the opinion of the second reviewer, and discussion of their differences of opinion does not lead to agreement, the Board of Examiners will act as mediator.

5. The Graduation Committee and the MA examination

The Graduation Committee comprises of two examiners, who should be affiliated to the Institute for Philosophy. The candidate’s thesis supervisor will in any event be a member of the Graduation Committee. Generally, the second reviewer will also be a member of the committee. The composition of the Graduation Committee should be such as to safeguard the level and integrity of the MA examination.

As soon as the second reviewer has confirmed to the Board of Examiners that the thesis meets the requirements set, the Board of Examiners will appoint the members of the Graduation Committee. The thesis supervisor cannot be the chairman of the Graduation Committee, except in exceptional cases. The student will provide the two members of the Graduation Committee with a hard copy of the thesis.

6. Enrolling for the examination

Not later than three weeks before the anticipated (formal) examination date (see par. 7), the candidate should submit to the student administration of the Philosophy Department the following documents:  

Please note that applications for graduation will be considered only if all documents listed above have been submitted to the department administration and the student is officially registered for the MA programme in Philosophy at Leiden University. Students who graduate on the last working day of August need to hand in the application form and additional documents listed above not later than July 1st

The student may only apply for the final MA examination (interview, see par. 8) if all educational obligations have been met and once the Board of Examiners has confirmed that the thesis is considered admissible, i.e. that both the supervisor and the second reader has approved the thesis. As soon as the thesis has been approved and the Board of Examiners has established that the candidate has completed all the components of his/her MA programme, the student contacts the two members of his/her Graduation Committee in order to set the date of the master's exam. 

The student administration is responsible for the application for the diploma at the Beadle's office and for the reservation of the examination room. The student administration is allowed to apply for the diploma only if all components of the MA programme have been successfully completed, and the second reader has approved the MA thesis.   

Leiden University Repository 
Students must upload a digital copy of the final version of their MA-thesis to the Leiden University Repository. Please note that the repository accepts only one upload per student. Consequent revised versions will therefore not be accepted. Therefore your thesis cannot be uploaded before you have been informed that the second reader has approved your thesis. 
Scriptierepositorium: information and manual in Dutch 
Student Repository: information and manual in English

7. Graduation dates and deadlines

The formal graduation date is the last weekday of the month in which the final component of the programme has been succesfully completed. Graduation is possible in any month of the year, except for July. Students should apply for the master's examination no later than three weeks before the anticipated examination date (see section 6). 

Please note that strict deadlines must be observed for graduation during the summer months. Graduation in the current academic year (i.e. the last weekday of August) is only possible if the final draft of the MA thesis has been approved by the thesis supervisor and sent to the Board of Examiners not later than June 15th. In view of this, students should make a clear agreement with their thesis supervisor regarding the deadline for submitting the final draft of the thesis to the supervisor. In addition, the completed Application Form Master's Exam and the requested enclosures should be submitted to the student administration not later than July 1st. Only under the above mentioned conditions graduation in the current academic year can be guaranteed, provided that all final grades as well as the approval of the second reader are available to the student administration on August 31st at 4 pm at the latest. If these conditions have been fulfilled the formal graduation date will the last weekday of August, even if the final MA examination will take place in September.

8. The MA examination

The MA examination consists of an interview with the candidate by a Graduation Committee. The interview generally relates to the subject of the MA thesis and possibly a selection of other subjects. The examination will take place in the Academy Building and lasts one hour, 45 minutes for the interview and 15 minutes for the subsequent degree ceremony. The MA examination is public, you are welcome to bring family and/or friends (up to a maximum of 10 persons) to the interview and/or the degree ceremony. 

The final grade of the MA thesis is decided during the deliberations of the Graduation Committee following the interview element of the MA examination. The thesis supervisor proposes a final grade, which is substantiated on the basis of at least the assessment criteria mentioned under section 1 above, and also takes into account the findings of the second reviewer and the candidate’s responses during the interview. The Graduation Committee advises the Board of Examiners in writing of the motivation of the final grade based on the assessment criteria.  

The requirements for a diploma with distinction "cum laude", or "summa cum laude" are inlcuded in the Course and Examination Regulations (OER; general, faculty section), article 4.12.

9. Deregistration

Students are responsible for deregistration. Termination of registration should be done via Studielink. Please log in under 'My study programmes', click on the programme and go to 'Termination of enrolment application'.  The registration can be terminated at the earliest commencing from the first month following the month in which you have submitted the request to terminate your registration. Deregistration is possible from the date on which the Board of Examiners establishes that the student has fulfilled the requirements for the final examination. For example: for deregistration per June 1st the MA examination has to take place in May and the student has to submit his/her request to end enrolment via Studielink on May 31st at the latest. 

Upon termination of your student registration, tuition fees are refunded for each remaining month of the academic year. Students who have paid a reduced tuition fee because they were enrolled in more than one programme will only receive a refund if they terminate enrolment in all programmes. Deregistration per 1 July and 1 August? No refund can be made. It is in your interest to apply for deregistration on time and in line with regulations as late deregistration may affect the amount refunded. 

10. Complaints

A student can contact his/her tutor with regard to any complaints relating to supervision in the graduation phase.

For complaints about the assessment of the MA thesis, a student can apply to the Board of Examiners. Should no satisfactory resolution be forthcoming once these steps have been taken, the student can then apply to the Examination Appeals Board.

11. Forms

Forms to be used during the graduation phase:

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