MA Thesis Seminar I.

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Students on-site
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Course Description: 
This course is mandatory for all 1YMA students and second-year 2YMA students on the medieval track. 

Writing an MA thesis is conceived of as the central activity of the academic year. The semester starts with a discussion of thesis research in general. Subsequently,  students in both the 1YMA and the 2YMA groups will present reviews of MA theses defended previously at our department. Each student selects one MA thesis from the departmental thesis archive and describes the sources, methodology, and the main findings of this thesis. The oral presentation should also contain academic evaluation and critical remarks concerning the scholarly value of the thesis discussed.

The rest of the seminar focuses on working with one’s own thesis:

1YMA students present an outline of their proposed thesis (in 10-15 minutes), reflecting the choice of theme, source material, and research methodology. Issues of feasibility need to be given strong consideration. The presentation has to be accompanied by a short written handout and a short selected bibliography.

2YMA students present a thesis chapter of 8-10 pages (2500-3000 words) in 15 to 20 minutes that is already completed or in progress, and play the role of an opponent for another student's chapter. All students are expected to ask questions or comments on the presented work. 

Thesis supervisors are requested to attend their supervisees’ outline or chapter presentations. Before signing up for a date for presentation, students need to consult with their supervisors to make sure they can attend.

All instructions are outlined in the Little Gray Book (attached).

Learning Outcomes: 

The course prepares students to do independent research on their selected thesis topics. By reviewing and critically analyzing the work of former students, they can learn about methodological issues from positive examples and become aware of possible pitfalls. During the outline/chapter presentations, each student is expected to play the role of an opponent to a fellow student’s work and give feedback. Through this experience, students will be able to hone their critical reading and presentation skills and develop a feasible and intellectually stimulating thesis aided by the intellectual exchange with their peers as well as faculty.

All readings – chapters, outlines, handouts, bibliographies – must be uploaded to the E-learning site of the course by the Monday of the week when the presentation takes place. No extra language check is mandatory for outlines, handouts and bibliographies.

The E-learning platform can also be used for communication among course members.


Attendance is mandatory for all classes. Absence notes must be emailed to the instructor at least 24 hours prior to the class.

Presentations as stipulated in the syllabus.

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