MA Thesis Planning Seminar
With this course the systematic work of two-year MA students towards their thesis begins. It opens with an introduction of the course participants and a discussion of the prospectus guidelines. In week 2 exemplary prospectuses will be critically discussed.
Starting from week 3 discussions of individual thesis ideas will take place.
The last sessions will prepare the participants for the research break in April by analyzing different examples of source materials.
The course is designed to create awareness in students of what it implies to embark on graduate research, and indeed to assist them in starting to construct their own research projects. By the end of the term they are expected to have conceived an outline of their thesis proposals, including a clearly defined thesis topic, together with an idea of its academic relevance and future contribution, the methodology to be applied, and especially the range of sources to explore, an activity which will start in the immediately ensuing research break. As a natural continuation of this course, the spring thesis workshops will focus on the presentation of the sources that students will have collected, pursuing their own outlines, during the research break.
Each student should prepare a one-page handout for the presentation, which should reflect on the relevance of the research topic, the methodological options, and the potential source material. The presentation should take a maximum of 20 minutes, so as to allow for discussion. To facilitate discussion, students should also indicate a short (ca. 10 pages) piece of primary or secondary literature, which is crucial for their research and, at the same time, accessible to other course participants. All members of the class are expected to have read this piece for the class.