Master's thesis rules and guidelines

The Master's Programme in Psychology is concluded by writing an individual master's thesis. The student performs an in-depth study of a psychological (research) question and writes an individual report on the subject (complying with the APA standards; either in English or in Dutch). The master's thesis contrasts to the bachelor's thesis in its greater depth, size, level of analysis and student independence.

A number of additional rules and guidelines have been developed to guarantee the proper course of the graduation process and the sound cooperation between the student and the supervisors.


Finding a suitable project is time-consuming. The student needs to be aware of this to start off well. For an overview of the practical steps / procedures with respect to the thesis please go to the step by step plan published on Afstudeerweb. This page also provides a list of available subjects for your master's thesis and the name of the related theme coordinator (coordinator of the chosen master’s specialization/track).


Master's thesis committees are comprised of two members, a day-to-day (first) supervisor and a second supervisor, both employed by the UT. The first supervisor is to be affiliated with the Psychology programme at the UT as a teacher and/or researcher. A further requirement is that the first supervisor is to be affiliated to the (department of the) master's specialization you selected. This may only be derogated from following approval by the theme coordinator of the master's specialization concerned. In addition, the committee consists of at least one PhD supervisor. When the first supervisor is a PhD supervisor, the second supervisor is at least a lecturer (MSc/drs). When the first supervisor is not a PhD supervisor, he or she is at least a PhD candidate (and then the second supervisor needs to be a PhD supervisor). An external, third supervisor can be engaged as an advisor to the master's thesis committee. If a student (and/or possible supervisor) in an exceptional case wishes to derogate from the above requirements on the master's thesis committee, the student is to submit an application thereto with the Psychology examination board.


  • The student's conduct and actions and the course of the process (incl. completion within the scheduled time) are all taken into account in the assessment of the master's thesis (refer to the Assessment form on Afstudeerweb).
  • Should progress not accord to plan, it is imperative that the student and/or the supervisor contact the study advisor.
  • The student is to ensure they have plenty of time available to work on their master's thesis. For a master's thesis of 30 EC, the graduation process takes on average 840 hours. Spread equally over 3 periods, this averages to 28 hours per week! The time required to complete the master's thesis varies, and depends on the difficulty level of the project, the set-up of the research, the engagement of any external parties, and the skills, capabilities and diligence of the student.
  • A guideline has been developed for the number of meetings, the contents of those meetings, the times the second supervisor is to be present and the overall schedule. This guideline is available as a diagram on the bottom of this page. Depending on the type of project and the process, this guideline may be (somewhat) derogated from in mutual consultation.
  • The documents to be discussed are to have been submitted no later than three working days prior to the meeting (unless otherwise agreed upon with the supervisor(s)). The documents to be discussed are to be paginated and include the name, date and list of literature (if applicable).
  • The student is to take minutes during each meeting, noting down decisions and actions to be taken (no more than 1 A4 page), and to submit them to the 1st supervisor within one week.
  • The student is to take account of the limited presence and possible absence of the supervisors during the summer holidays (the period between the last regular interim examination and the first week of lectures of the new academic year).

Data collection and research results

  • Students working on their final project can make use of departmental software to collect and/or analyse data.
  • As the master's thesis is written under the primary responsibility of the 1st supervisor and the student tends to work on an existing line of research of the supervisor or the department, the data collected are relevant to the supervisor/department.
  • Wherever possible, the research results will be incorporated in an article submitted to an academic journal. Publication of the article will take place in consultation with the student, but is the responsibility of the supervisor. The student will not automatically become the co-author of a scientific publication. This depends on, among other things, the student's input during the graduation research and the documentation of the results and on the willingness of the student to help write the publication. The role played by the student is determined in consultation.
  • In no case is the student to publish their research without the explicit prior permission of the 1st supervisor. The same applies to press releases and any other contact with the media.

Finalising the master's thesis

  • No later than 3 days in advance, the final version of the master's thesis is to have been submitted to the 1st and 2nd supervisor in both digital and paper copies.
  • No later than on the date of graduation, the student is to submit a CD or memory stick containing:
    •  Contact details
    •  In consultation with the supervisor (!), the collected data, including:
  1. PSS datafile containing the unprocessed data ("raw data"). All variables are to have labels assigned to them on the basis of the exact (!) question
  2. SPSS syntax file containing all modifications and analyses (including explanatory notes at each step)
  3. Atlas.ti Hermeneutic Unit
  • All materials used to conduct the research (interview schedules, transcripts of the interviews, questionnaires, original signed informed consent forms, audio files, etc)
  • PDF files of all articles used as a resource for the thesis (to the extent available)
  • Final presentation (powerPoint) colloquium

For more (complete) information on the master's thesis (including the step-by-step plan / procedure, assessment forms), refer to:

25/35 EC master's thesis activities and schedule guideline
10 EC master's thesis activities and schedule guideline (PPT, in Dutch)