BA/MA Thesis (Abschlussarbeit BA/MA)

We are happy to supervise your BA and MA theses at the Chair for Comparative and German Politics. Possible supervisors are:

  1. MA supervisors: Christoph Hönnige,Stefan Plass
  2. BA supervisors: Christoph Hönnige, Stefan Plass, Benjamin Engst, Philipp Meyer

Guidlines can be found here as PDF

To ensure a swift process we kindly request you to stick to the following application procedure:

Step 1: The first contact
Contact your preferred first supervisor by email. The email should contain the following things: (1) A short description of the general topic you are interested in and (2) two to three potential analytic research questions including a clearly identifiable dependent variable and one or more independent variables. The choice of your topic should be related to German politics, Comparative politics or European politics.

Step 2: Response by supervisor
In an email response you will get directly some comments on the email you sent and the adviser will give you an appointment during his/her office hours.

Step 3: First appointment
During this appointment (1) the first supervisor and you will choose the research question and (2) the second supervisor. It might be helpful if you have already ideas who could be the second supervisor.

Step 4: The outline
After the first appointment you need to send an outline of your research project to the supervisor. The outline should be 2-3 pages for a BA thesis and 3-5 pages for an MA thesis.

The outline (Exposé) must have the following structure: (1) Introduction informing about (a) topic, (b) research question, (c) statement of scientific/societal relevance of your research question, (2) theory with (a) short literature review, (b) the concepts you will use and (c) dependent and independent variables, (3) data and methods for empirical testing, (4) structure and (5) 3-5 essential publications you want to base your thesis on. Please do not forget a cover page including your name, your Matrikelnummer, your Studiengang, your Fachsemester and the title of your project

Step 5: Second appointment
In the second appointment the supervisor will discuss the outline with you and probably request/suggest changes. You should take the suggestions serious and change your outline accordingly. Send it to the first supervisor afterwards by email.

Step 6: Signature
Make an appointment to get the signature if the first supervisor has agreed on your proposal. Think about the starting date of your thesis, which will be fixed during the appointment as well. Bring the signature form.

The aim of the process is to ensure that you start right away with a clear idea what to do in your thesis and avoid indeterminate research designs so that you finish your thesis successfully in time.

Detailed information can be found in this document. Download here.

 Important notes:

  1. Language: You might write your thesis in German or English.
  2. Empirical research: Empirical studies are strongly encouraged and will be especially supported. You might use quantitative or qualitative methods but you need to justify your choice.
  3. Literature: You are also supposed to take the literature from peer-reviewed journals into account.
  4. Colloquium You should contact your first supervisor when you start the course BA/MA Colloquium. Ideally you develop the outline during this course.
  5. Defending your BA thesis: After your BA thesis is graded you will receive an email with the reviews (Gutachten) and an appointment for a 30min oral exam with the first and second supervisor. You should be able to present the core points of your thesis in 5 minutes and also be able to respond to the criticism in the reviews when asked. The Reviewers will also ask you questions related to your thesis.

Oral Presentations/Referate
The formal requirements for oral presentations are:

  • Duration: 15mins (20mins max.)
  • Research Question: Clearly identifiable research question which is not identical with the research question of the compulsory reading of the session
  • Handout: 1 page
  • Reading: Students are supposed to read additional literature for their presentations and not just repeat the compulsory reading

Oral Exams/Mündliche Prüfung (VM3 only)
The formal requirements for exams presentations are:

  • Duration: 20mins
  • Individual appointment
  • 10mins about the course in general
  • 10mins about two/three sessions in-depth discussion (you can choose the topic)

The formal requirements for Hausarbeiten are:

  • Fonts: Times New Roman, Arial or Latex-style, 11-12pt.
  • Referencing: Harvard-style in-text referencing.
  • Language: German. Students are, however, encouraged to write in English.
  • Length BA: ca. 4000-5000 words (12-15 pages). Please give the number of words on the cover page.
  • Length MA: ca. 5000-6000 words (15-18 pages). Please give the number of words on the cover page.
  • Deadline: 1.4. (winter term) and 1.10. (summer term). Extensions can be granted in case of illness or internships required by the study program.
  • Plagiarism declaration: A declaration has to be added to the printed version.
  • Submission: Hausarbeiten have to be handed in printed form and an identical PDF file by email to the lecturer.

The formal requirements Essays are:

  • Fonts: Times New Roman, Arial or Latex-style, 11-12pt.
  • Referencing: Harvard-style in-text referencing.
  • Language: German. Students are, however, encouraged to write in English.
  • Length Essays: ca. 2000 words.
  • Deadline: negotiated in the course.
  • Submission: Essays have to be handed in printed form and an identical PDF file by email to the lecturer until the deadline.

Minimum content Essays and Hausarbeiten
Your work should contain the following things:

  • Cover page containing: Title, name of the student, Matrikelnummer, Fachsemester, email address, Modulnummer, word count, course title and name of teacher
  • Content page (Hausarbeiten only)
  • Main text: an introduction with a clearly stated analytical research question and a justification of the relevance of your question, information about theory, data and methods, empirical results and a conclusion.
  • References: The references have to be structured according to the style of the European Journal of Political Research (see EJPR Homepage).
  • Tables and Graphs: Tables and graphs should clearly numbered and positioned within the text and not in an appendix
  • You may make your life easier by using a citation program. CITAVI is offered free by the Leibniz University Hannover. You may also use MENDELEY which is freeware. Citation programs are integrated in Word. The format style for EJPR is available for both Citavi and Mendeley.

The grading scheme for oral presentations, essays and Hausarbeiten is available here for download

  • The grading for oral presentations is done directly in class
  • The grading for essays is finished within one week after deadline.
  • The grading of Hausarbeiten is finished until 30.4. (winter term) and 30.10. (summer term).
  • The grading for written exams is done within 2 weeks after the exam. There will be a second written exam available for those who failed. Please take care of the announcement for the second exam. It will be usually offered about 4 weeks after the first exam.

Written exams/Klausur (BM3 only)
Written exams are offered for BM3. They take 60mins. They are Modulabschlussklausuren for the lectures “Einführung in das politische System Deutschlands” and “Einführung in die Vergleichende Regierungslehre”. The written exam consists of two parts: (1) Questions about the lecture “Einführung in das politische System Deutschlands and (2) questions on the lecture “Einführung in die Vergleichende Regierungslehre”. Both parts are equally relevant. The exams are offered every semester.

Scheine  (Studienleistungen)
Scheine für Studienleistungen have to be handed in as described below:

1. Scheine für Online-Fragen (BM3): Please put the Schein from in my postbox in the postoffice of the Institute after you have filled out the form. If you have fulfilled the criteria for being eligible, I will sign it.

2. Scheine für Referate/Essays etc. (VM3, MIV, MV): Please put the Schein form and your Handout, Essay etc. in my postbox in the postoffice of the Institute after you have filled out the form. If you have fulfilled the criteria for being eligible, I will sign it.

Scheine can be collected at the Informationsbüro für Studierende at the Institute for Political Science.

References for Foundations and MA/PhD Programs (Gutachten)
I am happy to write references for students who want to apply to foundations (e.g. Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung) or MA/PhD programs. Conditions are: (1) You have to contact me at least 4 weeks in advance. (2) I will only write references for students I know personally and who have regularly and actively participated in class.