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Master Thesis & Completion of Studies

Please note that the members of the Exam Review Committee may be absent during the semester break this summer. On behalf of the Exam Review Committee, Prof. Dr. Sebastian Jobs, Prof. Dr. Sönke Kunkel and Prof. Lora Anne Viola, PhD may sign your registration form for a MA thesis. The registration process is currently being digitized. More information will be available soon. The Department of Examinations and Auditing (Prüfungsbüro) is responsible for all administrative issues related to the completion of seminar work and the final Master's degree. All relevant forms can be found on the website in the section "FAQ - Abschlussphase".

Master Thesis

Registration: Requirements, Forms, Registration Dates

The MA thesis has to be registered with the Department of Examinations and Auditing during the office hours. The topic of your MA thesis will have to be submitted to the attention of the Exam Review Committee ("Prüfungsausschuss") at least two weeks in advance. The topic is selected in consultation with your first supervisor. Potential thesis advisors should be approached by the students during their office hours. All Professors and “wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiter” who hold a doctorate and who teach at the Kennedy Institute are eligible. Please use the form "Themenblatt mit Bearbeitungshinweisen" (listed in the section "FAQ - Abschlussphase") and ensure that it is signed by your first and second supervisor (Erst- und Zweitprüfer*in) before submitting it to the Exam Review Committee.

In order to register your thesis, please submit the completed form (both sides) of the "Antrag zur Anmeldung der Masterarbeit", the form "Themenblatt" signed by both supervisors and a valid certificate of matriculation ("Immatrikulationsbescheinigung") confirming that you are enrolled in the MA program in North American Studies. In addition, you will have to provide proof that you completed a total of at least 60 credit points. The proof usually consists of your Campus Management records, and documents testifying to the conversion of classes in case credits have not been registered on Campus Mangement.

Deadlines and Completion

After successful registration, you will receive the official confirmation of the title/topic by the Department of Examinations and Auditing. Upon receiving the confirmation ("offizielle Ausgabe des Themas") you have a total of 23 weeks to complete your thesis. Please submit three bound hard copies and a digital version of your thesis in PDF-format (stored on a CD-Rom), including the signed form "Eidesstattliche Erklärung," to the attention of the Department of Examinations and Auditing ("Prüfungsbüro"). Should you send the hard copies via regular mail, the shipment has to be postmarked on the day of the deadline or earlier (i.e. it may arrive after the deadline if it was posted on the deadline at the latest).

Formatting guidelines

Please note that all official requirements concerning your thesis are provided on the website of the Department for Examinations and Auditing.

What follows are the agreed-upon conventions for formatting your thesis. Students are asked to consult with their advisors regarding further departmental requirements.

Please write in 1.5 spaced, 12pt standard font (Arial, Helvetica, Times New Roman, etc.), and use justified text, as well as 2.5 cm margins on the left and 3cm on the right. Include your last name and page numbers at the bottom of each page. Pagination begins on the first page of your prose.

A table of contents is standard but not required. Please consult with your advisor.

Citation conventions are as follows:

  • Economics, Political Science, Sociology, and History: the preferred citation method is according to the most recent Chicago Style Manual.
  • Literature and Culture: please use the most recent edition of the MLA style guide. A good resource is the Purdue Online Writing Lab.

Images and tables should be formatted according to MLA or the Chicago Style Manual, respectively.

A useful document for questions on punctuation, the usage of numbers, etc. is the University of Oxford Style Guide, which can be downloaded here.

The required word count does not include any prefatory material, such as the table of contents, bibliographies, appendices or the cover page.

You can find a sample cover page here. Please do not include official logos of the Kennedy Institute or the Freie Universität anywhere in your document.

Completion of Studies

After finishing your course work and receiving the grade for your thesis, you will have to fill out the form “Antrag auf Feststellung des Studienabschlusses” and hand it to the attention of the Department of Examinations and Auditing in order to obtain your diploma and final transcript of records.


The official graduation ceremony takes place on the last Saturday of November.


Lecture and Course Catalog
Online-Studienfachwahl-Assistent (OSA)