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Thesis Supervision

Students who would like to write their thesis at the Chair are requested to send written applications at least two months before the planned start of the thesis to the following address: economics@jfki.fu-berlin.de

The Chair of Economic History and Politics of North America supervises Bachelor's and Master's theses whose topics are within the research focus of the chair. Typically, theses, especially at Master's level, should include an empirical study. Proposals for your own topics are certainly possible, provided they fall within the research areas of the chair.

Those interested in writing a Master's thesis should have successfully completed at least one of the courses US American Policy, Development of the American Economy or International Trade, Migration and Health. This provides points of contact and perspectives for possible theses. Good knowledge of microeconometrics is also recommended.

For a Bachelor's thesis in Economics, prospective students should ideally have taken the courses Introduction to Labour Market Theory and Econometrics. For a Bachelor's thesis in NAS, the basic module in Economics and the two specialisation modules in Economics must be successfully completed.

01. Application Process

If you are interested in writing a thesis at our department, you should contact us as soon as possible.

Your application should include the following information and documents:

  • Name and matriculation number
  • Subject preference
  • Preferred start date
  • Your current transcript of records

The exact research question for your thesis will be worked out together with you in a personal interview. The start date of the thesis can vary within the semester.

A discussion of the outline after one third of the completion time is obligatory. Master's students must present the results of their work at the Master's colloquium of the Department of Economics after 50 to 60% of their working time.

02. Time Schedule

After successful application: The exact research question of the thesis will be worked out together with you in a personal interview.

This will be followed by the following procedure:


Bachelor's Thesis

Master's Thesis

After 2-3 weeks

Outline meeting

Outline meeting

After 7-8 weeks

Presentation / discussion of the current draft

Progress meeting

After 12 weeks



After 13-16 weeks


Presentation of the work in the MA Colloquium in Economics

After 23 (22) weeks



03. Good Scientific Practice, Citations and Bibliography:

  • The bibliography must contain all sources referred to in the thesis or on which the argumentation of the thesis is based. Plagiarism is considered an attempt to deceive and can lead to de-registration in serious cases. Your work will be carefully checked (also with the help of special software) for scientific misconduct.
  • A bibliography must be formatted uniformly and sorted alphabetically.
  • Sources should be cited in the text using short references, e.g. Müller (2021), Müller and Schulz (2020) and Müller et al. (2019).
  • It is best to follow the citation style found in academic articles. It is important to decide on a citation style and to use it consistently.
  • Make sure you use the latest version of a scientific paper. For example, you will often find working papers that were later published in a scientific journal. It is possible that the statements and results of a study may change during this process.
  • A good starting point for the literature search is https://scholar.google.com/. Further valuable tips can be found here.
  • Further information on time management, literature research, style, citation methods and formal requirements for writing seminar papers and theses can be found here.

04. Main Areas of Supervision:

  • Prof. Dr. Max Steinhardt: Labour economics, political economics, economics of migration, and US economic policy.
  • Prof. Dr. Julia Püschel: Labour market and foreign trade economics. In addition to the USA and the European Union, the regional focus is on China.

05. And Last but not Least:

  • Write your thesis in such a way that students in your subject area who are at a similar stage of their studies can understand it. This means that knowledge from basic courses can be assumed.
  • Re-read each of your texts with some distance and ask yourself for each sentence whether it is necessary at this point and whether the argumentation is conclusive. This also applies to the discussion of literature and opposing views. Everything must be clearly related to the message of your paper.
  • For a stringent argument, it can be helpful to discuss the result of your work in the introduction. In a scientific paper, it is not about making it exciting for the reader, but rather about providing a clear message and orientation for the reader (from the very first page).
  • A simple and clearly understandable sentence is often better than long convoluted sentences. Avoid too much passive voice.
  • Ideally, you should give your text to a third person for proofreading before submitting it. In this way, you will find unnecessary typos and sentences that are difficult to understand and avoid this only becoming apparent when the work is assessed.