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Research Zernike (ZIAM) Education Top Master Program in Nanoscience

Master thesis project

Introduction, midterm and assessment form 

Most of the second year of the Top Master Programme in Nanoscience is devoted to an independent research project, under the guidance and supervision of a senior staff member (often with co-supervision by a daily supervisor, which can be a PhD student or postdoc working for the supervisor). The aim of the thesis project is to offer the student a learning experience in a research project at international top level, to determine whether the student is capable of carrying out such a research project, and to allow her/him to determine whether a career in scientific research suits her/him.

All learning objectives, the course coordinator, assesments and the time schedule can be found on Ocasys, all additional information can be found on this page.

The project must be documented in a Master Thesis, and must be presented orally in a public session. In addition to the final grading, it is obligatory to carry out a mid-term assessment. A more detailed note on the requirements that must be met for properly completing the master thesis project are at the bottom of this page.

  • Credits: 45 ECTS.
  • Course coordinator: the program director, Thomas L. C. Jansen
  • For the MID-TERM assessment the supervisor and student (with optional 2nd examiner) must use the mid-term assessment form
  • For the FINAL grading the supervisor (together with a 2nd examiner) must use the final assessment form

Assessment and remediation of Master thesis project:
1. The assessment of the master thesis project must take place at the time that is determined by the student and the supervisor and in accordance with the guidelines for the master thesis project in the degree programme.
2. If the assessment cannot take place on the date agreed, the student must notify the first supervisor and send a request the board of examiners to postpone the deadline (for a maximum of 10% of the total time). When this request is approved a new deadline is set by the board of examiners.
3. Before or on the agreed end date the project will be assessed and when the assessment criteria are not met an insufficient grade will be registered. Then the student is offered a remediation trajectory by the supervisor and second examiner.
4. The student is offered a remediation trajectory of up to one third of the time of the original individual project period.
5. The supervisor and second examiner will agree on a new deadline in consultation with the student.
6. On the deadline of the remediation trajectory, the project will be assessed again.
7. If after this deadline, the assessment does not meet the set criteria, the project will be assessed with an insufficient grade again. The student will have to carry out another project.

Regulations and deadlines

For finalizing the project the student must present a written thesis and give an oral presentation (30 to 50 min, to be agreed upon with the supervisor). The student must present the final copy of the master thesis one week before the oral presentation to the supervisor and a 2nd examiner (see below). The student must announce the talk widely within the Zernike Institute a week before the event. During the final talk the 2nd examiner must be present, and the 2nd examiner must participate in the grading (see below).

[ Possible exception in this scheduling (must be approved by the program director Thomas Jansen): In cases where the supervisor is traveling a lot near the end of the project, the oral presentation can be held before the presentation of the thesis; the 2nd examiner must still be present at the talk, read the final version of the thesis, and participate in the grading (possible via e-mail). ]


Here you can find a file with all guidelines for top master Nanoscience students and supervisors on individually supervised course units


The project can be supervised by any member of the permanent or tenure-track scientific staff (i.e. professors, lecturers on UD or UHD positions, tenure track assistant profs.) of the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials (incl. associate members), as listed here. On request, long-term research associates of the Zernike Institute can also act as supervisor (for permission turn to the programme director, Thomas Jansen, permission has already been given for the research associates listed here). On request, persons from outside the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials can act as supervisor (or 2nd examiner) when such a person has appropriate expertise (for permission turn to the programme director, Thomas Jansen).

Formally, the supervisor selects and makes contact with a suitable 2nd examiner. A 2nd examiner can be any person who can be supervisor, but the 2nd examiner should be from another research unit than the supervisor, and someone who is not already closely involved in the project.

Suitable topics

The research topic of the project must be related to the research programme of the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials (incl. associate members). This is implemented as the requirement that the project must have the support of a supervisor (see above). For most cases this means that the project is carried out in the research group of the supervisor at the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials. However, the top master programme does not want to impose limitations for research projects with new ideas, initiatives or collaborations. Therefore, the project can also be carried out (in part) outside Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials (for example in industry, in a research hospital, or at another university). For such cases, the student must get this approved before the start (contact the programme director Thomas Jansen), and the requirement is that the project is then part of (or in the form of) a research collaboration between this external location and the supervisor (see above). The project should then have a daily supervisor at the external location, who must be steered by the supervisor and give advice on the grading to the supervisor and 2nd examiner.


The supervisor and the 2nd examiner define a final grade for the project by using the assessment form (as indicated above). In cases where a PhD student or postdoc had a role in the daily supervision, this person is usually asked for advice on the grading. More instructions about handing in the assessment form to the FSE student administration can be found on the assessment form.

The programme aims to have all students completing their studies in the nominal duration of two years, with a diploma ceremony early September. For students on this schedule, the deadline for the grade submission is four weeks before the graduation ceremony.


Here you can find the archive of the master thesis written by former Nanoscience Top Master students.

Examples of the MSc projects carried out by past students from cohort 2003-2005 until 2012-2014 can be found here.

The repository of later cohorts (from 2015 onwards) can be found here.

Current students are obliged to upload their Master Thesis to the repository.

Last modified:04 March 2021 1.25 p.m.