How does a master thesis in Wageningen look like?
What does a master thesis in Wageningen look like?
Doing a master’s may seem like an “only two years” commitment with some courses and your own project. But in practice, what does this process look like? Is writing a thesis simple, fast and enjoyable? Is it easy to find a suitable topic and a helpful supervisor? In this post, I will try to make it clear and understandable as it is actually nothing to be afraid of!
Where to start?
First of all the topic, which is basically the most important and difficult part to decide. Obviously, you don’t want to get stuck for six months with a topic you don’t find interesting enough. Therefore you should choose the area you are passionate about and that makes you happy. Luckily, our university offers platforms and events that help you reduce the stress level caused by the thesis time.
Each master’s programme has several options, so the possibilities are pretty broad. Already during the courses, it is good to think about what you are interested in. What comes easy for you to learn about? Which teacher was your favourite? Thinking about these types of questions might give you some helpful answers, so, it will be simpler to find the right thesis direction.
Secondly, throughout the year, every department organizes so-called thesis markets. There you can see available projects and talk about them with potential supervisors. It can give you insights into what is currently possible and get you in touch with different chair groups.
Lastly, it is the traditional way of just asking around. Talking with teachers after lectures or practicals, emailing them, and searching on the WUR website of the chair groups. There is plenty of information, deadlines, and contacts available online.
Thesis from a graduated student perspective
In my case, I am in the stage of looking for a thesis project, so, unfortunately, I can not say much from my experience yet. But for this reason, I asked my friend Jens to tell me about his thesis project that he did a year ago. He was so kind to describe it to me, and therefore, I’d like to share his thoughts with you.
Jens studied the Master’s Forest and Nature Conservation in Wageningen. He found his thesis topic in the FEM chair group (Forest Ecology and Forest Management). The topic was poultry farmers who pioneered agroforestry in the Netherlands. The aim was to learn from their journeys so it could be easier for others to follow their steps.
Jens was doing the thesis during the “corona times”. Therefore, it was nice that for collecting data, he was able to do fieldwork by interviewing farmers. Although he was grateful for this opportunity, he admitted he started looking for the topic very late. As it was only 2 weeks in advance, it’s rather not recommended to imitate this part of his experience :P.
He said at that time he was really focused on the agroforestry topic and had a narrow mindset about it. Looking back on it Jens shared it would have been better to be more open for different areas.
Now, I hope the thesis matter is not so scary as Wageningen University really helps find a good one. I wish you all (and myself) lots of fun and success!