Dissertation series part II: Thesis frames

Thesis frames

It’s actually beginning! I know I’m going to regret saying this in a few weeks time, but I genuinely feel excited to start the process of my dissertation. Although, I’m not yet at the stage of actually doing the core research, things started to become more lively after I was introduced to the thesis frames. But in all honesty, I had no idea what this step meant.

In the first part of this serie, I spoke about getting my shit together. This is the final year of my degree and in order to get my diploma, there are several things I need to do. Everything in order to prepare my dissertation. You can read more about it here.

Thesis frames

As you may know, I study Arts & Culture at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. The first questions people often have when I mention that I study this degree is it seems so broad and about EVERYTHING. And, I guess that’s something that’s quite right – it deals with so many aspects of culture. My study aims to look at different contemporary problems from the point of view from six different disciplines: Art, Technology, Science, History, Politics and Literature.

If people could choose their own subject and frame, the dissertations would be all over the place and supervision might get a bit sloppy. To keep a certain standard of quality and that the chosen subject corresponds with the study, the university has chosen to work with thesis frames. These frames cover different fields of Arts & Culture, in which people can choose their subject.

I thought two things of this. A positive thing about this is maintaining the quality. Every thesis frame has one supervisor and that supervisor has a maximum amount of students – which led me to believe that I am going to be taken care of in terms of good supervision. Which I didn’t like about the thesis frames, was the fact that have given you an amount of thesis frame to choose from. So for example, if I wanted to write about football, it would become very difficult because none of the thesis frames did that topic justice in my opinion.

The Art of Adaption

Everyone who knows me personally, knows how indecisive I can be at times. Well my faculty did exactly that which made me quiver; they made me choose a thesis frame. I’m okay with a choice between three things or so, but that wasn’t the case at all. There were 27 thesis frames in total and that just made me ridden with anxiety. The reason why I think it’s so hard to choose, is the fact that I want to make a list of pros and cons of that particular thesis frame and make a decision. But if you have 27 frames to choose from, then I feel unable to make an educated decision.

However, I made a top-3 and I was quite pleased with myself. I was torn though. Should I choose something I like or something I’m good at or something that is beneficial for my career? Mate, I was almost in tears and was telling myself all these things to legitimise my choice to myself. In the end I choose the thesis frame ‘The Art of Adaption’ – even though nobody else chose it. Madness.

This thesis frame deals with the adaption of a certain media to another media. Think of literature being converted or adapted into film/play or series. It could also be the other way around. This appealed to me strongly as it is connected to my specialisation of Media Culture, but it’s also very appealing because I can put my interests into it. For example, I would love to write a dissertation on Hamlet – how the original play has been transformed into television or film. That is hugely fascinating to me, but at this point in time I’ve not chosen my subject yet.


At this point I have not chosen a subject, because I have not met with my supervisor yet. I know who she is, but I haven not contacted her yet. It’s not the proper time yet, but I do know what I have to do until I meet her. Obviously I would like to write about Hamlet or something else that is Shakespeare related, but I don’t know if it will be approved. So, I need to make several pitches of research topics I might delve into and see what she will think of it, come February.

This is what I’m going to talk about in the next blogpost; doing research for your dissertation topic. I’m aiming to propose 5-7 different topics to my supervisor with enough sources to back my research proposal.


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