Reaccreditation of the Research Master (MSc) European Studies

You may have read in last week’s Observant about the ‘yellow card’ procedure imposed by the national accreditation agency on the Research Master (MSc) European Studies. In this letter the programme director, prof. Maarten Vink, explains the reaccreditation process and emphasises how a revised curriculum with new specialisations addresses the comments by the accreditation committee. These envisaged revisions have been approved and the accreditation has been extended.

As programme director, I would like to use this opportunity to explain some aspects about the reaccreditation process.

In its review report, the accreditation committee acknowledges the unique characteristics of this Research Master in European Studies. The level of exams and final works were positively assessed. The accreditation committee also expressed its appreciation for the ‘excellent research environment within which the Research Master is embedded’ (see an overview of the teaching staff and their research interests).
The accreditation committee, however, was concerned with the way in which we organise our curriculum, especially with regard to the integration of theory and methods. In line with the interdisciplinary tradition of our Faculty we always take an integrated approach to theory and methods, practiced especially in the workshop papers which students write during the first year of the programme. The committee, however, wanted to see a more direct link between the substantive and methodological courses in the programme.

In order to address these concerns, and after elaborate discussions between the staff members and students in the Programme Committee, a revised curriculum has been developed that will be implemented as of the upcoming academic year (2015-2016). In this revised curriculum, we will introduce new specialisations where students focus on one of three substantive areas; Historicizing European integration, Governance and Representation in the European Union or Europe and the World. Students furthermore choose between a qualitative or quantitative methods trajectory within their specialisation. This trajectory consists of methods courses at advanced level (for example case-study methods and process-tracing, qualitative content analysis, set-theoretic comparative methods, linear and generalised linear regression, and multilevel and longitudinal modeling).
In the integrated research workshops, students will explicitly apply the analytical techniques from the respective methods courses to substantive research questions.

These proposals have now been approved by the accreditation committee and, as a result, the accreditation for the Research Master has been extended with two years. In a next review, in 2016, the accreditation committee will look at how we have implemented these proposed changes.
I am confident that these changes have strengthened our unique two-year research master and look forward to its start in September 2015.

If you are interested to hear more about the Research Master European Studies you are welcome at the Master’s open day on Saturday 7 March 2015 or at the Master’s lunch on Tuesday 28 April. If you cannot make it on these days, feel free to contact me with specific questions about the content of the programme. Should you still have questions about the formalities of the reaccreditation procedure, after reading this information, please submit them via: accreditation-fasos@maastrichtuniversity.nl.

Prof. Maarten Vink

Programme director, MSc European Studies (Research Master)

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