18 ECTS credits
450 h study time

Offer 1 with catalog number 4023575FNW for working students in the 1st and 2nd semester at a (F) Master - specialised level.

1st and 2nd semester
Enrollment based on exam contract
Grading method
Grading (scale from 0 to 20)
Can retake in second session
Enrollment Requirements
The master's Thesis Management - Pre Doctoral Track, can be selected if the student can graduate and if the student is compliant to the specific admission criteria. Students have to contact the Study Path Counsellor when they want to enroll: studpath.es@vub.be
Taught in
Faculty of Social Sciences & SolvayBusinessSchool
Faculty of Social Sciences & SolvayBusinessSchool
Educational team
Nanouk Verhulst
An Jacobs
Promotor . (course titular)
Activities and contact hours
12 contact hours Seminar, Exercises or Practicals
438 contact hours Independent or External Form of Study
Course Content

The master's thesis, variant pre-doctoral track, is a piece of work that completes the master's program. By carrying out the ‘pre-doctoral track’ as a master's thesis the student demonstrates analytical and synthesis abilities, as well as an independent problem-solving ability at an academic level. The “Master thesis: Pre-doctoral track” is a track for motivated students with a high research-potential and interested in doing a PhD in the future. Excellent and motivated students (see selection criteria) can opt for this course, instead of the ‘classic’ master thesis course.

Additional info

The Master thesis -– Pre-doctoral track consists of 3 parts:

A) Participation in several workshops to enhance key research competencies required for developing the research proposal and the scientific article

B) A scientific funding proposal (e.g., FWO, Baekeland, Innoviris):  The chance to write a full-fledged project proposal during the master studies, increasing the likelihood of becoming a researcher.

C) A scientific paper (in place of a regular master thesis)

Supervision of this course will be provided by the course coordinator (for the parts A, B, C) and a topic supervisor (i.e., promotor; parts B & C). Students need to pass for all 3 parts (A, B, C). Group and individual guidance will be provided by the course coordinator (titular) and topic supervisor.

The administrative and substantive procedures for the Master Thesis pre-doctoral track go digitally though the ‘Master Thesis Information System’ (MaThIS) following the official confirmation by the supervisors and the coordinators by e-mail. The accepted students will be enrolled by the course coordinators in MaThiS.

A manual with additional information (on deadlines, manner of submitting, evaluation, …) can be found on the course space in Canvas and is regarded as an integral part of the course description.

This course is a final paper completing a master's programme and cannot be taken as part of a credit contract.

Selection procedure:

In prior months prior to the start of the academic year in which the Master Thesis: Pre-Doctoral Track is included, a selection process is organised by the coordinators. Thereto, introduction sessions will be organsed in which the requirements for enrolment to this course and the related different deadlines are communicated.  The topic supervisors should who formally agree to supervise the student. This agreement should be send by email to the course coordinators, by the 10th of October, the latest.

For students that hold a bachelor or master’s degree from the VUB, or finalized a bridging program at the VUB

Students need to have ‘great distinction’ or higher for their bachelor, master, or a grade point average of minimum of 77% for a bridging program, or students fall in the top 10th percentile of their class. Having high grades does not automatically give students access to this course. These students will receive a personal invitation by e-mail.


A topic supervisor motivates why you (without ‘great distinction’ or higher or fall in the 10th percentile of their class) have potential to start a PhD in the future; both topic supervisor and course coordinator should approve by e-mail.

For students that hold a bachelor or master’s degree from another university (e.g., international students)

Students need to have ‘great distinction or higher’ for their bachelor or master’s diploma or fall in the top 10th percentile of their class. Students should be able to present the VUB with formal proof of their scores. Equivalence with VUB-standards will be checked. Having high grades does not automatically give students access to this course. When interested in this track students have to e-mail the course coordinators to check if they are eligible to participate in this track.

Note: Students do not have an automatic right to register for this course. They need a topic supervisor (within the ES faculty) that is willing and motivated to support them during this track. A topic supervisor is a professor that act as master thesis promotor in this trajectory. This Promotor is an expert in the field that the students wants to conduct research in. The student cannot have been sanctioned based on OER article 118.

This course can only be included on condition that the students can graduate in the academic year of inclusion of this course and meets the selection criteria. Students can only register for this course after permission for the coordinators. 

Learning Outcomes

General Competences

The Master’s thesis Pre-doctoral track is the final part in completing a Master’s course which forms proof of the student’s capacity for analytical and synthetic work, independent problem solving at an academic level, or artistic creation. Both the scientific paper and proposal reflect the student’s general capacity for critical reflection or research.


The final grade is composed based on the following categories:
Master Thesis determines 100% of the final mark.

Within the Master Thesis category, the following assignments need to be completed:

  • Participation Workshops with a relative weight of 10 which comprises 10% of the final mark.

    Note: This part cannot be re-taken in second session
  • Scientific Proposal with a relative weight of 40 which comprises 40% of the final mark.

    Note: This part cannot be re-taken in second session
  • Scientific Paper with a relative weight of 50 which comprises 50% of the final mark.

Additional info regarding evaluation

For the pre-doctoral track as master thesis, a review and submission process is organized by the course holder via Canvas. The course coordinator will communicate at the start of the academic year the formal deadlines for submission of interim and final documents. It is not allowed to use generative AI to generate output related to the scientific paper & funding proposal.

The scientific proposal needs to be handed in by e-mail to the course coordinator and topic supervisor.

For the scientific paper:

  • The student is obligated to upload his/her scientific paper electronically on the antiplagiarism server indicated by the faculty and to provide the printed proof hereof when submitting the paper versions. The student who submits a scientific paper for this track agrees with the rules regarding plagiarism: https://canvas.vub.be/courses/20957/pages/masters-thesis-practical-information ;
  • The students needs to follow the necessary steps for submission regarding MaThiS should be followed (see guidelines on Course Canvas page);
  • The evaluation of the scientific paper is done in accordance with the evaluation form that can be found on the digital learning platform Canvas;
  • It is mandatory to orally defend the scientific paper for programs that require one in the regular master thesis course. Every student defends him- or herself regarding the content and design of the scientific paper.
Allowed unsatisfactory mark
The supplementary Teaching and Examination Regulations of your faculty stipulate whether an allowed unsatisfactory mark for this programme unit is permitted.

Academic context

This offer is part of the following study plans:
Master of Management: Standaard traject