Information about teaching and supervision

Consultation hours: by appointment via email (please send to assistance: maleen.kaiser [at]

Courses at the University of Potsdam

Winter Term 2022/2023
Social Demography Writing Workshop (Colloquium, University of Potsdam)
Causal inference from experiments: Theory and practice in the social sciences (Seminar, University of Potsdam)

Summer Term 2022
What explains social inequality? (BA, University of Potsdam)

Winter Term 2021/2022
Introduction to family sociology (BA, University of Potsdam)

Summer Term 2021

What explains social inequality? Seminar, BA.

Winter Term 2020/2021

Studying social stratification using big data (Part 2). Seminar, MA.

Summer Term 2020

Studying social stratification using big data (Part 1). Seminar, MA.

Winter Term 2019/2020

Soziale Ungleichheit als Mehrebenen- und Längsschnittphänomen. Seminar, MA.

Sozialer Status, Familie, Beruf. Seminar, MA.

Supervision of Bachelor’s and Master’s theses under Prof. Lena Hipp (Ph.D.)

1 Requirements

In order for me to supervise your thesis (Bachelor’s or Master’s), you need to:

  • Have taken at least one seminar with me, and
  • Plan a thesis that both in its methodology and subject matter overlaps with at least one of my
    research areas. An overview of my research interests can be found here.

If you have not attended a seminar with me so far, I can still supervise you as long as you are planning to write a thesis of which the subject matter (and methodology) overlaps with my main research interests. Please provide me the following information when sending me your supervision requests:

  • The topic of your work and the specific research question
  • A brief explanation of the relevance of your topic
  • An outline of your methodological approach
  • The name of your first (or second) supervisor

Based on this information, I can decide if I can supervise your work or if there may be a person that is better suited for this task.

2 The supervision process

Before you register your thesis, we should arrange our first meeting to discuss your research exposé (see below). Please email me your exposé at least 3 days before this meeting. When scheduling our meeting, please take into consideration the thesis registration periods (for the University of Potsdam), keeping in mind that you may have to revise your exposé before registering. You cannot register your thesis with me without a preliminary meeting.

While you are writing your thesis, you will have the opportunity to visit me during my office hours usually at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center and during the lecture period also at the University of Potsdam). To attend the office hours, it is necessary to first book an appointment by emailing Maleen Kaiser (maleen.kaiser [at]

2.1 The research exposé

As the first step in the thesis supervision process, you will be required to submit a research exposé (approximately 2-3 pages). This will be discussed with me or your primary/secondary supervisor. In the exposé, you should explain your research question as well as your theoretical and methodological approach. In addition, this exposé should include the first working title, as well as a bibliography that indicates which literature you have already read in preparation for your work and/or what you still want to read. To help you with the preparation of your research exposé in LaTeX, you can find a template here, which you can but do not have to use.

3 Assessing your work

Your first and second supervisor will each separately prepare a written appraisal of your work. The supervisors have four weeks (Bachelor’s thesis) or six weeks (Master’s thesis) to prepare the appraisals. For the master’s thesis, this appraisal will serve as the basis for your defence.

The following aspects are included in my overall assessment of your written work:

  1. Research question and structure
  2. Theory
  3. Operationalization and method
  4. Data analysis and evaluation
  5. Technical aspects
  6. Language (diction, spelling, grammar)

A template for the formatting of the thesis in LaTeX can be found here. Again, you can use them, but you are not obliged to.

Please use a consistent citation style (e.g. Chicago-Style).

When assessing master’s theses at the University of Potsdam, the oral grade for the 50-minute defence is included in the overall assessment. For your defence, prepare a max. 20-minute presentation in advance. As part of your presentation and the subsequent discussion, you should comment on the points of criticism expressed in the appraisal.

4 Honesty in scientific research

Your thesis must meet the standards of scientific work. This includes, among other things, me being able to follow and verify your reasoning and the interpretation of your results. In addition to providing explanations in the text for coding decisions, etc., please submit your syntax files (Stata, R, etc.) for quantitative empirical work. In addition, your submitted work needs to be accompanied by a signed plagiarism statement and a declaration of originality (template here). The thesis will be run through anti-plagiarism software.