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What's Next? First Steps in Crafting Your Career (MA)


Admission requirements

This course is an (extracurricular) Skills Module, open to all MA students from the faculty of Humanities. Students will be selected based on their motivation.

Please note that this Skills Module, being an extracurricular course, cannot be used in the elective space of your regular programme.


Have you known since childhood what you wanted to be when you would grow up? Congratulations, you are a lucky individual and this class is probably not for you.

For everyone else, this Skills Module will teach you how to apply the method of Design Thinking to craft the most challenging and interesting project you will face: your life.

You will first learn how to identify energy patterns and build a compass to give you direction in your life design. Subsequently, you will brainstorm about multiple futures for yourself and prototype them through experiences and network conversations. Learning how to adopt the mindset of a designer is just as important, though, as designers know that perfection is unattainable, failure is a normal part of the process and that they can rely on their creativity to come up with new solutions.

This course uses literature from the domains of design, psychology and career development, and relies on smaller sub-groups within class - guided by a peer mentor - to stimulate discussions on a personal level. Through various (journaling) exercises and network conversations, you will expand your comfort zone and gain more clarity and confidence on how you can design your future.

Disclaimer: This is a very personal course. While many students experience personal growth, this course is not a substitute for professional mental health guidance. If you are struggling with mental health issues, please seek out professional help. You can also find additional support options on the Healthy University page of Leiden University.

Course objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Explain the basics of Design Thinking

  • Identify what gives and drains energy, and formulate implications for your future based on these insights

  • Formulate where you currently stand in terms of work/study, love, health and play

  • Articulate which values are most vital for you in work as well as in life in general

  • Articulate your personal strengths, partially by using insights from outsiders

  • Envision three different life paths for the coming five years

  • Invite people for network conversations and conduct those in a mutually agreeable manner


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

Your grade will be based on your final reflection portfolio. A resit of the portfolio is possible after having received the lecturer’s feedback.

Reading list

The book Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans will be mandatory reading. Additional literature will be announced via Brightspace


Students will be selected based on their motivation and can apply via this form. Deadline is 29 January 2024. Students selected will be enrolled by the education administration office.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Onderwijsadministratie Huizinga.


Not applicable.