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New MA-students (including those still in the admittance procedure) are required to attend the MA introduction on Tuesday 11 September, in the LIPSIUS building / room 003, 16-17h.

The History Master consists of the following specialisations:

Ancient History
Archival Studies
Medieval and Early Modern European History
Migration and Global Interdependence (with subtrack Economic History)
European Expansion and Globalisation (with subtracks Maritime History)
Political Culture and National Identities (with subtrack Political Debate)
Europaeum programme European History and Civilisation: Leiden-Oxford-Paris Programme

Optional courses

As a part of the programme of the chosen specialisation (see the specialisation of your choice first), students follow one or two optional courses, with a total of 10 ECTS.

All MA courses offered at level 400 or higher can be followed as ‘Optional Course’. These may comprise MA-courses offered by Leiden University (including any Literature and Research seminars offered by the Department of History, subject to availability of space) and those offered by other universities.

Here you find the optional MA courses offered by the History department of Leiden University:

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

First semester (Fall semester)

Literature seminar

Roman Social History 10
Understanding the archives 10
Globalization and Empire 10
Literature Seminar Maritime History 10
Current Debates in Medieval and Early Modern European History I 10
Migration and Integration 10
Key Issues in Economic History 10
Political Culture and National Identities 10
Political debate 10

Research seminar

Religion in Hellenistic and Roman Asia Minor 10
State and religious information networks in the Dutch colonial state 10
Cross-cultural Connections, 1492-1776: Trade, Marriage and Business Networks 10
Economic Development and Social Change in Southeast Asia 10
In safe haven? Daily life of Dutch merchant seamen in World War II (Maritime History) 10
Natural disasters and colonialism: making sense of catastrophe in 19th century Indonesia 10
Seminar in African History 10
A prince subjected: the Brabant revolt of the 1420s 10
Universities and student life in Early Modern Europe 10
Myths about crime in history 10
Tourism and the creation of regional and national identities 10
A story of distrust. The relationship between socialism and the military in The Netherlands and other European countries (1890-2000) 10
How to Celebrate the Nation. Debates about National Commemorations in the Netherlands: 1863, 1913, 1963, 2013 10
Memory of the Holocaust 10

Second semester (Spring semester)

Literature seminar

The Unification of the Mediterranean World 10
Understanding the archives 10
Migration and Integration 10
Colonial and global history 10
Current Debates in Medieval and Early Modern European History II 10
Political Culture and National Identities 10

Research seminar

'Romanisation'? Acculturation processes in the provinces of the Roman Empire 10
Numismatics 10
Meaning and use of the Dutch archival legacy in the Indies 10
Arts and Culture in Area Studies: Culture and Conquest: the impact of the Mongols and their descendants 10
The Javanese diaspora 10
Earlymodern Cosmopolitanism in Dutch Eurasia 10
Diplomacy, war and peace 1400-1700 10
Connecting dreams: Africa and Europe 10
Past and future of the ‘polder model’. Post-war economic coordination in the Netherlands 10
Nationality in Imperial and Soviet Russia 10
Creating an Atlantic Community? Transatlantic Relations since WW II 10

Other optional courses

Jewish Culture: Vienna and the Jews at the Fin-de-siècle 5

More info

Master’s thesis and requirements for graduation



The master’s programme in History trains students to specialise in a particular sub-field
of history. In the course of the programme, students are trained to become academics
who can answer research questions arising from the latest developments in academic
thinking in a critical, creative and innovative way. Graduates will be expected to report
on the results of their research, both orally and in writing, either in Dutch or English.
They possess a high degree of specialist knowledge of their field and have insight into the
methodology and history of their field.

Moreover, after completing this programme, students will have the knowledge and
competence required for positions outside the university that require an academic level
of thinking, for an upper secondary teaching qualification or for a PhD position.

Please note: if you have completed an Educational Minor as your optional subject, you
are allowed to follow a fast-track Educational MA (30 ects instead of 60 ects). Please see:


Full-time and part-time
The full-time programme spans one year, the part-time programme eighteen months.
The only difference between the two programmes is in the length of time required for
their completion; in content they are identical.

There are six specialisations for the students to select. The specialisations correspond
to the research done at the History Department and are taught by staff members of the

  • Ancient History

  • American History

  • Medieval and Early Modern European History

  • Migration and Global Interdependence
    (including the subtrack Economic History)

  • History of European Expansion and Globalisation
    (including the subtrack Maritime History)
    (including the subtrack Archival Studies)

  • History of Political Culture and National Identities
    (including the subtrack Political Debate)

  • Europaeum Programme European History and Civilisation

Within their specialisation, students follow one literature seminar for 10 ects in which
they are introduced to the current state of developments in the particular field. In
addition, they choose one of the 10 ects research seminars, as well as an optional
course, for an additional 10 ects. Students are also expected to follow a thesis seminar as
preparation for the master’s thesis (30 ects in total).

Master’s thesis and requirements for graduation

In order to graduate, students must have completed 60 ects of courses including the
writing of the thesis. The master’s thesis carries 30 ects and generally does not exceed
23,000 words including notes, bibliography and appendices. The master’s thesis is based
on the student’s original research and collection of data from secondary literature and
primary sources. The thesis supervisor must be a lecturer in one of the sections of the
History Department.
Also see: