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History (Research)

The History Research Master consists of the following specialisations:

Ancient History
Colonial and Global History
Europe 1000-1800
Cities, Migration and Global Interdependence
Political Culture and National Identities

New Research MA students (including those still in the admittance procedure) are required to attend the Research MA Introduction.
6 September 13:00 – 17:00 Huizinga Building 025 and 7 September 14:00 – 17:30. Students starting September 2017 (for more information please contact the coordinator of studies Esther Buizer)


Please note that starting the Research Master in the spring semester (February) will mean that the programme is followed in a different order. We strongly advise students to set up their studyplan in consultation with the Coordinator of studies before the start of the programme.


Literature Seminar (10 EC)
Students commence their programme with a Literature Seminar, whether starting in September or February.

Research Seminar (20 EC)
Students follow two Research Seminars within their specialisation.

Historical Theory (10 EC)
Historical Theory is one of the common courses for the Research MA students. The course is only offered in the fall (September) semester. Students starting the Research MA in the spring semester are strongly advised to contact the coordinator of studies to discuss their individual course plan.

Developing Research Proposals (10 EC)
This course focuses on writing a research proposal. The course is compulsory and is only offered in the spring (February) semester.

Tutorial (10 EC)
The tutorial is part of the second (and third, if you follow a course abroad) semester.
Students have to ask a member of staff active in the field of his/her specialisation to act as their tutor. In the Overview of Staff, divided by specialisation, possible supervisors can be identified.
The tutorial is meant to carefully plan and prepare the student to write his/her thesis. During the tutorial you will explore the field and determine the subject and research question of your thesis. The tutorial is the mainstay of the research master’s as it offers intensive, eye-to-eye discussions with one of Leiden’s many specialists.

Research School Courses (10 EC)
Research Schools courses offer training in both methodology and area specific knowledge. Research MA students choose courses at the Research Schools that relates most with their possible area of research.

Optional Courses (20 EC)
Students follow two optional courses. All Research Seminars of the (Research) MA studies offered at level 500 or higher can be followed as optional course. These may comprise Research Seminars offered by Leiden University and those offered by other (foreign) universities. Alternatively, students can also opt for an internship. For more information about the different possibilities, see the specific Research MA Optional Courses page.

Thesis and exam (30 EC)
The Research Master’s Programme will be concluded by a 30 EC ResMA-thesis.

Optional Courses

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

First Semester (Fall Semester)

Redemption Songs: African-American Freedom Struggles From Slavery to the Present 10
History of Migration and Diversity 10
From Top to Toe: the Body in Antiquity 10
The Body Politic in Late Medieval Society 10
The Wars of Religion in a Transnational Context: 1550-1650 10
The Biography of Archives 10
Maritime treasures. Diving into maritime history and archeology 10
Scholarly Virtues and Vices: Writing the History of the Humanities (1850-2000) 10
Epigraphy 10
From Dawn to Sunset: The Rise and Fall of Iberian Empires, 1415-1999 10
You Are What You Eat: Gender, Class, Ethnicity and Food Culture 10
The Business of Empire: Colonial and Imperial Entrepreneurship, 1415-1974 10
Political Eloquence 10
History of Human Rights 10
The State in Africa 10

Second Semester (Spring Semester)

Central Europe and the Russian Empire during the long 19th century 10
Connecting Dreams: Europe in Africa, Africa in Europe 10
International Relations in Medieval and Early Modern Europe 10
Protest:A Transnational Perspective 10
The End of Politics? Roman Political Culture in Late Antiquity 10
The Decolonization War in Indonesia, 1945-1950: Written and Oral Sources 10
The Making of a Criminal Migrant: Migration, Gender and Otherness, 1700-1940 10
Numismatics: A Practical Guide 10
The Russian Revolution Revisited 10

More info


The programme has the following objectives:

  • 1) To broaden and deepen the students’ knowledge, understanding and skills, and train them in the use of scientific methods in the field of history;

  • 2) To enable students to develop the following academic and professional skills:

  • The ability to solve academic problems independently, critically and creatively;

  • The ability to analyse complex problems;

  • The ability to clearly report academic results, both in writing and orally;

  • 3) To prepare students for an academic career at a university for postgraduate programmes;

  • 4) To prepare students for a non-academic career in the public or private sector for which advanced research skills and practical research experience are a prerequisite.


The Research Master programme in History (120 EC) offers you the chance to determine a study based on your own particular interests and ambitions. With several specialisations on offer – each containing a number of specific subjects.
The two-year programme will provide ample opportunities to acquire general disciplinary knowledge and skills at master’s degree level as well as specific research skills. Much attention will be paid to the development of theories on historical processes, argumentation, historiography and methodology of historical research. The research master’s thesis should provide the basic components for a future PhD-thesis.


  • Literature Seminar 10 EC

  • Research Seminar 20 EC

  • Historical Theory 10 EC

  • Research Skills 10 EC

  • Research School Courses 10 EC

  • Optional Courses 20 EC

  • Tutorial 10 EC

  • Thesis and Exam 30 EC


The Research Master History programme has the following specialisations:
Ancient History
Colonial and Global History
Europe 1000-1800
Cities, Migration and Global Interdependence
Political Culture and National Identities

Requirements for graduation in the specialisation


The language of instruction and examination of the programme is English and Dutch. Students are expected to have an adequate command of the language of instruction of the programme.

Coordinator of studies

Esther Buizer