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History (Research): Politics, Culture and National Identities, 1789 to the Present

Although the main focus of the ResMA Political Culture and National Identities is on your chosen specialisation, the programme also includes a number of courses which enable you to acquire a better understanding of theories on historical processes, historical debates and methodology of historical research.

In the first semester, you will follow a course in Historical Theory (10 EC) and in the second semester a course in Developing Research Proposals (10 EC). The sequence of the remaining courses -- two Research Seminars (2 x 10 EC), one Literature Seminar (10 EC), 10 EC worth of courses from Research Schools, 20 EC’s worth of Optional Courses, a Tutorial (10 EC) and the Research Master Thesis (30 EC) – can be flexible.

The student must get in touch with the Coordinator of Studies if the student wants advice on the study plan.

Year 1 & 2

Note: starting the Research Master in February means that the programme is followed in a different order. We strongly advise students to set up their study plan in consultation with the Coordinator of Studies before the start of the programme.

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Year 1

Literature Seminar

Politics, Culture and National Identities, 1789 to the present 10

Research Seminar

Global Perspectives on Neoliberalism 10
History of Human Rights 10
NATO, The Netherlands and the Cold War 10
Politicians and Statesmen. Professionalization, Activism and Perception since the 18th Century 10
Social Movements, Protest and Political Change, 1880-2000 10
Do Elections Make Democracies? 10
(East) Central Europe before and after the Paris Peace Treaties 10
Scholarly Virtues and Vices: Writing the History of the Humanities (1850-2000) 10
The History of Everyday Life under Authoritarian Regimes 10
Revolutionary movements in modern Western society 10
The Russian Revolution Revisited 10

Compulsory Courses

Historical Theory (ResMA History) 10
Developing Research Proposals (ResMA History) 10
Tutorial (ResMA History) 10
Research School Courses (ResMA History) 10

Year 2

Optional Courses (20 EC)

Optional Courses (ResMA History) 20

ResMA Thesis

ResMA Thesis History & Final Exam 30

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 Proposals 10 EC
Research School Courses 10 EC
Optional Courses 20 EC
Tutorial 10 EC
Thesis and Exam 30 EC


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

Coordinator of Studies

Send an e-mail to

Career Preparation

Career Preparation in the Research MA History

The programme

The ResMA History in Leiden is an nationally and internationally renowned 2-year Research MA. It has as a guiding principle ‘Global Questions, Local Sources’, referring to our aim to follow the international developments in historiography and to teach students to critically analyze source materials. In our ResMA History students develop their academic skills by a thorough orientation on international debates, by analyzing historical sources, and by discussing these insights with professors and co-students. In the range of subjects that is on offer, the Leiden ResMA History is the broadest and most international History ResMA in the Netherlands.

The ResMA History offers five specialisations. In each specialisation, students in the Leiden ResMA History acquire a broad, comparative dimension in their knowledge and connect this to global events. This approach to learning brings a broad understanding and an aptitude for critical thinking both of which are highly valued by employers today.

How can you use this knowledge and the skills that you acquire? Which specialisation should you choose within your study programme and why? What skills do you already have, and what further skills do you still want to learn? How do you translate the courses that you choose into something that you’d like to do after graduation?

These questions and more will be discussed at various times during your study programme. You may already have spoken about them with your study coordinator, the Humanities Career Service or other students, or made use of the Leiden University Career Zone. Many different activities are organised to help you reflect on your own wishes and options, and give you the chance to explore the job market. All these activities are focused on the questions: ‘What can I do?’, ‘What do I want?’ and ‘How do I achieve my goals?’.


You will be notified via the Faculty website, your study programme website and email about further activities in the area of job market preparation. The following activities will help you to thoroughly explore your options, so we advise you to take careful note of them:

Transferable skills

Future employers are interested not only in the subject-related knowledge that you acquired during your study programme, but also in the ‘transferable skills’. These include cognitive skills, such as critical thinking, reasoning and argumentation and innovation; intrapersonal skills, such as flexibility, initiative, appreciating diversity and metacognition; and interpersonal skills, such as communication, accountability and conflict resolution. In short, they are skills that all professionals need in order to perform well.

It is therefore important that during your study programme you not only acquire as much knowledge as possible about your subject, but also are aware of the skills you have gained and the further skills you still want to learn. The course descriptions in the e-Prospectus of the ResMA History include, in addition to the courses’ learning objectives, a list of the skills that they aim to develop.

The skills you may encounter in the various courses are:

  • Collaboration

  • Persuasion

  • Research

  • Self-directed learning

  • Creative thinking

Courses of the ResMA History

Courses of the study programme obviously help to prepare you for the job market. As a study programme, we aim to cover this topic either directly or less directly in each semester. Within the ResMA History, this takes place within, for example, the following courses:


If you have any questions about career choices, whether in your studies or on the job market, you are welcome to make an appointment with the career adviser of the the Humanities Career Service 071-5272235, or with your Coordinator of Studies, mrs. Esther Buizer-Janssen.