nl en


New MA-students (including those still in the admittance procedure) are required to attend the MA introduction on Tuesday 6 September, in the LIPSIUS building / room 005, 15-16h.

The History Master consists of the following specialisations:

Ancient History
American History
Medieval and Early Modern European History
Migration and Global Interdependence (with subtrack Economic History)
European Expansion and Globalisation (with subtracks Archival Studies and 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:

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

First semester (Fall semester)

Literature seminar

Major issues in American history 10
Roman Social History 10
Globalization and Empire 10
Law and Empire 10
Literature Seminar Maritime History 10
Understanding the Archives 10
Current Debates in Medieval and Early Modern European History I 10
Migration and Integration 10

Research seminar

The American Civil Rights Movement 10
Italian unification and the 'romanisation' of Italy 10
The European Civil War 1914-1945 10
Consumption and material culture in Africa since c. 1850 5.0/10.0
Revolutionary movements in modern Western society 10
Memory of the Holocaust 10
Cross-cultural Connections, 1492-1776: Trade, Marriage and Business Networks 10
Seized by rumours. Intelligence networks in the Dutch colonial state 10
Economic Development of Southeast Asia 10
Dutch Atlantic Connections. Elmina as a Dutch nodal point in West Africa in the 18th century 10
Medieval peoples and the birth of nations 10
Heroism in the Dutch Revolt 1566-1648, the true story! 10
Migration to the city globally compared (19th-21st centuries) 10
What's the problem? Old and new debates on migration 10

Second semester (Spring semester, first semester for those starting in February)

Literature seminar

Readings in American History 10
The Unification of the Mediterranean World 10
Gunpowder empires 10
Current Debates in Medieval and Early Modern European History II 10
Migration and Integration 10

Research seminar

A famous inhabitant of the Roman empire: Jesus of Nazareth 10
Living through the Soviet past 10
Creating an Atlantic community: transatlantic relations since 1945 10
Forgotten Dutch Caribbean Plantation Colonies: Berbice, Demerara and Essequibo, 1770-1800 10
The criminalization of black men 10
Nobilities in transition 1300-1800 10
Arts and Culture in Area Studies: Culture and Conquest: the impact of the Mongols and their descendants 10
Connecting dreams: Europe in Africa/Africa in Europe 10
Ups and downs in the polder. Post-war economic coordination in the Netherlands 10
Scarcity or abundance? Appraisal, selection and preservation of the past 10

Other optional courses:

Epigraphy 10
Antieke Numismatiek en Geldgeschiedenis 10

Meer 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: