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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.
January 18 12:30 – 17:00 Huizinga Building 025 and 19 January 14:00 – 17:30. Students starting February 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.

Research Skills (10 EC)
This course will focus on the development of your research skills. 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.

For those students who will not go abroad within their Optional Course space, it will be obligatory to fill 10 EC of their Optional Course space with the course Classics.

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

Optional Courses

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

First Semester (Fall Semester)

Portals of Globalization: Exchanging Money, Goods and Ideas in Early Modern Port Cities (1500-1800) 10
The Last Pagan. Julian Apostata as Emperor and Intellectual 10
Towards a New Administrative Culture? Culture and Administration in the Late Medieval Netherlands 10
The Spanish Black Legend in Europe 10
House of Glass: Bureaucracy and Bureaucrats in the Dutch East Indies 10
Mapping the Ocean, 1550-1750 10
The Rise of Banal Nationalism 10
Political Eloquence 10
Epigraphy 10
Negotiating Power in Africa 10
You Are What You Eat: Gender, Class, Ethnicity and Food Culture 10
History of Migration and Diversity 10
American Radicalism: Challenging and Empowering U.S. Democracy 10
The American People and Their Constitution, 1776-1896: "To Form a More Perfect Union" 10
The History of Humanitarian Intervention 10
The Fringes of Enlightenment: Colonialism and Society in Asia, 1750-1850 10

Second Semester (Spring Semester)

European Overseas Commercial Companies, 1600-1750: Bringing Back the Human Agency Perspective 10
From Dusk till Dawn: the Ancient World at Night 10
Violent Transformation: The Decolonization War in Indonesia, 1945-1950 10
The Rooseveltian Century: The Rise of the U.S. as a Global Power in the Twentieth Century 10
Connecting Dreams: Europe in Africa, Africa in Europe 10
Memory of the Holocaust 10
A Sacred National Duty: Military Conscription in Western Europe (1815-1945) 10
The Russian Revolution Revisited 10
Continuity and Change in Urban Politics, 1300-1750 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;
    1. 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;
    1. To prepare students for an academic career at a university for postgraduate programmes;
    1. 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