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Content key factor in choosing a master’s programme

Last Friday was Master’s Open Day time once again. Students from home and abroad descended on Leiden and The Hague to find out more about our master’s programmes. Alongside the presentations, the information fairs gave them a good opportunity to ask any questions.

Coffee and cakes with medical symbols: visitors to the information fair at the LUMC receive a warm welcome. Yik Wing Lam (24) is one of them. He knows exactly what he wants to do: the Master’s programme in Pharmacy. He has already followed a minor and is now completing his Bachelor’s degree in Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences – also in Leiden. ‘I know what I want to do, but there’s an admissions procedure, which makes it tricky.’ His aim for today: come up with a back-up plan. ‘If plan A doesn’t work, I’ll have to go for plan B,’ he says.

Yik Wing Lam

Clear idea of future perspectives

Lisanne Dierx (20) is sitting drinking coffee at a high table nearby. ‘I’m studying Health & Society in Wageningen,’ she says. She graduates this academic year, and wants to start a master’s programme next year: in Health & Medical Psychology or Vitality & Ageing. ‘Helping people live a healthy life interests me,’ she explains. She has also seen interesting programmes in Maastricht and Wageningen. ‘I want to find out more about the structure of the programme and what the future perspectives are: what work will I be able to do with this degree?’

Sem Brussee (20) and Daniël Groskamp (21) are doing the Biology and Medical Laboratory Research programme at the University of Applied Sciences Leiden. They will finish this year. They both want to continue with their studies and gain more knowledge. ‘I don’t feel as though I’ve got all I can out of it yet,’ says Daniël. Sem isn’t sure what kind of work he wants to do yet: ‘I want to do a broad master’s programme in which I can specialise later on.’

Students answer questions at Leiden Law School

At the Kamerlingh Onnes Building (KOG), home of the Faculty of Law, student representatives from all the master’s programme sit at long tables. Visitors can ask any questions they may have. Mark Graydon (21) mainly wants answers to practical questions. He’s studying law in Ireland, but is now considering the Master’s programme in Public International Law in Leiden. ‘I’ve got several reasons for this. First, the University has a good reputation. That’s really important. But studying here is cheaper too, and with the housing crisis in Ireland, I can’t afford accommodation there.’ The programme’s international orientation, it being taught in part in The Hague and its focus on the public sector are an extra bonus.

Mark Graydon

Ready for somewhere new

Loraine d’Hooghe (21) is browsing through the master’s prospectus with her mother. ‘I’m doing a bachelor’s degree in law at VU Amsterdam,’ she says. ‘But I’ve heard good things about Leiden: that it’s more fun than Amsterdam and that the lecturers are better. And I’m ready for somewhere new.’ She is considering several options: a Master’s programme in Civil Law, Labour Law or perhaps Child Law. ‘The content of the programme is important. That will determine which one I choose.’

On the other side of Leiden, the Faculty of Archaeology has also opened its doors. Together with his girlfriend, Zef van Engelen (24) is one of the visitors. He is currently finishing his Bachelor’s degree in History, but after a placement where archaeology and history overlap, he is now considering archaeology. ‘I find spatial planning and heritage really interesting, so a master’s programme in archaeology might be an option.’ He is going to look at Utrecht too. ‘The master’s programme there is more about spatial planning, and heritage is part of it. I’m going to see which one appeals more.’

Jeroen Ammerlaan (left) and Michael Bakker

New Master’s programme at the Faculty of Archaeology

Several students from the bachelor’s programme at Saxion University of Applied Sciences (Deventer) have come to look around Leiden. The reason is the new Master’s specialisation in Applied Archaeology, which is where academic education meets applied education. Naomi van Houten (24) says, ‘I wanted to find out what it looks like here, but am almost certain it’s what I’m going to go for.’ She is in good time: she’s in her second year.

Study friends Jeroen Ammerlaan (21) and Michael Bakker (24) – also from Deventer – aren’t yet sure. Michael is also interested in a master’s programme in physical geography, which is in Utrecht. Jeroen wants to further develop the current technological applications within archaeology. ‘What I want to find out today is what the options are within the new master’s programme.’ They also want to learn more about the pre-master’s programme that they will have to follow beforehand.

Elinor Abbott

Combine passion for history and archaeology

Elinor Abbott (38) from America has also come to the information fair at the Faculty of Archaeology. ‘I’ve heard that this is one of the best archaeology programmes. I want to find out whether it will suit me and whether I’ll be able to combine my passion for history and archaeology in one programme.’ In her case, that would be the Master’s programme in Archaeology: Heritage and Museum Studies. ‘For me, the content is most relevant. I’m less curious about the city of Leiden: I live in Rotterdam and want to stay there.’

The Hague in Leiden

At the Lipsius Building, there is a live connection with the information fair in The Hague, so that visitors can combine a visit to Leiden and The Hague. Students can ask any questions and receive a direct answer via the livestream. Many students have also come for the programmes at the Faculty of Humanities. Heleen Brandt (22), for instance. She is in the last year of her Bachelor’s programme in Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam, but other disciplines interest her too, such as political science and international relations. She thinks she’ll choose the Master’s programme in Culture & Politics, which is related to anthropology after all. She laughs: ‘That’s the big problem. I like everything. It’s difficult to decide what I like best.’

Anna-Lena Guttmann

Content as main criterion

Anna-Lena Guttmann (22) has come to Leiden from Bonn in Germany – where she is studying English and Scandinavian literature – to find out more about the master’s programme in literary studies. She will probably choose the German Language and Culture programme. ‘A good way to discover the links between the Dutch and German languages,’ she says. The atmosphere in Leiden is good, as is the reputation of the University. She has also heard that the professors are good in their fields. And so for her, like many of the prospective master’s students, the content is the main criterion for choosing a programme

Text and photos: Marloe van der Schrier
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