Universiteit Leiden

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Study programme

When deciding what to study you undoubtedly read a lot of information about your study programme. Leiden University employs various systems to provide information about programmes and courses and to facilitate communication between lecturers and students.

The e-prospectus contains information about all the courses within your study programme. Here you can find all you need to know about your programme. Via Blackboard you can communicate with your lecturers and submit assignments.

Objectives

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.

Specialisations

The master’s programme in History is founded on the fields of research which are well represented in Leiden. The research programme of the Department of History consists of several specialisations, each representing a specific approach to the study of History and has its specific historiographical traditions and methodological problems and possibilities.

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 offered in their specialisation of choice, 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).

See the specialisations for more information:

Components MA History

  • Literature Seminar [10 ECTS]  
    The introductory course of the master is taught in the form of an intensive literature seminar, in which you will be given an outline of issues relevant to your specialisation. You will use secondary literature sources. Students start their programme with a Literature Seminar, whether they start in September or February.
  • Research Seminar [2x10 ECTS] 
    You will take two research seminars where you will carry out research on the basis of original source materials or published documents. Objective of this seminar is enhanced performance in the following areas: research skills, presentation skills, composition skills, and ability to evaluate the findings of other researchers. Students follow one Research Seminar during the first semester of their programme. Students starting in September follow their Research Seminar in the Fall Semester, students starting in February in the Spring Semester.
  • Optional Courses [10 ECTS] 
    Students follow one or two optional courses. 
    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. 
    You can either follow one course of 10 ECTS or two of 5 ECTS. It is advisable to take these courses in the first semester of the programme, but it is possible to take them in the second semester, provided you start already with the thesis in the first semester.
  • Thesis [20 ECTS] 
    The Master’s Programme will be concluded by a 20 ECTS MA-thesis. This thesis will be based on original research and will be at minimum 16.000 and at maximum 18.000 words in size. Students are guided in writing their thesis by thesis supervisors. Students are also expected to follow a thesis seminar. This seminar consists of a number of meetings in which students are given the opportunity to present their work and to comment on the work of others. The seminar aims at providing students with some additional support in the writing process as well as achieving further uniformity where practical matters are concerned. Upon graduation students sit for a final ceremony for which they defend their thesis and answer questions on additional literature. 
    A student has to ask a member of staff active in the field of his/her specialisation to act as their thesis supervisor. In the overview of staff, divided by specialisation, possible supervisors can be identified.

Programme schedule

Start in September

Semester Week/date  
I 1 Start courses (Literature Seminar, Research Seminar, Optional Course)
  7/8 Complete Literature Seminar
  10 Subject and thesis supervisor must have been determined. Delivery of this information to the Director of Studies for the MA History.
  10-13 MA Thesis: 
- Composition of research plan in concordance with thesis supervisor 
- Bibliographical state of research
  December Delivery of paper for Research Seminar
  January Delivery of paper for Optional course (especially if it concerns a second research seminar in history)
     
II 3 Delivery of Bibliografical Essay
  End of June Submission MA Thesis


Always check the schedule for the exact deadlines. 

Start in February 

Semester Week/date  
II 1 Start courses (Literature Seminar, Research Seminar, Optional Course)
  7/8 Complete Literature Seminar
  10 Subject and thesis supervisor must have been determined. Delivery of this information to the Director of Studies for the MA History.
  10-13 MA Thesis: 
- Composition of research plan in concordance with thesis supervisor 
- Bibliographical state of research
  End of May Delivery of paper for Research Seminar
  in June Delivery paper for Optional course (especially if it concerns a second research seminar in history)
     
I September Delivery Bibliografical Essay
  December Delivery MA Thesis

  
Always check the schedule for the exact deadlines.

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