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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 Prospectus contains information about all the courses within your study programme. Here you can find all you need to know about your programme. Via the online learning environment Brightspace you can communicate with your lecturers and submit assignments.

About the MSc CA-DS

Bujumbura market (Burundi), Frida Heeringa

The CA-DS Master programme in Leiden is research-oriented and provides students with the unique opportunity to carry out independent research abroad, under the guidance of experienced researchers. Within the multi-disciplinary approach, students can focus on a specific region or theme of their choice.

Our globalising world increasingly demands a comparative and holistic approach to all things cultural. In our master programme, you will study the ways global processes manifest themselves in often very particular and local instances, both in far away places but also closer to home in one’s own society.

Using different research methods, you will be able to analyse and report on a wide range of everyday practices of individuals, groups and societies as they find themselves embedded within complex processes of social change. Students of our programme obtain an insight in some of the more widely felt vulnerabilities of our time, including ecological change and a call for sustainability, economic precariousness and the deep impact of media culture, whilst scrutinising and learning from often very local forms of resilience to such challenges.

Within the programme, there are three specialisations:

Information, requirements, and application

For information on our MSc programme, the three specialisations, pre-master's, requirements and how to apply, please refer to:

Cultural Anthropolog and Development Sociology (MSc overview)

Details about the courses can be found here:

Prospectus: MSc Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology

Specialisation: Global Ethnography

The Global Ethnography specialisation provides students with the opportunity to do their own three-months field research, create their own research networks and build on the experience of our specialised researchers, gaining excellent social scientific skills.


Specialisation: Sociology of Policy in Practice

Sociology of Policy in Practice is a one-year programme that focuses on policy-oriented research either abroad or at home, in the Netherlands. It offers students a mix of social scientific skills and the opportunity to work on an own personal three-month research project in the field of policy at an organisation or company.

› See also: Policy-oriented research internships

This programme offers you: 

  • Know-how on how to ‘translate’ prevailing policy problems into manageable research questions
  • Skills to adapt and mobilise a broad spectrum of social scientific methods (qualitative, quantitative, ethnographic, and digital/visual)
  • The opportunity to conduct your own three-month research project at an NGO, government agency, or company
  • Relevant working experience and valuable network contacts

Specialisation: Visual Ethnography 

Field schools: Ghana, Indonesia and The Netherlands

Children in foster care (Kabilpe, Ghana), Anna de Keijzer

As part of the Master CA-DS at Leiden University, students conduct 3 months of fieldwork.

The Leiden Institute of CA-DS has a lot of expertise on South-East Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Therefore students are encouraged to conduct their research in one of our two field schools abroad, located in Indonesia (Java) or Ghana. We also offer field schools for those who conduct their research in The Netherlands.

Find out more about our field schools:

Gaining research experience

Nevertheless, students are not strictly limited to these regions and can focus their research on another region about which they have expertise and speak the local language. In such cases they will not be able to avail of supervision and tailor made methodology courses in situ but will continue to be supervised by their Leiden-based supervisor from a distance.

Professional research skills

 James Town, Accra (Ghana), Mara Lin Visser

The Master in Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology provides students with the academic and professional skills required to independently design and execute research projects. Students follow several courses that make the research process as dynamic and successful as possible.

This includes the course ‘Research Design’ specialised in writing professional research proposals and ‘Thesis Seminar’ which focuses on the complex task of presentation of data once students return from the field. Each student also receives individual supervision for the duration of the programme.

Of course, during their fieldwork and research internships students establish large professional networks that often enable them in their further career.

Visual Ethnography as a Method

Students who have had previous training the visual research methods can also take part in the methodological track Visual  Ethnography as a Method.

This track is formally a part of the specialization Global Ethnography, although occasionally the opportunity arises to combine this track with the research internship (as part of the Sociology of policy in Practice).

Within this methodological track you will be able to improve your use of audio-visual methods like photography, video and audio, both in research and in reporting through your own independent audiovisual research project.

More information about the track 'Visual Ethnography as a Method’

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