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Ethnographic Fieldwork


Admission Requirements

The study coordinator grants permission to conduct field research once the following conditions are met:

  • The individual supervisor must approve the language proficiency of the student, as applicable to the field research envisaged.

  • A Research Proposal must receive a pass grade (6-10) from its individual supervisor.

  • A ‘Letter of Liability’ has to be completed and sent to the Coördinator of Studies.

  • The ‘Pre-departure form’ must be correctly filled in and sent to the Coördinator of studies.

  • The ‘Ethics form’ must be correctly filled in and sent to the Coördinator of studies.

Field research

A list of Research Opportunities is available on our website, specifying dedicated opportunities for students to conduct research in line with the research foci of the Leiden Anthropology staff (Global Ethnography (MSc) > About the programme > Research Opportunities). The list is continually updated.

Alternatively, students may develop a research project on a topic of their own choice, provided that the location is safe. Where and how students can do ethnographic research depends on the kind of access they can gain. The institute’s staff members actively encourage students to make use of the technical means available to conduct both ‘ethnography at a distance’ (making video calls and so on), as well as ‘digital ethnography’ (doing research on and in online environments.

If the topic and location have been approved by the institute, field research can be conducted anywhere outside The Netherlands. Students arrange this type of fieldwork for themselves. It is expected that the student will work independently to establish the necessary contacts with local authorities, acquire research permission and affiliation and arrange their own accommodation in the country of research. Supervision during this preparatory period is provided by individual supervisors in Leiden. Students conducting fieldwork outside The Netherlands should aim for local affiliation with an institute or a person willing to take at least partial responsibility for the fieldwork conducted, while students remain under the overall supervision of the Leiden-based supervisor. Supervision of the processing and reporting of field data is also the responsibility of the Leiden-based supervisor. Students conducting fieldwork research in The Netherlands don’t need an additional academic affiliation in addition to the one with Leiden University.

Financial matters

A master’s field research can be a costly endeavour for the student, as it will usually involve travel and the costs of additional accommodation. These expenses are not covered by the tuition fee for the master’s programme.

To ease the financial strain a number of funds may be applied for:

  • Funds, made available by external partners in the context of some research projects listed under ‘Research Opportunities’.

  • Scholarships & grants offered by Leiden University.

  • Funds from the home country (in case of international students).

  • Also check the Dutch study grant/loan provider DUO for additional information.

If planning research outside The Netherlands, also check the university's website for other practical matters regarding studying abroad.


For the duration of the three-month research period, three Fieldwork Reports must be written (each 1,000-3,000 words).

  • Report 1: Operationalization in the field, to be submitted to your supervisor after 3 weeks in the field)

  • Report 2: Reflection on the fieldwork experience, to be submitted to your supervisor after 6 weeks in the field

  • Report 3 (final): Preliminary Analysis/Interpretation of the data.
    The fieldwork is graded based on performance in the research setting.


January-March 2021 for the September 2020 intake; April-June 2021 for the February 2021 intake.


Fieldwork coördinator Dr. Erik de Maaker