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Fieldwork / Study Abroad (ResMA)



Students should be aware that Leiden University will not allow students to do fieldwork in areas colored red and orange (meaning “no travelling allowed” and “only necessary travelling allowed”, respectively) by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The website of the Ministry gives further details.

Students going abroad are furthermore expected to have read and act according to the regulations as laid down in the Leiden University Regulations on Studying Abroad.
More information can also be found on the university website with information for students travelling abroad in the context of their studies.


After the completion of their first year students are expected to spend a complete semester (semester 3) to do fieldwork or to study abroad at one of the institutions affiliated with the programme. Students should discuss their wishes and expectations as early as possible with their “academic mentor”, preferably at the beginning of their second semester at the latest. The students who want to do fieldwork need to write a sound proposal. This proposal needs to be submitted to the Board of Examiners for approval at least two months before the student leaves (preferably before the end of the second semester) and before the 1 June if they want to leave in September.

More information on fieldwork and the procedures regarding fieldwork can be found on the website of the Research MA. For information on Study Abroad students can contact the International Co-ordinator of the Faculty of Humanities for advise. Please be reminded that the deadline for applications for Study Abroad beyond Erasmus agreements is 1 December (year X) for Study Abroad in Fall semester of year X+1 and Spring semester year X+2. Study Abroad in Spring semester year X+1 is only possible if there are places left.


The aim of the fieldwork for the student is to gather data which can be used for the research project resulting in the thesis of the student.


The student is responsible for arranging the fieldwork him/herself in agreement with his/her supervisor. During the fieldwork the student should report on the progress of the fieldwork to his/her supervisor at least every 3 weeks unless otherwise agreed upon with the supervisor.

Prior to the fieldwork the student will write a fieldwork proposal of 5 to 10 pages. This proposal should be discussed with the Leiden supervisor(s) and (if applicable) the local supervisor, after which it needs to be forwarded to the Board of Examiners for approval prior to the start of the fieldwork. A copy of the proposal also needs to be handed in to the Student Advisor, Ms. Nicole A.N.M. van Os.
The proposal should consist of:

  • filled out standard cover sheet

  • research question; objectives of the fieldwork

  • a literature review and the theoretical framework;

  • operationalisation of major concepts

  • outline of the field: location and (where applicable) population

  • outline of the planned activities

  • relevance of the fieldwork to the student's programme and thesis

  • outline of the method of data gathering (and analysis)

  • time line and budgeting


The fieldwork should be conducted during the third semester of the research master programme. For students going in the Fall semester, the proposal should be submitted to the Board of Examiners by 1 June, for students going in them Spring semester, the proposal should be submitted to the Board of Examiners by 1 December.
Students should under no condition leave without the approval of the Board of Examiners. If they do so, they may risk not getting any credits for their fieldwork.

Financial planning

If you are planning on going abroad it is important to consider financial matters such as tuition fees, other costs, your budget and scholarship applications.The University and the Faculty of Humanities offer several scholarships for students of various research MA programmes who wish to either study or conduct (field) research abroad. You can also search for other grants through the grantfinder of EP-Nuffic.

If you are planning to do fieldwork abroad for a minimum period of 60 days you may want to apply for the Uhlenbeck scholarship programme which has been set up especially for research master and master students who are doing mandatory fieldwork abroad. The programme provides a (supplementary) scholarship for your stay.


After his/her return the student hands in a fieldwork report. The reflective report should consist of the following elements:

  • a description of the field and the research undertaken;

  • an answer to the research question posed in the fieldwork proposal;

  • a critical discussion of methodology and practice;

  • an evaluation by the student of the value of the fieldwork for his/her field of research;

  • a critical personal reflection: evaluation of the own functioning and acquired skills.

The fieldwork report is an official examination and therefore needs to be written in English. It should be approximately 15 pages (excluding bibliography and/or appendices) and handed in to the Leiden supervisor(s). The student will be graded by his supervisor based on the fieldwork (the 3-weekly reports) and this final report.