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A Child on a Hill: Research Design for the Arts


Admission requirements

Required course(s):

  • Academic Writing


This course is meant to build your research design skills. This is an essential skill set needed for executing any research paper, but this course is specifically geared towards how to approach your capstone. Our central theme is the western cultural construction of the child genius. From this starting point, we will engage with a variety of texts which seek to explain this phenomenon. This includes scientific articles, popular nonfiction, and fiction.

Course Objectives

At the end of this course, students can:

  • Understand the basic principles of research design and literary analysis

  • Recognize the importance of epistemology and positionality in research design

  • Create a robust design for their own capstone projects, beginning with establishing an engaging and plausible premise


Timetables for courses offered at Leiden University College in 2023-2024 will be published on this page of the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction

The course is structured around honing your research design skills through engaging with a single (though generously broad) theme. The Tuesday session focus on the theoretical work of research design and the Friday session will be spent discussing the practical applications of that theory.

Assessment Method

  • Midterm, critical literature review: 40%

  • Peer review input on final research proposal: 10%

  • Final research proposal: 50%

Reading list

  • Galton, Francis. “Hereditary Genius.” Macmillan's Magazine 19, no. 113 (1869): 424–31.

  • Solomon, Andrew. Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity. London: Vintage Books, 2014.

  • Mann, Thomas. 1914. Das wunderkind. Berlin: S. Fischer.

  • McCullers, Carson. 1951. Wunderkind. London: Penguin


Courses offered at Leiden University College (LUC) are usually only open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Leiden University students who participate in one of the university’s Honours tracks or programmes may register for one LUC course, if availability permits. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator,


Dr. Lenore Todd,