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Literary Studies: Literature in Society. Europe and Beyond

Literature in Society. Europe and Beyond is a specialisation within the MA Literary Studies. The programme is structured as follows:

Core course: Literature in Society: Narrative, Fiction and Voice

Elective 1: one of the Literature in Society electives

Elective 2: choose between:

  • One of the Literature in Society electives

  • European Modernism

  • Migration Matters: (Im)migration, Memory, and Identity in American Literature

  • Interculturality 1: Key Concepts

  • Ethics in Gothic, Horror, SF and Noir Fiction

  • Crisis, Literature, and the Contemporary

Elective 3: choose between:

  • The courses mentioned under Elective 1 and Elective 2 or

  • Another course on literature & culture from a related MA. Its subject should be about the relationship between literature and political or social issues, in a transnational perspective. A perspective on literary and cultural phenomena that goes beyond a comparative approach and adresses connections, transfer and exchange between several language areas. If you choose this option you must always ask the board of examiners for approval.

  • An internship. Please note that you can only do an internship after obtaining 30 credits in course work.

MA thesis (20 EC)

Students starting in September take the core course and two electives in their first semester. In their second semester they take another elective and write their MA thesis. Students starting in February take three electives in their first semester. In the Fall semester they take the core course and write their MA thesis.


Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Obligatory components MA Thesis (20 EC)

Thesis Seminar Master Literary Studies FR GE IT LS 0
Master thesis, Master Literary Studies, track Literature in Society 20

First semester

Obligatory Course (10 EC)

Literature in Society: Narrative, Fiction and Voice 10

Elective chosen from the following:

European Modernism 10
Interculturality: Key Concepts 10
Literature and Social Class: 1800 to the Present 10
Ethics in Gothic, Horror, SF and Noir Fiction 10
Remapping the City in Modern Literature and Visual Cultures 10
American Identities, 1850 to the present 10
The Epic Course: A Pre-Modern Genre and its digital disclosure 10
Questions of Law and Justice in Literature, Art and Media 10
Internship MA Literary Studies 10
Thesis Seminar Master Literary Studies FR GE IT LS 0

Second semester

Elective chosen from the following:

Crisis, Literature and the Contemporary 10
Migration Matters: (Im)migration, Memory, and Identity in American Literature 10
Core Course: Methodologies and Theories – Medieval & Early Modern 10
Imagining Reconciliation in Literature, Art and Media: Early Modernity to the Present Day 10
Internship MA Literary Studies 10


Career Preparation

Career Preparation in the MA Literary Studies

How can you use the knowledge and the skills that you acquire during your studies? What skills do you already have, and what other skills do you still want to develop? How do you translate the courses that you choose into something that you’d like to do after graduation?
As a student of the MA Literary Studies, there are several ways in which you will work on these questions:
1. All Literary Studies students follow the Literary Studies Career Colloquium : this is a programme specially tailored for Literary Studies students, consisting of a series of small scale meetings through the year where you work on your personal profile, academic and practical skills and of two career events where you meet professionals and alumni, in order to clarify your personal career prospects and start building your professional network.
2. In addition, you may follow one or several of the many activities of the Humanities Career Service: this is a faculty wide programme that is available to all students of the Faculty of Humanities. Many different activities are organised to help you reflect on your own wishes and options, and give you the chance to explore the job market. All these activities are focused on the questions: ‘What can I do?’, ‘What do I want?’ and ‘How do I achieve my goals?’.
3. Last but not least, university courses help you acquire and develop ‘transferable skills’, that is skills that you will also be able to use in your future work, such as critical thinking, argumentation, flexibility, planning, teamwork, etc. At the beginning and/or the end of each course, students and teachers are encouraged to discuss the transferable skills that were acquired during the course.

Programme of the Literary Studies Career Colloquium

1) Introduction day (September): for all new and current students

  • Short lecture by a staff member on his/her current research

  • Presentation of the Career Colloquium

  • Information on the Teaching Committee and student associations

  • Coffee: meeting staff members and other students

2) “Where do I stand? What can I do? What do I want?” (October)
A workshop to give a first boost to your reflexion on future work.

  • Workshop “Insight into your skills”

  • Working on your personal profile

  • Information regarding internships and the activities of the Humanities Career Service

  • drinks

3) Literary Studies Career Event (February) :

  • Short lecture by a guest speaker

  • Alumni panel, chaired by students of the Career team

  • Have your CV checked by the Career Service

  • Drinks

4) Special, small scale session for Literary Studies students during the Humanities Career Event (april)

The Literary Studies Career Colloquium is organized by the Board of the MA with the Student Career Team: this is a small team of students who assist the Board but also organize their own social events for students. You are very welcome to join the Career Team, please write to dr. A. Schulte Nordholt (Chair):

The activities of student associations

When informing yourself about the job market, do not forget that student associations, who organize their own yearly career day and social and cultural activities specially meant for students of a specific track:

The Humanities Career Service

1) Workshops
You will be regularly notified via the Faculty website, your study programme website and email about the many activities in the area of job market preparation, of which we only name a few:

  • Internship information session

  • Humanities Career Event Humanities Career Event - Leiden University (

  • Workshop ‘How do I find a job?’ Online workshop Hoe vind je een baan - Leiden University (

  • Workshop ‘CV and letter’

2) Individual advice

  • If you have questions about career choices, whether in your studies or on the job market, you are welcome to make an appointment with the career advisor of the Humanities Career Service; you may of course also contact a staff member if you have specific questions belonging to his/her domain of expertise or in order to get a recommendation letter or profit from his/her professional network.

  • If you want to do an internship you can contact the internship coordinator of the Career Service to discuss how to find an internship or to get advise on how to get your internship approved by the Board of Examiners.

  • The Alumni Mentor Network: a network that enables you to get in touch with young professionals who are former students of Leiden University and who may become your personal advisors: []

For more information on the offer of the Humanities Career Service:

The Leiden University Career Zone

Prepare for your future career by surfing through the numerous parts of the Career Zone:

  • Various digital tests to reflect on your studies and career prospects, like a competency test, a career test, a personality test…

  • Questionnaires, advice and links to help you explore your possibilities on the job market;

  • Practical advice on job application skills like : how to make a cv, how to handle a job interview or make an elevator pitch;

  • Links to vacancy websites like the Leiden University Job Portal.

Transferable skills

Future employers are interested not only in the subject-related knowledge that you acquired during your study programme, but also in the ‘transferable skills’. These include cognitive skills, such as critical thinking, reasoning and argumentation; social skills, such as flexibility, initiative, teamwork and leadership, personal skills, such as communication, accountability and conflict resolution and practical skills. In short, they are skills that all professionals need in order to perform well.
It is therefore important that during your study programme you do not only acquire as much knowledge as possible about your subject, but also become aware of the skills you have gained and the further skills you still want to learn. The course descriptions in the e-Prospectus of the MA Literary Studies include, in addition to the courses’ learning objectives, a list of the skills that they aim to develop.
Some skills that you may encounter in various courses :

  • critical and independent judging

  • autonomous learning

  • Collaboration and team work

  • Provide constructive feedback to other students (peer review)

  • contribute to a class debate and/or chair it

Courses of the MA Literary Studies

Courses of the study programme obviously help to prepare you for the job market. As a study programme, we aim to cover this topic either directly or less directly in each semester. For example: European Modernism

Please consult the Prospectus for a complete overview of transferable skills per course.


Coordinator of studies:L.L.J.Kouters MA
The Humanities Career Service: