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Asian Studies (Research)

This e-guide is still being updated. Please check regularly for new updates.

More information can be found under the tab “More info” and on the department’s website.

Students with disabilities

The university is committed to supporting and accommodating students with disabilities as stated in the university protocol (especially pages 3-5). Students should contact Fenestra Disability Centre at least four weeks before the start of their courses to ensure that all necessary academic accomodations can be made in time conform the abovementioned protocol.

Academic Integrity

Students are expected to be familiar with Leiden University policies on plagiarism and academic integrity. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. If you submit any work with your name affixed to it, it is assumed to be your own work with all sources used properly indicated and documented in the text (with quotations and/or citations).

Start in September

Note 1: Students may opt to choose one or more (600-level) courses from another Research Master or from one of the Dutch research schools to replace one of the Core Elective Courses. Students should be aware, though, that not all courses on offer in these research schools carry a weight of 10 EC and additional courses may thus be required.

Note 2: ‘ Semester 1’ stands for Fall semester and ‘ Semester 2’ for Spring semester.

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

First year

Fall semester

Common Core Course

Theory and Issues in Area Studies 10

Core Elective Course (Choose one or more of the following courses with a minimum total of 10 EC)

Material Culture, Memory and Commemoration along the Silk Roads in Central Asia (ResMA) 10
Economic Development and Social Change in Southeast Asia (ResMA) 10
Chinese Linguistics: The State of the Art (ResMA) 10
Politics of Culture in Southeast Asia (ResMA) 10
Histories of Southeast Asia (ResMA) 10
Cultures of Resistance in the Post-colonial World (ResMA) 10
Oral Traditions (ResMA) 10
From Inkwell to Internet: Text and Transmission in the Muslim World (ResMA) 10
Religious Themes in Asian Art (ResMA) 10
Sacred Journeys: Pilgrimage and Holy Places (ResMA) 10
The State in Modern Chinese History (ResMA) 10
Masters of Chinese Philosophy (ResMA) 10

Alternative Core Elective Courses

Alternatively students may opt to choose one or more (600-level) courses from one of the other Research Masters or from one of the research schools. NB: students should be aware, though, that not all courses on offer carry a weight of 10 EC and additional courses may thus be required.

Elective Course (Choose one or more courses listed under the tab "Electives" with a minimum total of 10 EC)

Additionally, students can apply to participate in a series of extra-curricular lectures

Discipline and Place in the Social Sciences and the Humanities 0

Spring semester

Common Core Course

Mixed Methods in the Social Sciences and Humanities (ResMa) 10

Core Elective Course (Choose one or more of the following courses with a minimum total of 10 EC)

Anthropology of Muslim Societies (ResMA) 10
Culture and Conquest: the Impact of the Mongols and their Descendants (ResMA) 10
Chinese Art History (ResMA) 10
Confucianism, Idealism and Power in East Asia's Past and Present (ResMA) 10
Topical Readings in Pre-modern Chinese (ResMA) 10
Reading Buddhist Scriptures (ResMA) 10
Human Rights Discourses on North Korea (ResMA) 10
Political Economy of Southeast Asia (ResMA) 10
Image/Text in Pre-modern Japan (ResMA) 10
Contemporary Indian Politics (ResMA) 10

Elective Course (Choose one or more courses from the MA Asian Studies (60 EC) programme with a minimum total of 10 EC)

Second year

Fall semester

Fieldwork / Study Abroad (ResMA) 30

Alternatively, students take two or more core electives (with a minimum total of 20 EC) and one or more electives (with a minimum total of 10 EC)

Spring semester

Thesis Writing Seminar (Spring) 5
Research MA Thesis (Middle Eastern Studies, Asian Studies) 25

Start in February

Note 1: Students may opt to choose one or more (600-level) courses from another Research Master or from one of the Dutch research schools to replace one of the Core Elective Courses. Students should be aware, though, that not all courses on offer in these research schools carry a weight of 10 EC and additional courses may thus be required.

Note 2: ‘ Semester 1’ stands for Fall semester and ‘ Semester 2’ for Spring semester.

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

First year

Spring semester

Common Core Course

Mixed Methods in the Social Sciences and Humanities (ResMa) 10

Core Elective Course (Choose one or more of the following courses with a minimum total of 10 EC)

Culture and Conquest: the Impact of the Mongols and their Descendants (ResMA) 10
Confucianism, Idealism and Power in East Asia's Past and Present (ResMA) 10
Anthropology of Muslim Societies (ResMA) 10
Chinese Art History (ResMA) 10
Reading Buddhist Scriptures (ResMA) 10
Topical Readings in Pre-modern Chinese (ResMA) 10
Image/Text in Pre-modern Japan (ResMA) 10
Human Rights Discourses on North Korea (ResMA) 10
Political Economy of Southeast Asia (ResMA) 10
Contemporary Indian Politics (ResMA) 10

Elective Course (Choose one or more courses from the MA Asian Studies (60 EC) programme with a minimum total of 10 EC)

Fall semester

Common Core Course

Theory and Issues in Area Studies 10

Core Elective Course (Choose one or more of the following courses with a minimum total of 10 EC)

Material Culture, Memory and Commemoration along the Silk Roads in Central Asia (ResMA) 10
Sacred Journeys: Pilgrimage and Holy Places (ResMA) 10
Chinese Linguistics: The State of the Art (ResMA) 10
Masters of Chinese Philosophy (ResMA) 10
Politics of Culture in Southeast Asia (ResMA) 10
Histories of Southeast Asia (ResMA) 10
Cultures of Resistance in the Post-colonial World (ResMA) 10
Oral Traditions (ResMA) 10
From Inkwell to Internet: Text and Transmission in the Muslim World (ResMA) 10
Economic Development and Social Change in Southeast Asia (ResMA) 10
The State in Modern Chinese History (ResMA) 10
Religious Themes in Asian Art (ResMA) 10

Alternative Core Elective Courses

Alternatively students may opt to choose one or more (600-level) courses from one of the other Research Masters or from one of the research schools. NB: students should be aware, though, that not all courses on offer carry a weight of 10 EC and additional courses may thus be required.

Elective Course (Choose one or more courses from the MA Asian Studies (60 EC) programme with a minimum total of 10 EC)

Additionally, students can apply to participate in a series of extra-curricular lectures

Discipline and Place in the Social Sciences and the Humanities 0

Second year

Spring semester

Fieldwork / Study Abroad (ResMA) 30

Alternatively, students take two or more core electives (with a minimum total of 20 EC) and one or more electives (with a minimum total of 10 EC)

Fall semester

Thesis Writing Seminar (Fall) 5
Research MA Thesis (Middle Eastern Studies, Asian Studies) 25

Elective courses

The courses listed are, in principle, open to all students admitted to the MA Asian Studies (research). However, some of them may have additional entry requirements such as, for example, a particular level of language sufficiency. Please, refer to the course descriptions for further details.

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Specialisation courses offered by the MA Asian Studies programme:

History, Arts and Culture of Asia

You can find information on course availability for the 2016-2017 academic year in History, Arts and Culture of Asia (Asian Studies) through the following link.

Politics, Society and Economy (Asian Studies)

You can find information on course availability for the 2016-2017 academic year in Politics, Society and Economy (Asian Studies) through the following link.

East Asian Studies

You can find information on course availability for the 2016-2017 academic year in East Asian Studies through the following link.

Korean Studies

You can find information on course availability for the 2016-2017 academic year in Korean Studies through the following link.

Chinese Studies

You can find information on course availability for the 2016-2017 academic year in Chinese Studies through the following link.

Japanese Studies

You can find information on course availability for the 2016-2017 academic year in Japanese Studies through the following link.

Southeast Asian Studies

You can find information on course availability for the 2016-2017 academic year in Southeast Asian Studies through the following link.

South Asian Studies

You can find information on course availability for the 2016-2017 academic year in South Asian Studies through the following link.

Language courses

Students can take up to 10 EC maximum of language courses at beginner’s or intermediate level (i.e. BA-courses). If they want to take more courses, these will not be counted towards their degree. They will, however, be listed on their Diploma Supplement as extra-curricular course(s).

Note that the number of available places for these (BA-)courses may be limited.

Japanese

Note that if you choose to follow an elective in Japanese language you are obliged to follow all four courses.

Structure: Japanese Grammar Ia 5
Applied linguistics Ia: Conversation & listening skills 3
Applied linguistics Ia; Kanji 2
Teksten Ia 5

Chinese

Modern Chinese I 15

Korean

Korean 1.1 15

Indonesian

Indonesian 1 10

Hindi

Hindi 1 10

Tibetan

Tibetan 1 (not offered in 16-17) 10

Sanskrit

Sanskrit 1 10

Persian

Language Acquisition Persian 1 5
Language Acquisition Persian 2 5

Turkish

Beginner's Turkish 2 5

Advanced Language Courses

Students can take more than 10 EC of language courses at advanced level (MA courses, level 400-500), pending approval of the Board of Examiners.

Advanced Korean Language Training: Reading 10
Advanced Readings in Classical Chinese 5
Advanced Reading & Writing in Japanese 1 (60 EC) 10
Advanced Modern Chinese Reading & Writing 1 5
Advanced Modern Chinese Listening & Speaking 1 5
Advanced Modern Chinese: Reading & Writing 2 5
Advanced Modern Chinese: Listening & Speaking 2 5
Advanced Reading & Writing in Japanese 2 (60 EC) 5
Advanced Readings in Sanskrit Literature 10
Hindi Literature 10

More info

Programme Details
Objectives
Structure
Master’s thesis and requirements for graduation
Contact Information

Programme Details

Title: Master of Arts
Duration: 2 years, full-time
Start dates: September and February
Language of instruction: English
Responsibility: Programme director Master Asian Studies (research), Prof. Dr. J.A. Silk

Objectives

This research master provides core training in an Area Studies approach to knowledge, opportunities for the development of disciplinary skills (politics, history, literature, philosophy, religion, etc.), and possibilities to build upon regional and language specialisation (such as Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Sanskrit, and Tibetan). Master students in Asian Studies develop sophisticated theoretical and methodological tools for scholarly reflexivity as well as tools specific for their research projects – which may be framed in more conventionally disciplinary and regional terms. They are guided to understand the parameters of the various disciplines and the ways in which they may be creatively combined into sophisticated forms of inter-disciplinarity, suitable to their subject matter. Students develop in-depth knowledge of one of the regions of Asia (East Asia, South or Southeast Asia [including Tibet]), and/or a transregional/comparative perspective that tracks particular themes through their relationship with ‘areas.’

Structure

Introduction

Preferably during the first weeks after the start of their studies, the students of the MA Asian Studies (research) are coupled with a “consultant”, one of the professors involved in the programme who (preferably) works on a topic of interest to the individual student. Together with his or her “consultant” the student composes a programme which caters to her or his interest.

Common Core Courses

The programme consists of four semesters with a course load of 30 EC each. The courses have a weight of 10 EC each (some language courses have a weight of 5 EC) and students generally follow three courses per semester. During the first year students have to take two Common Core Courses: ‘Theory and Issues of Area Studies’ (Fall Semester) and ‘Methods in Area Studies’ (Spring Semester). These courses are obligatory for students of both the MA Middle Eastern Studies (research) and the MA Asian Studies (research) and attended by them jointly.

Core Electives and Electives

Besides these Common Core Courses students take elective courses. The programme offers two kinds of electives: “core electives” and “electives”. Every student needs to choose at least one “core elective” in each semester.
These core electives are courses which are also attended by regular MA students, but they aim at the same time at offering an extra intellectual challenge to the students of the research MA: during the course more challenging literature is read and extra tutorials are offered by the convernors of the courses to discuss the literature read. Moreover, the assignments are assessed at a higher level to cater to the higher intellectual need of research MA students. The remaining regular “electives” are courses attended jointly with the students of the regular MAs and lack the extra challenges offered by the “core electives”.
It is also possible to take courses from other programmes, but when students choose to do so, they need to obtain approval from the Board of Examiners first. Students should be aware, though, that for some of the courses a certain level of knowledge of a particular language is required (see course descriptions).

Fieldwork / Study Abroad

Students are expected to spend the third semester of the programme abroad doing fieldwork and/or studying at an affiliated institution.

The last semester: Thesis Writing Seminar and MA-Thesis

After their return from Fieldwork or Study Abroad, the students write their MA-Thesis. The process of writing is supported by a “Thesis Seminar” which is obligatory and offered bi-weekly. Students present their research during this seminar and discuss relevant issues with their peers.

Master’s thesis and requirements for graduation

In the third semester students start working on their individual research (and if they want to do fieldwork in the third semester, even earlier). This will result in a master’s thesis. The thesis must be based on the student’s own research, including primary data. Whether this material is gathered during fieldwork and/or a study-abroad period depends on the road chosen by the student. The fourth semester is entirely reserved for the writing of the thesis. During this semester, the students gather on a regular base under the guidance of Prof. E.J. Zürcher in the Thesis Writing Seminar to discuss their progress. This “course” has a weight of 5 EC and is obligatory for all students in the fourth semester. In order to graduate, students need to have successfully completed the 120 EC programme including having completed the thesis (25 EC) as part of that programme. The thesis should be related to the expertise of at least one of the members of staff involved in the programme.

Contact Information

Mailing address

MA Middle Eastern Studies programme
Secretariat Vrieshof 4, rm 112a
P.O.Box 9515
2300 RA Leiden
The Netherlands

Visiting address (also address for courier services)

Matthias de Vrieshof 4, 2311BZ Leiden
Witte Singel 25, 2311BG Leiden

Secretariat

Matthias de Vrieshof 4, room 112a
Phone +31 (0)71 527 2253
E-mail osz-oa-Vrieshof@hum.leidenuniv.nl
Openinghours

Coordinator/Student adviser

N.A.N.M. van Os, PhD
Phone: +31 (0)71 527 2937
E-mail: stucovrieshof@hum.leidenuniv.nl
Office hours: upon appointment on Mondays (until 13.00 hs), Tuesdays, Wednesdays