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Art History: Arts, Media and Society

Artistic and (digital) media are increasingly shaping our culture and world. In the BA Arts, Media and Society, we will examine contemporary art practices in order to find new perspectives on global issues.

  • Study contemporary art

  • Follow a completely English-taught programme

  • Be part of an international classroom

  • Find new perspectives on global issues

  • Learn to understand contemporary art practices

Are you ready? Jump in and explore!

First year

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Semester I

Freshman's Class / Academic Skills I seminar: On the Scholarly Study of Art and its History 5
How The World Makes Art 5
Western Visual Art - 1800 5
Modern and Contemporary Visual Art and Photography after 1800 5
Arts in Society 5
Big Media 5

Semester II

Academic Skills II (Art History): Searching and Processing Information, Writing and Oral Presentation 5
History of Design and Domestic Culture 1500-present 5
Representation: Cultural Representation and Signifying Practices 5
Curating Cultures 5
Cinema and Photography 10

More info

Programme objectives Programme Compensation BA Thesis and graduation requirements Master's after graduation

Programme objectives

As a student of Arts, Media and Society, you will examine contemporary art practices in order to find new perspectives on global issues. At the Faculty of Humanities, you will make an in-depth study of:

  • Historical and contemporary developments in art

  • Developments in (digital) media

  • The role of art in society

  • The cultural value of arts

Arts, Media and Society offers you the opportunity to build both broad and specialist knowledge of how arts, media and society interact with one another. Bringing these elements together makes this programme unique in the world. Becoming an authority starts in Leiden!


The English-taught full-time Bachelor’s programme in Arts, Media and Society takes three years, and you will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree. In principle, you will be studying for 40 hours a week – a full working week. Around 16 hours a week will be spent in lectures and tutorial groups. In the rest of the week you will be studying independently.

Year 1: Working on fundamental knowledge
In the first semester of Arts, Media and Society, you will establish core knowledge and competences in the field of Art History.
While contemporary art is the main focus of the programme, in order to understand the present and the future, you will need fundamental knowledge about the past.
Read more about your first year at Arts, Media and Society.

Year 2: Studying cutting-edge developments
Focusing on global issues in our globalised and technological era, you will examine the impact of art and media in society, and of course, the interactions between them.
You will immerse yourself in the world of cutting-edge developments in contemporary art and media — from traditional media to digital media, from activist art to poetic encounters.
Social media will be examined as platforms and strategies for political and social action, e.g., during the Arab Spring.

Year 3: Theorising intersections and relations
In the third year, you will advance your theoretical understanding at the intersection of art, media and society and develop your own critical analysis in the form of a thesis.
The dynamic exchange between artistic strategies and activist strategies will be a converging point of the programme.
In the Arts, Media and Society programme there is also a free semester in which you can do an internship, study abroad or follow a minor programme at another faculty.


Bachelor programme: Arts, Media and Society 2017-2018

Compensation of failed grades is possible in cases where:

a. the weighted average in the specific cluster is at least 6.0;
b. the student has no more than one failed grade for any of the study components in the specific cluster;
c. none of the grades awarded in the specific cluster is lower than 5.0.

If a student meets these conditions, he/she is supposed to have met the requirements for the exam for which he/she prepares him/herself with this cluster of study components.

Given the above-mentioned compensation scheme, the following cluster of study components exists within the programme:

In the propaedeuse compensation between the courses is possible within the following cluster:

Cluster 1

  • How the World Makes Art (5 EC)

  • Western Visual Art -1800 (5 EC)

  • Modern and Contemporary Visual Art and photography after 1800 (5 EC)

  • Big Media (5 EC)

  • Arts in Society (5 EC)

  • History of Design and Domestic Culture 1500-present (5 EC)

  • Curating Cultures (5 EC)

  • Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices (English spoken) (5 EC)

  • Cinema and photography (10 EC)

Compensation is not possible after the propeadeuse.

BA Thesis and graduation requirements

To be announced.

Master's after graduation

After obtaining your bachelor’s degree you can continue with a master’s programme. Once you have successfully completed your master’s you will have earned the title of Master of Arts (MA).

Four types of master’s If you have obtained a bachelor’s diploma in Arts, Media and Society, then Leiden University offers four types of master’s:

One-year master’s
A one-year master’s in Arts and Culture (60EC) which follows on from the Bachelor’s programme in Arts, Media and Society. Within this master’s programme you can opt for the following specialisations:

Research master’s
A two-year master’s programme for if you want to continue in the academic world once you have completed your studies. The Bachelor’s programme in Arts, Media and Society can be completed with this research master’s:

A master’s in teaching
A two-year master’s which prepares you for a position in education in the Netherlands, for example at a secondary school or in adult education. There are a number of criteria students of Arts, Media and Society have to meet to be eligible for this programme.

Other one-year master’s programmes

For example: