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The History Master consists of the following specialisations:

Ancient History
Archival Studies
Cities, Migration and Global Interdependence
(with subtracks Economic History & Governance of Migration and Diversity)
Colonial and Global History
(with subtrack Maritime History)
Europe 1000-1800
Europaeum Programme – European History and Civilisation: Leiden-Oxford-Paris Programme
Political Culture and National Identities
(with subtrack Political Debate)


Be aware that this is the 2018-2019 MA History programme. Students who started their programme before September 2018 need to adhere to the academic requirements of their (older) programme.

Literature Seminar (10 EC) Students commence their programme with a Literature Seminar, whether starting in September or February.

Research Seminar (20 EC)
Students take two Research Seminars in the first semester of their programme: one from within their specialisation, the second within the History department.

Optional Courses (10 EC) Students follow one or two optional courses. All MA courses offered at level 400 or higher can be followed as optional course. These may comprise MA courses offered by Leiden University and those offered by other (foreign) universities. Alternatively, students can also opt for an internship. For more information about the different possibilities, see the specific MA Optional Courses page.

Thesis and exam (20 EC)
The Master’s Programme will be concluded by a MA-thesis. Students are guided in writing their thesis by thesis supervisors. Halfway through the first semester, the student commences with the thesis and has to ask a member of staff active in the field of his/her specialisation to act as their thesis supervisor. See the Overview of Staff for a possible supervisors. The thesis is written in the second semester.

Before graduation students sit for a final exam in which they defend their thesis and answer questions on additional literature.

Thesis Seminar
Students are required to take a thesis seminar. This seminar consists of a number of meetings in which students are given the opportunity to present their work and to comment on the work of others. The seminar aims at providing students with some additional support in the writing process as well as achieving further uniformity where practical matters are concerned.

Optional Courses

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

First semester (Fall semester)

Current Debates in Medieval and Early Modern History I 10
Dynasties in the Medieval and Early Modern World 10
Circulation of People, Commodities and Ideas in the Indian Ocean World (1500-1800) 10
Essential Readings in Economic History 10
From Dawn to Sunset: The Rise and Fall of Iberian Empires, 1415-1999 10
Global Perspectives on Neoliberalism 10
Maritime Conflict Management around Europe, 1200-1600 10
Maritime treasures. Diving into maritime history and archaeology 10
Migration and Integration 10
Navigating History: New Perspectives on Maritime History 10
Deep Rivers: The great migrations in African-American History 10
NATO, The Netherlands and the Cold War 10
Negotiating Power in Africa 10
Politics, Culture and National Identities, 1789 to the present 10
Political Eloquence 10
Rebels with a cause: motives and actions of foreign fighters (1850-present) 10
Social Movements, Protest and Political Change, 1880-2000 10
The Business of Empire: Colonial and Imperial Entrepreneurship, 1415-1974 10
The Last Pagan. Julian Apostata as Emperor and Intellectual 10
The United States and Human Rights 10
The Emperor in the Roman World 10
You Are What You Eat: Gender, Class, Ethnicity and Food Culture 10

Second semester (Spring semester)

Asian Events in Early Modern European Sources: Information Transfer and Genres in the Production of Knowledge 10
Connecting Dreams: Europe in Africa, Africa in Europe 10
Constructing National Cultures. Nationalization of the Cultural sphere during the long 19th Century 10
Culture and Conquest: the Impact of the Mongols and their Descendants 10
Current Debates in Medieval and Early Modern History II 10
Decentering Global History 10
Diversities of doing Greek. ‘Hellenisation’ and ‘Hellenism’ in ancient Eurasia 10
Building (or Breaking) Political Trust: Promises and Expectations of Good Government (1200-1600) 10
‘Everyone will fear you’: powerful objects in ancient religions 10
Fighting Epidemics Together: Health Policies Between the Local and the Global 10
Greek Papyrology 10
History of Migration and Diversity 10
Migration and Integration 10
Numismatics: A Practical Guide 10
Politics, Culture and National Identities, 1789 to the present 10
Life Writing as Political History 10
The Decolonization War in Indonesia, 1945-1950: Written and Oral Sources 10
The Hague, Theatrum Europaeum of diplomacy, 1648-1800 10
The power of multinationals, 1945-2015 10
The Russian Revolution Revisited 10
The unification of the Mediterranean 10

Additional information


The programme has the following objectives:
1) To enable students to acquire academic knowledge, understanding and skills, and train them in the use of scientific methods in the field of history;
2) To enable students to develop the following academic and professional skill:

  • Independent academic reasoning and conduct;

  • The ability to analyse complex problems;

  • Academic reporting.
    3) To prepare students for an academic career and further education;
    4) To prepare students for a career outside academia.


The Master programme in History (60 EC) offers you the chance to determine a study based on your own particular interests and ambitions. With several specialisations on offer – each containing a number of specific subjects – you will pay specific attention to the development of theories on historical processes, historiography and methodology of historical research.


  • Literature Seminar 10 EC

  • Research Seminars 20 EC

  • Optional Course 10 EC

  • Thesis, Thesis Seminar and Exam 20 EC

Language of instruction

The language of instruction and examination of the programme is English and Dutch. Students are expected to have an adequate command of the language of instruction of the programme.

Coordinator of Studies

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