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New MA-students (including those still in the admittance procedure) are required to attend the MA introduction in the second week of september.

The History Master consists of the following specialisations:

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

Optional courses

As a part of the programme of the chosen specialisation (see the specialisation of your choice first), students follow one or two optional courses, with a total of 10 ECTS.

All MA courses offered at level 400 or higher can be followed as ‘Optional Course’. These may comprise MA-courses offered by Leiden University (including any Literature and Research seminars offered by the Department of History, subject to availability of space) and those offered by other universities.

Here you find the optional MA courses offered by the History department of Leiden University:

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

First semester (Fall semester)

Literature seminar

Debating the ancient economy 10
Understanding the archives 10
Literature Seminar Colonial and Global History: Globalization and Empire 10
Literature Seminar Maritime History 10
Current Debates in Medieval and Early Modern European History I 10
Literature Seminar Migration and Integration 10
Key Issues in Economic History 10
Literature Seminar Political Culture and National Identities 10
Het politieke debat 10

Research seminar

Graeco-Roman Egypt: a multi-cultural society 10
Information panic about the colony. Tools of colonial governance: colonial reports (1848-1940) and mailreports (1869-1940) 10
Economic Development and Social Change in Southeast Asia 10
The Dutch Slave Trade (Maritime History) 10
Seminar in African History / Moral Panics, Witchcraft and Ritual Murder in Colonial and Post-colonial Africa 10
Instant History. Chronicling news and current affairs in early modern Europe 10
Diplomacy, war and peace, 1000-1600 10
Early Modern Encounters: Money, Migration, and Microbes 10
Success or failure? Migrants and social-economic networks in cities 1750-2012 10
Holiday! Tourism & travel in the 19th and 20th centuries 10
The rocky road of peacekeeping in the 1990s 10
1989: History, Politics and Collective Memory 10
Selling the Nation: Territorial Identities and the Marketing of Products, Places and Experiences 10
Democracy in the Low Countries 10
The American Civil Rights Movement 10
Retorisch vuurwerk in politiek Den Haag 10

Second semester (Spring semester)

Literature seminar

Roman North Africa: a stolen continent 10
Understanding the archives 10
Literature Seminar Migration and Integration 10
Literature Seminar Colonial and Global History: Histories of Islamic Expansion 10
Current Debates in Medieval and Early Modern European History II 10
Literature Seminar Political Culture and National Identities 10

Research seminar

Divination: from the Pythia to Paul (the octopus) 10
Antieke Numismatiek en Geldgeschiedenis 10
Epigraphy 10
Do archivists make history? Appraisal and selection of archives and the consequences for historical research 10
Arts and Culture in Area Studies: Culture and Conquest: the impact of the Mongols and their descendants 10
Dutch Military Operations in Indonesia, 1945-1950 10
Visions of a new world order: anti-imperialist conferences, 1917-1960. 10
Princes and citizens. Composite monarchies, Europe 1350-1600 10
Connecting Dreams: Europe in Africa, Africa in Europe 10
Nationality in Imperial and Soviet Russia 10
The Rise and Fall of American Empire 10
The European Civil War, 1914-1945 10

Other optional courses

Meer info

Master’s thesis and requirements for graduation



The master’s programme in History trains students to specialise in a particular sub-field
of history. In the course of the programme, students are trained to become academics
who can answer research questions arising from the latest developments in academic
thinking in a critical, creative and innovative way. Graduates will be expected to report
on the results of their research, both orally and in writing, either in Dutch or English.
They possess a high degree of specialist knowledge of their field and have insight into the
methodology and history of their field.

Moreover, after completing this programme, students will have the knowledge and
competence required for positions outside the university that require an academic level
of thinking, for an upper secondary teaching qualification or for a PhD position.

Please note: if you have completed an Educational Minor as your optional subject, you
are allowed to follow a fast-track Educational MA (30 ects instead of 60 ects). Please see:


Full-time and part-time
The full-time programme spans one year, the part-time programme eighteen months.
The only difference between the two programmes is in the length of time required for
their completion; in content they are identical.

There are six specialisations for the students to select. The specialisations correspond
to the research done at the History Department and are taught by staff members of the

  • Ancient History

  • American History

  • Medieval and Early Modern European History

  • Migration and Global Interdependence
    (including the subtrack Economic History)

  • History of European Expansion and Globalisation
    (including the subtrack Maritime History)
    (including the subtrack Archival Studies)

  • History of Political Culture and National Identities
    (including the subtrack Political Debate)

  • Europaeum Programme European History and Civilisation

Within their specialisation, students follow one literature seminar for 10 ects in which
they are introduced to the current state of developments in the particular field. In
addition, they choose one of the 10 ects research seminars, as well as an optional
course, for an additional 10 ects. Students are also expected to follow a thesis seminar as
preparation for the master’s thesis (30 ects in total).

Master’s thesis and requirements for graduation

In order to graduate, students must have completed 60 ects of courses including the
writing of the thesis. The master’s thesis carries 30 ects and generally does not exceed
23,000 words including notes, bibliography and appendices. The master’s thesis is based
on the student’s original research and collection of data from secondary literature and
primary sources. The thesis supervisor must be a lecturer in one of the sections of the
History Department.
Also see: