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History (Research)

The History Research Master consists of the following specialisations:

Ancient History
Colonial and Global History
Europe 1000-1800
Cities, Migration and Global Interdependence
Political Culture and National Identities

For detailed information on the components of the new Research MA Programme starting september 2016, please have a look at the prospectus of 2016-2017


Please note that starting the Research Master in the spring semester (February) will mean that the programme is followed in a different order. We strongly advise students to set up their studyplan in consultation with the coordinator of studies before the start of the programme.


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

Research Seminar (20 EC)
Students follow two Research Seminars of their programme. One in the first semester and one in the second semester.

Historical Theory (10 EC)
Historical Theory is the common course for the Research MA students. The course is only offered in the fall semester. Students starting the Research MA in the spring semester are strongly advised to contact the coordinator of studies to discuss their individual course plan.

Tutorial (10 EC)
The tutorial is part of the second semester. Students have to ask a member of staff active in the field of his/her specialisation to act as their tutor. In the Overview of Staff, divided by specialisation, possible supervisors can be identified. The tutorial is meant to carefully plan and prepare the student to write his/her thesis. During the tutorial you will explore the field and determine the subject and research question of your thesis. The tutorial is the mainstay of the research master’s as it offers intensive, eye-to-eye discussions with one of Leiden’s many specialists.

Research School Courses (10 EC)
Research Schools courses offer training in both methodology and area specific knowledge. Research MA students choose courses at the Research school that relates most with their possible area of research.

Optional Courses (20 EC)

Students follow two optional courses. All Research Seminars of the (Research) MA studies offered at level 500 or higher can be followed as optional course. These may comprise Research Seminars 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 Research MA Optional Courses

Thesis and exam (40 EC)
The Research Master’s Programme will be concluded by a 40 EC ResMA-thesis. The thesis is started in the third semester of the programme.

Optional Courses

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

First Semester (Fall Semester)

Early Modern Encounters: Money, Migration, Microbes 10
Fighting Against Rome. The Jewish Revolts under Nero/Vespasian, Trajan and Hadrian 10
The Global Framing of the Medieval Expansion of Europe (1000-1500) 10
‘For the Honour and Dignity of the State’: Dutch Ambassadors Representing the States General at European Courts, 1648-1702 10
The Invisible Hand. Colonial Collections Revisited 10
Treasures of the Sea: New Perspectives on Maritime History and Maritime Archeology 10
The Construction of National and Regional Identities at Exhibitions and World Fairs 10
Containing Corporate Power 10
Political Eloquence 10
Epigraphy 10
The State in Africa 10
You Are What You Eat: Gender, Class, Ethnicity and Food Culture 10
Migrants, Criminals and Exiles: Urban Practices and Effects of Mobility, Containment and Exile, 1650-1900 10
The Uneasy Relationship of the Left with Immigration: An International Comparison (1880 to the Present) 10
The American Civil Rights Movement 10
Exporting Revolution: Socialist Movements and Labor Internationalism, 1880-1940 10
The History of Everyday Life under Communism in East-Central Europe 10

Second Semester (Spring Semester)

Institutions in World History: The State, Trade and Empire, 1500-1800 10
How I Met Your Mother: Relations of Family, Friendship and Clients in Ancient Rome 10
Ways of Doing Greek 10
Violent Transformation: The Decolonization War in Indonesia, 1945-1950 10
The Rise and Decline of American Empire 10
Connecting Dreams: Europe in Africa, Africa in Europe 10
Town and Garrison in 19th Century Europe 10
Numismatics of the Ancient World 10
Paradigm Shift? Archival Concepts and Archival Functions in the 21st Century 10
Missions, Empires, and Nations in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Century 10
The Great Struggle in the East: Total war, revolution and the making of modern Russia 1914-1922 10
Imagining the Spanish Empire in Spain and the Americas 10
Dynasties in the Medieval and Early Modern World 10

More info


The programme has the following objectives:

  1. To broaden and deepen the students’ knowledge, understanding and skills, and train them in the use of scientific methods in the field of history;
    1. To enable students to develop the following academic and professional skills:
      -The ability to solve academic problems independently, critically and creatively;
      -The ability to analyse complex problems;
      -The ability to clearly report academic results, both in writing and orally;
    2. To prepare students for an academic career at a university for postgraduate programmes;
    3. To prepare students for a non-academic career in the public or private sector for which advanced research skills and practical research experience are a prerequisite.


The Research Master programme in History (120 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.
The two-year study programme will provide ample opportunities to acquire general disciplinary knowledge and skills at master’s degree level as well as specific research skills. Much attention will be paid to the development of theories on historical processes, argumentation, historiography and methodology of historical research. The research master’s thesis should provide the basic components for a future PhD-thesis.


  • Literature Seminar 10 EC

  • Research Seminar 20 EC

  • Historical Theory 10 EC

  • Research School Courses 10 EC

  • Optional Courses 20 EC

  • Tutorial 10 EC

  • Thesis and Exam 40 EC


The Research Master History programme has the following specialisations:

Ancient History
Colonial and Global History
Europe 1000-1800
Cities, Migration and Global Interdependence
Political Culture and National Identities

Requirements for graduation in the specialisation


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

Esther Buizer