The multidisciplinary approach to a geographical area, the Middle East and North Africa, throughout history is characteristic of this programme. Using the rich collections of the University Library and other institutions the programme incorporates both the long textual tradition of Leiden University and the most up-to-date theories and approaches of history, literature, linguistics and the social sciences.
The master’s programme in Middle Eastern Studies consists of two semesters, each consisting of 30 EC. In the first semester students follow three courses of 10 EC each. In the second semester students take one more 10 EC course and write their MA-Thesis (20 EC).
In the first semester all students take the course ‘Theories and Methods of Middle East and Islamic Studies’ (10 EC). In this course the emphasis lies on the relevance (or lack thereof) of contemporary theories, concepts and models from the social sciences for the study of the Middle East. Students are familiarised with a variety of methods to obtain and interpret information from different types of sources. In addition to this common course, students take two courses which are specific to their specialisation.
In the second semester students of the specialisations Arabic, Persian, Islamic, Israel and Modern Middle East Studies continue their studies at Leiden University taking one more course of 10 EC. These students take part in the ‘Thesis Seminar in Middle East and Islamic Studies’ in which the students present their ongoing research.
Students of the specialisation Turkish Studies spend the second semester at a partner university in Turkey or complete their coursework at Leiden University taking courses up to a weight of 10 EC.
All students, including those studying abroad, also work on their MA-Thesis (20 ects) during the second semester.
Master’s thesis and requirements for graduation
In order to graduate, students must have successfully completed the 60 EC programme including their MA-Thesis as a component of that programme. The thesis carries 20 EC, and as a rule should not exceed a maximum of 20,000 words including notes, bibliography and appendices. The thesis is preferably supervised by a lecturer of the School of Middle Eastern Studies who possesses the appropriate expertise in the field addressed in the thesis. The Department ensures that students are put in contact with a lecturer for thesis supervision, preferably at the commencement of the programme. More details on the procedures regarding the MA-Thesis can be found in the course description.
The MA programme in Middle Eastern Studies offers the following specialisations:
Modern Middle East Studies
MA Middle Eastern Studies programme
Secretariat Vrieshof 4, rm 112a
2300 RA Leiden
Visiting address (also address for courier services)
Matthias de Vrieshof 4, 2311BZ Leiden
Witte Singel 25, 2311BG Leiden
Matthias de Vrieshof 4, room 112a
Phone +31 (0)71 527 2253
N.A.N.M. van Os, PhD
Phone: +31 (0)71 527 2937
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