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Arabic Studies

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Semester 1 (Fall Semester)

Common Core Courses

Theories and Methods of Middle East and Islamic Studies 10
Bi-weekly staff seminar in Middle East and Islamic Studies (Sem 1) 0

Specialisation Courses: choose two of the following courses

Alternatively students may opt to take one course at the University of Amsterdam. The courses offered by the Department of Arabic Studies at the University of Amsterdam can be found in their electronic studyguide. For general information anout this “sector plan” cooperation click here

Anthropology of Islamic Law 10
The Islamic Book: from Manuscript to Modern Media 10
Culture and Society in the Medieval Muslim World 10

Semester 2 (Spring Semester)

Common Core Courses

MA Thesis, Arabic, Persian and Turkish Languages and Cultures, Arabic Studies 20
Bi-weekly staff seminar in Middle East and Islamic Studies (Sem 2) 0

Specialisation Courses: choose one of the following courses

Arabic Dialectology 10
Islam and Modernity 10
Text and Transmission 10
Themes in Modern Arabic Literature 10

Meer info

Programme Details
Master’s thesis and requirements for graduation
Contact information

Programme Details

Title: Master of Arts
Duration: 1 year, full-time
Start dates: September and February
Language of instruction: English
Responsibility: Programme director Master Arabic, Persian and Turkish Languages and Cultures, Prof. dr. P.M. Sijpesteijn


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.

Graduates of this master’s programme are expected to have acquired a sound overview of the conceptual tools and current state of scholarship in the field of Arabic, Persian or Turkish languages and cultures. In their master’s thesis the students should also be able to demonstrate that they have an adequate command of the research methods of either linguistics, literature or history of their region of choice, and that they are able to work with Arabic, Persian or Turkish source materials. Moreover, the programme aims to raise students to a level of knowledge and skills that allows them to proceed to PhD research. Alternatively, graduates qualify for positions outside the university that require an academic level of thinking.


The master’s programme in Arabic, Persian and Turkish Languages and Cultures 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 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 seminars within a language specific programme. Students who specialize in Arabic studies may, after consultation with the student advisor, opt to take one seminar at the University of Amsterdam. Furthermore, all students take part in the ‘Bi-weekly Staff Seminar Middle East and Islamic Studies’ in which the students and other invited speakers present their ongoing research.

The ‘Bi-weekly Staff Seminar’ is continued in the second semester. During this semester students of Arabic and Persian Studies continue their studies at Leiden University. Students of Turkish Studies spend the second semester at a partner university in Turkey or complete their coursework at Leiden University. The master’s programme is concluded with a thesis (20 ects).

Master’s thesis and requirements for graduation

In order to graduate, students must have successfully completed the 60 EC programme including their final thesis as a component of that programme. The thesis carries 20 EC, and as a rule should not exceed a maximum of 17,000 words including notes, bibliography and appendices. The thesis is supervised by a lecturer of the Department of Arabic, Persian and Turkish Languages and Cultures who possesses the appropriate expertise in the field addressed in the thesis. The Department ensures that students are put in contact with a lecturer from their own department for thesis supervision, preferably at the commencement of the programme.


The Arabic, Persian and Turkish Languages and Cultures Master consists of the following specialisations:

Arabic Studies
Persian Studies
Turkish Studies

Contact Information

Mailing address

MA Arabic, Persian and Turkish Languages and Cultures
Secretariat Vrieshof 4, rm 112a
P.O.Box 9515
2300 RA Leiden
The Netherlands

Visiting address (also address for courier services)

Matthias de Vrieshof 4, 2311BZ Leiden
Witte Singel 25, 2311BG Leiden


Matthias de Vrieshof 4, room 112a

Opening hours
Monday, 13.30-15.30 hs
Tuesday, 10.00-12.30 hs
Wednesday, 10.00-12.30 hs
Thursday, 10.00-12.30 and 13.30-15.30 hs
Friday, 10.00-12.30 hs

Phone +31 (0)71 527 2253
Fax +31 (0)71 527 3310

Coordinator/Student adviser

N.A.N.M. van Os, MA
Phone: +31 (0)71 527 2937
Office hours: Tuesday, Thursday, 10-12 hs