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Literary Studies: French Literature and Culture

French literature and Culture is a specialisation within the MA Literary Studies.

The principle of the programme is: “freedom within bounds”. This means that the programme consists of electives, from which you may freely shape your personal programme. The programme includes two different types of courses: a series of thematic courses (on a special subject or author) and two general core courses: “Medieval and Early Modern Studies” and “European Modernism”.

In order to help you structure your programme, three possible profiles are suggested below:

1) Medieval and Early Modern French Literature and Culture: take the core course “Medieval and Early Modern Studies” as a basis and supplement it with (a) course(s) in one or both fields.

2) Modern and Contemporary French and Francophone Literature and Culture: take the core course “European Modernism” and supplement it with courses in this profile.

3) French Language and Culture is a combined programme of Literary Studies/French (20 EC) and Linguistics/French (20 EC) + a MA thesis in Literary Studies/French. This is especially advised if, after your MA, you intend to apply for the Educational Master.

Rules of the game:

Courses 1 and 2: Any two courses from the French-taught electives on the list below

Course 3 and 4: Any course offered within the MA Literary studies (including the list below)

a course on a literary subject taught in another MA, a course offered within the MA Linguistics: French Language and Linguistics, or a course offered via Masterlanguage.

MA thesis: written in French, on a subject of French or Francophone literature and culture.

Note that:

  • At least two courses at least should be taken from the French-taught electives of the list below.

  • Masterlanguage courses are either 5 or 10 EC; please submit your choice to the Board of Examiners.


Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

First semester

Select courses form the list below (30 EC)

European Modernism 10
Long-Distance Romance: la transmission du roman courtois médiéval 10
Le jeu littéraire au seuil de l'époque moderne 10
Elective MA Literary Studies 10
Masterlanguage: Un auteur, une œuvre
Internship MA Literary Studies 10


Second semester

Select courses from the list below (10 EC)

Elective MA Literary Studies 10
Georges Perec et la pensée du quotidien 10
Masterlanguage: Le défi de la traduction 5
Internship MA Literary Studies 10
MA Thesis Literary Studies (track French) 20

Career preperation

Career Preparation in the MA Literary Studies

How can you use the knowledge and the skills that you acquire during your studies? What skills do you already have, and what other skills do you still want to develop? How do you translate the courses that you choose into something that you’d like to do after graduation?
As a student of the MA Literary Studies, there are several ways in which you will work on these questions:
1. All Literary Studies students follow the Literary Studies Career Colloquium : this is a programme specially tailored for Literary Studies students, consisting of a series of small scale meetings through the year where you work on your personal profile, academic and practical skills and of two career events where you meet professionals and alumni, in order to clarify your personal career prospects and start building your professional network.
2. In addition, you may follow one or several of the many activities of the Humanities Career Service: this is a faculty wide programme that is available to all students of the Faculty of Humanities. Many different activities are organised to help you reflect on your own wishes and options, and give you the chance to explore the job market. All these activities are focused on the questions: ‘What can I do?’, ‘What do I want?’ and ‘How do I achieve my goals?’.
3. Last but not least, university courses help you acquire and develop ‘transferable skills’, that is skills that you will also be able to use in your future work, such as critical thinking, argumentation, flexibility, planning, teamwork, etc. At the beginning and/or the end of each course, students and teachers are encouraged to discuss the transferable skills that were acquired during the course.

Programme of the Literary Studies Career Colloquium

1) Introduction day (September): for all new and current students

  • Short lecture by a staff member on his/her current research

  • Presentation of the Career Colloquium

  • Information on the Teaching Committee and student associations

  • Coffee: meeting staff members and other students

2) “Where do I stand? What can I do? What do I want?” (October)
A workshop to give a first boost to your reflexion on future work.

  • Workshop “Insight into your skills”

  • Working on your personal profile

  • Information regarding internships and the activities of the Humanities Career Service

  • drinks

3) Literary Studies Career Event (February) :

  • Short lecture by a guest speaker

  • Alumni panel, chaired by students of the Career team

  • Have your CV checked by the Career Service

  • Drinks

4) Special, small scale session for Literary Studies students during the Humanities Career Event (april)

The Literary Studies Career Colloquium is organized by the Board of the MA with the Student Career Team: this is a small team of students who assist the Board but also organize their own social events for students. You are very welcome to join the Career Team, please write to dr. A. Schulte Nordholt (Chair):

The activities of student associations

When informing yourself about the job market, do not forget that student associations, who organize their own yearly career day and social and cultural activities specially meant for students of a specific track:

The Humanities Career Service

1) Workshops
You will be regularly notified via the Faculty website, your study programme website and email about the many activities in the area of job market preparation, of which we only name a few:

  • Internship information session

  • Humanities Career Event

  • Workshop ‘How do I find a job?’

  • Workshop ‘CV and letter’
    2) Individual advice

  • If you have questions about career choices, whether in your studies or on the job market, you are welcome to make an appointment with the career advisor of the Humanities Career Service; you may of course also contact a staff member if you have specific questions belonging to his/her domain of expertise or in order to get a recommendation letter or profit from his/her professional network.
    -If you want to do an internship you can contact the internship coordinator of the Career Service to discuss how to find an internship or to get advise on how to get your internship approved by the Board of Examiners.

  • The Alumni Mentor Network: a network that enables you to get in touch with young professionals who are former students of Leiden University and who may become your personal advisors: []

For more information on the offer of the Humanities Career Service, see :

The Leiden University Career Zone

Prepare for your future career by surfing through the numerous parts of the Career Zone:

  • Various digital tests to reflect on your studies and career prospects, like a competency test, a career test, a personality test…

  • Questionnaires, advice and links to help you explore your possibilities on the job market;

  • Practical advice on job application skills like : how to make a cv, how to handle a job interview or make an elevator pitch;

  • Links to vacancy websites like the Leiden University Job Portal.

Transferable skills

Future employers are interested not only in the subject-related knowledge that you acquired during your study programme, but also in the ‘transferable skills’. These include cognitive skills, such as critical thinking, reasoning and argumentation; social skills, such as flexibility, initiative, teamwork and leadership, personal skills, such as communication, accountability and conflict resolution and practical skills. In short, they are skills that all professionals need in order to perform well.
It is therefore important that during your study programme you do not only acquire as much knowledge as possible about your subject, but also become aware of the skills you have gained and the further skills you still want to learn. The course descriptions in the e-Prospectus of the MA Literary Studies include, in addition to the courses’ learning objectives, a list of the skills that they aim to develop.
Some skills that you may encounter in various courses :

  • critical and independent judging
    *autonomous learning

  • Collaboration and team work

  • Provide constructive feedback to other students (peer review)
    *contribute to a class debate and/or chair it

Courses of the MA Literary Studies

Courses of the study programme obviously help to prepare you for the job market. As a study programme, we aim to cover this topic either directly or less directly in each semester.
Underneath, you will find a few examples of courses where this takes place :

  • European Modernism : group presentation during final debate, chairing part of the final debate.

Track English Literature and Culture: * The Medieval in Middle Earth: organize a student conference, including fundraising and pr;.

Track French Literature and Culture:

Track German Literature and Culture :

Track Literature in Society. Europe and Beyond

Please consult the e-Prospectus for a complete overview of transferable skills per course.


Coordinator of studies:
The Humanities Career Service: