This study scheme will be adjusted for students who start in February.
For more relevant courses see also the following programmes:
Archaeology: Archaeology and Antropology of Mesoamerica and the Andes
Archaeology: Archaeology of the Caribbean and Amazonia
Latin American and Caribbean Studies (Research)
The aim of the programme is to provide you with knowledge and understanding of Native American studies, with specific insight into your chosen area of research and study. You will graduate with an overview of the development and societal relevance of Native American studies and will learn to apply independent thinking and reasoning skills to complex scientific problems. This will be demonstrated—both orally and in writing—when you present your thesis at the end of the academic year.
The programme has a flexible, interdisciplinary structure which allows you to specialise in a broad range of American Indian cultures. From the start you will be exposed to the department’s strong teaching-and-research philosophy. Over the year, you will attend a number of classes in archaeology, anthropology or Native American cultural history, and conduct a literature survey on the major typological features of the Amerindian languages. In addition, you may attend language courses in languages not studied during the BA.
Reflecting the enormous diversity of languages and cultures of Native America, the master’s programme is broad in its scope and offers the possibility of areal specialisation.
The emphasis here is classic and post-classic developments, focussing on the continued effects visible in present-day societies in Mexico, Guatemala and Western Central America. You can choose to study the languages Yucatec Maya or Mixtec.
If your focus is the Andes, you will study Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, northern Chile and north-western Argentina. The emphasis is on pre-Columbian culture culminating in the Inca Empire (Tawantisuyu) and on the colonial and postcolonial developments in this area. The language that can be studied is Quechua.
The tropical lowlands comprise the eastern lowlands of South America (including Brazil and the Guianas) and the Caribbean islands. The emphasis is on language (Trio and other Cariban languages), oral literature, linguistic anthropology and archaeology.
Students are strongly encouraged to carry out field research in the Americas as a preparation for the thesis to be written in the second semester. If field research is not possible, you can conduct archive research, or follow a course at a university abroad. You may take the follow-up course of the Amerindian language of your choice in the second semester, should you wish to do so. If you have an interest in the archaeology of Native America, you can select courses from the MA in Archaeology. In addition, you may follow other courses throughout the year given in the Master’s programmes of Linguistics.
The last part of the spring semester is primarily composed of writing up the results of the field research (or archive research) —guided throughout by your study tutor.
In the first semester, students follow a number of courses, which are intended to deepen their knowledge of Indian American languages and cultures. They take a course in Contemporary Amerindian Societies, as well as a course in which the major
typological features of the Amerindian languages are studied, based on those volumes of the Cambridge Language Surveys series that deal with the languages of the Americas
(M. Mithun, The Languages of Native North America; R. Dixon and A. Aikhenvald, The Amazonian Languages; W. Adelaar and P. Muysken, The Languages of the Andes). In addition, students take two courses in a regional specialisation of their choice. There is the possibility to choose an optional course from the specialisation Native American Religion and Society in the ResMa in Archaeology, or from the specialisation Amerindian Studies in the ResMa in Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Students
may also attend a course offered by a visiting lecturer from a foreign university (e.g. University of Bonn), or follow a course at a foreign university. Students with a low level in Amerindian languages can choose to follow a language course in the framework of this part of the programme. It is also possible to fill part of the programme with a written assignment connected to the topic of one of the main courses.
The students are expected to carry out field research in the region of their specialisation, in close relation to the thesis subject that they select. Depending on the subject of the thesis and/or their prior experience with field work, the Board of Examination may allow students to prepare for their thesis in other ways than by carrying out field research. For some students, archive research may be more helpful.
In the second semester, students take a course in Andean Cultural History and continue taking the course in which the major typological features of the Amerindian languages are studied (see 1st Semester). In the remainder of the semester the MA thesis is prepared and written under the guidance of one of the teachers specialised in the subject.
Starting the programme in February
Leiden University offers the possibility to start MA programmes in February. If you choose to do so, the course on Andean Cultural History will be chosen in the 1st semester and that on Contemporary Amerindian Societies in the 2nd semester. Apart from this the programme is the same.
please take up contact early with the coordinator of the programme, so as to
we will have to set up a special programme.
MA thesis and requirements for graduation
In order to graduate, students must have completed 60 ects of courses including the
writing of the thesis. The MA thesis carries 20 ects and generally does not exceed
17,000 words including notes, bibliography and appendices. In the writing of their thesis,
students are supervised by a lecturer of the Department of Languages and Cultures of
Also see: hum.leiden.edu/students/regulations