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European Union Studies

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2
Contemporary Problems, Sources and Methods in EU Research 5
Economics of the EU 5
European Law 5
History of European Integration 5
Institutions of the EU 5
European Seminar
Start MA-thesis 5
MA-thesis 15

Choose three of the following courses

Agriculture and Rural Development 5
Citizen's Rights 5
Economic and Monetary Union 5
Energy Policy 5
Environmental Policy 5
European Foreign and Security Policy 5
European Cultural Policy 5
European Neighbourhood Policy 5
International Trade Policy 5
Implementation EU Policy 5
Refugees, Migration and Justice 5
Russia and the EU 5

Meer info

Master’s thesis
What makes the Leiden University MA degree programme in European Union Studies unique?


The degree programme prepares students for advanced academic study, either in individual disciplines or in interdisciplinary research degrees and in careers in the public or private sector. Students with an MA European Union Studies will meet the following qualifications:

I. A working knowledge of the concepts, theories, hypotheses and methodologies employed by different disciplines necessary to understand the full range of problems and issues confronting the European Union;
II. The ability to locate and assess (qualitatively) the relevant secondary and primary sources pertaining to issue areas involving the European Union;
III. The acquisition of transferable skills in conceptualisation, research and presentation that can be applied to subjects not yet studied or to future new developments in the European Union;
IV. The ability to formulate and perform a substantial piece of interdisciplinary research independently and to place it within the broader scholarly context;
V. The ability to articulate and present findings in a clear and accurate manner.

The MA European Union Studies prepares students for a PhD track, followed by a possible academic career, as well as for other positions, both in the public and the private sector, in which advanced research and writing skills play an important role. Graduates from this programme will acquire expertise and skills appropriate for employment with a European dimension to the work.


First Semester

During the first semester students will follow four compulsory basic courses each designed to explore the latest developments in its own field. Their content has been intended to produce an integrated interdisciplinary core of overlapping and conceptual tools of analysis. Students will also follow a research methods course and a research seminar that covers the first and second semesters.

Second Semester

During the second semester, students will choose three intensive seminar courses from a range of possibilities with the focus on the following issue areas (with reservation):

  • Agricultural policy and rural development

  • International trade policy

  • Economic and monetary union

  • European neighbourhood Policy

  • EU enlargement

  • European foreign, security and defence policy

  • Refugees, migration and justice

  • Russia and the EU

  • Small states and European integration

  • European cultural policy

  • Citizens’ rights

  • European Energy Policy

  • Environmental policy

These courses will all be problem-oriented and interdisciplinary in nature, although each student may choose his or her own disciplinary accent within the written papers. Note, however, that with insufficient demand, the department reserves the right to withdraw an option.

Master’s thesis

The students will also be required to write a MA-thesis (Maximum 20.000 words including notes, bibliography and appendices) on a topic of their choice. The exact topic will be selected in consultation with the course director, during the first semester. Also see:

What makes the Leiden University MA degree programme in European Union Studies unique?

  • The Leiden programme is interdisciplinary. This means that it focuses (relevant parts of) various disciplines on a unique cluster of questions. In our case we borrow concepts, theories, methodologies and models from economics, history, law and political science and concentrate them on the issue areas that form the core concerns of the European Union. Note that we take the problem areas as our starting point and not the institutions of the EU itself.

  • The degree prides itself on the wide range of specialist courses in the second semester and the small class sizes that this makes possible. There will be ten optional courses available next year. As a result, it is rare for a specialist class to have more than twelve students.

  • One of the particular features of this programme is its mix of specialist, academic researchers and experts with direct experience in policy-formulation and policy-making. This is an approach we have pioneered within PraktijkStudies (“practical studies”) at BA level and which we have carried over into our course design for the EUS MA.

  • Another feature of our programme is its location. It is based at the oldest university in the Netherlands and a member of the exclusive league of European research universities. It has a European Documentation Centre attatched to the refurbished Law library in the Kamerlingh Onnes Building. Leiden also has the advantage that it is also located near The Hague. I am a firm believer that a degree of this kind benefits from proximity to the material and human resources concentrated in a centre of government.

  • A final consideration is that our EUS MA offers an English-language degree in a country which was one of the founding members of the European Union and which has evolved a different history, attitude and discourse from that found in those countries that joined later.