MA in Literary Studies (Research)



What will I learn?

The two-year Literary Studies (research) master at Leiden University integrates the study of media, art history and literary theory to bring you a unique and relevant qualification.

Why study Literary Studies (research) at Leiden University?

Create your own specialised area of expertise within the interdisciplinary master's programme in Literary Studies (research) at Leiden University. An expansive curriculum and flexible programme format give you the freedom to tailor your studies to reflect specific interests or career goals. Focus your studies on a medium, discipline, genre, or period in time. You will be able to study subjects and courses not available elsewhere.

Choose your research theme

The main research themes of the Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society, LUCAS, guide the themes of the courses offered. The themes are:

  • art, agency and rhetoric;
  • a global approach to texts, art and media;
  • and intermediality.

Programme structure

Semester 1

The first semester starts with the LUCAS Seminar ‘Cultural Theory for the 21st Century’, which offers an overview of theoretical approaches developed in this MA programme, and of the research interests of the staff. It is compulsory for all students in the Research MA programmes in Arts and Culture and Literary Studies.

In the first year – preferably in the first semester – you will need to take a 5 EC course within one of the national research schools.

Semester 2

Whereas the first semester presented a basic and disciplinary course for art history students, the second semester offers the interdisciplinary framework via the course ‘Methodological Concepts in Art and Literature’ (contemporary) or the Core Course Medieval and Early Modern Studies . This semester also contains an interdisciplinary (period-bound) and a disciplinary seminar.

Semester 3

The third semester offers an obligatory thesis seminar and research colloquium, which prepares you for writing your thesis. You again take two elective seminars. They can also opt to follow these electives at a university abroad or choose an internship in an affiliated Department, Museum, or other cultural institution in Europe or the United States. We have Erasmus and other exchange agreements with many European and American Universities.

Semester 4

The fourth semester is largely filled by writing your Research Master’s thesis. In the second year – preferably in the second semester – the students are again obliged to take a 5 EC course within one of the national research schools of their choice.

Career prospects

Create a world of opportunities with a master's degree from Leiden University

What our graduates do

As a graduate of the master in Literary Studies (research), you are prepared for a career in fields including journalism, education, public relations, archiving or publishing and other media industries. Our graduates have also found roles in management positions within the cultural public domain, in libraries, and in the art trade, and you are in a strong position to enter a top PhD programme and a research-oriented career.

Some of the careers of our graduates include:

  • PhD candidate in English Literature at a European university
  • Trainee teacher at a secondary school
  • Assistant academic staff member at a Belgian university
  • Library staff member at a university library
  • PhD candidate at a British university
  • Account manager for books and literature at an antique store
  • PhD candidate at a Dutch university
  • Teaching coordinator at a Dutch university
  • PhD candidate at a Dutch university
  • Latin teacher at a secondary school

Which department am I in?

Faculty of Humanities

Study options

Full Time (2 years)

Tuition fees
€17,716.00 (15,53,899) per year
Application deadline

Expected October 2023

More details

Start date

Expected February, September 2024


Leiden University

Rapenburg 70,



2311, Netherlands

Entry requirements

For students from United States

Applicants need a BA or BSc degree (or equivalent) to be admitted to any of Leiden University’s master’s programmes. English-language proficiency: IELTS - 6.0; Toefl (internet based): 80 (component score: 20); Cambridge C2 Proficiency (CPE), or C1 Advanced (CAE): Cambridge component score of 169.

For international students

  • A copy of a valid passport or ID card
  • A copy of a Dutch residence permit (if applicable)
  • CV (résumé)
  • Language proficiency (if applicable)
  • Copies of diplomas and transcripts
  • Letter of motivation

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.


Get in touch