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What will I learn?

This MA programme combines advanced levels of philosophical analysis with the study of non-Western sources, in particular, Chinese, Indian, and Arabic sources.

The MA Programme Philosophy in World Traditions is meant for students who wish to combine an MA in (classical) Chinese, Indian, Arabic, or an adjacent discipline with an MA Philosophy in World Traditions. Only students with a bachelor’s degree in Chinese, Indian studies (Sanskrit), Arab studies, or an adjacent discipline (or an equivalent degree) are admissible.

Why study Philosophy in World Traditions at Leiden University?

This programme is unique in Europe. Leiden is the only place where you can study the histories and languages of India, East Asia, and the Arab world combined with upper level philosophical analysis of these sources, taught by internationally renowned experts in their fields. Leiden University is home to various institutes dedicated to study these areas and has a world-famous collection of Asian and Arabic manuscripts and materials.

What will you study?

You will combine advanced courses in the non-western tradition of your preference – including language acquisition – with high-level philosophical analysis of the central concepts, theories of the philosophy in that tradition. In addition, great attention is being paid to the methodology used in interpreting and learning from these traditions.

Is this programme for you?

If you are curious about intellectual philosophical traditions outside of the standard canon and have the ambition to familiarize with the historical, cultural, and linguistic contexts in which these traditions were formed – this is the programme for you. A love for reading both classical and modern texts and analyzing and discussing these intensively with your instructor and fellow students, is essential. If, moreover, you are ambitious and not averse to hard intellectual work, you have what it takes to complete this programme successfully.

Philosophy in World Traditions degree

Philosophy in World Traditions at Leiden University is an accredited degree programme. After successful completion of this programme, you will receive a master’s degree in Philosophy and the title Master of Arts (MA).

Career prospects

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

The MA Philosophy in World Traditions is an ideal preparation for a career in which besides high levels of abstract reasoning an open attitude towards other cultures is essential. A substantial number continues to do PhD research in academia. Others find rewarding careers elsewhere.

What our graduates do

The master’s programme Philosophy in World Traditions prepares you for any career in which reasoning skills, high levels of abstraction and critical thinking are valued. Our graduates are currently employed in a wide range of professions in the public, private and non-profit sectors. Successful completion of an MA can also lead to PhD research and a career in academia.

Currently 100% of our students find employment at university-graduate level within one year of completing our one-year MA in Philosophy.

You will find our graduates working in an astonishingly wide range of professions and professional organisations. Examples include:

  • Policy Officer at a ministry
  • Copywriter at a media company
  • Freelance editor
  • PhD candidate at an foreign university
  • Editor at a communications consultancy firm
  • Consultant at an IT consultancy firm
  • Editor at a company specialising in reviewing theses and dissertations
  • Coordinator at an international human rights watch organisation
  • PhD candidate at a university in Sweden

Which department am I in?

Faculty of Humanities

Study options

Full Time (2 Years)

Tuition fees
€17,716.00 (14,47,386) per year
Application deadline

Expected October 2022

More details

Start date

Expected September 2022


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

The following diploma requirements apply for this programme:

  • You should have a bachelor’s degree from a research university, equivalent to the level of a Dutch academic Bachelor’s degree;
  • The bachelor's degree should be in a discipline relevant to Philosophy in World Traditions: Asian studies or Middle Eastern studies;
  • You should have the ability to formulate a clear philosophical research question, to develop and formulate a critical view on that question, and to support this view by means of argument and analysis, to be determined on the basis of a writing sample;
  • You have completed the pre-Master's programme.

In order to successfully participate in this programme, you must be proficient in English. The following requirements apply:

  • IELTS: 7.0
  • TOEFL (internet-based): 100
  • C2 Proficiency (former CPE) or C1 Advanced (former CAE) 185

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


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