Universiteit Leiden

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Heritage and Museum Studies (MA)

About the programme

Explore the contemporary dilemmas of archaeological heritage management, or focus on museum practices from an archaeological perspective.

Programme overview

You will take a course in Archaeological Theory and you choose an area profile, in which you will apply your knowledge. You can focus on the Netherlands, but also on the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, the Near East or other parts of the Americas or Europe. Also, you follow two elective courses.

A large part of the programme is intended for writing the thesis. In this thesis, the results of practical investigations are presented, combined with literature studies. 

Career profile

  • Explore different approaches and issues in cultural politics and cultural theory, as these relate to modern heritage and museum practices from an archaeological perspective.
  • Benefit from Leiden’s long-standing history and traditions in academic and museum work. Did you know that there are three large national museums in Leiden: the National Museum of Antiquities, the Museum of Natural History, and the Museum of Ethnology?
  • The programme involves researchers from Leiden's museums. Heritage and Museum practices and academic research have always gone hand-in-hand. 

The specialisation's unique combination of practical experience and high-quality academic research will present you with a dynamic, contemporary working environment that’s rooted in a 200-year-old tradition.

Marian Leech

Master's student

Marian Leech

'I enjoyed the great diversity of specializations within my faculty. I worked alongside students with backgrounds in osteology, heritage management, ceramic analysis, and ancient DNA, and grew from their insights. I also benefited from my internship at Leiden’s Research Center for Material Culture, the flagship research institute within the collective of ethnographic museums in the Netherlands.'

Elke van der Heijden

Master's student

Elke van der Heijden

'The programme in Heritage and Museum Studies offers a variety of courses. Some take a more theoretical approach, such as Critical Museology. Others are more focused on the practical field, such as the course Archaeological Site Management. Since I would like to continue in the field of heritage management after graduation, I specifically liked this course since it gave an insight in the field through writing a management plan for a specific site.'

Lorna Dale Charles


Lorna Dale Charles

'The master's programme at Leiden was enjoyable because I had the opportunity to learn from engaged professors and scholars who are experts in their fields, and there are opportunities to explore and examine the theoretical with the practical in all courses. The master's programme allowed me to understand the need to preserve one's past for future generation. For this reason, I fully appreciate the essential role of museums in society.'

Educational methods

Tests are taken in the form of written examinations, presentations, assignments or papers. For each subject you pass you will be awarded a number of credits. One credit (ec) stands for 28 hours of study. One year of fulltime study equals 60 credits.

Instruction consists of lectures, seminars and tutorials. In the lecture the lecturer talks about his or her field. You prepare by studying articles and books at home.

However, most of the teaching in the master programme consists of seminars and tutorials, where you examine the material in more depth and discuss it with your fellow students and the lecturer.

You also carry out assignments, give presentations and write papers. An active contribution to the meetings is highly appreciated.

You are required to spend about 40 hours per week on your studies. These study activities include: lectures/seminars, practical sessions, tutorials, fieldwork, excursions (e.g. to a museum or excavation), exams, literature study, preparing presentations, and writing papers and reports.

Programme structure

See for a detailed programme outline the programme structure webpage.

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