Universiteit Leiden

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Heritage and Museum Studies (MA)

Programme structure

Learn about current approaches and ethical issues in heritage management and experience some of these in daily practice.

Programme outline

35 ec

Career profile (3 courses) +thesis

  • Critical Museology
  • Community Heritage and Global Challenges
  • Heritage Research
10 ec Region Focus area  (2 courses)
5 ec Archaeological Theory (1 course)
10 ec Elective (2 courses)


Your focus area and thesis subject determine your specialisation and your eventual area of expertise.

Some of the courses

Archaeological Theory

This course gives an overview, selective and by no means exhaustive, of what archaeological theory is currently about. You will read and reflect upon a recent handbook that provides something of a ‘state of the art’ of the philosophy of science. Note, however, that the handbook chapters are conceived here as points of departure for the individual lectures and associated readings that may wander in very different directions across the contemporary theoretical scape.

Critical Museology

This course addresses advanced topics in heritage and museum studies. It connects critical heritage theories to concrete forms of rethinking heritage and museum work in practice.

The first part of the course focuses on critical approaches to museum studies. Through a critical analysis of case studies and literature we will explore topics such as the history of collections and collecting, the politics of representation and self-representation, issues of authority, control and inclusion/exclusion, claims to repatriation, the concept of authenticity, national heritage and postcolonialism, among others.

The second part of the course turns to community heritage and global challenges. We will explore foundational concepts relating to community, universalisms, and grounding global-local interconnections, as well as topics including sustainable development, marginalised communities, migration, displacement, and environmental issues.

Community Heritage and Global Challenges

This course deals with the theoretical, methodological and ethical challenges of studying and representing the heritage of local, descendant communities and/or indigenous peoples (known in heritage and museum studies’ literature as “source” communities) in ways that answer productively to global contemporary concerns.

We will critically examine the lingering effects of colonialism and racism in the way indigenous and other peoples’ heritages have been (and continue to be) represented, valued and discussed in academic writing, as well as in popular media and arts.

Region Focus Areas

Within your Focus Area programme part, you may pick two courses of a region of your choice.

  • Hunter-gatherer Archaeology
  • Key developments in European Prehistory
  • Urban Archaeology
  • Neolithisation in the Near East
  • Archaeology of the Assyrian Empire
  • Environmental History of the Near East
  • Diversities of doing Greek. ‘Hellenisation’ and ‘Hellenism’ in ancient Eurasia
  • The Archaeology of Roman Imperialism in the Western Mediterranean
  • Archaeology of the Crusades
  • Mobility, interaction and colonialism in the Americas
  • Current issues in the Archaeology of the Americas

Complete overview

In the Prospectus you will find a complete overview and full course descriptions of the courses and focus areas Archaeological Science has to offer. Please note that this guide applies to the current academic year, which means that the curriculum for next year may slightly differ.

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