Universiteit Leiden

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Museum Studies (MA)

Career prospects

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

Your qualifications

Your MA in Arts and Culture degree will qualify you for a wide range of professions in the public, private and non-profit sectors, including cultural institutions, publishing, media, and public relations, depending on the specialisation you have chosen. You will also be qualified to pursue a PhD and a career in academia.

What our graduates do

Our Arts and Culture graduates are currently working with companies including Hoogsteder & Hoogsteder, Sdu Publishers, Valiz publishers, Primavera Press, the Repeat Group, Gavelers Auctioneers and Lyppens, and at art venues such as BAK Utrecht and museums including the Haags Gemeentemuseum, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and the Museum De Lakenhal in Leiden.

Examples of the diverse roles of our graduates include:

  • Curator at a museum
  • Collections manager at a natural history museum
  • Project officer for heritage at a government agency
  • Art teacher at a secondary school
  • Auctioneer at an online auction house
  • Research consultant at a recruitment company
  • Teacher of art and theory at an art school
  • Freelance artist and illustrator
  • Newspaper critic
  • Director of a publishing company
  • PhD candidate

A Leiden University degree

Leiden University Master's graduates are sought-after employees at (inter)national organisations. Our graduates are known for their combination of robust academic training, in-depth and relevant knowledge, and critical, multidisciplinary approach to problem-solving.

Brantly Hancock Moore

Graduate in MA Arts and Culture

Brantly Hancock Moore

"In August of 2017, I joined the PhD program in Art History at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, focusing on medieval and early modern northern European collections and collecting theory. Leiden University exposed me to new perspectives and subject matter and, importantly in today’s political climate, the value of being a part of an international community of art historians that knows no borders. As Editorial Research Assistant for my advisor, I was able to work on a forthcoming edited volume of international scholarship, and in July of 2018, I will return to the Netherlands for a summer intensive course on material culture at the Rijksmuseum. Completing my MA in Leiden made me realize that the world can truly be my classroom."

Necessary skills

"I am certain that the critical thinking, organisational and communication skills cultivated during my MA programme were essential to my later success. The practical and social challenges of living abroad also equipped me with necessary skills in diplomacy and adaptability, key strengths for anyone entering the workplace - or academia."

Learning in situ

"The Arts and Culture programme offered the perfect mix of hands-on and theoretical study, and I benefited especially from the programme’s emphasis on independent study. Doctoral programs require a strong work ethic, intrinsic motivation, and the ability to work independently-- skills strengthened by my time in Leiden.

There was nonetheless ample opportunity for collaboration with my peers and professors, and I developed friendships with international colleagues that I am sure will last a lifetime. Learning in situ was extremely important for me: as an American scholar devoted to European art, I owed it to myself to come to the source, and so do you."

Lotte Poortman

Graduate in MA Arts and Culture

Lotte Poortman

"Last summer I graduated in two specializations within the Master of Arts and Culture in Leiden. My choice for these specialisations was based on interest developed in my bachelor Art History. By following these two programs, I was able to delve into Contemporary art and especially World art studies and also into the theory of Museums and Collections. "

Combine theory and practice

"My internship at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen gave me the opportunity to combine theory and practice. As a project manager assistant I experienced first-hand how in 2017 the blockbuster exhibition Mad About Surrealism was established. Both my broad study program and my internship have given me the chance to become the director’s assistant at Stedelijk Museum Schiedam."

Wide range of tasks

"My job as director-assistant involves a wide range of tasks. I manage the director’s agenda and make reports of the meetings of the management team and the Supervisory Board. I am responsible for the archive, set up letters and I am intermediary for questions. After a month, I was given the opportunity to take on additional tasks, namely ICT and Human Resource. The talents I developed during my master program, namely critical thinking, communication skills, work independently and organizational skills in combination with the knowledge I gained from my internship have prepared me well for a job in the cultural field."

In which sector do students find jobs?

  • 34 % Culture, sports and recreation
  • 9 % Government and semi-government organisations
  • 9 % Communication and marketing
  • 9 % IT
  • 9 % Wholesale and retail
  • 6 % Research
  • 6 % Education
  • 3 % Business services
  • 3 % Publishing
  • 3 % Consultancy
  • 9 % Other

How successful are they in finding a job?

  • 82 % found a job within two months
  • 70 % found their first job at academic level

These graphs are based on alumni data from the MA Arts and Culture 2016-2020.

Career preparation

Find out how this programme exactly prepares you for your future career and check our career preparation activities.

The master’s programme in Arts and Culture at Leiden University will equip you with a range of important skills and knowledge that will help you thrive in your future career. Your specialised knowledge is complemented by highly-developed critical-thinking skills that can be applied to any issue, in any role.

Relevant professional skills and experience

Our emphasis on learning outside of the classroom is one of the ways in which we give our students a head-start in their future careers. We encourage you to network with practitioners during field trips, to work as an intern at an organisation, join an exchange programme, and sign up for extracurricular activities to acquire valuable practical skills and experience.

Many of our students choose to do an internship during their study. Internships are a great way to gain invaluable first-hand experience in your area of interest before you decide on making it a career. In recent years students from the Museums and Collections programme have been doing internships at the following organisations:

  • Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
  • Museum Volkenkunde/Nationaal Museum voor Wereldculturen
  • Haags Gemeentemuseum
  • Museum De Lakenhal Leiden
  • Prince Claus Fund
  • Waag Society
  • V2
  • Het nieuwe Instituut
  • Museum Voorlinden
  • BAK Basis voor actueel kunst Utrecht
  • Rijksacademie voor Beeldende Kunst Amsterdam/Prix de Rome
  • Galleries in Leiden, Den Haag and Amsterdam

Our staff can help you identify both the career that is right for you, and the necessary steps to get you there. Our team at Humanities Career Service provide all Leiden University humanities students with professional advice and guidance on everything from internships and career planning to job applications. Humanities Career Service also organises regular workshops on topics such as effective interview skills and creating a successful CV.

The Humanities Career Service offers you various (online) workshops, webinars and info sessions. Check our overview of career activities

The Leiden University Career Zone is an online career portal that helps you to prepare for the job market. Here you can find information, tools and tips to help you gain more personal insight, learn about the job market, develop your application skills, plan your academic and professional career, find job vacancies and discover what the Career Service can do for you.

Join the Mentor Network to contact alumni with experience on the labour market and ask them for advice. More than 1200 alumni are happy to help you!

Jelle on finding an internship via Leiden University's Mentor Network

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