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Asian Studies (research) (MA)

About the programme

The two-year research master in Asian Studies equips you with advanced and in-depth knowledge of a region and discipline within the field of Asian Studies.

The Asian Studies (research) programme consists of compulsory common core courses, core electives and electives, a research project, and a research MA thesis.

First year

Throughout the programme, you will, together with students of the MA Middle Eastern Studies (research), participate in two core courses. These include:

  • Critical Area Studies: Placing Your Research – which covers theories and issues central to the field of area studies and examines key writings on the challenges of studying and writing about “other” cultures and societies.
  • Methodology in the Social Sciences and Humanities -  which critically explores the multitude of methodologies in the Social Sciences and Humanities.

In addition to the core courses you will choose core elective and elective courses specific to either Asian Studies or Middle Eastern Studies. You can also combine courses from each of these two master's programmes, from other (Research) MA programmes and/or courses from national Research Schools.

To assist you in making your choices, you are coupled with your research and thesis supervisor,  one of the professors involved in the programme who (preferably) works on a topic of interest to you, during the first weeks of your study. Together with your supervisor and the study coordinator you compose a programme which caters to your immediate and future interest.

To assist you in making your choices, you are coupled with your research and thesis supervisor,  one of the professors involved in the programme who (preferably) works on a topic of interest to you, during the first weeks of your study. Together with your supervisor and the study coordinator you compose a programme which caters to your immediate and future interest.

Second year

You are expected to spend the third semester of the programme doing research, either in the Netherlands or abroad. Blended and virtual research-based options are also available.

After you have finished your research project, you work on your MA Thesis. The process of writing is supported by a “Thesis Seminar” which is offered bi-weekly. During this seminar, you discuss relevant issues with your peers and present your research and writings to them and to the convenor of the seminar. Once you have finished your thesis and have received a passing grade, you will defend your thesis publicly.

We also offer a one-year and another two-years Asian Studies programme.

Apart from the contents, there can be other arguments to choose for either a master’s or a research master’s programme. Have a look at the table in pdf for a quick overview of the differences. For more details on the contents, also visit the master’s in Asian Studies' (60 EC) and master’s in Asian Studies (120 EC) pages. 

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Self-study
  • Internship options
  • Thesis
  • Exams
  • Peer feedback and assessment
  • Essays, reports and final thesis
  • Oral presentations

Objectives

The aim of the two-year master's in Asian Studies (Research) is to provide you with in-depth and specialised knowledge within the field of Asian Studies with the added value provided by a comparative, area studies approach.

The acquisition of advanced academic skills in the interpretation of texts, the analysis and solution of conceptual problems, and the ability to independently conduct scientific research are other key goals of the programme. Opportunities are provided for students to broaden their academic skills by conducting field research, in archives and/or special collections, occasionally combined with studying subjects at another university.

Detailed programme

For a detailed programme, see the Prospectus. Please note that this guide applies to the current academic year, which means that the curriculum for next year may slightly differ.

Jonathan Silk

Professor of Buddhist Studies

Jonathan Silk

“Leiden University has incredible strengths – it is possible, for instance, to study Buddhism across the whole of Asia.”

Access to famous libraries

"The library of our Kern Institute, the national centre of expertise for South Asia and the Himalayan region, is famous around the world for its excellent resources on South Asia and Tibet, while the library at the Sinological Institute is second to none in Europe for the depth and breadth of its collections."

Reading Buddhist texts

"I teach introductory courses on Buddhism, and advanced thematic seminars on various topics. And of course, I always love to read Buddhist texts with students in their original languages as well as in translation. The study of Buddhism should be a dynamic synthesis of factual knowledge and critical perspectives, and the Leiden master’s programme offers students just this approach."

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