Universiteit Leiden

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Asian Studies (research) (MA)

Admission requirements

To be eligible for Asian Studies (research) at Leiden University, you must meet the following admission requirements.

Diploma requirements

The following diploma requirements apply for this programme:

  • A bachelor’s degree from a research university, equivalent to the level of a Dutch academic Bachelor’s degree
  • You should have knowledge of the fundamentals of Asian Studies and/or area studies, literary studies, linguistics, history and/or social sciences, that ideally, but not necessarily, includes knowledge and understanding of the regional languages.

In addition, you must also meet the following qualitative admission requirements:

  • Good grades comparable with an average mark of at least 7.5 (Dutch grading system) for your entire bachelor’s programme and a grade for the bachelor’s thesis of an 8 or higher.
  • Affinity with and suitability for scholarly research and the ability to clearly report on research in the specific field of the programme and the ability to clearly report on research, and
  • Demonstrable motivation to study and suitability for the particular Research MA programme/specialisation.  

The qualitative admission requirements will be implemented as follows:

  • You are asked to provide a transcript of records and diploma of the relevant obtained academic degree.
  • Affinity with the field should be demonstrated by a “Research Proposal”. All applicants are required to submit a Research Proposal of approximately 2000 words, accompanied by an annotated bibliography of at least five (5) items, outlining the topic or field of research that the applicant wishes to pursue at Leiden University, and indicating the names of one or two faculty members from the Leiden Institute for Area Studies who might guide that research.
  • Your motivation and suitability for your chosen specialization should be demonstrated by a well-argued and structured motivation letter in which you indicate why you want to follow the programme and convincingly discuss what makes you a good candidate for the research MA programme. The statement should be between 700 and 1,500 words.

Language requirements

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

  • IELTS:    7.0 (A minimum score of IELTS 6.5 is required for each of the four components)
  • TOEFL (internet-based):  100 (A minimum score of TOEFL 22 is required for each of the four components)
  • C2 Proficiency (former CPE) or C1 Advanced (former CAE) 185

For detailed information, including exemption criteria and methods of submission, refer to English language proficiency.

English tests accepted
Note that English test results may not be more than two years old. The following types of English test are accepted: 

  • IELTS: Academic
    • We do not accept IELTS General Training or IELTS Indicator
    • We are not yet able to accept the new IELTS online.
  • TOEFL: internet based
    • We do not accept the following types of test: TOEFL My Best ™ scores (multiple test scores combined), TOEFL Essentials™  or institutional tests such as ITP.
    • We can accept TOEFL IBT Special Home Edition™ or TOEFL IBT Paper Edition™ in the following situations only:
      • You are applying for a programme starting in Feb 2023, or
      • You took the test before 1 Sept 2022 (& it is not more than 2 years old), or
      • You are unable to take an in-person test on location because test centres in your region are closed due to COVID or inaccessible due to unsafe conditions.
  • Cambridge English Exam C2 Proficiency or C1 Advanced, depending on admission criteria

Please note: You do not have to submit proof of proficiency if you have completed your education in the USA, the UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Canada (except French-taught programmes in Canada) Singapore, South-Africa or Malta, or when you hold an International Baccalaureate, or for Dutch students, if you have completed VWO level English or an English taught bachelor at a Dutch Research University.

>> Go to the next step: Check the application deadlines

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