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Asian Studies (research) (MA)

Career prospects

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

What our graduates do

The master in Asian Studies (research) prepares you for a wide range of careers in which knowledge of Asia and advanced conceptual, analytical and interpretative skills are essential. Our graduates have pursued successful careers in academia and in the public, private and non-profit sectors.

Experience and knowledge of Asia combined with advanced analytical skills are also in demand in careers in publishing, international trade, public relations, education, development aid, or in government, international organisations and NGOs. Leiden University Asian Studies graduates often find employment in Asia itself.

Some of the occupations of our graduates include:

  • Freelance writer at a magazine and online platform focussing on China
  • Teacher at Leiden University
  • Researcher and teaching staff member at Leiden University
  • PhD candidate at Leiden University
  • PhD candidate at a university in Hong Kong
  • Junior underwriter at an insurance company
  • Area Manager Asia at the Netherlands Council for Trade Promotion
  • Consular Officer at the Dutch Embassy
  • Coordinator, International Relations at Mima City Hall
  • Translator for the Dutch government

Your qualifications

A research master from Leiden University is a qualification that is respected by organisations worldwide. You will be equipped to pursue a position conducting independent research at a high academic level, such as that of a junior academic researcher or a doctoral student on a PhD programme.

Alice Simionato

Graduated in Asian Studies (research)

Alice Simionato

"I decided to apply for the Research Master in Asian Studies because I wanted to develop my research interests related to Chinese philosophy and, while doing so, learn about the tools and methodologies that a researcher should acquire. During my studies in Leiden, I was able to build my own curriculum by choosing courses related to my field of interest and, at the same time, I learned about the fundamental issues and methods of Area Studies.”

“I am currently a PhD student in Philosophy (School of Humanities) at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, where I was awarded a four years scholarship. My research project focuses on the relations between European rationalism and Neo-Confucianism, two traditions that have been compared in both Europe and China during different historical periods. Because of the skills and knowledge I have aquired during the Research Master in Leiden I started my PhD with confidence and I am now able to work independently. "

Aurelie van 't Slot

Graduated in Asian Studies (research master)

Aurelie van 't Slot

"After participating in the Netherlands-Asia Honours Summer School, I soon realised that we need to acknowledge the significance of Asia as a force of global change in order to nourish the global function of our institutions. In order to break free from my rather Eurocentric understanding of the humanities, I applied for the research master programme in Asian Studies."

Critical attitude and inquisitive mind-set

"During the programme, I learned to develop a critical attitude and inquisitive mind-set. Although most research master students have the ambition to pursue an academic career, I believe that the advanced conceptual, analytical and interpretative skills gained during the programme are extremely valuable in any given professional setting."

Significant impact

"I currently work as a policy advisor at the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO). This is a governmental organisation that is tasked with providing an expert and objective assessment of the quality of higher education in the Netherlands and Flanders. I feel that the experiences gained through the programme, such as presenting at international conferences and publishing some of my research papers not only contributed to my academic track record, but also had significant impact on my personal development."

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.

The graphs below are based on alumni data from the Research Master Asian Studies 2016-2020.

In which sectors do students find jobs?

  • 29 % Education
  • 29 % Government and semi-government organisations
  • 14 % Research
  • 14 % IT
  • 14 % Culture, sports and recreation

How successful are they at finding a job?

  • 56 % found a job within two months
  • 100 % found their first job at academic level

Career preparation

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

The development of in-depth knowledge in the field, and the ability to think critically and analytically, are key goals of this programme. The Asian Studies (research) programme will introduce you to the concepts and academic approaches current in Asian Studies, including disciplines such as: linguistics, history and social siences.

You will learn to use these concepts and approaches in researching and analysing source material. Your thesis work will give you the opportunity to apply these methods in your own research.

Do you consider to put your knowledge into practice during your studies? Determine whether an internship could be an option for you. Start orientating your possibilities by visiting an internship information session. This way you can receive information about the internship procedure and listen to tips of former interns.
Notice that you will search for an internship yourself to find a place of your interest. Do you need some help with this or the application process? Do not hesitate to contact the Career Service. When you have found an internship, inform us. Then, the internship coordinator advises you how to proceed and provides your internship plan with feedback so it can be submitted for approval to the board of examiners.

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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