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Colonial and Global History (research) (MA)

Career prospects

What our graduates do

Our graduates end up working in a diverse range of positions, examples include:

  • PhD candidate at a university in England
  • PhD candidate at a Dutch university
  • Assistant publisher at a large publishing house
  • Online content specialist at a PR company
  • Project officer for video and audio-visual collections at a provincial archive
  • Policy officer at a city council
  • Researcher and teaching staff member at Leiden University
  • Communications advisor at a consultancy firm
  • Coordinating strategy advisor at a ministry of security and justice

Your qualifications

As a graduate of the research master's specialisation in Colonial and Global History at Leiden University, you will be qualified to work as a junior academic researcher – either in a semi-academic position or at a university. You will be able to solve complex academic problems independently, critically and creatively, and report on these results with clarity both in writing and verbally.

If you are interested in a career outside of academics you will discover that the depth and scope of the research master in History allows you to successfully venture on a career in education, administration, heritage, journalism, business, and many more.

Teacher qualification

Are you interested in pursuing a career in education? Then you may apply for the Dutch-taught teacher-training MA at the ICLON Graduate School of Education after graduating from the master’s programme. To be admitted, you need to have a master’s degree in the relevant discipline. Fluency in Dutch is mandatory and additional entry requirements may apply.

Maarten Manse

Graduated in Colonial and Global History (Research MA History)

Maarten Manse

“After I finished my bachelor’s in History, I chose Colonial and Global History (research), a specialisation of History (research), because of its wide topical scope and variety of themes in world history, as well as its strong focus on research.”

Worldwide contacts

“The programme is very dynamic, as every student is free to choose specific areas of interests, as long as the research is related to global issues. Traveling to these regions for research is not only possible but also strongly encouraged. During the programme, I gained extensive knowledge of the interconnected history of interaction between Europe and South and Southeast Asia.”


“This knowledge proved essential for my internships in the National Archives of Indonesia in Jakarta and the Royal Institute for Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies in Leiden. These internships proved valuable to acquire the adequate research experience necessary for an academic career as a historian. After graduating, I continued to work for six months in the archives in Jakarta in 2015, and since March 2016 I am working at the Faculty of Law in Leiden as a PhD Researcher on a dissertation about colonial taxation in Indonesia.”

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

In which sector do students find jobs?

  • 50 % Research
  • 25 % Government and semi-government organisations
  • 12 % Consultancy
  • 6 % Financial institutions
  • 6 % Culture, sports and recreation
  • 1 % Other

Career preparation

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


The research master’s programme in History at Leiden University aims to equip you with a range of important skills and knowledge that will help you achieve your personal career goals. Whichever your area of expertise, you will have a broad and global context to your knowledge and critical-thinking skills that can be applied to the most complex conceptual problems.

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 research master’s programme in History have been doing internships at the following organisations:

  • Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands
  • KITLV (Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies)
  • Dutch Embassy in Jakarta
  • Nederlands Instituut voor Militaire Historie
  • Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael
  • Maritime Museum Rotterdam
  • Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Security and Justice

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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