Universiteit Leiden

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Politics, Culture and National Identities, 1789 to the Present (research) (MA)

Career prospects

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

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 Politics, Culture and National Identities, 1789 to the Present 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.

Susanne Keesman

Graduated in Politics, Culture and National Identities, 1789 to the Present (Research MA History)

Susanne Keesman

"My choice for the MA in History (research) specialisation in Politics, Culture and National Identities, 1789 to the Present was mainly driven by the challenging level this two-year programme presented in comparison to the regular MA. The curriculum offered within this MA is internationally oriented and very broad and flexible. The general courses offer a strong basis in historical theory and methodology, while the great diversity in research seminars allows you to select a topic that ties in with your own field of interest."

Established experts

"During my studies, I was highly motivated by the fact that all courses were given in small groups by established experts in their respective fields. The teachers brought a lot of knowledge on both the topic of the course and historical practices, thus encouraging us to further develop our own research skills."

Combining research with organisational skills

"After my graduation I was offered a position at Utrecht University by my supervising professor as project manager for her “Securing Europe” research project, on the establishment of a European security culture in the nineteenth century. Since then the scope of my work has expanded considerably. I am currently responsible for a number of different projects, and also coordinate grant application processes for new research projects. In addition, I have been given the role of coordinator of the History of International Relations section. My background in history is a valuable asset for making the link between the researchers in the field and the organisation within which they operate."

Teacher qualification

If you are interested in a career in teaching, you can 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.

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 History 2016-2020.

How successful are they in finding a job?

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

How successful are they in finding a job?

  • 79 % 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 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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