Universiteit Leiden

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Archival Studies (MA)

Leiden University's master in Archival Studies equips you with the skills needed to guide users of historical archives as a professional archivist.

Unique area of expertise

The Archival Studies programme will provide you with the skills needed by archivists today. During your studies, your primary focus will be on learning recent developments in archival thinking and archival practices and you will gain insight into the relationship between archive creation on the one hand and the different uses of archives on the other.

Collaboration with the National Archive in The Hague

You will study the relationship between institutions and the archives left behind – i.e. the underlying reasons why the archives were compiled including the societal context within which the institutions were founded and operated, and the reasons particular records were kept. You will also learn how to manage archives both during class and through your own research, including how to make archives accessible for historical research. You will have the opportunity to apply theory in practice thanks to the programme's structural collaboration with the National Archive in The Hague.

Focus on the colonial context

A particular focus during the programme is on the archives created in a colonial context. In Jakarta alone there is in excess of 10 kilometres of Dutch-language archive material collected by the Dutch East India company and colonial institutions. In other South-east Asian countries, South Africa, Surinam and the Dutch Antilles there are many more hundreds of kilometres of Dutch-language archive material. During the Archival Studies Master’s programme you will acquire the skills needed to manage these archives and make them accessible for historical research.

Gain important digitisation skills

The programme will also provide you with the knowledge and skills required of archivists in response to digitisation. Archivists today must be more than specialists in the field of structuring and describing archives, palaeography, diplomacy, institutional history but equipped in the compilation and management of archives within the framework of information science. Leiden University’s Archival Studies programme provides focused training to meet this need.