Universiteit Leiden

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History (MA)

Career prospects

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

What our graduates do

Your master will qualify you for roles in almost every sector of the employment market. Many of our graduates work for government and semi-government organisations, education, research institutes, information services, IT, cultural institutes, financial institutions, communications, marketing, business services and welfare services.

Examples of the diverse roles of our graduates include:

  • Senior assistant at the European Union
  • Consultant in information management
  • PhD candidate at various universities
  • History teacher at a secondary school
  • Public educational work at a Dutch museum
  • Project manager at a text agency
  • Heritage researcher of Indonesia for a Dutch museum
  • Archive clerk at a Dutch archive
  • Communication and organisation officer for a Dutch political party
  • Digital education officer at a museum
  • Policy advisor at a Dutch Ministry
  • Research assistent at a Spanish university
  • Editor at a publishing house
  • Web journalist at a multimedia publishing house

Your qualifications

The MA in History offers outstanding preparation for students seeking a profession that requires in-depth knowledge of history and strong academic skills, with a focus on analytical and writing skills.

Teaching qualification

If you are interested in a career in teaching, you may be eligible to follow a teacher-training master's at the ICLON Graduate School of Education once you have graduated from the master programme in History. You must speak fluent Dutch and there are other, additional entry requirements.

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.

Tika Ramadhini

Graduated in Colonial and Global History

Tika Ramadhini

"It did not take long for me to be involved in other academic activities after I graduated from the MA Colonial and Global History. Back in Indonesia, I became a part of a research for a joint-publication about Indonesian history with some young historians in Jakarta. I have always been passionate about history, and now I have figured out that doing an academic career is my true calling. I believe my two-years studying experience in Leiden has influenced me so much in life."

Working on my PhD dissertation

"Since March, I live in Berlin. I work as a doctoral research fellow at Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient, a German research institute devoted to an interdisciplinary and comparative study of the Middle East, Africa, and Asia from a historical perspective. Besides engaging myself in the research activities of the institute, I am currently working on my PhD dissertation about Southeast Asian women, at the Institute of Asian and African Studies of Humboldt Universität zu Berlin. Training that I received in Leiden, especially in conducting research independently, helped me a lot in doing my works today."

Thomas Kerstens

Followed the Europaeum programme European History and Civilisation: Leiden-Oxford-Paris Programme (MA History)

Thomas Kerstens

"Currently, I work as a researcher at the Brussels office of APCO Worldwide, a global public affairs consultancy. Every day, I work with an international team to analyse EU policies and developments which are relevant to clients from all over the world."

Trimesters in Leiden, Paris, and Oxford

"Since the Europaeum MA had a diverse programme, consisting of trimesters in Leiden, Paris, and Oxford, I learned two valuable lessons. First, students had to familiarise themselves with new concepts and master them quickly. This skill proved vital when I started working in public affairs. The common denominator of my clients was that they all demanded a rapid elucidation of political or industrial policies, no matter how complicated or novel. Secondly, studying in different countries with fellow students of various nationalities taught me how to work in international groups or teams. Since my masters' degree, I continued to use this skill on a daily basis, during subsequent studies abroad, a traineeship at the Cabinet of First Vice-President Timmermans at the European Commission and my work at APCO Worldwide."

The perfect foundation for an international career

"I decided to apply for the Europaeum MA as the prospect of being taught by leading academics at three renowned European universities seemed very exciting. Moreover, it felt like this unique programme would be the perfect foundation for an international career. Looking back at precious memories, such as my discussions in Parisian bars with my favourite professor from the Sorbonne, and the new doors that the Europaeum opened for me in academic and professional circles, I can say that the programme definitely lived up to my expectations and even went beyond."

Alice Eaton

Graduated in Cities, Migration and Global Interdependence (MA History)

Alice Eaton

"I decided to study Cities, Migration and Global Interdependence because I am very interested in migration and the history of migratory movements. I wrote my BA dissertation about the movement of Dutch East-Indians to the Netherlands, the research for which introduced me to Leiden and then made me think a master's in this field would be a fascinating subject to study and Leiden was the best place for me."

“I currently work as an International Conversion Adviser at UWE Bristol. I work with a diverse team to provide information to students and help to make them feel welcomed and supported by the university prior to their arrival. This process goes from the initial enquiry right up to the final enrolment.“

Analyzing as an essential skill

“A large part of my MA was reading texts from different sources and analyzing it to gain an answer. Much of what I do in my job is the same: I analyze industry reports, information from regional offices and student feedback to see what trends are rising within higher education, and what we can do to meet these trends as well as improve our services. Being able to critique my own work is essential, because higher education is constantly evolving and I need to be able to adapt to these changing circumstances in order to make the student experience as positive as possible. This was a skill I learned during my time at Leiden, as was the need to make the university experience for international students as seamless and positive as possible.”

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

  • 22 Graduates of History Government and semi-government orgaisations
  • 14 Graduates of History Education
  • 12 Graduates of History Research
  • 8 Graduates of History Information management
  • 6 Graduates of History IT
  • 5 Graduates of History Financial institutions
  • 5 Graduates of History Communication and marketing
  • 5 Graduates of History Culture, sports and recreation
  • 4 Graduates of History Business services
  • 3 Graduates of History Welfare and health
  • 16 Graduates of History Other

How successful are they in finding a job?

  • 64 % found a job within two months
  • 82 % 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 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 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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