Universiteit Leiden

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Europe 1000-1800 (MA)

About the programme

During the one-year master’s programme in Europe 1000-1800 you will explore the cultural and political transformations in Europe from a local and global perspective.

The programme consists of an introductory literature course, two in-depth studies of one or more areas of interest, and an MA thesis, concluded by a final exam. The MA thesis work during the second semester is supported by a Thesis seminar.

Literature Seminar

The programme starts with an intensive Literature Seminar, which covers the first 8 weeks of the semester. During this course you will discuss recent insights and key issues within the field of your programme.

Research Seminars

You will take two Research Seminars during which you will carry out research on the basis of primary source material or published documents.

Optional Course
We also offer students the ability to take an Optional Course from a wide range of possibilities. These may comprise MA-courses offered by Leiden University and those offered by other universities. 


You conclude the programme by writing a MA-thesis. Students are guided in writing their thesis by thesis supervisors. Students are also expected to follow a thesis seminar, aimed at providing students with some additional support in the writing process. Upon graduation students sit for a final ceremony for which they defend their thesis and answer questions on additional literature. 

  • Seminars
  • Self-study
  • Internship options
  • Exams
  • Peer feedback and assessment
  • Essays, research papers
  • Oral presentations
  • Thesis

The one-year Master of Arts in History (study load 60 EC) aims to bring you state-of-the-art knowledge in your subject area of choice. You will pay specific attention to the analysis of historical process, the study of primary sources, conducting historical research, historiography and methodology.

The acquisition of advanced academic skills in the interpretation of texts and the analysis of complex conceptual problems, and the ability to independently conduct high-quality scientific research are key goals of the programme.

Latest knowledge

All courses are taught by academics who are active researchers. The curriculum is regularly updated to reflect contemporary academic debates and the very latest insights. Regular seminars are held presenting students with our researchers' latest findings. Your research thesis is often linked to one of the research projects of our faculty members, who play an active role in every individual's education, acting as mentors and community builders.

Detailed programme

For a detailed programme, see the Prospectus. Please note that this guide applies to the current academic year, which means that the curriculum for next year may slightly differ.

Claire Weeda

Researcher and University Lecturer

Claire Weeda

"Europe 1000-1800 offers multi-faceted research-based seminars in which collective identities are explored in relation to networks of commerce and communication, negotiations between rulers and subjects, and the transfer of knowledge and ideas. This dynamic approach, connecting the regional to global, allows us to unravel complex processes tapping a broad range of primary sources from local to international archives and libraries."

Friendly atmosphere

"One of the great benefits of the Europe 1000-1800 program is the friendly and informal atmosphere. We frequently organize extracurricular seminars and drinks afterwards, which are attended by students and faculty members and where ideas and plans can be discussed. Many seminars are based on own research and this is stimulating to both students and staff."


"Researching European or global history requires a certain set of skills, which in general often seems to be acknowledged by employers in and beyond academia. Some students will go on to write obtain a PhD. Many pursue careers working in journalism, at museums and cultural institutions, publishing houses, as policy advisors or in diplomacy. They often hold intellectually engaging positions that demand analytical, organizational and good writing skills. Students of premodern and early modern history are generally highly regarded for their language skills, their specific and often detailed knowledge and their ability to apply abstract concepts."

Following individual paths

"Past experience has learned that internships in particular motivate students as well as offering them valuable contacts and insights into how to use their skills and knowledge outside of the university. Together we try to find internships that are individually tailored to students’ interests. Researching topics of individual interest is also encouraged in the thesis seminar. I think this is one of the most important aspects of the programme: students are encouraged to follow their individual academic paths, yet are offered a broad itinerary on their way."

Mark Rutgers


Mark Rutgers

“Many of our master’s students discover the quality of our programmes only after they join us. In the Netherlands, self-promotion is not a big part of our culture, yet Leiden University’s Humanities Faculty ranks alongside the most prestigious universities in the world, and is the established leader in continental Europe. What can our students expect from this programme? An education on par with the world’s best, with teaching by top researchers.”

Alumni: close-knit global community

“Your graduation from a master’s programme marks a new chapter in your relationship with Leiden University. Our alumni community is highly active in terms of network-building and development. They are valued by the university, and we support them with personal and professional development and free use of our facilities such as the Leiden University Library. This close-knit global community offers life-long support for all our former students in terms of reaching goals, maintaining friendships and expanding networks.”

Research: encouraging you to think beyond your own discipline

“Some of the most high-profile humanities research produced today is conducted at Leiden University’s Humanities Faculty. These faculty members are among a handful worldwide who can lay claim to such a depth and breadth of academic expertise. One example is our centre of excellence on Native American cultures, languages and history – a research group that is one of the best in the world. At Leiden, we can offer students expertise in most niche areas of interest. Our faculty members often work together across disciplines, and encourage students to think beyond the limits of their own discipline, which is where the future of innovative research lies.”

Careers: opportunities to develop your talent

Decisions made during your studies have a big impact on your future. We offer you many opportunities to develop your talents both within and outside of the classroom, including internships, study trips abroad, student committees, and minors. These opportunities help define your objectives for after your studies, and equip you with additional skills and experience.”

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