Universiteit Leiden

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International Relations (MA)

Understanding the complexities of world affairs requires an ability to think critically and to draw insights from a variety of perspectives, sources, and analytic frames. Leiden University’s Master of Arts in International Relations addresses these needs through distinctive humanities-based training in international relations that draws on the University’s internationally-recognised strengths.

Master International Relations at Leiden University

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Why study International Relations at Leiden University?

You will join the only master's programme in the Netherlands to offer five unique specialisations within the field of international relations. With a broad curriculum and flexible design, the Master’s degree in International Relations allows you to tailor your degree to suit your career goals. Five specialisations are available, each with their own thematic focus, and each with further scope for customisation. You will be able to specialise in areas ranging from the European integration process to the global political economy to the pursuit of global justice.

Learn more about the study programme

Humanities-based International Relations at Leiden University

Within Leiden University, the MA International Relations is unique in its embrace of a humanities-based approach to international relations. Internationally, the programme is distinguished by the way it blends rigorous engagement of ideas in world politics with world-leading historiographical, cultural, and area studies teaching and research. Humanities-based international relations entails a humanistic, critical, and transdisciplinary approach to the study of international relations that comprehends how humankind in all its variety makes sense of the world and how international relations shapes social conditions and systems of meaning across and within countries.

Learn more about Humanities-Based International Relations

A short introduction by the Programme Director

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In this video Programme Director Lindsay Black gives a short (4 min) introduction to the MA International Relations and its humanities-based approach. 

International staff expertise

The MA International Relations draws on the strengths and expertise of an international staff — all prominent scholars in their fields. The programme’s staff is intellectually diverse, with backgrounds in history, political science, political economy, sociology, economics, law, anthropology, and linguistics.

Meet some of our lecturers:

https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/binaries/content/gallery/ul2/portraits/humanities/l/l.o.-lindsay-black-.jpeg/l.o.-lindsay-black-.jpeg/d200x250Dr. Lindsay Black
University Lecturer and Programme Director for the MA International Relations
Research interests: Japan’s foreign policy, International Relations Theory, East Asian Regionalism, East Asian Security, Human Security and Development, Contemporary Maritime Affairs in East/Southeast Asia, and Sino-Japanese Relations.

https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/binaries/content/gallery/ul2/portraits/humanities/a/alanna-omalley.jpg/alanna-omalley.jpg/d200x250Prof. dr. Alanna O’Malley
Professor by special appointment United Nations Studies in Peace and Justice
Research interests: United Nations, decolonization, Congo and the Cold War.

https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/binaries/content/gallery/ul2/portraits/humanities/d/isabelle-duyvesteyn.jpg/isabelle-duyvesteyn.jpg/d200x250Prof. dr. Isabelle Duijvesteijn
Professor and member of the national Advisory Council for International Affairs assigned to advise the Netherlands government on issues of peace and security
Research interests: the nature of war and peace in the developing world, irregular warfare and strategy, the history of terrorism and counter-terrorism, strategic culture and intelligence and rebel governance.

https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/binaries/content/gallery/ul2/portraits/humanities/s/s.-salvador-regilme.jpg/s.-salvador-regilme.jpg/d200x250Dr. Salvador Regilme
University Lecturer
Research interests: comparative historical analysis, foreign aid, global governance, human rights, United States foreign policy.

https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/binaries/content/gallery/ul2/portraits/humanities/k/karen-smith.jpg/karen-smith.jpg/d200x250Dr. Karen Smith
University Lecturer and Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect to the United Nations Secretary-General.
Research interests: non-western understandings of international relations, foreign policy analysis, changes in global order and implications for global governance, the responsibility to protect.

https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/binaries/content/gallery/ul2/portraits/humanities/m/maxine-david.jpg/maxine-david.jpg/d200x250Dr. Maxine David
University Lecturer
Research interests: Foreign Policy Analysis and the foreign policies of Russia, the European Union, the UK and USA and interactions between these actors.

https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/binaries/content/gallery/ul2/portraits/humanities/v/vineet-thakur-2.jpg/vineet-thakur-2.jpg/d200x250Dr. Vineet Thakur
University Lecturer
Research interests: diplomatic history, intellectual history, post-colonialism, South Africa, South Asia.

View more staff

International Relations Degree

International Relations at Leiden University is an accredited degree programme. After successful completion of this programme, you will receive a legally accredited Master’s degree in International Relations and the title Master of Arts (MA).

Find out more about the career prospects

Join our information activities

Twice a year, the university organises a Master’s Open Day. You can also watch our webinars or listen to the International Relations Study Association podcasts.

Check our Information Activities page for more information

In which sector do students find jobs?

  • 36 Government and semi-government organisations
  • 13 Non-profit
  • 11 Consultancy
  • 8 Education
  • 7 Financial institutions
  • 5 Media and journalism
  • 4 Communication and marketing
  • 3 IT
  • 3 Business services
  • 2 Information management
  • 8 Other

The graph above is based on alumni data from from the MA International Relations 2016-2020.

Admission and Application

Do you want to find out if you are eligible for this Master's programme?

Check the entry requirements

Chat with a student

Do you have a question about studying at Leiden University or student life in Leiden? Do you want more information about the International Relations Master's programme? Chat with a current student for answers to your questions!

A second MA at Johns Hopkins SAIS Europe: School of Advanced International Studies

Due to a special agreement between the two universities, it is possible to earn a second degree at the European campus of Johns Hopkins University SAIS, in Bologna, Italy. Your Leiden MA degree in International Relations gives you access to the second year of the research focused Master of Arts in International Affairs(MAIA). Candidates admitted to the Bologna programme would be given a full year’s credit towards this two-year MA. The MAIA at SAIS Europe is a research-orientated programme where students have the flexibility to personalise their curriculum and focus on the contemporary issues in international affairs of the greatest importance aligned with their career interests. Courses at SAIS Europe emphasise economics, political science, history and foreign language proficiency, providing a cross-disciplinary approach.

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