Universiteit Leiden

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Culture and Politics (MA)

About the programme

The one-year International Relations Master's specialisations offer an attractive mix of theoretical knowledge with practical experience.

Semester 1

Core course Culture and Politics (10 EC)
Humanities-based International Relations (5 EC)
Thesis and Methods in International Relations and Research (5 EC)
Electives (10 EC)

Semester 2

Regionalism in World Politics (5 EC)
Thesis Culture and Politics  (15 EC)
Electives (10 EC)


When it comes to picking a topic for your thesis, you have great freedom in what you want to write about. We have many thesis supervisors who have different expertise.

MA Thesis preparatory course

The preparatory course introduces you to core conceptual, methodological and theoretical issues you meet when you initiate, research, and write your MA thesis. In addition, a series of seminars will enable you to discuss specific issues related to International Relations. 


You have the opportunity to replace one elective with an internship or to pursue an internship as an extracurricular activity. Both options usually imply a study extension because you would delay graduation by one semester. Yet this possibility is valued and used by many of our students.

This experience is highly valued within international organisations. In the past years International Relations students have done internships at a huge variety of organisations, including:

  • Security Policy Department (DVB) of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Dutch Ministry of Defense
  • NGOs, for example Gender Concerns International or NGO’s focused on humanitarian aid
  • Think tanks, such as the Netherlands Institute for International Relations ‘Clingendael’, the International Centre for Counterterrorism and the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies
  • Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and embassies around the world
  • European institutions - examples include Estonian presidency of the European Union, internships for members of the European Parliament
  • Media outlets such as Een Vandaag in Hilversum
  • Netherlands Permanent Mission to the United Nations

Detailed programme

Course EC
Core Course Culture and Politics 10
Humanities-Based International Relations 5
Thesis and Methods in International Relations and Research (CP) 5
Regionalism in World Politics 5
MA Thesis Culture and Politics 15
Core Course Culture and Politics 10
Humanities-Based International Relations 5
Thesis and Methods in International Relations and Research (CP) 5
Course EC
Decentering International Relations: Views from the Global South 10
Brazil in the Portuguese Speaking World: Political and Cultural Dynamics 10
Rethinking Secularism in International Relations 10
Remapping the City in Modern Literature and Visual Cultures 10
Interculturality 1: Key Concepts 10
Modern United States Foreign Policy 10
Informality, Exclusion and (Adverse) Inclusion: Foundations and Key Concepts 10
The place of the political in Latin American literature and cinema 10
Material Culture, Memory and Commemoration along the Silk Roads in Central Asia 10
`Ulamâ' in the Modern Muslim World 10
Narratives That Matter: Literature, Film and Television Drama in the Middle East 10
Internship MA International Relations 10
The MENA Region in the Settler Colonial World 10
Social and Cultural History of the Middle East: the Ottoman Empire (1300-1922) 10
The Museums of the Future: Ethics, Responsibilities and Practices 10
Post-Soviet Wars and the Violent Collapse of the USSR 10
Cultures of Resistance: South Asia and the World (10 EC) 10
Politics of Culture in Southeast Asia (10 EC) 10
Issues in Latin American Foreign Policies 10
“Insurgencies” Against Western Hegemony in Global Politics After the Cold War 10
The Politics of Heritage in the Middle East 10
In the Time of Cities: Space, Place, and Politics in the Urban Middle East 10
The Power of Words: Discourse and Society in the Middle East 10
Creativity and Culture in Contemporary China 10
China and Global Cyberspace 10
Contemporary Indian Politics 10
Global Social Policy: The Political Economy of Social Reproduction 10
Contemporary Brazil 10
Neoliberalism in Latin America: Varieties, Similarities and Alternatives 10
New Latin American Feminisms 10
Interculturality 2: The Global Imagination 10
Internship MA International Relations 10
Art, Museums & Cultural Memory (with excursion to Berlin) 10
From Inkwell to Internet: Text and Transmission in the Muslim World 10
Culture and Conquest: the Impact of the Mongols and their Descendants 10
Cultural Memory in Latin America (trauma, migration and identity) 10
Modern Japanese International Political Thought 10
Leiden Elective Academic Periodical 10

For a more detailed programme and an overview of all the possible electives, please check the Online Study Guide.

Please note that this guide applies to the current academic year, which means that the curriculum for next year may slightly differ.

John-Harmen Valk

University Lecturer

John-Harmen Valk

“International relations are shaped by the culturally inflected understandings of international actors and by the harnessing of cultural forms to advance political ends. The Culture and Politics specialisation positions students to explore the global variety of cultural experiences regarding international politics thanks to its teaching staff with rich regional expertise, especially the Global South. It also attunes students to the politics coursing through a wide array of cultural forms that shape and reshape the international realm—images, narratives, rituals, museums, music and beyond.”

Admission and Application

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

Check the entry requirements

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