Universiteit Leiden

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Culture and Politics (MA)

Career prospects

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

The MA in International Relations programme offers outstanding preparation for students seeking a profession that requires comprehensive knowledge of world affairs and strong analytical and critical-thinking skills.

Examples of the diverse roles of our graduates include:

  • Policy advisor, at a ministry of foreign affairs
  • Communications manager and project assistant at an NGO promoting reconciliation and peace
  • Consular spokesperson at a ministry of foreign affairs
  • Consultant at an NGO
  • Project manager at a company specialising in geo-services, international development and project management
  • PhD candidate and research assistant
  • Communications officer at an international student federation
  • Research analyst at a consultancy firm
  • Product manager at a multinational company
  • University relations manager at an education intermediary
  • Senior immigration expert at a multinational accountancy and consultancy firm

Your qualifications

Your master's will qualify you for a wide-range of roles in almost every sector of the employment market. Many of our graduates work for public services, research institutes, international organisations, government bodies, NGOs, education, communications, policy development, political institutes and academia, amongst others.

Yoanna Daskalova

Graduated in MA Culture and Politics

Yoanna Daskalova

“I graduated from BA International Studies with a focus area Europe and was eager to continue delving into my particular area of interest – the intersection of culture and international politics. I was immersed into critical cultural approaches to studying the interplay between the two disciplines and was therefore especially excited to start the MA International Relations with specialization in Culture and Politics. I was very happy with my choice since my professors and courses were immensely enriching both on academic and personal level.”

Interdisciplinary skills

“I am currently working as a Communications Manager of European projects in the field of medical innovations and research. Admittedly, the scientific field I operate in is not directly related to my academic background. However, the interdisciplinary nature of both my BA and MA and my developed ability to translate complex issues into understandable language having graduated from these programs, are allowing me to comfortably switch between sectors and be satisfied with the results.“

Excellent communication skills

“My education at Leiden University has equipped me with excellent communication skills to be applied in interactions with colleagues and partners, during internal and external presentations and especially while composing written communication materials such as newsletters, brochures and any type of relevant content.“

Lara Mongiardi

Graduated in MA Culture and Politics

Lara Mongiardi

"Following my BA in Modern Languages, I was keen to hone and apply my cultural knowledge in an international career that could have a real-world impact on people’s lives. The Culture & Politics stream proved invaluable in helping me nurture this skillset. Through its humanities-based approach, the course offered me a solid theoretical foundation to IR, but also opened my eyes to the many ways everyday topics like culture and religion can shape how we perceive the world around us. From Day One, I was encouraged to think critically and share my thoughts with peers and tutors, gaining fresh perspectives on global issues. The programme broadened my horizons and was enjoyable and rewarding throughout!"

Kent Moore

Graduated in International Relations

Kent Moore

"Being from my own cultural background, from the U.S., I came to Leiden with a certain view on the world. Through studying International Relations I acquired much more cultural sensitivity about certain issues. I learned about the impression the U.S. leaves on the world, which opened up my world to different viewpoints.”

Recruiting students for our study abroad programmes

"I currently work at CISabroad, a studying abroad organization that has affiliations with over 200 U.S. universities. For the most part I recruit students for our study abroad programmes, but I also arrange the logistics of some of the student trips abroad."

Inspirational lecturers

" As a lecturer I found Lindsay Black very inspirational. He is a very smart man and I owe him a drink or two for being so helpful during the process of writing my thesis."

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.

In which sector do students find jobs?

The graphs below are based on alumni data from the MA International Relations - Culture and Politics 2016-2020.


  • 33 % Government and semi-government organisations
  • 17 % Non-profit (e.g. at an idealistic organisation)
  • 17 % Financial institutions
  • 8 % IT
  • 8 % Education
  • 8 % Culture, sports and recreation
  • 8 % Consultancy
  • 1 % Other

How successful are they in finding a job?

  • 83 % found a job within two months
  • 100 % 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 International Relations at Leiden University aims to equip you with a range of important transferable skills and knowledge that will help you stand out in your future career. Your specialised knowledge is complemented by a broad and contextual understanding as well as critical-thinking skills that can be applied to complex conceptual problems. In class, we encourage every student to participate in discussions to develop their ability to clearly and confidently articulate their ideas as well as fine-tune their logic and reasoning abilities. Other skills you may encounter in the various International Relations courses are:

  • Collaboration
  • Persuasion
  • Research
  • Self-directed learning
  • Creative thinking

You will have the opportunity to gain experience working an as intern in an organisation in the Netherlands or abroad. This experience is highly valued within international organisations, as are strong communication skills. Organisations where students from the MA International Relations programme may find an internship include:

  • 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 (Latvia, Washington, USA, South Africa, etc)
  • 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

Please note that you will need to find your own internship, follow an internship procedure for approval, and that pursuing an internship may have consequences for the date of your graduation.

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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