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Global Conflict in the Modern Era (MA)

Admission requirements

To be eligible for Global Conflict in the Modern Era at Leiden University, you must meet the following admission requirements.

Limited capacity

This programme has a limited capacity. A maximum of 120 places is available (80 in September, 40 in February) on this programme. The Admissions Board ranks the requests for admission on the fulfilment of the requirements below.

Diploma requirements

  • A bachelor’s degree from a research university that matches the level of a Dutch academic Bachelor’s degree, or demonstrate to meet the requirements for such a degree, including general academic skills;
  • the bachelor’s degree should be in the field of social sciences, humanities, law or economics, and
  • prior education which includes components worth at least 30 EC that are comparable in level, content and course objectives to the following courses of the bachelor’s programme International Studies at Leiden University:
    • World History (5 EC)
    • Introduction to International Studies (5 EC)
    • Cultural Interaction: a Global Perspective (5 EC) or Communication across Cultures (5 EC)
    • Global Political Economy (5 EC)
    • International Relations (5 EC)
    • Politics of a specific area (i.e. Africa, East Asia, Europe, Latin America, Middle East, North America, Russia and Eurasia, South and Southeast Asia) (5 EC)

In addition, you must also meet the following qualitative admission requirements:

  • A good academic record as an indicator of academic excellence, demonstrated by an average grade of at least 7.0 (Dutch grading system), in the Bachelor programme, and
  • Other indicators of suitability for the MA programme such as practical experience (e.g. extensive internship experience that required policy input from the intern), successful completion of a BA honours programme, or substantial international work experience in an international field relevant to the programme International Relations, such as diplomacy, advocacy, organisation, or business, and
  • Demonstrable motivation to study and familiarity with the MA programme and the specific specialisation(s).

The qualitative admission requirements will be implemented as follows:

Grade list

A good academic record must be shown by a transcript of records/grade list (including the grade of the Bachelor’s thesis and/or average grade).

CV including at least two referees

The other indicators of suitability for the programme, such as extracurricular activities and professional/practical experience, should be demonstrated by the required CV, and/or certificates of extracurricular activities relevant to the MA programme. Your CV should include two referees (at least one from an academic staff member). The Board of Admissions may contact them to verify that you meet this requirement. 

Motivation letter

Your motivation should be demonstrated by a well-argued and structured motivation letter in which you indicate why you want to follow the MA programme specialisation and convincingly discuss what makes you a good candidate, specifically listing your International Studies-related courses taken including the course objectives and key readings. The statement should be between 700 and 1,500 words.


If you hold a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, as indicated above, but are unable to demonstrate via your academic record that you meet the specific requirements set, you are required to submit a 1,250 word essay as part of the admission process:

  • In this essay you must demonstrate a clear affinity with and specific knowledge of International Relations in general and specifically in the field of the specialisation for which you apply.
  • Specifically, the essay must clearly answer an original research question, provide a reasonable and reasonably well organised argument that demonstrates a satisfactory understanding of the essay topic, demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of historical and/or social science methods, critically engage with the additional reading specified on the Required documents page and contain no fundamental errors.

Learn more about the required documents for this programme.

Language requirements

The following requirements apply: 

  • IELTS Academic modules only, on paper or on computer: 6.5 overall, with at least 6.0 for each separate component score.
    • We do not accept IELTS Academic online.
    • We do not accept IELTS General Training, IELTS Indicator, or IELTS One Skill Retake
  • TOEFL internet based: 90 overall, with at least 20 for each separate component.
    • We are not able to accept The TOEFL IBT Home Edition™, except in the following situations only:
      You took the test before 1 Sept 2022 (and it is not more than 2 years old), or you are unable to take an in-person test on location because test centres are inaccessible or closed due to unsafe conditions in a country.
    • We do not accept the following types of test: TOEFL My Best™ scores (multiple test scores combined), TOEFL Essentials™  or institutional tests such as ITP.
  • Cambridge English Exam C2 Proficiency, or C1 Advanced (180), with a minimum score of 169 for each separate component.

Note that English test results may not be more than two years old.

You do not have to submit an English proficiency test if you have completed your education in the USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Canada (except French-taught programmes in Canada) Singapore, South-Africa or Malta; or if you have obtained an English-taught International Baccalaureate™; or if you have completed a Dutch VWO diploma or an English-taught bachelor at a Dutch research university.

For detailed information, including exemption criteria and methods of submission, refer to 
English language proficiency

Maximum capacity

The programme will make a selection on the grounds of the following criteria:

  • With regard to admission to the programme, the Admissions Board assesses the knowledge and skills of the applicants on the basis of the files they have submitted.
  • If necessary the Board can contact the applicant by mail or telephone at any time during the admission procedure in order to gain further information.
  • The Admissions Board decides on the basis of this assessment:
    • A. which applicants meet the entry requirements of the specialisation – if appropriate on the condition that they have been awarded their bachelor’s degree in time – and can in principle be admitted;
    • B. which applicants cannot be admitted because they do not meet the requirements.
  • The Board ranks the suitability of the applicants in category A to the specialisation of the MA programme on the basis of the files they have submitted, having regard to the qualitative admission requirements as specified above, and, if the Board has requested this, the further information provided by the applicant.

Please note that Leiden University does not offer a pre-master's programme for Global Conflict in the Modern Era.

>> Go to the next step: Check the application deadlines

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