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Global Order in Historical Perspective (MA)

The specialisation Global Order in Historical Perspective of the master’s in International Relations at Leiden University focuses on examining the historical processes and practices in the making of global order.

QS World University Rankings by Subject -2021

A top-ranking programme

Our staff are comprised of leading international relations scholars, historians, and area studies specialists. According to the QS World University Rankings 2023, History at Leiden University is rated 1st in continental Europe and 17th in the world.

What will you study?

In this Master’s programme you will:

  • study the ways in which global order has historically changed;
  • discuss different ideas and practices of state-making, revolutions, imperialism, economic change, institutions, war, law, rights, diplomacy, objects, and technology, among others, underline the historical emergence of the contemporary world;
  • interrogate these issues from a wide range of analytical perspectives and categories, including those of race, class, and gender.

Why study Global Order in Historical Perspective at Leiden University?

The specialisation is distinct in its focus on Global Order for several reasons:

  • Our course offerings benefit from a wide range of multidisciplinary and regional expertise. Our staff are drawn from History, Area Studies and International Relations.
  • The depth and width of our expertise is reflected in the extensive list of electives we offer, which cover all major regions of the world as well as key functional areas. In 2023-24, we offered in total 28 electives that students could choose from.
  • Additional focus on ‘historical methods’ in research training. As the oldest university in the Netherlands, Leiden University has vast archival holdings on various regions of the world. The Dutch National Archives are located in The Hague. This makes historical research on Global Order in our programme easier and more exciting.
  • The Hague, being the international city of peace and justice, is home to several international, governmental and non-governmental organisations, including The International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court as well as institutes such as the Netherlands Institute of International Relations (Clingendael).
  • Through field visits and as part of our internship programme, students have an opportunity to engage with such organisations closely.
  • We also focus on developing key skills among students. Lecturers use a variety of course assessment methods including podcasting, oral presentations, visual essays, group-work, policy writing, and analytical essays.

Learn more about the study programme

Humanities focus

During the MA International Relations you will draw on a multiplicity of perspectives and expertise across the Faculty of Humanities, and examine a range of different issues, from politics and ideologies to the evolution of international law and diplomacy, the emergence of civil society and the rise on non-state actors. The master’s degree in International Relations also explores the development of institutions such as the UN, which structure interactions and power relations within the international system.

What are your career prospects?

This Master's prepares you for a wide range of roles in almost every sector of the job market. Our graduates work at different types of organisations, such as research institutes, international organisations, government bodies, media and academia. Jobs include policy advisor, consultant and journalist.

Find out more about the career prospects

Is Global Order in Historical Perspective the programme for you?

Are you interested in international relations? Do you want to examine the historical processes behind the evolution of the global order? Then the specialisation in Global Order in Historical Perspective at Leiden University is the right Master's programme for you. Find out if you are eligible for this Master's programme by checking the admission requirements.

Check the admission requirements

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

Due to a special agreement, students with a Leiden MA degree in International Relations can earn a second degree at the European Campus of Johns Hopkins University SAIS in Bologna, Italy. Successful applicants gain access to the second year of the research focused Master of Arts in International Affairs (MAIA) and will be given a full year’s credit towards this two-year MA. The programme is research-orientated and allows students to personalise their curriculum and focus on the contemporary issues in international affairs aligned with their career interests. The courses offered at SAIS Europe emphasise economics, political science, history and foreign language proficiency, providing a cross-disciplinary approach.

Chat with a student

Do you have a question about student life in Leiden, studying at Leiden University, or do you want more information about the International Relations master's programme?

Chat with a current student for answers to your questions!

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