Universiteit Leiden

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Modern Languages (MA)

Career prospects

Where do our graduates work?

Because of the extensive curriculum and specialisations, you will be well-prepared to find a job related to the language industry. Our graduates have landed jobs in various sectors of the job market, such as education, research institutions, communication and marketing, and publishing. Examples of the diverse roles of our graduates include:

  • Editor at a publishing company
  • Content manager
  • Project manager at a translation agency
  • PhD candidate at various universities
  • Linguistics consultant

Inge Hindriks

Graduated in English Linguistics (MA Linguistics)

Inge Hindriks

“During my bachelor’s programme in English Language and Culture, I became interested in second language learning and teaching and I wanted to specialise myself in this field of interest. The master’s programme in English Linguistics offered relevant courses with regard to my interests and provided me with an opportunity to learn from and work with excellent researchers that are specialised in this field.”

Freedom of Choice                              

“The programme is very flexible in the sense that you have a lot of freedom in choosing courses you’d like to follow. As a student you’re also able to choose courses on linguistic subjects from different tracks or master’s programmes, which gives you the opportunity to customise your personal schedule based on your specific interest(s).”


“Currently, I’m a trainee at Eerst de Klas, which means that I teach English at a secondary school three days a week. During the rest of the week I follow an intensive master teacher training programme and I take part in a leadership programme designed by the most innovative and leading organisations in the Netherlands. During my Leiden master’s programme I’ve learned a lot about second language teaching and learning which I can put into practice every day.”

Sophie Kerstens

Graduated in French Language and Linguistics (MA Linguistics)

Sophie Kerstens

"During my BA in French Language and Culture, I became captivated by linguistics. I loved discovering the origins of Roman languages and I was fascinated by the development of languages. That is why I was motivated to pursue a master’s degree in French Language and Linguistics."

A broad variety of subjects

"Leiden University has a renowned reputation in this field and an equally prominent academic staff. The MA programme allowed me to choose from a broad variety of subjects, from business French to linguistics of Italian dialects (which I could compare with French). Moreover, I had the chance to study abroad at the University of Nantes (France). There, I could broaden the variety of my curriculum even more by choosing subjects such as neurolinguistics and second-language-apprehension."

Thinking 'out of the box'

"After finishing my MA, I was admitted to the ‘Eerst de Klas’ traineeship (the Dutch equivalent of ‘Teach First’ (UK) or ‘Teaching for America’ (US)), a combination of intensive graduate training in education and a business leadership programme. Part of the programme consisted of solving business cases for the Philips Company. The mind-set part of 'out of the box' thinking which I gradually learned during my MA and this traineeship is something which helps me most in my job."

Strong basis for continuous self-improvement

"My education at Leiden University allowed me to study a broad variety of topics. This offered me a strong basis for continuous self-improvement, and enabled me to achieve that which gives me most satisfaction on a daily basis. I can inspire my students to look at the world with a broad sense of interest and ambition; they can achieve anything as long as they are driven to investigate the world they live in. So, my Leiden MA did not just offer topical expertise but it nurtured the ability to pass on my skills, ambition and curiosity to the next generation."

Kim Groothuis

Graduated in Italian Language and Linguistics (MA) and Linguistics (Research Master)

Kim Groothuis

“My masters in Leiden have given me the opportunity to explore my interests in many ways: I combined the master in Italian with the Research Master in Linguistics in order to follow my interests in both Italian dialectology, and theoretical and historical syntax.”

A wide variety of courses

“Both programmes offer a wide variety of courses, which you can combine exactly as you see fit: whether you wish to dive into one specific subfield or combine various interests. All courses are taught by specialists in the field, who are not only very knowledgeable, but also extremely helpful and enthusiastic.”

An excellent preparation

“At the moment I am studying for my PhD in comparative Romance syntax at the University of Cambridge. Apart from doing research, I also teach undergraduates during supervisions (something comparable to small ‘werkcolleges’). My masters in Leiden have been an excellent preparation for this next step, because they combined theory with ongoing research – part of which you will have to do yourself, during the courses and later for your thesis. It is this aspect of the masters which in my opinion is the most valuable, especially if you wish to continue in academia.”

In which sector do students find jobs?

The graphs below are based on alumni data from the MA in Linguistics 2016-2020.

  • 29 % Education
  • 17 % Research
  • 12 % Communication and marketing
  • 6 % Business services
  • 5 % IT
  • 5 % Government and semi-government organisations
  • 5 % Publishing
  • 3 % Wholesale and retail
  • 3 % Information management
  • 2 % Non-profit (e.g. at an idealistic organization)
  • 13 % Other

Teacher qualification

If you are interested in a career in teaching, you can apply for the Dutch-taught teacher-training MA at the ICLON Graduate School of Education after graduating from the master’s programme. To be admitted, you need to have a master’s degree in the  relevant discipline. Fluency in Dutch is mandatory, and additional entry requirements may apply.

An academic career

Graduates interested in pursuing an academic career have gone on to do research internships or to pursue a PhD. If you are interested in pursuing an academic and research career, you can consider applying for the two-year Research Master's in Linguistics. Please keep in mind that this programme has additional admission requirements. You can explore the possibilities with the programme coordinator.

Career preparation

Find out how this programme prepares you for your future career and check our career preparation activities.

The Master's programme in Modern Languages at Leiden University equips you with a range of 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. Other skills you may encounter in the various Linguistics courses are:

  • Oral and written communication
  • Processing complex information
  • Research
  • Intercultural skills
  • Creative thinking

You have the opportunity to do an internship at an organisation in the Netherlands or abroad. This experience is a great way to gain work experience or to explore the professional field. Organisations that our students have interned at include:

  • Taalmuseum (Language Museum)
  • Ministry of Education and Culture
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Dutch embassy in Rome
  • Transnational Consulting S.L.

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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