Universiteit Leiden

nl en

Literary Studies (MA)

About the programme

Learn the newest insights from established scholars.

The master’s programme in Literary Studies offers five specialisations. The language specialisations offer a vast range of subject areas from Medieval to 21st century literature, whereas ‘Literature in Society’ focuses on modern and contemporary literature and culture. You will have the opportunity to customise your degree by including electives from other specialisations and master’s programmes, or by taking an internship or a course at a university abroad.

Programme structure

The master’s programme in Literary Studies is a one-year full-time programme taught across two semesters. It comprises compulsory courses, elective courses, and the writing of an MA thesis.

For detailed information about the curriculum, please check the specialisations.

Anthonya Visser

Professor of German Language and Literature

Anthonya Visser

“Literary Studies at Leiden University is unique primarily because of its interdisciplinary nature. Students are invited to choose their own specialisation, such as an approach to a specific issue or a particular topic.”

Yra van Dijk

Professor of Dutch Literature in a Global Perspective

Yra van Dijk

"In the MA, students arrive on another level, where they take themselves and their academic work more seriously. At that point, it motivates them (and myself) to explore together what the study of literature can bring them, as much as what they can bring to Literary Studies. Finding your discipline and deepening your knowledge is an amazing process of self-discovery, personally and professionaly."


"To prepare students for the job market, we have an ongoing conversation about what lays ahead. Once students really know their ambitions, I can bring them in contact with my network in the field of journalism, literature and in the academy, in order to find positions from editor at a Publishing House to PhD-positions."

Critical thinkers

"I turn my students into critical thinkers by letting them read crucial texts and taking time to discuss them together, asking them to weekly write essays with feedback. Most of all: they learn to critically analyse and interpret literary texts as being revelatory of the most painful truths in society."

Full-time and Part-time

All Literary Studies specialisations are offered both in full-time and part-time. Please note that the part-time study mode does not offer any evening classes.

Research and academic rigour

All courses are taught by academics who are active researchers. Content is regularly updated to reflect  research conducted by lecturers on the programme. The academically-rigorous design of the programme aims to develop in you essential skills in reasoning and critical thinking. An important focus of this programme is teaching you how to independently conduct scientific research and develop this data into a master's thesis.

This website uses cookies. More information.