Universiteit Leiden

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Literary Studies (MA)

Career prospects

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

The master’s programme in Literary Studies prepares you for a wide range of careers in which specialised knowledge of a language and culture and advanced academic skills are highly valued. Our graduates are currently pursuing successful careers in publishing, translation, communications, editing, education, journalism, advertising and marketing, teaching and research.

A few examples of positions held by our graduates :

  • Account executive at a communications agency
  • Policy officer at The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science
  • English/French/German/Italian teacher at a university of professional education
  • English/French/German teacher at a secondary school
  • Junior information specialist at an association of civil-law notaries
  • Project officer for subtitling at a company specialising in media translations
  • PhD researcher at a Dutch or foreign university
  • Project manager at a translation and interpreting agency
  • Publishing assistant at a legal publishing house
  • Copywriter at a software and consultancy company
  • Content manager and communications advisor at a multinational accountancy firm

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.

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.

Laura den Boer

Graduated in French Literature and Culture (MA Literary Studies)

Laura den Boer

"I very much enjoyed doing the Master’s in French Literature and Culture of the Literary Studies degree programme. I chose this master’s because the selection of subjects on offer appealed to me enormously."


"I took the master’s together with a small group of students, which encouraged me to take an active role in the tutorial discussions. Taking part in the discussions helped to improve my French oral skills, as well as giving me personal contact with the teachers."

A teaching position

"After my master’s I am going to work in Lille for 6 months, where I will be a language assistant in a secondary school, helping French pupils with their Dutch. After those 6 months I plan to do the Educational Master’s in French Literature and Culture, which will afterwards hopefully provide me with a teaching position in a Dutch secondary school, in which I will be able to apply the knowledge I have gained during my French studies. In all, the degree programme at Leiden has given me a superb grounding for a job in education, because studying the many and varied subjects allowed me to acquire interesting and in-depth knowledge."

The graphs below are based on alumni data from the MA Literary Studies 2016-2020.

In which sector do students find jobs?

  • 36 % Education
  • 14 % Communication and marketing
  • 9 % Government and semi-government organisations
  • 8 % IT
  • 6 % Financial institutions
  • 5 % Publishing
  • 5 % Media and journalism
  • 3 % Research
  • 3 % Consultancy
  • 3 % Business services
  • 8 % Other

How successful are they in finding a job?

  • 75 % found a job within two months
  • 89 % 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.

With the skills and knowledge you have gained during your master’s programme at Leiden University you will be able to work in a range of professional and academic careers. These include highly sought after skills such as:

  • to think critically;
  • the ability to write;
  • to organise your work and meet tight deadlines;
  • to convey meaning precisely;
  • to research and thoroughly analyse literary and academical texts;
  • to critically use literary and cultural theory.

The master’s programme in Literary Studies at Leiden University aims to equip you with these important skills and knowledge that will help you thrive in your future career. Your specialised knowledge is complemented by a strong, critical-thinking approach to problem-solving that can be applied to even the most complex conceptual problem.

Some of our students choose to do an internship during their study. Internships are a great way to gain firsthand experience in your area of interest before you decide on making it a career.

In recent years students from the master’s programme in Literary Studies have been doing internships at the following organisations:

  • Royal Library The Hague, Koopman Collection
  • Dutch Embassy in Paris/ Cultural Section
  • Royal Brill Editions, Leiden

The Literary Studies Career Colloquium enables you to actively prepare your future career by providing you with information and inspiration. This programme, specially tailored for Literary Studies students, consists of a series of meetings over the year on your personal profile, academic and practical skills. It includes two career events where you can meet professionals and alumni, in order to clarify your personal career prospects and start building your network.

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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