Universiteit Leiden

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English Literature and Culture (MA)

Career prospects

Where do our graduates work?

Because of the extensive curriculum and specialisations, the career opportunities after completing the Literary Studies specialisation in English Literature and Culture are broad. Our graduates have landed jobs in various sectors of the job market, such as education, communication and marketing, financial institutions, publishing and media. Examples of the diverse roles of our graduates include:

  • Photo editor at the Rathenau Instituut
  • English language teacher
  • Editorial assistant at Springer Nature
  • Editor at an educational material developer

Dieneke Boer

Graduated in English Literature and Culture (MA Literary Studies) and Journalism and New Media (MA Media Studies)

Dieneke Boer

"I have now been working for a year at Amsterdam FashionWeek on the online editorial of Fashionweek.nl. I write articles, manage social media channels, produce videos and essentially combine all my knowledge from the JNM master’s into this job. In particular, the focus on New Media in this master’s perfectly fits the current demand on the journalism job market, where you are expected to be a jack-of-all-trades and be up-to-date with the latest developments. We have an English-language website as well, for which I do some translation work. I also have regular contact with fashion agencies abroad, including other FashionWeeks. So, my English Literature master’s is also coming in handy."

Going for two MA degrees

"During my BA in English Language and Culture, I also followed courses for the minor in Journalism Studies which triggered my interest in combining the two. So, after obtaining my BA, I decided to go for two MA degrees: Journalism and New Media and English Literature and Culture. Both were very different in their structure, the one focused on practice, while the other provided a more literary background. Language has always been one of my main interests and combining both studies has certainly enriched me."

Annamika Singh

Graduated in English Literature and Culture (MA Literary Studies)

Annamika Singh

“I work in London as a sales assistant for a large publisher. When the rights to a book are sold to a Dutch publisher, I help with the entire production process. I send out the materials for the translation, I draw up a contract, we discuss how the book will look, I make sure it gets to the printer, and so on. I suppose I’m the middleman between the Dutch publisher and Penguin Random House, and I help wherever I can.”

Working overseas

“I always planned to find a job outside the Netherlands, but I didn’t expect it to happen so soon. London is really competitive; there has to be something about you that makes you stand out. My work as a student assistant in the faculty helped there, as did my bilingualism and my master’s degree. It’s quite unusual to have one of those in England, because it’s more expensive to study there.”

Useful skills

“During my course I found history and literature especially interesting. I’ve always loved books, and I was fascinated by literary history. It helps you place books in a particular historical context. In Leiden I also had the opportunity to study American literature, which offers a really broad, interesting reading list.”

“I’ve noticed that I get to use my presentation skills in the labour market. You have to give presentations a lot more often than you might think, even if the setting isn’t always as formal as I was used to during lectures. I also learned to write well in English during the course.”

The graphs below are based on alumni data from the MA English Literature and Culture 2016-2020.

In which sector do students find jobs?

  • 48 % Education
  • 13 % Communication and marketing
  • 9 % Financial institutions
  • 4 % Business service
  • 4 % IT
  • 4 % Publishing and the book industry
  • 4 % Media and journalism
  • 4 % Government and semi-government organisations
  • 4 % Wholesale and retail
  • 6 % Other

Teacher qualification

Are you interested in pursuing a career in education? Then you may 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.

Career preparation

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

The Master's programme in Literary Studies 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 Literary Studies courses are:

  • Analysis
  • Oral and written communication
  • Research
  • Intercultural skills
  • Creative thinking

You have the opportunity to do an internship at an organisation in the Netherlands or abroad. Internships are a great way to gain first-hand experience in your area of interest and deepen your expertise. Organisations that our students have interned at include:

  • Royal Library The Hague, Koopman Collection
  • Dutch Embassy in Paris
  • Royal Brill Editions

Please note that you will need to find your own internship and have to follow an internship procedure for approval. Pursuing an internship may have consequences for the date of your graduation.

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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