English Literature and Culture (MA)
Create a world of opportunities with a master's degree from Leiden University
Organisations and institutions need new talent with the skills and knowledge you will have acquired in the master’s programme in English Literature and Culture. You can pursue a career in research with a PhD, or use your linguistic and analytical skills for a career in publishing, communications, and translation, or as a copywriter, editor or proof-reader. Our graduates often find employment in business services, education, or journalism.
The master in English Literature and Culture prepares you for a wide range of positions. Some of the positions of our alumni include:
- Account executive at a communications agency
- Policy officer at The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science
- English teacher at a university of professional education
- English 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 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
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.
Graduated in English Literature and Culture (MA Literary Studies) and Journalism and New Media (MA Media Studies)
"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."
Graduated in English Literature and Culture (MA Literary Studies)
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
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.
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
How successful are they in finding a job?
- 65 % found a job within two months
- 83 % found their first job at academic level
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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