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Italian Literature and Culture (MA)

About the programme

Learn the newest insights from established researchers.

This Italian-language MA programme offers you a range of courses related to Italian literature and culture. All courses, papers and presentations are in Italian and require proficiency at an advanced level.

The master's programme in Italian Literature and Culture spans two semesters. The programme offers a wide range of approaches to the literary field and its borders. In the courses you approach literature through relevant methodological questions, which you apply to concrete case studies. This allows you to deepen a selection of concepts - a period, a movement, a genre, an author, a theme, a medium - at a high academic level.

Examples of research questions are:

  • How do authors make use of the literary canon for political purposes in epic poetry?
  • How are literary devices applied to sitcoms and commercial movies?
  • What are the different functions and means of literary texts in journals and newspapers throughout the 20th Century?

Your MA thesis is written in the domain of Italian literature. Possible methods and approaches include: Adaptation theory, Cultural transfer, Discourse analysis, Ecocriticism, Intermediality and intertextuality, Semiotics and System Theory.

Curious about the Italian team with its lecturers and activities? Have a look at the department’s blog and YouTube Channel.

The Italian Literature and Culture specialisation consists of four electives (i.e. 4 x 10 EC courses or equivalent) and an MA thesis (20 EC).

  • Courses 1 and 2: Any two courses from the Italian-taught list of electives below
    Course 3: Any course offered from the Italian Literature and Culture programme or any other course within the MA in Literary Studies;
  • Course 4: Any course offered from the Italian Literature and Culture programme or any other course within the MA in Literary Studies, a course on a literary subject taught in another MA, a course offered within the MA in Linguistics: Italian Language and Linguistics, or a course offered via Masterlanguage.

We also offer the following combined programme of Literary Studies/Italian courses and Linguistics/Italian courses:

  • Two courses (20 EC): Literary Studies/Italian
  • Two courses (20 EC): MA Linguistics/Italian
  • MA thesis Literary Studies (20 EC)
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Self-study
  • Internship options
  • Exams
  • Peer feedback and assessment
  • Essays and reports
  • Oral presentations
  • Thesis

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 your essential skills in reasoning and critical thinking. An important focus of this programme is teaching how to conduct scientific research autonomously and to structure your results in a master's thesis.

Detailed programme

For a detailed programme, see the Prospectus. Please note that this guide applies to the current academic year, which means that the curriculum for next year may slightly differ.

Carmen van den Bergh

University Lecturer

Carmen van den Bergh

“In life we make a lot of choices and we walk our own path. A next threshold can cause fear and stress, but a good training, personal feedback and support can certainly be helpful in the journey. After their bachelor study, our Masters go one step further, they delve into a subject that genuinely fascinates them, they dare to confront themselves with other peers and specialists, they dare to think critically and in this way they build their future in a responsible way. Dare to choose a direction for yourself, dare to be an artist of your own future.”

Emma Grootveld

University Lecturer

Emma Grootveld

"In our society we have to deal with moving images and transient information. Getting grip on that society requires specific analytical skills: you need to keep up with the fast pace of changes in the domain of communication, without forgetting, however, the value of a "patient" and reflective enquiring attitude. Our programme is designed for stimulating students to develop their strengths at both sides of this spectrum."

Broad and relevant research:

The lecturers in this programme are members of the Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society (LUCAS). They adhere to its mission and vision on Humanities by studying the multifaceted relationships between the arts and society, adopting interdisciplinary and cross-cultural approaches, and exploring the possibilities of Digital Humanities. Two of LUCAS' clusters are directly represented in the programme:

The Medieval and Early Modern cluster (600−1800) aims to analyse and interpret the creation, function, dissemination, and conservation of medieval and early modern culture. It explores the relationships between cultural products (texts, objects, practices) and their societal and historical contexts. The Modern and Contemporary cluster (1800−Present) centres on regional, national, and global interactions between a variety of artistic expressions and society. It focuses on objects (artistic, literary, cinematic, and medial), as well as on practices (aesthetic, political, and cultural).

A stimulating environment

“When you join Leiden’s Faculty of Humanities you are joining a community of passionate, stimulated and ambitious students and staff from all over the world. Our academic environment is known for being conducive to interaction between individuals of all standing: at Leiden even the most junior researcher is treated as a valuable member of the community with important opinions to share. You also gain access to truly unique resources found nowhere else in the world, such as our famous collections at the University Library. Our lecturers and support staff are committed to your success, both now and in the future, and offer you the tools needed to develop into a critically-minded professional who can truly make a difference to the world.”

Annelies Schulte Nordholt

University Lecturer

Annelies Schulte Nordholt

"Detailed feedback from teachers on your written and oral work is the first step towards learning how to critique and evaluate ideas and theories. The next step is learning how to critically comment on, and correct, your own work and that of others."

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