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Literature in Society. Europe and Beyond (MA)

In Leiden University’s master’s programme Literature in Society. Europe and Beyond you will develop your knowledge of the interactive relationship between literature and society, focusing on key political and social issues from a transnational perspective.

Learn more about this master's programme by joining our Online Master's Experience in the week of 20-24 February. Or visit us for the On-campus Master's Experience on Friday 17 March. 

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Why study Literature in Society. Europe and Beyond at Leiden University?

The master in Literature in Society. Europe and Beyond offers specialised knowledge on the role and impact of literature in society. Novels, poetry, theatre and new literary media from both 'high’ and ‘popular’ culture reflect social issues but also shape them. Your studies thus take a thematic approach to the study of literature, exploring literature from the point of view of political and social issues like identity, migration, memory, and the metropolis.

Learn more about the study programme

A transnational perspective

Studying the impact of literature on society involves a series of questions: how does literature affect (or sometimes threaten) ways of life and moral standards? How do literary strategies such as story-telling shape the fields of politics and law? How does literature help shape individual and collective identity and memory? Conversely, society also shapes literature.

This involves questions about the embeddedness of literature in culture and society; about the cultural capital of individual texts, genres and oeuvres: why are certain works and authors classified as classics and others as popular or ‘cult’? Much modern literature in Western Europe stands at the crossroads of European and non-European cultures. A transnational perspective is thus an important part of this Master.

Admission and Application

Do you want to find out if you are eligible for this Master's programme?

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Hone your intellect

Leiden University is considered a leading centre of expertise in western and non-western languages and cultures. During the Literature and Society. Europe and Beyond programme you will learn from academics who are active researchers at the forefronts of their fields, creating a vibrant and inspiring learning environment.

Customise your degree

The Literature in Society. Europe and Beyond programme offers a wide range of course options. You also have the freedom to choose courses from Leiden University's other Humanities master’s programmes.

Find out more about the career prospects

In which sector do students find jobs?

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

The graph above is based on alumni data from the MA Literary Studies Studies 2016-2020.

Literature in Society. Europe and Beyond degree

Literature in Society. Europe and Beyond at Leiden University is an accredited degree programme. After successful completion of this programme, you will receive a master’s degree in Literary Studies and the title Master of Arts (MA).

Chat with a student

Do you have a question about student life in Leiden, studying at Leiden University, or do you want more information about the Literary Studies master's programme?

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