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Literature in Society. Europe and Beyond (MA)

About the programme

Learn the newest insights from established scholars.

The master's programme in Literature in Society: Europe and Beyond spans two semesters.

The Literature in Society. Europe and Beyond master's programme includes a total of four courses divided into two semesters. All tuition is given in the form of seminars. One course is obligatory, the other three are electives. One of the courses may be replaced by an internship; the final thesis is based on a topic of your own choosing.

Core course
‘Literature in Society. Narrative, Fiction and Voice’: Focusses on the various ways in which literature impacts the social, juridical and political dynamics of Europe today.

Electives specifically developed for Literature in Society

  • Gothic Transformations
  • Remapping the City in Modern Literature and Visual Cultures

Related electives
More electives may be chosen from a list of related courses belonging to other specialisations of Literary Studies: English, French, German, Italian Literature and Culture, or to Dutch Studies, Latin-American Studies, North American Studies or Comparative Literature.

  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Self-study
  • Internship options
  • Exams
  • Peer feedback and assessment
  • Essays, 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 contemporary academic debates and the very latest insights – many from the research conducted by lecturers on the programme. The academically-rigorous design of the programme aims to develop in you essential skills in reasoning and critical thinking. An important focus of this programme is teaching you how to independently conduct high-quality scientific research and develop this data into a master's thesis.

Detailed programme

For a detailed programme, please 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.

Ingeborg Morawetz

Student Literature in Society. Europe and Beyond (MA Literary Studies)

Ingeborg Morawetz

"I chose to study Literature in Society, because it’s a unique programme in Europe. It goes far beyond Literature Studies and helps to understand and analyse societal narratives. That made it special for me. And I wasn't disappointed, in one year I learned more about postcolonialism, environmentalism, terrorism and many more currently relevant topics and the ways in which they are perceived and told than I would have considered possible. Reading became a scientific way to look at our world."

From Albert Camus to Jonathan Safran Foer

"If students are considering to study Literature in Society. Europe and Beyond I would show them our reading list: the primary literature goes from Albert Camus to Jonathan Safran Foer, the secondary literature is even more manifold. And I would recommend them to visit the university for one day. Small classes, interesting discussions and a relaxed atmosphere are some of the strongest arguments for studying Literature in Society at Leiden University."

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."

Mirjam de Baar


Mirjam de Baar

“Time has taught us that solutions to social problems do not lie in technology, but in human potential. Technological solutions are essential, but so is the significance people attribute to this information through culture or language. Experience shows us that research within the humanities and social sciences often provides these solutions. This is why the research conducted by our humanities faculty is so highly relevant and important. I am very proud of the fact that Leiden University’s Faculty of Humanities is one of the world’s leading faculties in the field.”

Broad and relevant research:

“One of this faculty’s strengths is how incredibly broad it is. We conduct a wealth of relevant research in so many different fields and disciplines. We have egyptologists working on excavation sites in Saqqara and the Dakhla Oasis. We have linguists who are documenting, for the first time, languages that are spoken by vast numbers of people in the world today; others creating computer simulations of language acquisition by the brain. The extent and variety of the activity going on is tremendous.”

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.”

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