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Cultural Analysis: Literature and Theory (MA)

Career prospects

Create a world of opportunities with a master's degree from Leiden University

What our graduates do

Alumni of the master's programme in Cultural Analysis: Literature and Theory are employed in a wide range of fields. Our graduates have taken roles within public relations, journalism, in translation agencies, or as copywriters, correctors, education-centre directors, policy makers in city councils and ministries, cultural representatives, art editors for newspapers, librarians or editors at publishing houses. You will also be qualified to continue in academic research and could apply for a PhD programme.

Some of the positions of our alumni include:

  • Project manager at a translation agency
  • Content manager and web editor at a translation agency
  • Freelance writer and editor
  • PhD candidate at Leiden University
  • Recruitment officer at a headhunting agency
  • Policy advisor at a Dutch university
  • Foreign rights manager at a publishing house
  • Journalist at a press company

Laura van Gelder

Graduated in Cultural Analysis: Literature and Theory (MA Media Studies)

Laura van Gelder

"I’m on the writing team of satirical platform De Speld and I work as an international editor for Univers, the independent newspaper of Tilburg University. I write satire, news articles and background stories. On my day off, I work on my doctoral thesis as an external PhD student at Leiden University."

Curiosity is one of my strongest allies

"All three of my current ‘gigs’ require me to spend a lot of time reading and writing. If anything can prepare you for that, it’s a master’s track in comparative literature studies. But more importantly, my work requires an analytical mind. I’d say that curiosity is one of my strongest allies. I have to be able to interpret texts of different forms and contexts, and I have to be able to engage creatively with those texts. Studying literature helped develop my personality in a more analytical and inquisitive one, which I benefit from on a daily basis."

A strong foundation

"I chose this programme because I was interested in art, literature and philosophy. Having no formal training in these disciplines, it was quite a challenge for me at first to read the dense philosophical writings of thinkers like Jacques Derrida and Judith Butler. But I genuinely enjoyed the reading sessions, the discussions, and the essay-writing. I developed a particular interest in concepts of cultural memory and collective identity, which became the focus of my master’s thesis, and, later, of my PhD thesis. The master’s programme has been instrumental in kindling my interest in the field of memory studies, and provided me with a strong foundation which I continue to build on today - in more ways than one."

Joost Damen

Graduated in Cultural Analysis: Literature and Theory (MA Media Studies); currently works at the Special Collections at Leiden University Library

Joost Damen

“I cherish the things I've learned in this master’s; the various concepts and methods I've been taught here have helped me to better understand literature, arts and culture. In addition, they have been of great help to me in recent forays into critical economics and philosophy. And lastly, the programme has brought me friends from around the world!”

The graphs below are based on alumni data from the MA in Media Studies 2016-2020.

In which sector do students find jobs?

  • 19 % Media and journalism
  • 16 % Communication and marketing
  • 11 % Culture, sports and recreation
  • 10 % Education
  • 6 % Government and semi-government organisations
  • 6 % Information management
  • 6 % Publishing
  • 5 % IT
  • 5 % Wholesale and retail
  • 3 % Non-profit organizations
  • 13 % Other

Main tasks and responsibilities

How successful are they in finding a job?

  • 75 % found a job within two months
  • 88 % found their first job at academic level

Career preparation

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

The master in Media Studies at Leiden University aims to equip you with a range of important skills and knowledge that will help you thrive in your future career. Your specialised expertise is complemented by vocational skills and the ability to apply multidisciplinary, critical-thinking skills to solve even the most complex conceptual problems.

Do you consider to put your knowledge into practice during your studies? Determine whether an internship could be an option for you. Start orientating your possibilities by visiting an internship information session. This way you can receive information about the internship procedure and listen to tips of former interns.
Notice that you will search for an internship yourself to find a place of your interest. Do you need some help with this or the application process? Do not hesitate to contact the Career Service. When you have found an internship, inform us. Then, the internship coordinator advises you how to proceed and provides your internship plan with feedback so it can be submitted for approval to the board of examiners.

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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