Universiteit Leiden

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Middle Eastern Studies (MA)

Leiden University’s master’s in Middle Eastern Studies programme is a one-year, full-time master’s programme that is taught completely in English. It deals with a wealth of fascinating, inspirational, and highly-relevant topics.

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Why study Middle Eastern Studies at Leiden University?

The MA Middle Eastern Studies at Leiden University offers one of the most interdisciplinary programmes in the Netherlands, stretching the breadth of humanities and social sciences. Our research and teaching covers periods from medieval to contemporary times, and with a regional diversity stretching from North Africa to West and Central Asia, including the Levant, North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and Central Asia, and their transnational and global interactions. Courses are offered and faculty members conduct research in a wide range of fields including anthropology, cultural production, development studies, history, international relations, Islamic studies, literature, philology, politics, and political economy, among others. Our research and education are further grounded in Arabic, Hebrew, Ottoman and Turkish, and Persian studies. Students develop research projects supervised by faculty across this range of fields, as evidenced by the wide range of thesis topics. Our MA programme alumni are successful in many academic and professional fields, and have gained admission in leading PhD programmes around the world.

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Some of the many good reasons to choose this programme

  • Leiden University has one of the largest Middle Eastern Studies research and teaching faculties in Europe.
  • This is a highly diverse and flexible programme 
  • The work of our teaching faculty and researchers is widely respected all over the world.
  • Thanks to our partnership network we can help connect you to extracurricular study at a university in the Middle East, where you can immerse yourself in your chosen language and culture.

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Middle Eastern Studies: the right master’s programme for you?

This programme is definitely for you if want to take a deep dive into the diversity, nuance, beauty and challenge of studying this large, intercultural regional space. Not only will you have the opportunity to learn from renowned, international-respected academics, you will also follow in the footsteps of alumni who have built careers that require specialist language, cultural, social, and political knowledge of the Middle East in the diplomatic services, non-profits and NGOs, immigration, international organisations, development cooperation, and in academia.

Persian wall poem in Leiden

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There are hundreds of writing systems in the world. Some of these are commonly known, like our Latin alphabet, the Arabic script, Egyptian hieroglyphics and Chinese characters. But what do you know about the Persian-Arabic script? Check out Dr. Tijmen Pronk's introduction to the writing system of a poem in Persian. The poem is part of the famous Leiden Wall Poems.

Find out more about the career prospects

In which sector do students find jobs?

  • 25 Communication and Marketing
  • 13 Consultancy
  • 13 Culture, sports and recreation
  • 13 Financial institutions
  • 12 Healthcare and welfare
  • 12 Business services
  • 12 IT

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

Middle Eastern Studies Degree

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

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