Universiteit Leiden

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Middle Eastern Studies (research) (MA)

About the programme

Learn the newest insights from the researchers who uncover them.

During the Middle Eastern Studies research master’s programme you will take three compulsory core courses:

  • Theory and Issues in Area Studies provides you with the theoretical tools used in the field of Area Studies.
  • Mixed Methods, in the second semester, introduces you to a variety of methods you will find useful to deploy yourself, or with which familiarity will be useful in making use of the work of others.
  • A final core element during your third semester focuses on developing your research and academic writing skills in Areas Studies.

Core courses are complemented by courses specific to either Asian Studies or Middle Eastern Studies. You have the possibility of combining courses from both.

Thesis

Your research MA is concluded with the writing of a thesis which, in summarised form, could be published in an academic journal. Your thesis is central to your formal examination, during which you will present and defend your thesis.

We also offer the one-year Middle Eastern Studies programme.

Apart from the contents, there can be other arguments to choose for either a master’s or a research master’s programme. Have a look at the table in pdf for a quick overview of the differences. For more details on the contents, also visit the master’s in Middle Eastern Studies' pages.

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Self-study
  • Internship options
  • Thesis
  • Exams
  • Peer feedback and assessment
  • Essays, reports and final thesis
  • Oral presentations

The aim of the two-year master's in Middle Eastern Studies (Research) is to provide you with in-depth and specialised knowledge within the field of Middle Eastern Studies with the added value provided by a comparative, area studies approach. 

The acquisition of advanced academic skills in the interpretation of texts, the analysis and solution of conceptual problems, and the ability to independently conduct scientific research are other key goals of the programme. Opportunities are provided for students to broaden their academic skills by conducting field research or by studying subjects at another university.

Detailed programme

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

Tsolin Nalbantian

Researcher and University Lecturer

Tsolin Nalbantian

“Students of this master's are surrounded by faculty who are as diverse in their backgrounds as they are in their teaching and research interests. This diverse academic environment encourages students to pursue their own interests, all while being exposed to a wide variety of new experiences and ideas.”

Many career paths

“When it comes to the careers of our graduates, the sky is the limit. Our alumni go on to become journalists, NGO workers, teachers, academics, consultants, and diplomats, to name a few of their many career paths.”

Long-term commitment

“We aim to nurture in our students a long-term commitment to the region and its people. The training our students receive at Leiden provides them with the skills to connect with the people, customs, experiences, and history of the Middle East: skills that are of increasing importance in a great many organisations today.”

Mark Rutgers

Dean

Mark Rutgers

“Many of our master’s students discover the quality of our programmes only after they join us. In the Netherlands, self-promotion is not a big part of our culture, yet Leiden University’s Humanities Faculty ranks alongside the most prestigious universities in the world, and is the established leader in continental Europe. What can our students expect from this programme? An education on par with the world’s best, with teaching by top researchers.”

Alumni: close-knit global community

“Your graduation from a master’s programme marks a new chapter in your relationship with Leiden University. Our alumni community is highly active in terms of network-building and development. They are valued by the university, and we support them with personal and professional development and free use of our facilities such as the Leiden University Library. This close-knit global community offers life-long support for all our former students in terms of reaching goals, maintaining friendships and expanding networks.”

Research: encouraging you to think beyond your own discipline

“Some of the most high-profile humanities research produced today is conducted at Leiden University’s Humanities Faculty. These faculty members are among a handful worldwide who can lay claim to such a depth and breadth of academic expertise. One example is our centre of excellence on Native American cultures, languages and history – a research group that is one of the best in the world. At Leiden, we can offer students expertise in most niche areas of interest. Our faculty members often work together across disciplines, and encourage students to think beyond the limits of their own discipline, which is where the future of innovative research lies.”

Careers: opportunities to develop your talent

Decisions made during your studies have a big impact on your future. We offer you many opportunities to develop your talents both within and outside of the classroom, including internships, study trips abroad, student committees, and minors. These opportunities help define your objectives for after your studies, and equip you with additional skills and experience.”