Universiteit Leiden

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Middle Eastern Studies (research) (MA)

About the programme

The two-year research master in Middle Eastern Studies equips you with advanced and in-depth knowledge of a region and discipline within the field of Middle Eastern Studies. You are expected to spend the third semester of the programme doing research, either in the Netherlands or abroad. Blended and virtual research-based options are also available.

Programme structure

Programme
Course EC
Critical Area Studies: Placing Your Research 10
Methodologies in the Social Sciences and Humanities 10
LIAS PhD Seminar: Decolonisation in Academia 5
LIAS PhD Seminar: Listening and Hearing in Research 5
Culture and Society in the Medieval Muslim World (ResMA) 10
International Relations of the Middle East: Everyday Matters (ResMA) 10
The Making of the Modern Middle East (1870 - 1940) (ResMA) 10
Material Culture, Memory and Commemoration along the Silk Roads in Central Asia (ResMA) 10
The Middle East in the International Political Economy (ResMA) 10
Narratives that Matter: Literature, Film and Television Drama in the Middle East (ResMA) 10
Oil, Waste and Water: Environmental Issues in the Middle East and North Africa (ResMA) 10
The Politics of Heritage in the Middle East (ResMA) 10
The Power of Words: Discourse and Society in the Middle East (ResMA) 10
LIAS PhD Seminar: Themes in Global Political Economy 5
LIAS PhD Seminar: Identity and Resistance in a Global Context 5
Culture and Conquest: the Impact of the Mongols and their Descendants (ResMA) 10
The Gulf and Arabian Peninsula: Power, Class, Mobilities (ResMA) 10
From Inkwell to Internet: Text and Transmission in the Muslim World (ResMA) 10
In the Time of Cities: Space, Place, and Politics in the Urban Middle East (ResMA) [CANCELLED] 10
Political History of the Middle East in the 20th Century (ResMA) 10
Power and Resistance in the Modern Middle East (ResMA) 10
Themes in Arabic Literature: Bandits and Outlaws, Fact and Fiction (ResMA) 10
Research Project (Fieldwork) (ResMA) 20-30
Research MA Thesis (Middle Eastern Studies, Asian Studies) 30
Thesis Writing Seminar 0
Beyond Discipline and Place in the Social Sciences and the Humanities 0
What's Next? First Steps in Crafting Your Career (MA) 2
Elective courses
Course EC
Culture and Society in the Medieval Muslim World 10
International Relations of the Middle East: Everyday Matters 10
Material Culture, Memory and Commemoration along the Silk Roads in Central Asia 10
Narratives That Matter: Literature, Film and Television Drama in the Middle East 10
The Making of the Modern Middle East (1870-1940) 10
The Middle East in the International Political Economy 10
Oil, Waste and Water: the Political Ecology of the Middle East and North Africa 10
Pilgrimage and Holy Places 10
The Politics of Heritage in the Middle East 10
The Power of Words: Discourse and Society in the Middle East 10
Social and Cultural History of the Middle East: the Ottoman Empire (1300-1922) 10
Culture and Conquest: the Impact of the Mongols and their Descendants 10
The Gulf and Arabian Peninsula: Power, Class, Mobilities 10
From Inkwell to Internet: Text and Transmission in the Muslim World 10
In the Time of Cities: Space, Place, and Politics in the Urban Middle East [CANCELLED] 10
Political History of the Middle East in the 20th Century 10
Power and Resistance in the Modern Middle East (ResMA) 10
Themes in Arabic Literature: Bandits and Outlaws 10
Leiden Elective Academic Periodical 10
Beginner's Hebrew 10
Beginner's Turkish 10
Indonesian 1 10
Modern Standard Arabic 1 5
Modern Standard Arabic 2 5
Persian Language and Culture 1 10
Ottoman Turkish (Fall) 10
Persian Language and Culture 2 10
Pre-Intermediate Hebrew 10
Pre-Intermediate Turkish 10
Ottoman Turkish (Spring) 10
Information Visualization and the Humanities 5
Exploring the Past in the Digital Present 5
Special Topics in Digital Humanities 5
Statistics for the Humanities (Statistics I) 5
Introduction to Experimental Methods for the Humanities 5
Digital Media, Culture and Society 5
Digital Humanities and Digital Natives 5
Digital Text and Data Analysis 5

For a detailed programme, 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.

The Middle Eastern Studies (Research) programme consists of compulsory common core courses, core electives and electives, a research project, and a research MA thesis.

First year

Throughout the programme, you will, together with students of the MA Asian Studies (research), participate in two core courses. These include:

  • Critical Area Studies: Placing Your Research – which covers theories and issues central to the field of area studies and examines key writings on the challenges of studying and writing about “other” cultures and societies.
  • Methodology in the Social Sciences and Humanities -  which critically explores the multitude of methodologies in the Social Sciences and Humanities.

In addition to the core courses you will choose core elective and elective courses specific to either Asian Studies or Middle Eastern Studies. You can also combine courses from each of these two master's programmes, from other (Research) MA programmes and/or courses from national Research Schools.

To assist you in making your choices, you are coupled with your research and thesis supervisor,  one of the professors involved in the programme who (preferably) works on a topic of interest to you, during the first weeks of your study. Together with your supervisor and the study coordinator you compose a programme which caters to your immediate and future interest.

Second year

You are expected to spend the third semester of the programme doing research, either in the Netherlands or abroad. Blended and virtual research-based options are also available.

After you have finished your research project, you work on your MA Thesis. The process of writing is supported by a “Thesis Seminar” which is offered bi-weekly. During this seminar, you discuss relevant issues with your peers and present your research and writings to them and to the convenor of the seminar. Once you have finished your thesis and have received a passing grade, you will defend your thesis publicly.

We also offer a 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.

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, in archives and/or special collections, occasionally combined with studying subjects at another university.

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.”

Admission and Application

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

Check the entry requirements

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