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Middle Eastern Studies (research) (MA)

Career prospects

Where do our graduates work?

The MA in Middle Eastern Studies (Research)  prepares students for a wide number of careers in which in-depth knowledge and advanced conceptual, analytical and interpretative skills are essential. Our graduates have pursued successful careers in the public, private and non-profit sectors. Graduates have also gone on to pursue a PhD and a career in academia. If you wish to pursue an academic career, your Master's is excellent preparation for a PhD programme or a career in a research agency or the research department of a company or government organisation. Your strong analytical and problem-solving skills can also be applied in a wide range of other vocations.

Examples of the diverse roles of our graduates include:

  • Freelance writer/translator/project coordinator at a translation centre
  • Lecturer at a Dutch university
  • Translator and executive secretary at an embassy in the Netherlands
  • Policy officer for education and funding at a national student union
  • PhD candidate at a university in Spain
  • PhD candidate at Leiden University
  • Policy officer for Sahel region at a ministry
  • Production assistant at a Swedish museum
  • Teacher of English/Islamic religion at an educational institute in Saudi Arabia
  • Middle East representative at a shipping and forwarding company.

Brigitte van de Pas

Graduated in Research MA Middle Eastern Studies

Brigitte van de Pas

"I enrolled in the research master’s programme Middle Eastern Studies because I wanted to do a second degree that had a bit more immediate relevance for today’s world than my first degree, History. I am fascinated by other peoples and cultures, and this programme allowed me to study the Middle East as a whole, without having to choose one particular country to specialise in."

Research skills

"I am currently working as a researcher for the Benelux markets at the market research company Statista in Hamburg, Germany. Although the research I am doing now has little to do with the Middle East, the research skills learned at university are applicable to other types of research as well. Critical thinking, analysing information and presenting it the way non-experts would also understand it is vital to my job."

Prepared to work in an international environment

"The international atmosphere of the Leiden Institute of Area Studies as well as my study abroad period in Turkey and my internships in Kuwait and Egypt furthermore prepared me to work in an international environment, with people from all over the world. During my studies I never once considered the possibility of working with statistics, but as the saying goes: life is what happens to you when you are busy making other plans!"

In which sector do students find jobs?

The graphs below are based on alumni data from the Research Master Middle Eastern Studies 2016-2020.

  • 15 % Education
  • 15 % Communication and marketing
  • 15 % IT
  • 8 % Research
  • 8 % Government and semi-government organisations
  • 8 % Culture, sports and recreation
  • 8 % Welfare and health
  • 8 % Consultancy
  • 8 % Business services
  • 7 % Financial institutions

Career preparation

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

The development of in-depth knowledge in the field, and the ability to think critically and analytically, are key goals of this programme. The Middle Eastern Studies (Research) programme will introduce you to the concepts and academic approaches current in Middle Eastern Studies, including disciplines such as: linguistics, history and social siences.

You will learn to use these concepts and approaches in researching and analysing source material. Your thesis work will give you the opportunity to apply these methods in your own research.

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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