Universiteit Leiden

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Turkish Studies (MA)

About the programme

Discover the newest insights from the scholars who uncover them.

The MA in Turkish Studies is a multidisciplinary programme spread over two semesters. You have the opportunity to explore a wide range of topics covering the history and society of the Ottoman Empire and Turkey.

As a Turkish Studies Master’s student you will take three courses during the first semester. One of these courses is compulsory, and will be taken jointly with students from the other specialisations. In addition to this core course, you will choose two courses of your own selection from the Turkish Studies curriculum.

During your second semester you will travel to Istanbul, where you will take courses at one of our partner universities, collect materials for, and work on, your MA thesis. You will complete your thesis upon your return to Leiden. For those who cannot travel to Turkey, alternative courses are offered at Leiden University.

Guest speakers from other universities and organisations regularly come to Leiden to share their thoughts on their work. Their talks cover a wide range of topics: from academic work on premodern Middle East societies to hands-on, in-the-field experiences regarding contemporary issues. 

  • Seminars
  • Self-study
  • Study in Istanbul
  • Papers
  • Peer feedback and assessment
  • Essays, reports
  • Oral presentations
  • Final thesis

The aim of the master’s programme in Turkish Studies is to introduce you to the concepts and academic approaches current in Turkish Studies from the perspective of various disciplines: literature and performing arts, (art)history and social sciences. You will learn to use these concepts and approaches in researching and analysing source material in Turkish. Your thesis work will give you the opportunity to apply these methods in your own research.

The development of in-depth and specialised knowledge, and the ability to think critically and analytically are key goals of this programme.

During the first weeks of your study, you will meet with the coordinator of studies to discuss your programme. The coordinator of studies can also help you if you have specific questions relating to the academic content of the programme, exam regulations, courses and study scheduling (and delay) of your studies. 

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.

Deniz Tat

Researcher and University Lecturer

Deniz Tat

“Any given natural language is a window into not only the ways things and events are expressed by its speakers, but also a whole new world of shared pasts, beliefs and routines. Turkish is no exception. I thus encourage our students to engage critically with how the language interacts with other aspects of the society.”

Mirjam de Baar


Mirjam de Baar

“Time has taught us that solutions to social problems do not lie in technology, but in human potential. Technological solutions are essential, but so is the significance people attribute to this information through culture or language. Experience shows us that research within the humanities and social sciences often provides these solutions. This is why the research conducted by our humanities faculty is so highly relevant and important. I am very proud of the fact that Leiden University’s Faculty of Humanities is one of the world’s leading faculties in the field.”

Broad and relevant research:

“One of this faculty’s strengths is how incredibly broad it is. We conduct a wealth of relevant research in so many different fields and disciplines. We have egyptologists working on excavation sites in Saqqara and the Dakhla Oasis. We have linguists who are documenting, for the first time, languages that are spoken by vast numbers of people in the world today; others creating computer simulations of language acquisition by the brain. The extent and variety of the activity going on is tremendous.”

A stimulating environment

“When you join Leiden’s Faculty of Humanities you are joining a community of passionate, stimulated and ambitious students and staff from all over the world. Our academic environment is known for being conducive to interaction between individuals of all standing: at Leiden even the most junior researcher is treated as a valuable member of the community with important opinions to share. You also gain access to truly unique resources found nowhere else in the world, such as our famous collections at the University Library. Our lecturers and support staff are committed to your success, both now and in the future, and offer you the tools needed to develop into a critically-minded professional who can truly make a difference to the world.”

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