Universiteit Leiden

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Russian and Eurasian Studies (MA)

About the Programme

The Master's programme in Russian and Eurasian Studies offers you the opportunity to develop specialised knowledge of this region.

The programme provides you with a qualification which is recognised by organisations around the world, and offers excellent preparation for a diverse range of careers.

The master Russian and Eurasian Studies offers you flexibility in the areas you choose to focus on in your studies. You will select four courses from our department and have the option to exchange one course for a relevant course taught outside of the department, for example at the University of Amsterdam, or for a relevant internship. For some courses, knowledge of Russian is obligatory.


At the end of the programme, you are required to write a thesis based on original research. A member of our academic staff specialised in your field of research will supervise you throughout the writing of your thesis.

A wide variety of courses are offered relating to the core areas of: Politics and International Relations, History, Economics, Language & Identity, Linguistics and Culture & Literature. Examples of courses offered in the academic year of 2017-18 are The Slavic Triangle, CorruptionThe Crazy 1990s.

Linguistics and History

Our courses on linguistic subjects draw on the cutting-edge research carried out at the Leiden University Centre for Linguistics, one of the largest linguistics institutes in the world. Courses on modern Russian society and its historical background are embedded in the Leiden University Institute for History, which has a special focus on the study of non-European societies in a global context.

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

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.

Jos Schaeken

Professor of Slavic and Baltic Languages

Jos Schaeken

“There is a growing need for specialists in Russian language and culture.”

A major player

“I want to stimulate young people to make unorthodox study choices such as the MA in Russian and Eurasian Studies. There is a need for specialists in these areas. Russia is an emerging economy that is going to become a major player, just like China, India and Brazil. Russia is also very close by and already our partners in the sphere of culture. It is extremely important that people have knowledge of the language and culture of Russia if they are going to work with or come into contact with this country in the future."

East European Law

"This programme attracts top students with a good knowledge of Russian and English. Leiden offers these students a very strong and broad academic foundation. An attractive feature of the master’s is that students can choose subjects from the Master’s in Russian Area Studies, such as history, politics, economics and East European law. East European Law is offered by very few places in Europe. Studying this complementary subject is a real challenge but one that delivers great rewards."

Slavic Linguistics and Russian Literature

"Leiden works closely with the University of Amsterdam to offer students a complete programme in Slavic Linguistics and Russian Literature. Students must do at least one course at this sister university. We also encourage students to spend part of their study time abroad.”

Mark Rutgers


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.”

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