Middle Eastern Studies (MA) Master
Discover the world at Leiden University
Specialisations Turkish Studies (MA) Arabic Studies (MA) Islamic Studies (MA) Israel Studies (MA) Persian Studies (MA) Modern Middle East Studies (MA)
The Middle Eastern Studies Department at Leiden University is among the largest of its kind in Europe and a leading centre for academic research. The MA Middle Eastern Studies capitalises on this expertise in every way.
Learn from leading researchers in the field When you choose the master’s programme in Middle Eastern Studies, you learn from internationally-respected academics. These active researchers bring you both in-depth knowledge on the most relevant topics in the field and the latest insights, often from their very own research. Choose your area of interest The Middle Eastern Studies programme offers an unparalleled breadth and variety of subjects. You will be able to choose from six specialisations and a wide range of electives within each specialisation, allowing you to go in-depth into your area of interest. A comparative and global approach is taken to all topics, delivering you an unbeatable combination of broad and specialised expertise. Academic challenge Ambitious and highly-motivated classmates will help you hone important skills during inclass discussions and through peer-to-peer feedback. Learn what it takes to become a critical thinker – a lifelong skill that will distinguish you in any future career. Study at one of our partner institutions Our partnership network with universities and institutes in the Middle East also gives you the opportunity to study courses at a university abroad, so you can immerse yourself in the language and culture you are studying.
A brand new Arabic wall poem thanks to the celebration of 400 years Arabic in Leiden.
How did the Arabs manage to maintain an empire based on Islamic principles for three hundred years? Arab expert Petra Sijpesteijn and her team will be examining this question over the coming five years, focusing on the correspondence of ordinary people. The research is being funded by an ERC Consolidator Grant
Arabic chocolate letter in Dutch shop © Saskia Tielens
The Persian Empire (539-330 BCE) was the first world empire in history. At its height, it united a territory stretching from present-day India to Libya - and it would take 2,000 years before significantly larger empires emerged in early modern Eurasia. What explains its success? For the very first time, thousands of cuneiform texts will be brought together and incorporated in an online database.
Turkic nomadic rulers established large empires in the Middle East and Asia between the 11th and 14th centuries. Leiden University researchers will explore the link between their political ideology and the production of art and literature, via the cultural heritage of five cities along the Silk Road: Kashgar, Samarkand, Ghazna, Tabriz and Konya.
Why Leiden University Leiden University offers ambitious students the latest knowledge and the freedom to develop their own area of expertise. The right location to study Middle Eastern Studies Leiden University's Faculty of Humanities is consistently ranked among the top 30 Humanities faculties worldwide in the THE World University Ranking. At Leiden, you learn from top scholars, as well as experts from our extensive international network. You also have the possibility of studying at institutions and universities in the Middle East itself. International Centre of Expertise
Leiden University has one of the largest research and teaching departments in the field of Middle Eastern Studies. Our master’s programme in Middle Eastern Studies covers virtually the entire Middle East both in time and in geography, offering you a rare educational opportunity. You will also have access to the unique resources of Leiden University's worldfamous library. An individual approach to learning Small tutorial groups give you valuable time interacting directly with your teachers. You can share your ideas and they can challenge them. At Leiden, learning is designed to do exactly this: to challenge you to think harder, analyse more deeply, and explore new perspectives. A head-start to your career Our reputation means that your qualification is respected by organisations worldwide. Our graduates enjoy successful careers thanks to their mix of relevant professional abilities, specialised and in-depth knowledge, and critical-thinking skills.
The Leiden Experience
About the programme Our teaching faculty are active researchers whose work in the field of Middle Eastern Studies ranks among the most widely-cited and published research in the world. They are excited to share with you the latest results from their own projects, or that of their colleagues at Leiden or partners from their international network, incorporating into courses within the master’s programme in Middle Eastern Studies these newest research findings.
The master’s programme in Middle Eastern Studies offers six specialisations each offering common courses and specialisation courses. You can also opt to choose courses from other specialisations (subject to the approval of the board of examiners).
While the master’s programme in Middle Eastern Studies offers multiple courses on modern day global and local issues at stake in the Middle East, it also offers courses on the historical and cultural background of the region.
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 Internship (optional)
Papers Peer feedback and assessment Essays, reports Oral presentations Final thesis
Detailed programme For a detailed curriculum, please visit the programme information for each of the Middle Eastern Studies master’s specialisations.
Tsolin Nalbantian Researcher and University Lecturer “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 “Many of our master’s students discover the quality of our programmes only after they join us. In the Netherlands, selfpromotion 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.”
Extra-curricular Get the most out of your studies at Leiden University by taking part in our extracurricular activities. Community building Throughout the year activities are organised by both the Middle Eastern Studies department and the Leiden University Centre for the Study of Islam and Society (LUCIS). This includes for example the LUCIS What’s New!? lecture series which focuses on current research on Islam and the Middle East.
Study abroad You may choose to study a part of your Middle Eastern Studies programme abroad. For example, you will be able to study at one of our partner universities or institutes in the Middle East, such as Dutch Institutes in Cairo, Rabat and Istanbul. The International Office of the Faculty of Humanities will be able to help you make the right decision for your time studying abroad.
Learn a language You will be able to benefit from the extensive language expertise at Leiden University by learning a language which is spoken in the Middle East.
Leiden Leadership Programme Are you interested in developing your leadership potential? The Leiden Leadership Programme (LLP) is an Honours Programme specifically developed for ambitious master's students at Leiden University and the Delft University of Technology who recognise the
importance of leadership abilities. The LLP offers in-depth training sessions, assessments, seminars, and the creation of a Personal Leadership Roadmap – a five-year plan for reaching and developing your leadership potential.
Career prospects Create a world of opportunities with a master's degree from Leiden University What our graduates do Our graduates pursue careers in a range of positions in the private, public and non-profit sectors. Examples of these careers include positions within: The diplomatic service Policy-making at ministries Refugee aid The Immigration and Naturalisation Service The education sector NGOs involved in development cooperation projects International organisations Cultural tourism The socio-cultural sector
Your qualifications The master’s programme in Middle Eastern Studies qualifies you to work in a wide variety of careers requiring specialist language or cultural knowledge. Your strategic choice of courses will also determine the next steps you choose to take. Your degree is an outstanding academic foundation from which to move onto a PhD programme. Our tutors on the programme can guide you in your choices from early in your degree – to the moment you are ready to apply for a position.
A Leiden University degree Leiden University master's graduates are sought-after employees at (inter)national organisations. Our graduates are known for their combination of robust academic training,
in-depth and relevant knowledge, and critical, multidisciplinary approach to problemsolving.
Chantal Hamelinck Graduated in Turkish Studies (MA Middle Eastern Studies) "After my BA degree in English literature, I wanted to learn a language that was completely different in structure from English and Dutch. After my graduation from the MA Turkish Studies at Leiden University I first did an internship at a literary agent in Istanbul. A year later I started working as Foreign Rights Manager at one of the largest publishing groups in Turkey, for which I was in touch with publishers from all over the world." Explore a completely different language After three wonderful years, I decided to move back to The Netherlands, where I currently work as Account Support Coordinator for Elsevier in Amsterdam. Here I continue using my Turkish, as I work with customers from Turkey. I am very grateful that the MA Turkish Studies has taught and motivated me to explore a completely different language and culture, and what I learned greatly helped me in my work experience there, as well as back here in The Netherlands.
In which sector do students find jobs? 17.0 % Research 17.0 % Teaching 13.0 % Government and semi-government organisations 13.0 % Non-profit (e.g. at an idealistic organisation) 13.0 % Business services 3.0 % Banking 23.0 % Miscellaneous
Main tasks and responsibilities 43.0 % Writing, editing and translation 40.0 % Research 23.0 % Advising
23.0 % Archiving, organising and administering 17.0 % Implementing and preparing policy
How successful are they in finding a job? 63.0 % found a job within two months 84.0 % found their first job at academic level 93.0 % held a position at academic level when the study was carried out
Career preparation Our goal is to prepare you to make a difference in your future career. Knowledge and skills The development of in-depth knowledge in the field, and the ability to think critically and analytically are key goals of this programme. The master’s programme in Middle Eastern Studies will introduce you to the concepts and academic approaches current in Middle Eastern Studies, including disciplines such as: Linguistics, History, Anthropology and Political Science.
Relevant professional experience During your studies you have the opportunity to gain experience studying, working, or conducting research at an organisation or institution. This experience is highly valued within international organisations. In class, we encourage every student to participate in discussions with fellow students and lecturers to develop their confidence articulating ideas. Many of our students choose to do an internship during their study. Internships are a great way to gain invaluable first-hand experience in your area of interest before you decide on making it a career. In recent years students from the master’s programme in Middle Eastern Studies have been doing internships at organisations, such as embassies, museums and development organisations.
Humanities Career Service 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.
Humanities Career Event Once a year, the Faculty of Humanities organises a Humanities Careers Event. This event is your chance to learn everything you can about how to find the job you want and successfully attain it. The event includes workshops on a wide range of topics and opportunities to network with alumni and potential employers, gaining valuable tips, information and potential job leads. Check out the video of the Humanities Career Event 2017! &amp;amp;lt;!--cke_bookmark_8860S--&amp;amp; gt;&amp;amp;lt;!--cke_bookmark_8860E--&amp; amp;gt;
Admission and Application We invite motivated students from around the world to apply for the Master of Arts in Middle Eastern Studies. Admission requirements may vary per specialisation, please visit the specialisation of your interest to find out more about the entry requirements. Arabic Studies Islamic Studies Israel Studies Modern Middle East Studies Persian Studies Turkish Studies
Student life Your time at Leiden is about more than just studying. Some of your best experiences will stem from being a part of our lively and diverse student community, as well as from life in the beautiful city of Leiden. Life in Leiden
Picturesque and the perfect size, Leiden is an idyllic place to spend your university days. With the Faculty of Humanities located within the heart of the city, you will soon become familiar with the dozens of cafes, shops and bars that line Leiden's leafy canals, as well as its year-round cultural events. The major cities of The Hague and Amsterdam are a short train ride away, along with Schiphol Airport, which is just half an hour away by train. Our study and student associations organise a huge variety of social, cultural, and study events to keep you busy all year round. You can also join the University Sports Centre, which offers scheduled group sports and fitness classes, amongst other activities.
Welcome and orientation programme In August and February each year, Leiden University hosts the English-language Orientation Week Leiden (OWL), which welcomes both international and Dutch students. The OWL is an excellent way to get to know Leiden University, the city, and other students.
Study associations Leiden University’s Faculty of Humanities has a number of study associations run by students and related to a particular department or programme. Study associations organise social activities such as informal gatherings, sports events, and parties, as well as studyrelated activities such as excursions and study trips. The study associations related to Middle Eastern Studies are: Sheherazade for all specialisations. Contact via [email protected]
TFLS for Islamic Studies. Contact via [email protected]
International Student Associations Leiden has several student organisations that specifically cater for international students. These associations organise regular social events and activities that help create the strong sense of community that exists within our international student body. The main two organisations are: International Student Network (ISN) ISN Leiden is an international student organisation which hosts a range of activities and programmes. They also have a buddy programme which provides new students with the right support to assimilate into Leiden and the university.
AEGEE Leiden AEGEE is a leading European student association with sister organisations in over 40 countries across Europe. AEGEE organises many activities in Leiden, from dinners and pool nights to boat trips and guest lectures. For an overview of all of our student associations, please visit our Student assocations page.
Humanities Master’s Buddy Programme The Humanities Master’s Buddy Programme has been set up by the Faculty of Humanities to help all students who are new to the university to integrate quickly and easily into university life. Through the programme you will learn everything you need to know about the university, the student community, and the practical side of life in Leiden.
Information activities Come and meet us at the Leiden University Master’s Open Day!
About our Master’s Open Day Are you thinking about joining a master’s programme at Leiden University? Come and visit our Master’s Open Day! This event is your opportunity to learn everything you need to know about our master’s programmes and how they can help you reach your goals. You will have the opportunity to attend presentations, meet our lecturers, and hear first-hand experiences of life at Leiden University from students and alumni.
Jelle and Rick: “The main reasons we’re visiting the Master’s Open Day is to talk to students and recent alumni. The website gives you a lot of information, but talking to students gives us a much better idea of what it’s really like to study this degree.”
Sophie: “I came to the Master’s Day because I have some questions that I couldn’t find answers to via the site. In my bachelor’s I am already specialising in North America, so this master’s is a good match. And next year, in the first semester, I’ll be going to Boston!”
Luuk: “Today I want to find out what it’s like to be doing a master’s, and what the real focus of the programme is. I’ve just been looking at International Relations, because I really like the dynamics of the programme. It focuses on current events, and I’m particularly impressed with the international aspects of the master’s, which I feel give it more weight.”
Nino and Elias: Nino: “I’m now doing a bachelor’s in Assyriology, and I may want to do a master’s in it too. We’ve heard that studying here is real fun. We’re from Italy but we love Holland and the Dutch.”
Dennis: Studying: pre-master’s in Dutch Literature (Vrije Universiteit), master’s in Philosophy (University of Amsterdam) Interested in: Literary Studies, Dutch Studies, Comparative Literature and Literary Theory
Contact If you have a question, there are various ways to get in touch with us. The website and our Frequently Asked Questions are the quickest ways to find an answer to your questions.
Questions about the Programme Coordinator of studies Ms. Nicole van Os Phone: +31 (0)71 527 29 37 Email: [email protected]
Questions about the application procedure Student Affairs Front Office Phone: +31 (0)71 527 80 11 Email: Contact form Or visit their website Visiting address Leiden: Plexus Student Centre Kaiserstraat 25, ground floor 2311 GN Leiden Monday till Friday between 11.00 and 16.00, Tuesday 11.00 to 21.00. To keep up to date with Middle Eastern Studies at Leiden University, check Leiden University Centre for the Study of Islam and Society (LUCIS) on Facebook.