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Programme information

Final qualifications
Future prospects and PhD positions
Programme structure


This two-year Research Masterin Historical, Literary and Cultural Studies builds on the bachelor level in relevant disciplines. The programme prepares a multinational group of students for a PhD trajectory as well as for professional positions outside academia which require an advanced academic competence. This English-taught master equips students to find such positions in the Netherlands as well as abroad. This programme differs fundamentally from regular master’s programmes in its distinct focus on research related knowledge and skills, as well as the combination of three disciplinary study programmes with a general programme of interdisciplinary courses.

Final qualifications

After the completion of the research master the graduate has acquired:

1. an advanced knowledge of leading theories and concepts in the Humanities and their historical and cultural situatedness; 
2. an advanced understanding of methodologies and methods in the Humanities in their disciplinary and interdisciplinary context;
3. the ability to critically analyse and interpret phenomena and developments in one of the specialisations (Historical Studies, Literary Studies, and Art and Visual culture);
4. a comprehensive understanding of the contributions of the Humanities to societal questions and the ability to participate in topical debates regarding cultural and societal changes;
5. the ability to develop and execute research plans in the field of specialisation, to access and manage complex information with adequate command of advanced heuristic skills, and with adequate knowledge of the auxiliary sciences and digital humanities;
6. the ability to write an in depth and comprehensive research report on a topic, based on thorough, independent and critical research, and embedded in the wider theoretical framework of the humanities, particularly a master thesis and a scholarly article; 
7. the ability to communicate one's own research and that of others orally and otherwise, both for a scholarly audience and a general public, also with use of modern tools and devices; 
8. the ability to organize autonomously career-furthering activities such as a stay at an academic institute abroad and the design of a grant proposal.

In summary, this programme affords students opportunities, freedom of choice and supervision in tailoring their individual examination programme. On completion of the programme, they are able to develop a topical research question derived from or embedded in relevant scholarly debates; connect this question to a theoretical and conceptual framework which allows for interdisciplinary, innovative, and original approaches of their topic; identify, collect, and manage  relevant data for their research; analyse and interpret these data with robust methods; and present their findings in a transparent and convincing manner. Students are able to present their research projects, results, and their significance to academic audiences, as they are trained to critically consider the societal relevance and impact of their research projects and present these to and discuss these with various interested parties and audiences.

Future prospects

This two-year Research Master’s programme prepares a multinational group of students for a PhD trajectory as well as for professional positions outside academia which require an advanced academic competence. This programme offers an excellent stepping stone to a scholarly career. Its affiliation with various research institutes and networks is an undeniable advantage. The combination of breadth, depth and interdisciplinary exchange ensures that you are well equipped for a career in scientific research. Alumni of this Arts and Humanities programme have acquired PhD positions, as well as positions outside academia: as researcher in a cultural or scientific organisation, assistant of a senior researcher, teaching staff in institutions for higher education, policy-making official in the fields of culture and science, editor in the field of historical or cultural scholarship, (assistant) curator in a museum, critic, scientific staff member of heritage and conservation institutions or archaeological agencies, scientific staff member of publishing companies and text agencies. This English-taught master equips students to find such positions in the Netherlands as well as abroad.

Programme structure

The English-taught programme carries 120 EC, spread over two full-time academic years (four semesters). New students can begin the curriculum only at the beginning of the academic year in September.

This Research Master’s offers three disciplinary specialisations (Historical Studies, Art and Visual Culture, and Literary Studies), a general programme of interdisciplinary courses, together with a trajectory of electives and international research training under the supervision of a personal tutor. Students concentrate on theoretical, conceptual and methodical debates, questions, considerations and approaches they need for scholarly research projects. They expand and apply their knowledge, skills, and network in the international research training, implemented by studying abroad or an internship. The internship enables students to participate in a scholarly research project and carry responsibility for a well-defined (sub-)project.

The interdisciplinary training starts with Theoretical Turns in the Humanities (10 EC) in which students focus on seminal perspectives, theories, concepts and ‘turns’ in the humanities, as well as on the application of theoretical concepts in connection to relevant topics and research questions in their field. This relates to the interdisciplinary  course Methods and Techniques in the Humanities (5 EC) in which students concentrate on the epistemological and methodological consequences of the theoretical ‘turns’ in the Humanities. Case-based lectures on research design offer a hands-on approach in which students learn to identify and critically reflect on methodological assumptions and rationales of research designs. In the interdisciplinary course Contemporary Debates in the Humanities (5 EC) students relate academic research to topical public debates from, considering inter/transdisciplinary forms of collaboration in response to such debates. Modules of academic communication and presenting are integrated into the interdisciplinary courses

Each specialisation - HS, LS and AVC – offers a study programme (15 EC each) that is taught in the first and second semester. For both semesters, students select electives for their individual examination programme which strengthen their grasp of theories, concepts, methods, and enhance skills to apply these in assignments, essays, presentations, and other course-related output. They choose courses, masterclasses, intensives or other educational activities of the National Research Schools or the GSH (10 EC) are offered at Research Master – sometimes even PhD – level. Students can also enrol in regular Master’s courses at Dutch and foreign universities (15 EC). These need to be intensified in accordance with set requirements. As part of their individual examination programme, all electives need to be approved of by the Examination.

The International Research Training (study abroad or internship) (20 EC; third or fourth semester) is an integral part of this Research Master’s. Students appreciate the opportunities it affords for expanding their international network, knowledge, and skills. Students can enroll in courses at a foreign university or organise an internship abroad, tailored to their personal research ambitions or concentrated on project-related collaborative research skills. The host institutions must be recognized universities or research institutes abroad, and in specific circumstances, in the Netherlands outside Nijmegen.

Students also write a Research Proposal (5 EC) and Research Article (5 EC; third or fourth semester according to periods of submission). Students can base this on research executed for their internship, an honours project or in the context of their RMA-thesis. This applies to the Research Article as well, which students write for submission to a specific, relevant scholarly journal. Over the past years, some of these articles were published, others were reviewed stringently in order to help the authors to re-submit or reconsider. In either case, writing, submitting, being under review and receiving feedback proved to be essential aspects of the students’ academic training.

The Master's Thesis (30 EC including preparation trajectory) will cover a topic, for which students articulate a research question embedded in a relevant (cross- or interdisciplinary) theoretical and conceptual framework. The student is able to offer methodologically sound reasons for selecting particular research methods in connection to the research question. The thesis must be clearly formulated, compiled and annotated in accordance with the rules and regulations set forth by the relevant discipline.