Zoek in de site...

Programme information

Final qualifications
Future prospects and PhD positions
Programme structure


This two-year research master’s programme in Historical, Literary and Cultural Studies builds on the bachelor level in related disciplines. Students of this research master’s develop into independent university graduates trained to be responsible for their own learning trajectory, projects and output. The programme prepares students for careers that require advanced academic competence and research skills, including PhD trajectories.

This English-taught research master’s distinctly focuses on research-related knowledge and skills. It offers three disciplinary tracks: Historical Studies, Literary Studies, Art and Visual Culture, in which disciplinary and interdisciplinary core courses dovetail along three learning trajectories. These learning trajectories focus on personal and professional development, theoretical and conceptual approaches, and methods and techniques.

Final qualifications

On completion of this research master’s, the graduate has acquired:

  1. an advanced understanding 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 or more of the specialisations (History, Literary Studies, Art and Visual Culture);
  4. the ability to situate the contribution of one’s own research and of the humanities at large in relation to societal questions and to participate in topical debates regarding cultural and societal changes;
  5. the ability to develop and execute problem-based research plans in the field of specialization, cognizant of ethical standards, and to access and manage complex sources and data with adequate command of advanced heuristic skills;
  6. the ability to carry out in-depth, independent, and critical research embedded in the wider theoretical framework of the humanities, resulting in a master’s thesis;
  7. the ability to communicate and evaluate one’s own research and that of others, in English, orally and in writing, and to adjust content, style, and format to the audience (scholarly and/or general public);
  8. the ability to impact scholarly and/or societal debates and issues by applying results from one’s own research in a project;
  9. the ability to develop a research profile, by taking charge of one’s learning trajectory and impact, by becoming part of a research community and upholding its best practices, and by autonomously organizing career-furthering activities.

Future prospects

This two-year research master’s programme prepares students for careers that require advanced academic competence and research skills, including PhD trajectories. Alumni of this Arts and Humanities programme have found positions 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; and scientific staff member of publishing companies and text agencies. Alumni have also acquired PhD positions, in the Netherlands and abroad. The combination of breadth, depth and interdisciplinary exchange makes this programme an excellent stepping stone for an academic career. Its affiliation with various research institutes and networks allows you to become a full member of the scholarly community.

Programme structure

Our English-language master’s programme (120 EC) is 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. It offers three tracks:

  • Historical Studies (HS)
  • Literary Studies (LS)
  • Art and Visual Culture (AVC)

In each track, disciplinary core courses are offered in parallel with an interdisciplinary core course concentrated in three learning trajectories: Personal and Professional Development (11 EC); Theoretical and Conceptual Approaches (15 EC); Methods and Techniques (10 EC).

Learning Trajectories (36 EC)

  • Personal and Professional Development: Engaging with Academia

This multi-year learning trajectory supports you in the process of orienting and positioning yourself as an academic. Although this master’s focuses on research within academia, the courses in this learning trajectory also prepare you for other potential career paths in which research plays an important role. This trajectory enables you to reflect on your abilities and possibilities to engage in current debates on societal issues and to bring about societal change. The courses in this learning trajectory familiarise you with the manifold practices of doing research and considering yourself as a researcher in various professional contexts.


Becoming an Academic Professional (1 EC)

Inside Academia: Research in Practice (5 EC)

Beyond Academia: Engaging in Contemporary Debates in the Humanities (5 EC)

  • Theoretical & Conceptual Approaches

This learning trajectory aims to familiarise you with the uses and applications of theory and theories in the humanities. Courses 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 your field. Through thematical prisms, you learn to contextualise, reflect on, and critically engage with various theoretical perspectives and conceptual approaches that have had – and continue to have – a significant impact on the humanities.


Theoretical Turns in the Humanities (10 EC)

Violence: Historical Perspectives (5 EC; HS)

Psychoactive plants: Literary Perspectives (5 EC; LS)

The Body in Art and Visual Culture: Theoretical Perspectives (5 EC; AVC)

  • Methods and Techniques in the Humanities

This learning trajectory concentrates on the epistemological and methodological consequences of the theoretical ‘turns’ in the Humanities. The trajectory starts with disciplinary courses which deepen your ability to critically reflect on methodological assumptions and rationales of research designs of projects in your field of specialization. These courses focus on recognizing, evaluating and applying a selection of methodological approaches and perspectives proper to the specialization. This hand-on approach carries over into the interdisciplinary course, which is organised in case-based lectures that dissect problem-oriented interdisciplinary research projects into research questions, data and methods of analysis. You can strengthen this learning trajectory with the elective course Humanities Data Analysis in which interdisciplinary teams collaborate in ongoing research projects within RICH.


Sources of Historical Research (5 EC; HS)

International Literary Studies: Text and Theories (5 EC; LS)

Paradigms in Art History (5 EC; AVC)

Methods & Techniques in the Humanities (5 EC)

Individual Examination Programme (84 EC)

Besides these core courses, students compile their individual examination programme tailored to their personal and professional ambitions. This individual programme consists of electives, international research training, thesis and project. Throughout the research master’s, students are supervised by a personal tutor.

For the first two semesters, students select electives that strengthen their grasp of theories, concepts, methods, applying 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) that are offered at research master’s – sometimes even PhD – level. Students also enrol in regular and research master’s courses at Dutch and foreign universities (10 EC), such as the Humanities Data Analysis course developed for and offered by the research master’s in Historical, Literary and Cultural Studies (HLCS).

The International Research Training (study abroad or internship) (30 EC; third or fourth semester) affords students opportunities for expanding their international network, knowledge, and skills. They can enrol 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 recognised universities or research institutes.

Students conclude this master’s programme with a master’s thesis and a project in which they present their research findings. Students start the preparation of their master's thesis in the second semester with a course (4 EC) focused on systematic literature review and the development of a robust research question. Their thesis (30 EC; third or fourth semester) is based on topical research questions that are embedded in relevant scholarly and/or societal debates. The student is expected to position themselves within 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 within a robust methodology; and present their findings in a transparent and convincing manner.

For their project, students choose a form and audience(s) in alignment with their professional ambition and potential future work field(s). If they want to pursue an academic career, they can write a scholarly article or research proposal based on their thesis. If they aim for a position in policy, government or non-governmental organisations, they can write a policy document or develop a workshop for the strategic implementation of their research findings. It they pursue a position in investigative journalism or other media-related fields, they may want to develop a brief series of articles or episodes of a podcast. Should they consider positions in museums, heritage centres or archives, they can develop their research findings into an introduction for an exhibition catalogue, or a detailed plan for an exhibition, live or digital. The project enables students to define and present the way(s) in which they aim to use this research master’s as stepping stone in their career. The presentation of their projects brings them into contact with alumni of this programme and other interested parties.