Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology


Would you like to study one of our two unique specialisations? Are you interested in graduating by using audio-visual methods or doing a multi-media project? Come to Leiden for our master’s programme in Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology!

3 Reasons to study CA-DS in Leiden:

  • Acquire ethnographic skills at the field schools in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Netherlands, or South-East Asia
  • Specialise in doing ethnographic research on a topic of your own choice, or work with a company or organisation doing a policy-oriented research internship
  • Have the option to graduate with an audiovisual or online project at the only CA-DS programme in the Netherlands offering a training in visual ethnography as a research method

In this master’s programme you will learn to understand the everyday practice of individuals, groups and communities from the inside out, and analyse how you can situate them within complex processes of global social change.

Two unique specialisations

The programme at Leiden is tailor-made, displays a broad range of theoretical, methodological and regional interests, and is renowned for its internationally oriented expertise and the two unique specialisations Global Ethnography and Sociology of Policy in Practice.

Specialisation 1: Global Ethnography

Our globalising world increasingly demands a comparative and holistic approach to all things cultural. In the specialisation Global Ethnography you will do three months of individual research into the ways global processes manifest themselves in particular and local instances, in remote places as well as close to home.

Specialisation 2: Sociology of Policy in Practice

Our specialisation in the sociology of policy in practice teaches you to think along with companies, non-profit organisations and NGO’s to help them respond to the challenges they are facing in our rapidly changing times. You obtain relevant working experience by conducting a three-month research-oriented internship, in close collaboration with both our Leiden staff and members of your host organisation.

Field schools in Asia, Africa and the Netherlands

The Leiden Institute of CA-DS ensures half a century and more of expertise on South-East Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. As a student, you can enjoy the possibilities of this wide network of international contacts and conduct your own research in one of our field schools located in Ghana, Indonesia, and the Netherlands. For more information check our webpage on the Field schools.

Master students are not strictly limited to these regions or the field schools origanised by our institute. If you have sufficient expertise, local contacts and linguistic skills, it is possible to focus on another region and do your fieldwork there. You can contact the institute’s coordinator and discuss the feasibility of your research plans.

Visual Ethnography as a Method

Students who have had previous training the visual research methods can also take part in the methodological track ‘Visual Ethnography as a Method’. This track is formally a part of the specialization in Global Ethnography, although occasionally the opportunity arrises to combine this track with the research internship (as part of the Sociology of policy in Practice). Within this methodological track you will be able to improve your use of audio-visual methods like photography, video and audio, both in research and in reporting through your own independent audiovisual research project.

Admission to this track requires certain skills in visual ethnography but those can be obtained at the Institute CA-DS in the pre-master phase. For more information about the admission and the possibility of the pre-master check our website.

Is CA-DS for you?

Students in CA-DS are ambitious, independent, curious and persistent. They like to investigate contemporary issues in line with anthropological academic conventions and carry out independent research in the Netherlands or abroad.

If you want to know whether you meet the requirements to apply for the specialisation of your choice check the Entry requirements page on the page of the specific specialisation.

Career prospects

As a CA-DS master, you will be fully equipped with the scientific skills required to independently design and execute fundamental and applied research.

If you want to know the career prospects and where our alumni work for the specialisation of your choice check the specific specialisation’s Career page.

MA student blogs

Current MA and BA students blog about their fieldwork experiences and their reasons to choose for CA-DS in Leiden on the MA Fieldnotes blogs.

Master details

  • Graad Master of Arts in Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology
  • Onderwijsvorm Full-time
  • Duur 1 year
  • Start September and February
  • Taal English
  • Vestigingsplaats Leiden
  • Croho/isatcode 60156

Prof. Peter Pels

“Leiden is the only CA-DS master’s programme in the Netherlands that offers visual ethnography as a methodological track, in which students can graduate with an audiovisual project.

Leiden has long specialised in Southeast Asia en Africa, although staff members also supervise research in other parts of the world. It is this intimate involvement with specific cultural regions that gives our programme its excellent international reputation. Practical field research is one of the pillars of both our bachelor’s and our master’s programmes. In the latter, we pride ourselves on the fact that we have been able to perfect our curricular activities and individual supervision to make sure that students finish the programme within a year with an academic product of high quality.”

Ontdek een master die bij jou past!