Middle Eastern Studies (research)

Entry requirements

Research master’s programmes are two-year programmes focusing on research. They are aimed at students who have proven affinity with and aptitude for scholarly research.

The entry requirements are as follows:

  • A bachelor’s degree from a university, equivalent to the level of a Dutch academic bachelor’s degree
  • Good grades comparable with an average mark of at least 7.5 (Dutch grading system) for the entire bachelor’s programme, and a grade for the bachelor’s thesis of an 8 or higher.
  • Knowledge of the fundamentals of Middle Eastern Studies and/or area studies, literary studies, linguistics, history and/or social sciences
  • For some electives on offer within the programme, the language level of students working has to be equal to the exit level of the relevant bachelor’s programme of Leiden University (please refer to the respective Course and Exam regulations).
  • Sufficient command of English (IELTS 7.0, TOEFL 100 (internet-based) or Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE); a minimum score of IELTS 6.5 or TOEFL 22 is required for each of the four components).

Additional information

  • Apart from the generally required documents, for this programme, additional documents are required. Applicants are requested to include in their application a “Research Proposal” of approximately 1,000 words outlining the topic or field of research that interests them most and that they wish to pursue at Leiden University, combined with an annotated bibliography of at least five (5) works.
  • Applicants with a degree from a Dutch University of Applied Sciences (HBO) are not eligible for admission.

Information for Leiden students

  • No direct admission, all students need to submit an online application. See How to apply for further details.

Master details

  • Graad Master of Arts in Middle Eastern Studies (research)
  • Onderwijsvorm Full-time
  • Duur 2 years
  • Start September, February
  • Taal English
  • Vestigingsplaats Leiden
  • Croho/isatcode 60843

Prof. Erik-Jan Zürcher

Erik-Jan Zürcher

“It is only possible to gain a better under-standing of present-day developments in the Middle East if you understand the historical background.”

“Leiden University enjoys a rich research tradition, and has a great many publications about Turkey to her name. The Turkish Languages and Cultures department is also well-known, particularly as text
books written in Leiden are used throughout the world.

This master’s programme focuses on the one hand on the origin of the modern Turkish nation state, and, on the other, on Turkey and the Ottoman Empire and their relationship to Europe. I myself am fascinated by the Middle East and by modern history, in particular the period around World War I. This makes Turkey a rewarding subject for study.

Until the First World War, the greater part of the Middle East belonged to the Ottoman Empire. Around 1918, the great empires came to an end: not only the Ottoman Empire, but also the German
Empire, the Hapsburg Empire and the Romanov Dynasty in Russia. The centuries-old multicultural Ottoman Empire was transformed into the modern mono-cultural republic of Turkey.

As a result of the start of accession talks between Turkey and the EU, the number of students with an interest in political science has been growing of late, but teaching in the MA specialisation Turkish Studies focuses primarily on the language, history and cultural heritage of Turkey. I firmly believe that it is only possible to gain a better understanding of present-day developments in the Middle East if
you understand the historical background.

Turkey is two things at the same time: a young state which has been created by a political elite, but also an ancient state, heir to the Ottoman Empire, which
existed for six hundred years. This has left its mark on the country.”

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