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MA Middle Eastern Studies

Course Description

Leiden University’s Master’s in Middle Eastern Studies covers virtually the entire Middle East, both in time and in geography. This is unique for the Netherlands, and extremely rare elsewhere. If you are interested in Middle Eastern languages, literature, religion and history, you will discover that developments in modern times take a central place in the study of these disciplines. On the other hand, it is equally possible for you to explore the classical heritage of Islam for which Leiden is internationally renowned.

Visit the website: http://en.mastersinleiden.nl/programmes/middle-eastern-studies/en/introduction

Course detail

The MA in Middle Eastern Studies exposes you to research covering the history, literature, languages and politics of the Arab, Persian and Turkish world, with special attention for the field of Islamic law, anthropology, philology and the modern Middle East.
You can specialise in one of five different areas, each of which can be further tailored to your field of interest by opting for a particular disciplinary approach, such as linguistics, anthropology, history, literary studies, or the Modern Middle East; or by choosing a particular geographic region, such as Morocco or Central Asia; or alternatively by concentrating on a particular historical period, such as the Middle Ages or the twentieth century.


The staff’s extensive international network will give you opportunities for research abroad at various institutions and universities in the Middle East itself, making the programme even more unique in the Netherlands.


- Arabic Studies

The history of Islam, contemporary developments in the Arab world, Arabic literature, and rich manuscript traditions are your topics of study in Arabic Studies.

- Islamic Studies

You study the rich context of Islamic law and anthropology of the Muslim world from the perspective of the social sciences combined with philology.

- Turkish Studies

If you concentrate on Turkish Studies, you take courses on such topics as Turkish history and Turkey’s relation to Europe, viewed against its transition from the multi-ethnic Ottoman state to a nation state.

- Persian Studies

Persian Studies will focus on courses combining philology with modern history, literature with linguistics, religion with rituals, and visual arts with the rich Persian iconography and visual arts. The scope of the programme extends beyond present-day Iran.

- Modern Middle East Studies

Modern Middle East Studies focuses solely on modern times, as you study the rich cultures, literatures and religions of this strategically important region while examining the Islamic Revolution (1979) in Iran, revolts and revolutions in Arab countries, and political developments in Turkey, Central Asia and Afghanistan.



you will be qualified to work in a wide variety of careers requiring specialist language or cultural knowledge. For example, within the diplomatic service, policy-making positions at ministries, the Immigration and Naturalisation Service, positions in the educational sector or NGOs involved in development cooperation projects, but also within international organisations, the cultural tourism or socio-cultural sectors.

How to apply: http://en.mastersinleiden.nl/arrange/admission


For information regarding funding, please visit the website: http://prospectivestudents.leiden.edu/scholarships

Visit the MA Middle Eastern Studies page on the Leiden University website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Toby Jones

4853.jpg I was born in France, lived in the US for many years, and did my high school and bachelor’s in the UK. Through delving into Mediaeval History at St Andrews, I became drawn to studying mediaeval cultures in Asia, particularly the Middle East. Leiden offered me the perfect opportunity to study further by giving me a place on the Research Master’s programme in Middle Eastern Studies.

I was very happy to move somewhere quieter and more peaceful, after living in London for 6 years. The ease of access to larger cities like The Hague, Rotterdam and Amsterdam means you are never far from something interesting happening. There are excellent places to get a beer, have a nice meal, study, and sit in the sun when it appears! There are few more enjoyable experiences than cycling along canals with the sun in your face and the breeze in your hair, and you can discover much of the Netherlands this way. Leiden is a wonderful, exciting place to live and study!


Leiden Excellence Scholarship - No. of awards TBC

This scholarship is intended for:1. Non-EU/EEA students enrolling in a Leiden University master's degree programme starting February 2017 or September 2017.
All MA, MSc and LLM programmes that are mentioned on the website Master's programmes in Leiden are eligible for LExS, but note that some programmes have a start date in September only.
2. Students of all nationalities enrolling in the Advanced Master programmes in the list below starting February 2017 or September 2017. Note that the programmes listed below have a September start date only, with the exception of Advanced Studies in Air & Space Law:

◦Master of Laws: Advanced Studies in Air & Space Law
◦Master of Laws: Advanced Studies in European & International Business Law
◦Master of Laws: Advanced Studies in International Tax Law
◦Master of Laws: Advanced Studies in Public International Law
◦Master of Laws: Advanced Studies in International Civil & Commercial Law
◦Master of Laws: Advanced Studies in Law & Digital Technologies
◦Master of Laws: Advanced Studies in European Tax Law
◦Master of Laws: Advanced Studies in European & International Human Rights Law
◦Master of Laws: Advanced Studies in International Children's Rights
◦MSc in International Relations & DiplomacyAdditional requirements1.In his or her prior academic education abroad, the applicant must have achieved excellent study results which are relevant for the programme for which the student wishes to enrol. As an indication, the student will be among the top 10% for the relevant programme followed abroad. We do not need proof of this, it is just to indicate the competitiveness of the scholarship. 2.The applicant will hold a non-EU/EEA passport and will not be eligible for support under the Dutch system of study grants and loans ("Studiefinanciering"; more information). This requirement does not apply to applicants who apply for a LExS for programmes mentioned under point 2 "For whom". 3.Scholarships will not be awarded to applicants who have already obtained a Leiden University master’s degree with the exception of students applying for a Master programme for which a specified previous Master programme or work experience is mandatory (the LLM advanced masters qualify as such). 4.Students who are granted a LExS must comply with and confirm in writing their agreement with the Rules and Regulations attached to the scholarship prior to the granting of the scholarship

Value of Scholarship(s)



For excellent Non-EU/EEA students enrolling in a Leiden University master's degree programme and for excellent students of all nationalities enrolling in a Master of Law Advanced Programme or MSc in International Relations & Diplomacy.The Leiden University Excellence Scholarship programme has three awards: •€ 10.000 of the tuition fee •€ 15.000 of the tuition fee •Total tuition fee minus the statutory tuition fee The number and type of award of the scholarship depends on the budget available for each Faculty department. The type of award has no reflection on the students' academic level of excellence. Please be aware that the LExS is not a full scholarship.

Application Procedure

1. Fill in your online application for admission to Leiden University. Deadline 1 October 2016 for all programmes starting in February 2017.
Deadline for programmes starting September 2017 •All programmes except law:
1 February 2017 •Law programmes:
1 March 2017
2. Upload all required documents.

3. Indicate clearly that you would like to apply for the LExS scholarship on the scholarship page. Please note that if you apply for more than one master's programme, you have to indicate that you apply for the LExS scholarship for all these programmes seperately. 4. Upload your letter of motivation for the LExS scholarship on the scholarship page.

5. Submit your online application.

6. Pay the application fee of € 100. 7. The selection committee of the relevant faculty will review the applications. Students are selected on the basis of academic merit.

8. All LExS applicants will be informed by the scholarship department of Student Educational Affairs about the outcome of the selection procedure.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

A bachelor’s degree from a university, equivalent to the level of a Dutch academic bachelor’s degree, or demonstrate to meet the requirements for such a degree. Sufficient command of English (IELTS 7.0, TOEFL 100 (internet-based) or Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE)). This language requirement does not apply if you have: completed your education in Canada (except Quebec), USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia, or an International Baccalaureate, or a Dutch VWO-diploma.

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Recipient: Leiden University
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