Taught course (will run subject to approval)

Asian Studies

Leiden University · Humanities

Entry requirements

Course specific entry requirements available at http://en.mastersinleiden.nl/programmes/asian-studies/en/introduction

Months of entry

September, February

Course content

Asian Studies Specialisations

The Master’s programme in Asian Studies at Leiden University offers an outstanding qualification from one of the leading centres for Asian studies in Europe. You will develop expertise in the history, language and culture of Asian societies, or contemporary developments in the world’s most dynamic and fastest-growing region. Asian studies at Leiden University is unparalleled in the Netherlands and combines the very best of Asia-related research in North-West Europe.


At Leiden Univerisity you can tailor your MA Asian Studies with a specialisation that reflects your area of interest. Different specialisations cater for students with or without proficiency in one or more Asian languages, and range from one to two years in duration. This structure allows us to accommodate students with diverse undergraduate backgrounds, objectives and expectations.

When choosing your specialisation consider the following:

Two-year specialisations on China, Japan, and Korea

The specialisations Chinese Studies, Japanese Studies, and Korean Studies are two years in duration and offer the possibility of an in-depth analysis of one country in East Asia. They each require advanced proficiency in the relevant language.

All three programmes require the completion of a bachelor’s degree in Chinese studies, Japanese studies or Korean studies, depending on the programme. Disciplinary specialisation is at the core of each, and involves the development of fluent classical or modern language skills. Students spend a year at a university in the relevant country, and write an MA thesis. Places in these specialisations are limited.

One-year specialisation East Asian Studies

The specialisation East Asian Studies is a one-year programme that offers the possibility of in-depth analysis of one country in East Asia, either China, Japan, or Korea, in fields such as history, sociology, philosophy, economics, linguistics, politics and international relations.

Advanced knowledge of an East Asian language is required. The programme is similar to that of the related two-year specialisations, but with the advantage that it allows students to choose from a broader range of elective courses, including those on other Asian regions or countries outside the area of their specialisation, and also provides options for internships of two or three months.

One-year thematic specialisations on Asia

The specialisations History, Arts and Culture of Asia, and Politics, Society and Economy of Asia are one-year specialisations that take a thematic approach to Asian Studies. Knowledge of a relevant language is not required, although students have the option of learning one of the many Asian languages taught at Leiden University.

History, Arts and Culture of Asia takes a humanities approaches to pre-modern, modern or contemporary Asia. Politics, Society and Economy of Asia takes a social sciences approach to modern or contemporary Asia. Students are free to choose a specific region or to cover all Asian regions.

One-year specialisations on South Asia and Southeast Asia

The specialisations South Asia and Southeast Asia are one year in duration and focus on a particular region. Knowledge of a relevant language is not required, although some individual courses require knowledge of a classical or modern South or Southeast Asian language. Students have the option of learning one of the many Asian languages taught at Leiden University.

South Asian Studies focuses on pre-modern, modern or contemporary South Asia, in fields such as history, literature or religious studies. The focus of the programme is on India and Sri Lanka. Southeast Asian Studies focuses on one or more aspects of Southeast Asia, such as history, literature or religious studies.

Future Career

Students with ambitions to pursue a PhD position or career as a researcher outside academia can apply for the two-year Research Master’s in Asian Studies on completion of the programme.

Students ready to join the workforce can expect to be qualified for a range of exciting careers at organisations around the world – including at the many international organisations here in the Hague or the surrounding area.

Fees and funding

UK students
€ 2,006 (2017-2018)
International students
€ 16,600 (2017-2018)

Qualification and course duration


full time
12 - 24 months

Course contact details

International Studyline Team