The Master’s programme History of Politics and Society provides you with a thorough understanding of the historical roots of the most important political and societal issues that politicians, journalists and policy makers are concerned with today.

About the programme

You will study the historical development of democracy, civil society and economic inequality as well as the interaction between politics and policies in an international comparative perspective.

The programme focuses largely on 19th through 21st century topics and has an interdisciplinary approach: you will combine historical research with concepts and explanations derived from the social sciences. You will also gain hands-on interaction with present-day institutions as part of the Community Engaged Learning approach of our flagship course “Politics in the Hague” and more generally within the framework of our Internship programme.

Language of instruction

The core courses of the programme are offered only in English. For the other courses students may choose between Dutch- and English-taught courses.

Go to study programme


History of Politics and Society is a selective Master’s programme. Do you want to know if you are eligible for this Master?

Check the entry requirements

Why this programme in Utrecht?

Our students share their experiences with the MA programme

Career development

The programme offers you the opportunity to apply historical and social science insights to current affairs and issues relevant to official policies. The Internship or the Politics and Society Lab provide excellent opportunities to do so, as does the Community Engaged Learning component of our main core course “Politics in the Hague”. Other courses also pay explicit attention to the application of insights through course assignments and invited guest speakers.


In our Master’s programme History of Politics and Society, you will develop an understanding of why societies have developed in such divergent ways by examining institutions in the fields of democracy, politics and policy making, and the organisation of the market. These institutions form ‘the rules of the game’: they give our present society its form, but they are also the result of a historical process. The programme will provide you with insight into how these institutions, which are so influential in modern society, have developed, and into their functions and consequences.

Theory-driven and comparative

In this programme, you will learn to use theories and concepts from the social sciences plus a comparative approach to examine the mechanisms that can explain the remarkable similarities and differences between cities, regions, states, continents, and historical periods. 

After graduation

After completing their studies, many graduates pursue careers engaged with current-day political and societal issues, for instance as researchers or policy makers in public or semi-public organisations, at NGOs, in the business world, or in media. There are several job market segments where there is a need for people who can tie together the past, present, and future. 

More on career prospects

I really liked the programme’s focus on ‘institutions’ because I was interested in working in government or the public sector after studying.

Key facts

Language of instruction: 
Mode of study: 
Full-time, Part-time
Study duration: 
1 year, 2 years (part-time)
Tuition fees: 
Dutch and other EU/EEA students (statutory fee, full-time) 2024-2025: € 2,530

Non-EU/EEA students (institutional fee) 2024-2025: € 20,043

More information about fees
Croho code: 
Accredited by the NVAO
Graduate school: 
School of Humanities