Study programme

Study schedule MA History of Politics and Society
Check the study schedule (PDF)


The Master's programme History of Politics and Society comprises one year (60 EC). A study year is divided into two semesters, running from September until January and from February until June. A semester is divided into two study periods. 


Part-time students attend the same courses as the full-time students do, but their programme is spread over two years instead of one.


The programme consists of compulsory courses, electives, an internship and a thesis.
Check the course descriptions.

Semester 1

In the first study period, you take the following courses:

  • ‘Cities, States, and Citizenship’, which discusses the historical development of citizenship as one of the crucial institutions of modern society. 
  • ‘Toolbox for Comparative Historical Research’, in which you learn to apply comparative research methods.
  • One of two electives: ‘Growth and Inequality, 1000 – 2000’ (in English) or ‘Omgaan met voedselcrises’ (in Dutch).

In the second study period, you take the following courses:

  • ‘Challenges of the Welfare State’, which deals with the historical development of the welfare state and has a hands-on character: you learn to analyse policy documents of various organisations.
  • ‘Themes in the History of Politics and Society’, in which you develop the design for your MA thesis. 
  • One of two electives: ‘The Politics of History’ (in English) or ‘Democratie en democratisering’ (in Dutch).

Finally, in the first semester you participate in the seminar, a combination of workshops helping you to prepare for the labour market, other trainings and a meeting with alumni.

Semester 2

In the second semester you do an internship, which comprises an individual assignment at an academic level pertaining to a societal or political issue. An alternative for the internship is a Politics and Society lab: a project that allows you, in cooperation with a small group of fellow-students, to chart a current-day political or societal debate from a variety of angles and to record your findings in an advice or report.

In the second semester you also write your thesis, the concluding component of the Master’s programme. Recent thesis topics include:

  • Capitalism and the Market
  • Multiculturalism and citizenship
  • Nationalism
  • Political parties and contemporary democracy
  • Sustainability
  • The early roots of modern democracy

For examples of theses, see our thesis archive.



Educational methods

  • seminars
  • internship or lab
  • self-study

Almost all of the courses in the first semester consist of seminars, in which you will actively participate. Occasionally there will be a group assignment, in which you will learn to conduct research and/or give presentations as a group. However, most assignments will be individual assignments. These may include research papers, book reviews, valorisation assignments or policy analyses. You prepare for the seminars individually, at home or in the library, reading the literature, working on assignments, or collecting and analysing data.

While writing your thesis, you will largely work independently, but you will have regular meetings with your thesis supervisor and with your fellow-students to discuss your progress.


  • active participation in seminars
  • oral presentation
  • research paper
  • brief paper, oral or written book report
  • valorisation assignment or policy analysis
  • internship report (or practicum report)
  • internship product (or practicum product)
  • thesis