Why in Utrecht


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, citizenship, 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 the way in which these institutions - which are so influential in modern society - have developed, and into their functions and consequences.

Emphasis on the modern age

The programme places emphasis on the modern age: the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. However, we also look back to the more distant past if that helps to gain insight into the historical roots of current-day issues.

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. 


The programme offers you the opportunity to apply these insights to current affairs and issues relevant to official policies. The internship or the Politics and Society Lab provide excellent opportunities to do so. Other programme components also pay explicit attention to the application of insights, such as course assignments and guest speakers from the field. Read more about career development.

Teaching Staff

Our lecturers are internationally recognised as experts in their fields. The core lecturers of the Master's programme in History of Politics and Society include:

Dr Pepijn Corduwener (Programme Coordinator)
Pepijn Corduwener

Pepijn Corduwener is Assistant Professor at the Department of History and Art History at Utrecht University, based at the section of Political History. He is specialised in the history of Western Europe from the late nineteenth century onwards - in particular the post-war history of France, Italy and Germany in a comparative perspective.

Dr Jessica Dijkman
Dr Jessica Dijkman

Jessica Dijkman is Assistant Professor in Economic History. Her research focuses on the medieval and early modern era. Currently, she studies the way societies in late medieval and early modern Europe coped with food crises and famines.

Dr Irina Marin
Irina Marin

Dr Irina Marin is Assistant Professor in Political History at Utrecht University and a core teacher of the Master's programme in History. In this capacity she is in charge of MA theses, admissions and tutoring. She specializes in Modern European History with emphasis on Central and Eastern European history, in particular the social dynamics of imperial borderlands, nationalism and identity politics as well as social violence.

World-class University
Top-100 university

Choosing Utrecht University means choosing one of the best universities in the country. Several renowned international rankings place Utrecht University among the 100 best universities in the world. The teaching environment at Utrecht University is international: half of the Utrecht Master's programmes are taught in English. The existing and former academic staff of Utrecht University include twelve Nobel Prize laureates. Read more about Utrecht University.