Asian Studies (Research), 2013-2014

More information can be found on the department’s website.

Students with disabilities

The university is committed to supporting and accommodating students with disabilities as stated in the university protocol (especially pages 3-5). Students should contact Fenestra Disability Centre at least four weeks before the start of their courses to ensure that all necessary academic accomodations can be made in time conform the abovementioned protocol.

Academic Integrity

Students are expected to be familiar with Leiden University policies on plagiarism and academic integrity. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. If you submit any work with your name affixed to it, it is assumed to be your own work with all sources used properly indicated and documented in the text (with quotations and/or citations).

First year

Second year

After the completion of their first year students may opt to spend the summer or a complete semester (semester 3) to study abroad at one of the institutions affiliated with the programme or to do fieldwork. Students who want to go abroad need to contact a potential supervisor of their project early in the second semester (of the first year) to write a sound proposal. This proposal needs to be submitted to the Board of Examiners for approval at least two months before the student leaves (preferably before the end of the second semester).

Students who are staying in Leiden are obliged to take the Thesis Writing Seminar and choose two (or more) courses from the list of specialisation courses.

Specialisation courses

The courses listed are, in principle, open to all students admitted to the MA Asian Studies (research). However, some of them may have additional entry requirements such as, for example, a particular level of language sufficiency. Please, see the course descriptions for further details.

More info

Programme Details
Master’s thesis and requirements for graduation
Contact Information

Programme Details

Title: Master of Arts
Duration: 2 years, full-time
Start dates: September and February
Language of instruction: English
Responsibility: Programme director Master Asian Studies (research), Prof. Dr. J.A. Silk


This research master provides core training in an Area Studies approach to knowledge, opportunities for the development of disciplinary skills (politics, history, literature, philosophy, religion, etc.), and possibilities to build upon regional and language specialisation (such as Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Sanskrit, and Tibetan). Master students in Asian Studies develop sophisticated theoretical and methodological tools for scholarly reflexivity as well as tools specific for their research projects – which may be framed in more conventionally disciplinary and regional terms. They are guided to understand the parameters of the various disciplines and the ways in which they may be creatively combined into sophisticated forms of inter-disciplinarity, suitable to their subject matter. Students develop in-depth knowledge of one of the regions of Asia (East Asia, South or Southeast Asia [including Tibet]), and/or a transregional/comparative perspective that tracks particular themes through their relationship with ‘areas.’


The programme consists of four semesters with a course load of 30 EC each. The courses have a weight of 10 EC each (some language courses have a weight of 5 EC) and students generally follow three courses per semester. During the first year students have to take two Common Core Courses: ‘Theory and Methods of Area Studies’ (semester 1) and one of the two following courses: ‘State and Society in Area Studies: “Orientalism, Colonialism and Post-Colonialism”’ or ‘Arts and Culture in Area Studies: Culture and conquest: the impact of the Mongols and their descendants’ (semester 2). First year students are also strongly advised to attend the ‘Thesis Writing Seminar’ during their first and second semesters. This ‘Thesis Writing Seminar’ is obligatory for all students in their second year (semester 3&4).
All specialisations have a number of elective courses. Therefore, students may largely follow their own interest. It is even possible to take courses from other programmes, but when students chooses to do so, they need to obtain approval from the Board of Examiners first. Students should be aware, though, that for some of the courses a certain level of knowledge of a particular language is required (see course descriptions). Students are strongly advised to contact the track leader or student advisor when composing their programme. In the third semester students may opt to spend a semester or summer abroad doing fieldwork and/or studying at an affiliated institution

Master’s thesis and requirements for graduation

In the third semester students start working on their individual research (and if they want to do fieldwork in the third semester, even earlier). This will result in a master’s thesis. The thesis must be based on the student’s own research, including primary data. Whether this material is gathered during fieldwork and/or a study-abroad period depends on the road chosen by the student. The fourth semester is entirely reserved for the writing of the thesis. This phase can also be used to prepare an application for a PhD position. In order to graduate, students need to have successfully completed the 120 EC programme including having completed the thesis (30 EC) as part of that programme. The thesis should be related to the expertise of at least one of the members of staff involved in the programme.

Contact Information

Mailing address

MA Asian Studies (research) programme
Secretariat Vrieshof 4, rm 112a
P.O.Box 9515
2300 RA Leiden
The Netherlands

Visiting address (also address for courier services)

Matthias de Vrieshof 4, 2311BZ Leiden
Witte Singel 25, 2311BG Leiden


Matthias de Vrieshof 4, room 112a

Opening hours
Monday, 13.30-15.30 hs
Tuesday, 10.00-12.30 hs
Wednesday, 10.00-12.30 hs
Thursday, 10.00-12.30 and 13.30-15.30 hs
Friday, 10.00-12.30 hs

Phone +31 (0)71 527 2253
Fax +31 (0)71 527 3310

Coordinator/Student adviser

N.A.N.M. van Os, MA
Phone: +31 (0)71 527 2937
Office hours: upon appointment on Mondays (until 13.00 hs), Tuesdays, Wednesdays