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Research Master
Literary Studies (research)
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Study programme

The Research Master's in Literary Studies is a two-year, research-oriented programme that offers you the opportunity to explore your own research interests.

Programme overview

The Literary Studies Research Master's programme is anchored in the three core courses, all of which you take in the first three semesters. These core courses introduce you to the two chief orientations that guide research in the faculty: literary theory and cultural history. 

In addition to the core courses, you choose an elective and a tutorial each semester. These offer you in-depth knowledge and (methodological) skills in the topics that fascinate you. In the final semester, you write your thesis and develop a complementary research project.

Literary Studies programme structure

The Research Master's programme Literary Studies comprises 120 ECTS credits:

  • 36 ECTS Core courses
  • 36 ECTS Electives
  • 18 ECTS Tutorials
  • 12 ECTS Research project
  • 18 ECTS for Master’s Thesis

Core courses

In the first three semesters, you enrol in the following core courses:

Key Debates in Literary and Cultural Studies

In this course, you become familiar with the current debates and methodologies in literary studies.

Practices of Literature: Literary Cultures and their Impact

In the second semester, you focus on what literature actually does in social and cultural terms.

Literary Studies Lab

In your second year, you will focus on what it means to conduct research. In this course, you work on your research topic with fellow students and a Faculty member, helping you to prepare for the thesis that you will write in the final semester. You will also learn how to write a PhD proposal and prepare and run one of the course sessions.


The programme offers ample space for electives and you are encouraged to select courses that best suit your research interests. We have over 50 electives in Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Scandinavian and Slavonic literatures, as well as Comparative literature. Interdisciplinary electives deal with topics like globalisation, cultural memory, gender and the post-human.


In the tutorials, you work closely with one of the members of our staff and a small group of students on a topic, method or field that interests you. Some tutorials are offered in the study guide, but you may also create your own. In the tutorial space, you also take seminars at one of the national research schools, where you’ll meet Research Master's students, PhDs and researchers from other universities.


You can also opt to do an internship. This may include taking part in ongoing research at the faculty or a research-oriented internship at a cultural or literary institution like a museum or publishing house.


The Master's thesis reports on research carried out under the supervision of an academic staff member involved in the programme. The subject of the thesis must be mutually agreed upon by the student and the academic adviser. In addition to your thesis, you also complete a research project related to the topic of your thesis.

Detailed course information

For the exact structure of the programme and content of our courses, see: