Arts and Culture


The Master’s programme in Arts and Culture at Leiden University is a programme in art history with a focus on museums, heritage and collections, global perspectives, and agency and reception. You learn to consider modern art and design as links between media, cultures and communities. You also discover how sculpture, architecture and visual arts were applied together in the Renaissance and Baroque periods as a means to overpower the viewer.

The Arts and Culture programme has three main overall perspectives: the study of works of art, design and buildings from a global perspective; the focus on historical and contemporary works of art, design and architecture in terms of agency and reception; and to study art and design as engaged cultural responses to life sciences. This programme is unique in the Netherlands for the interdisciplinary range of subjects offered and for the diversity of the optional tracks available.

Reasons to choose Arts and Culture in Leiden

  1. Leiden has a unique teaching programme. Leiden is the only place in the Netherlands where you can study art in a global perspective, in Art of the Contemporary World and World Art Studies. The specialisation Museums and Collections has a unique focus on the study of the place of museums and collections in present day society. And Leiden offers you a change to study Art and architecture pre-1800 in a European context.
  2. You have a broad range of options. The programme is very broad. It covers art from throughout the world and almost all art forms, media and disciplines from the past and the present. You will choose a specialisation that guarantees in-depth study. Both in the general and in the research master’s you will have the opportunity to structure your programme in line with your personal interests.
  3. The programme is personally-tailored and small-scale. You will be assigned a personal mentor during the programme. The teaching generally takes the form of small-scale seminars, giving you a high degree of contact with lecturers and fellow students.
  4. You benefit from contacts with eminent national and international institutions. The department collaborates on teaching and research with many different academic and cultural institutions both nationally and internationally. Museums and collections are an important focal area within the programme. The department has excellent contacts with prominent Leiden museums and with Dutch art-historical institutions in Florence and Rome. Lecturers and students also have access to exchange programmes with leading institutions such as the Sorbonne, the École du Louvre and St. Andrews.
  5. Leiden students become sought-after employees. You will learn about the influence of art on present-day society. You will learn to analyse the effects, intended or unintended, of works of art on their environment. With these skills you will become an attractive employee for a diverse range of employers. The department works together with the LUMC (Leiden University Medical Center), for example, because art can give an insight into social issues arising from developments in biomedical sciences. Go to Career to view some of the excellent opportunities enjoyed by recent Leiden graduates on the employment market.

Master details

  • Degree Master of Arts in Arts and Culture
  • Mode of study Full-time, Part-time. Non-EU/EEA students must study full-time.
  • Duration 1 year (full-time); 1,5 year (part-time)
  • Start date September, February
  • Language of instruction English
  • Location Leiden
  • Croho/isat code 60087

Find your master's at Leiden University