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Study programme

The one-year Master’s in Literature, Culture, and Society explores the interrelations between literature and society, and allows you to specialise in one of seven major European languages and literatures. There is also the possibility to follow a course in Modern Greek literature, culture and society.

Programme overview

In the first semester, you will take the core course, “How Literature Shapes Society,” in which you acquire and develop the methodological and conceptual tools, providing you with a solid foundation for your language-specific trajectory and electives. In the second semester, you can tailor the programme to your interests by choosing an elective or doing an internship. You will also write your thesis.

Programme Structure:

The Master's programme in Literature, Culture and Society comprises 60 EC credits:

  • 18 EC Core courses
  • 18 EC Electives (of which 12 EC can be an internship)
  • 6 EC  Thesis seminar 
  • 18 EC Thesis

Language specialisations

The Master's programme in Literature, Culture and Society allows you to specialise in one of seven major European languages and literatures, including English, French, German, Italian, Scandinavian, Slavonic and Spanish. There is also the possibility to follow a course in Modern Greek literature, culture and society. Follow the link below for detailed information about each of the specialisations.

Core courses

In the first semester, you enrol in the advanced literary studies core course, 'How Literature Shapes Society: Writing, Canon Formation, and (Post)National Identities'. Here, you acquire the methodological and conceptual tools to analyse how literary and societal developments impact on one another, and improve your analytical and argumentative skills in conducting research on selected literary works from different European literatures.

You will also follow a language-specific trajectory, in which you explore the interrelation between society and the literature of your choice. These courses approach literature from a historical as well as a contemporary perspective and are taught (with the exception of Scandinavian and Slavonic) in your language of specialisation.


In addition to the compulsory trajectory, you take 18 credits of electives from a wide selection of courses. You can, for example, explore the relationship between literature and society further by choosing a course from a broad selection of electives on offer at the UvA. Courses like 'Urban Fictions: The Metropolis in Literature, Film and the Graphic Novel', 'The Postmodern Detective' and 'History, Cultural Memory and Trauma' examine that relationship from an interdisciplinary viewpoint.

You can also follow a Masterlanguage course as part of your programme. Masterlanguage offers courses on a variety of literatures and linguistics, and is developed by researchers from universities all over the Netherlands. These courses are a great way to meet students with similar research interests from other universities. See the link below for more information about the Masterlanguage course.

Term paper

In your term paper, you develop a research project based on the work done in the courses earlier in the first semester.


During the second semester you will write your Master's Thesis in the language of your specialisation, English or Dutch, under the supervision of one of the staff members. You are free to choose your own topic, in close cooperation with your supervisor.


For more information about available internships and the experiences of other student interns, please follow the link and search for internships for international students in the A-Z list.

Detailed course information

You can find detailed descriptions of the Literature, Culture and Society courses as well as the Study Schedule in the UvA Course Catalogue. For an example of one of the programme's language specialisations, see:

Credit transfer

Students who show exceptional promise during a regular or professional programme are encouraged to continue their studies in a research programme. Once students are admitted to the research programme, they can transfer credits earned during their previous course of study towards their Research Master's degree. The Examinations Board determines which courses qualify for transfer.