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The one-year Master’s Literature, Culture and Society offers a broad-based literary studies programme which explores the ways in which literature, culture and society impact on and influence each other, offering you the chance to dedicate yourself to one of the specialist language areas. The programme thus aims to prepare you for a professional future in fields such as the cultural sector, education and teaching, or international positions in which literary analysis, cultural mediation, and text production, particularly in another language, are key.

Programme overview

After taking two core modules at the start of the academic year that will cement your knowledge and understanding of the links between culture and society and your skills in literary textual analysis, you will follow a menu of courses to further develop these abilities while focusing on a specific language area. You have access to MasterLanguage (if available in your language of specialisation) and will be able to enhance your professional portfolio via an internship. You will refine your research and writing abilities when you work independently on your thesis.

Programme Structure:

The MA Literature, Culture and Society comprises 60 ECTS credits: 12 ECTS core courses (including small-group seminars in your target language as part of ‘How Literature Shapes Society’); 6 ECTS specialist module about a specific region (for Scandinavian and Slavic) or in your target language (for all other languages); 6 ECTS MasterLanguage module (for those languages for which MasterLanguage is available – Scandinavian and Slavic are not included in the MasterLanguage programme; please note, you can also take more than 6 ECTS in MasterLanguage); 12 ECTS of other electives (or 18 ECTS for Scandinavian and Slavic; for all languages 6 ECTS can be an internship); 6 ECTS thesis seminar (preparation for writing your thesis); 18 ECTS thesis.

  • Close Readings: Love and Madness
    Period 1
  • How Literature Shapes Society
    Period 1
  • Specialisation-specific course
    Period 2
  • Masterlanguage - Literary Studies course
    Period 2
    Period 4
    Period 5
  • Thesis Seminar Literature, Culture and Society
    Period 3
  • Free-choice electives: recommended electives
    Period 2
    Period 4
    Period 5
  • Master's Thesis Literature, Culture and Society
    Period 4
    Period 5
    Period 6
Compulsory course
UvA Course Catalogue: Literature, Culture and Society

Language specialisations

The programme Literature, Culture and Society allows you to specialise in the literature and culture of the following major language areas: English, French, German, Italian, Scandinavian, Slavic, and Spanish. There is also the possibility to follow a course in Modern Greek literature, culture and society. You will have the chance to accrue multiple credits taught in your specialist language by following modules such as the language-specific or area-specific course in the second semester, the small-group seminar as part of the core course ‘How Literature Shapes Society’, MasterLanguage modules, and your thesis. Further details about each language specialisation can be found via the link below.

  • Core courses

    In the first semester, you will take the advanced literary studies core course ‘How Literature Shapes Society’, during which you will acquire the methodological and conceptual tools that will allow you to analyse how literary and societal developments impact on one another. At the same time, you will also follow the course ‘Close Readings: Love and Madness’ which will enable you to improve your analytical and argumentation skills in conducting research on selected literary works. In the second half of the second semester, you are given a unique opportunity to take a language-specific or area-specific module that reflects the tutors’ research interests. Your fourth core module is called ‘Thesis Seminar’ and prepares you for the writing of your thesis. Students taking English, French, German, Italian and Spanish, will have a fifth core module – any course of your choice from the MasterLanguage programme (MasterLanguage is not currently available for Scandinavian and Slavic tracks).

    You will also follow a language-specific trajectory, in which you will 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 the language of your specialisation.

  • Electives

    In addition to the four compulsory modules (five including MasterLanguage for English, French, German, Italian and Spanish), you will have the special opportunity to take a further 12 credits (18 ECTS for Scandinavian and Slavic) in electives from a wide selection of courses that cover a vast range of subjects such as urban fictions, the metropolis in literature, crime fiction, the graphic novel, cultural memory, trauma, the book, philosophy, area studies, etc. You can also do an internship for 6 ECTS.

  • Internships

    You can do an internship worth 6 ECTS in order to enhance your professional skills, put into practice what you are learning in your Master’s, and boost your CV. In the past, students of the Literature, Culture and Society programme have undertaken the following internships, among others: NPO radio station; Spanish Consulate Education Office; De Amsterdammer newspaper; Cinéma Arabe cinema; Schwob (Letterenfonds – literature foundation); Instituto Cervantes (Spanish cultural institute); Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (research internship); Meertens Instituut (Dutch cultural institute – research internship).

  • Thesis

    During the second semester, you will write your Master's thesis in the language of your specialisation, in English, or in Dutch. You will work closely with and under the supervision of someone from the academic teaching team. You are free to choose your own topic, in close cooperation with your supervisor.

Copyright: UvA FGw
Contemporary fictions like literature, film, or tv-series often give their audiences a deeper understanding of society than the non-fictional discourses offered by science or investigative journalism. Dr Ronald de Rooij

Credit transfer

Students who show exceptional promise during a regular or professional programme are encouraged to continue their studies in a Research Master's 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.

Literature, Culture and Society in part-time mode

The programme is also offered in part-time study mode at the UvA, in which case it takes two years. You can obtain a maximum of 30 ECTS per year. As a part-time student you will follow the programme together with full-time students. You will prepare your study plan for the part-time programme in consultation with this Master’s programme coordinator.