Humanities Research: Global History

Connecting events - sites - bodies - stories across continents and ages
Programme of
Humanities (Research)
TitleMA Global History

Due to the corona crisis, the requirements to enroll in this master programme have changed. For an overview of the requirements, we refer to the subsection 'Corona crisis: from a Bachelor’s to a Master’s'.

The Global History programme, is a specialization of the Humanities Research Master, aimed at talented students who are exceptionally motivated to develop their skills in the field of historical research. It prepares students for a research career in history, or for other research-intensive careers.

In the Global History programme you will learn to investigate the dynamics and long-term developments of the global interconnection of goods, ideas and people, and the role of power, religion and affects in such constellations. In research-intensive courses you will collaborate with renowned researchers and research groups in the fields of migration studies, the history of capitalism, knowledge and religion, material culture and heritage, emotions and senses, and environmental humanities. The distinguishing characteristic of the programme is an interdisciplinary perspective that includes concepts and methodologies from the social sciences, philosophy and law. The programme also offers students the possibility to explore and train skills in digital analysis and reflect on the possibilities of the emerging digital humanities techniques, and e-Humanities approaches. Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers a thorough training programme, with individual guidance by excellent and committed supervisors. You are encouraged to make use of the staff’s intensive networks with heritage and research institutions, governmental organizations and NGO’s (e.g. UNESCO), and business partners (banks, creative industries), to set up embedded research projects which may act as a stepping stone for the next step in your career. The Global History programme offers a dynamic international context where students from the Netherlands, and from abroad, exchange views, experiences and historical research questions. Visits to other universities abroad for a research period up to 3 months, are encouraged, with financial support from the Graduate school of Humanities.

The Humanities Research Master's Programme Global History concentrates on the study of politics, culture, religion, economy and daily life from a historical, theoretical and 'new' world history perspective. In a globalizing and digitizing world long-term perspectives are needed for the complex phenomena of our time: perspectives sensitive of deep rooted mechanisms of in- and exclusion. Disciplinary boundaries need to be questioned and challenged, new methods explored. In order to face these challenges, we need researchers who are thoroughly trained in finding and interpreting compelling source material, in critical reflection, and in detailed reporting.

The Global History programme is aimed to train these skills. Students learn to develop a critical attitude and learn to arrive at original lines of questioning based on a profound knowledge of their research subject. In two years, our students learn to develop their own unique expert knowledge, which enables them to start a successful research career.
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MA History Courses (max 30 ECTS)
The programme starts with general introductions to historical research and theory, followed by thematic specialization courses of the student’s choice. Here the research master’s student can connect to the different specialization tracks of the MA history programme: Global Social History, Migration & Mobility, Religion & Society, Cultures of Knowledge, Medical History, Politics & Sovereignty (Dutch language track).

Humanities Core Modules (3 x 6 ECTS)
Together with the other Humanities Research Master students, you will follow three courses in humanities research and research design. These courses are aimed to provide a general introduction to the history, philosophy and methodology of humanities research, and to two cross cutting themes of VU humanities research: Environmental Humanities and Digital Humanities. You will also actively participate in the graduate lectures & seminars of the Graduate School of Humanities. 

After the introductions, the courses focus at research design: they will train you to position yourself in the international research field and to develop your skills in developing and presenting innovative research. In the second year, you will learn to write a research proposal for national or international science foundations.

Core Courses - Humanities connected (2 x 9 ECTS)
In two core courses the history research master’s students (1st and 2nd year) come together to dive into the research of one of the leading research groups of the department. Students will learn to collaborate with cutting edge research groups, and to connect their own expertise to the main questions and methods of this state of the art research.

National research schools (10 ECTS)
All research master students enroll with a Humanities National Research School at the start of the first year of their study. The Graduate School of Humanities organizes this enrolment. Students then choose from the programmes of a National Research School a selection of courses, masterclasses, summer or winter schools of at least 10 EC.

Individual study programme. (30 ECTS)
A large portion of the study programme is reserved for individual choice. This way you can develop a tailor made study programme, together with you mentor. You can choose for a stay at an another university or research institute in the Netherlands or abroad, or an internship, for tutorials, or specific skill trainings, combined with participation in conferences, workshops and the graduate lectures & seminars of the Graduate School of Humanities.

Thesis (30 ECTS)
Already at the beginning of your second year, you will start to prepare, together with your mentor, for your final thesis trajectory. This way, you can optimize your individual study programme in preparation for your final thesis. You thesis will give you the opportunity to prove the academic research skills you have acquired during the programme. Your final thesis will show you have a profound level of knowledge of the historiography and theory of the research field, the creativity to find a compelling subject of research, and the ability to think systematically and critically, and finally: the ability to communicate all this in the English language.

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Detailed course information
VU Amsterdam's online study guide: Humanities Research (2019-2020).

Your most likely prospect after completing your research master’s degree program is to set up your own research as a PhD student. This involves attracting funding, carrying out research under the guidance of a supervisor, and writing a PhD thesis on the subject.  The Humanities Research Master’s Programme offers an excellent training for an academic career. In our research design courses you will learn to develop your research skills, construct research proposals for national or European science foundations, and to apply for international research funds.  

You can also embark on a career at a research institute outside of the academic setting. Many research institutes are eager to welcome researchers schooled in qualitative and quantitative research.  You can also start a career outside the field of academics, for instance as a history teacher, a journalist, or text writer, a heritage expert, an advisor for the government or for NGO’s.
   
Investing in a research master’s education has been proved to be very profitable for our students over the years.

Unique, tailor made programme with committed mentors in an inspiring research environment
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam has a strong tradition in Global / Post-colonial History, History and Theory, History of knowledge and religion, Environmental Humanities and Material Culture, especially for Europe, the Atlantic region, and (South)East Asia.
From the very beginning of your research master, you will be supervised by a committed mentor, who will help you plan your specialization programme, tailored to you expertise and preferences. You will be involved in the activities of our acclaimed research groups and centers, e.g. Global History and Heritage in a Post-Colonial World, the Amsterdam Centre for Religious History, ACCESS - the Amsterdam Centre for Cross-Disciplinary Emotion and Sensory Studies and the Stevin Center for History of Science and Humanities.

Why_study_at_VU-AmsterdamGraduate School of Humanities
The history programme is embedded within the Graduate School of Humanities - a community that connects students and researchers over the various humanities disciplines. Through Graduate Lectures and Graduate Seminars research master’s students can connect with students from other disciplines and engage in discussion with internationally acclaimed scholars. This inspiring and sustainable research environment will help students to connect on an interdisciplinary level and to present their research to a wide variety of students and researchers. The Graduate School also offers you practical support, e.g. with enrolling at a national research school, or with arranging a research period at a research institute, in the Netherlands or abroad.

Humanities connected
The Global History programme is a research based specialization, that collaborates with other disciplines to provide new perspectives to current social challenges. While helping you to develop expertise in the specialization of your choice, we will constantly challenge you to make connections: with research master students from other humanities disciplines, and with other relevant fields, like economics, social sciences, medicine, and philosophy. We strongly belief that your humanities research is very valuable for our current society and we encourage our students to connect their research to societal issues and debates, such as globalization, refuge, international justice, “emocratisation”, diversity, and the rapid changing environment.

Student experiences

Marieke Oprel, PhD student Global History Research

Marieke

"During my bachelor programme, I became more and more interested in historical research. I decided for a master's programme that allowed me to follow my interests, to improve my research skills and that could teach me a great deal more about the past. The VU Amsterdam research master History seemed to be the best choice: I already greatly enjoyed studying at VU Amsterdam during my bachelor education, and I knew that VU Amsterdam would offer the opportunity to design a tailor made programme for my specific research interests. So I decided to stay at VU Amsterdam, and started a study programme, specializing in a combination of cultural and political history, and specifically in Dutch international policy after World War II. I have greatly enjoyed my studies. Teachers have been very open and creative in thinking with you for the most suitable study curriculum for you as an individual researcher. All worked out perfect: I learned to compose research proposals and present my research for various audiences - and succeeded in obtaining a research grant from NWO - the Dutch National Science Foundation. Since September 2015 I am a PhD student at VU Amsterdam."

Wouter de Vries, alumni

vries_wouter_de

"The VU’s Researchmaster (MPhil) History has been a great (and instructive) time! It allows you to develop yourself, and prepares you for a PhD position – or a position outside of academia – in the best of ways. Moreover, you not only develop your skills as a specialist in a certain area, but also as a historian: the programme offers room for both in-depth study as well as for thinking about the historian’s role and position in society.
What I particularly liked about the VU is the personal and professional support of the faculty. You can assign yourself a mentor from the specialists in your field, who will help you design your Masters programme and find your way in academia. If you want to spend some time abroad or do an internship, the VU can help you as well. Nothing stands in the way of you becoming a full-blown historian!" 



Learn more about our student experiences on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GraduateSchoolofHumanitiesVU 

Dutch students

Generally speaking, students must complete their Bachelor’s or pre-Master’s before starting on their Master’s programme. This is known as the ‘Bachelor's before Master's rule’. Due to the corona crisis, however, some students have had to partially stop their studies, resulting in an unfortunate delay.

In April a nationwide decision was taken to abandon the so-called “harde knip” because of Corona and to formulate alternative requirements for admission to master’s programmes. For this reason, and following general VU guidelines, the Humanities Faculty has opted for a smoother transition. Find out what this means for you below.

Guidelines for Bachelor’s to Master's    
•    Minimum percentage of EC’s: 90%   
•    Grade average of 7.5 on all Bachelor's courses at the start of the master's programme   
•    An approved thesis work plan    
•    The language requirements   

We strongly advise students to do everything possible to complete their Bachelor’s or pre-Master’s programme before the end of this academic year. The study load makes it very difficult to complete missing courses while on an intensive Master’s programme.

All students who enroll on the basis of the “zachte knip” will be invited by the academic advisor and will be assigned a mentor, who will have a finger on the pulse for the completion of the Bachelor's degree.

Request exceptional admission
Do you meet these conditions or do you expect to meet these conditions by 31 August at the latest? If so, you can request exceptional admission no later than 1 August. You can do this by completing and submitting the form for exceptional admission to a Master’s programme.

Due to the corona crisis, the requirements to enroll in this master programme have changed. For an overview of the requirements, we refer to the subsection 'Corona crisis: from a Bachelor’s to a Master’s'.

The Humanities Research Master programme is aimed at talented students who are exceptionally motivated to be trained in academic methods in their specific field of humanities. To be admitted to the programme, the student should have a bachelor’s degree in an academic degree related to their chosen specialisation. The student should also have a proficient level of academic English, proof of excellent study results and clear motivation for doing academic research. 

Specific admission requirements Global History
The Global History track of the Humanities Research Master programme is aimed at talented students who are exceptionally motivated to be trained in academic methods in the field of history. To be admitted to the programme, the student should have a bachelor’s degree in history, European studies, anthropology, political sciences, cultural studies, or a related academic degree. The student should also have a proficient level of academic English, proof of excellent study results and clear motivation for doing academic research.

The two-year research master's is a good option for students who are interested in pursuing a PhD after their MA, but also more in general for students who cherish critical attitude, arrive at original lines of questioning based on a profound knowledge of their research subject, and wish to develop their research skills.

Admission is based on a strict selection procedure. The Faculty’s Admission Board will decide upon your admission after having evaluated your complete online application. For further details regarding the admission requirements, see the Teaching and Examination Regulations.


Dutch students and international candidates with a Dutch degree can apply via Studielink before July 1st for the master programme Humanities (research).

After you have applied for the master in Studielink, you will receive two emails with your login details for VUnet (VU studentportal). Please complete your application in VUnet. Don’t forget to fill in your specialization on VUnet: Global History.

 Next to this, you'll need to provide several documents based on which we can decide whether you are admissible. The following required documents should be send to toelating.fgw@vu.nl:

  • Motivation Letter: a letter explaining your motivation for the application. Please also integrate in this letter your first ideas as to the subject or field you would like to focus your research on (for instance in the context of tutorials and/or your thesis).
  • Transcript of records: a certified list of the academic results obtained to date (qualifications and lists of grades). The transcript of records should show that you received an outstanding grade for your bachelor’s thesis (7.5 or higher), and an average of no less than 7.5 for a relevant selection of your bachelor’s programme (to be decided by the Admission Board). 
  • Curriculum Vitae

Not a student of the Faculty of Humanities at VU Amsterdam?

In addition to the above listed documents, you must also e-mail the following documents to toelating.fgw@vu.nl:

  • An application form (Dutch) 
  • A copy of your bachelor thesis or other papers/essays you have written that might be relevant for the research master’s programme of your choice.
    Your application will be reviewed by the Admission Board of the Faculty of Humanities. You will be informed whether you have been admitted via Studielink. Admission may also depend on the results of a personal interview with the Admission Board about your motivation.
Your application will be reviewed by the Admission Board of the Faculty of Humanities. You will be informed whether you have been admitted via Studielink. Admission may also depend on the results of a personal interview with the Admission Board about your motivation.



For questions about the Global History specialization
Please the specialization coordinator Petra van Dam (p.j.e.m.van.dam@vu.nl).

Information days
Meet us at the next Master's Event!

For regular updates on current activities see the Facebook page of the VU Graduate School of Humanities.

To find out about the research environment of history research at VU, visit the pages of our research centers:

International students

Generally speaking, students must complete their Bachelor’s or pre-Master’s before starting on their Master’s programme. This is known as the ‘Bachelor's before Master's rule’. Due to the corona crisis, however, some students have had to partially stop their studies, resulting in an unfortunate delay.

In April a nationwide decision was taken to abandon the so-called “harde knip” because of Corona and to formulate alternative requirements for admission to master’s programmes. For this reason, and following general VU guidelines, the Humanities Faculty has opted for a smoother transition. Find out what this means for you below. Please note: if you are a non-EEA student, the Bachelor's before Master's rule does still apply.

Guidelines for Bachelor’s to Master's    
Non-EEA students enrolled in a VU Bachelor and EEA students  

•    Minimum percentage of EC’s: 90%    
•    Grade average of 7.5 on all Bachelor's courses at the start of the master's programme    
•    An approved thesis work plan     
•    The language requirements    

We strongly advise students to do everything possible to complete their Bachelor’s or pre-Master’s programme before the end of this academic year. The study load makes it very difficult to complete missing courses while on an intensive Master’s programme.

All students who enroll on the basis of the “zachte knip” will be invited by the academic advisor and will be assigned a mentor, who will have a finger on the pulse for the completion of the Bachelor's degree.

Due to the corona crisis, the requirements to enroll in this master programme have changed. For an overview of the requirements, we refer to the subsection 'Corona crisis: from a Bachelor’s to a Master’s'.

The Humanities Research Master programme is aimed at talented students who are exceptionally motivated to be trained in academic methods in their specific field of humanities. To be admitted to the programme, the student should have a bachelor’s degree in an academic degree related to their chosen specialisation. The student should also have a proficient level of academic English, proof of excellent study results and clear motivation for doing academic research. 

Specific admission requirements Global History
The Global History track of the Humanities Research Master programme is aimed at talented students who are exceptionally motivated to be trained in academic methods in the field of history. To be admitted to the programme, the student should have a bachelor’s degree in history, European studies, anthropology, political sciences, cultural studies, or a related academic degree. The student should also have a proficient level of academic English, proof of excellent study results and clear motivation for doing academic research.

The two-year research master's is a good option for students who are interested in pursuing a PhD after their MA, but also more in general for students who cherish critical attitude, arrive at original lines of questioning based on a profound knowledge of their research subject, and wish to develop their research skills.

Admission is based on a strict selection procedure. The Faculty’s Admission Board will decide upon your admission after having evaluated your complete online application. For further details regarding the admission requirements, see the Teaching and Examination Regulations.

Additional language requirements for international students
You must always present official test results proving your proficiency in English. You can apply online without having the test results, but in case you haven’t taken a test yet we advise you to plan a test date as soon as possible. The qualification or test result must have been awarded no more than two years prior to the proposed date of enrolment. Below you will find the minimum English test scores for the English taught programmes at the Faculty of Humanities:

  • TOEFL score 600 paper based with a minimum of 55 in each of the subtests plus 4.0 in TWE, score 250 computer based or score 100 internet based with a minimum of 20-23 in each of the subtests).
  • IELTS score of 7.0 overall band score (with none of the separate section scores dropping below a minimum score of 6.5).
  • Cambridge English: Cambridge Proficiency Exam with score A, B, or C; or Cambridge Advanced Exam with score A, B, or C.

Exemptions from providing the English test scores are applicable to students, who:

  • have completed an English-taught secondary or higher education degree in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia; or
  • have earned a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in an English-taught programme accredited by NVAO in the Netherlands, or
  • have earned a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in an accredited English-taught programme in another member state of the European Union
  • hold a Bachelor’s degree in English Language and Culture from a Dutch university, or
  • hold a Bachelor’s degree in Literature and Society with a degree in English: Literature and Society obtained at the VU, or
  • completed a minor in English at the VU Amsterdam and obtained 30 EC or more.

The required evidence should, if possible, be included with the complete application. If either unsatisfactory or no evidence of English language proficiency has been provided with the application, admission will be conditional upon the provision of such evidence. This condition will be clearly indicated on the offer letter and must be fulfilled before enrolment at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Please check the Admission and language requirement page for the general requirements. 

If you have read the admission criteria and feel you are eligible for admission, please take the following steps to submit your application. Note that the initial application procedure is fully online and that scans of your relevant documents are required. 

Step 1: Meet admission criteria

Step 2: Prepare documents and apply online
Please prepare the following documents. You can find an explanation of each document on the application page. All documents should be provided in English. 

  • Copy of your valid passport or ID (ID only for EU residents)
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Motivation Letter: a letter explaining your motivation for the application and an indication of your desired research focus.
  • Transcript of records
  • Thesis (or another sample of academic writing, at least 5 pages plus a list of used literature)
  • A description of the relevant courses you have taken during your previous higher education and a list of all the main literature

After having prepared the required documents, please follow the online application procedure. After you have completed the application, our international student advisors will contact you via email.

Step 3: Await decision on admission
The admission board will review your application as soon as it is complete. Normally this takes about four weeks, but it might take longer in busy periods so be sure to apply as soon as possible. If you gain admission, you will receive a letter of conditional admission by email. You can start planning your move to Amsterdam!

Step 4: Finalize your registration and move to Amsterdam!
Make sure to finalize your registration as a student before the start of the programme. You will find an explanation on what to do after admission on our Admission and language requirements page. When all conditions are met you will be ready to start your programme at VU Amsterdam!

Further information:
Accommodation
Visa
Tuition fees

For questions about the Global History specialization
Please the specialization coordinator Petra van Dam (p.j.e.m.van.dam@vu.nl).

Information on practical matters (application procedure, scholarships, visas, etc.):

Irena Paap
International Student Advisor
E: masters.hum@vu.nl
T: +31 (20) 59 85252

VU Amsterdam
International Office
De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam

Information days
Meet us at the next Master's Event!

Download a brochure for History: Research

For regular updates on current activities see the Facebook page of the VU Graduate School of Humanities.

To find out about the research environment of history research at VU, visit the pages of our research centers:

Some international students are happy to tell you about their experiences with living and studying in Amsterdam. These Student Ambassadors come from all over the world and have attended various bachelor's and master's programmes.

Our student ambassadors are listed here on this webpage: vu.nl/ambassadors.

Reach out to them and get their stories about being a student at VU Amsterdam!

Overview Humanities Research: Global History

LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION

English

DURATION

2 years

APPLICATION DEADLINE

1 July for Dutch and EU-students. 1 April for non-EU-students.

START DATE

1 September

STUDY TYPE

Full-time

FIELD OF INTEREST

Behavioural and Social Sciences
Art, Culture and History

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