Graduate degrees in Dutch Studies

Subject Booklet MA Dutch Studies: Language, Culture, History

Watch this clip about the MA Dutch Studies (Language, Culture, History). More information on individual programmes is available via the links below. Please also check our list of Frequently Asked Questions and their answers.

Theo Hermans teaching

The UCL Department of Dutch is the largest department of Dutch Studies in the English-speaking world and the only one in Britain offering graduate taught programmes in Dutch Studies. The department's staff are all active researchers and there are graduate students studying for research degrees in Dutch.

The Dutch Department is the home of Dutch Crossing, the longest-running and award-winning interdisciplinary journal for Low Countries Studies in the English language. It hosts an annual and highly successful Dutch Writer in Residence programme and plays a leading part in organizing major interdisciplinary conferences in Dutch Studies in the UK.

The Dutch library at UCL is outstanding and offers the largest collection of Dutch books and periodicals in a university library in this country. Students and teachers of Dutch are fortunate in having the British Library within 10 minutes walking distance: it houses the largest collection of Dutch books anywhere outside the Low Countries. The Institute for Germanic and Romance Languages, the Institute for Historical Research and the Warburg Institute are also around the corner from UCL.

MA Dutch Studies (Language, Culture and History)

The MA Language Culture, History is an interdepartmental programme to which most of the language and literature departments in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at UCL contribute. All departments involved have outstanding research profiles in these areas.

The MA in Language, Culture and History offers a number of distinct pathways which allow students to specialise in the language/area of their choice. Degree pathways offered under this programme consist of four components: a core course (which combines training in sources and methods with discipline-specific study), two further taught courses in the chosen language/area, and a dissertation in a specific field.

The Dutch Studies pathway in this MA allows you to devote three quarters of your programme to Dutch courses and materials. The Dutch courses that are available range from the contemporary culture and society of the Low Countries to modern and Golden Age Dutch literature and advanced language acquisition.

Entry Requirements

The MA in Language, Culture and History is open to anyone with a first or second class degree (or its equivalent). Individual pathway requirements can be found under the individual departmental entries.


UK/EU students can normally apply for AHRC studentships (MA and research) and for Graduate School Research Scholarships. Overseas research students are eligible to apply for the Graduate School Research Scholarships.

MA Dutch Golden Age

This is an interdisciplinary programme consisting of courses in the history, art history and literature of the Dutch Golden Age. The programme can accommodate students with a minimal knowledge of Dutch as well as native speakers of the language.

Dutch Golden Age - Windmill

The Dutch call the 17th century their country's "Golden Age," and with good reason: the Dutch Republic was then among the most important countries in Europe. An economic superpower, it built a far-flung colonial empire and achieved unmatched prosperity. Socially, it saw the rise of what is often called the first "bourgeois" society, dominated by merchants, not prelates or noblemen.

Politically it was an anomaly, a republic surrounded by absolutist regimes. In religion too the Netherlands stood out, being the most tolerant country in Europe, home to a wide variety of Christian denominations as well as Jews. The land of Rembrandt, Vermeer, Hals, and scores of other renowned painters, it produced artistic riches still treasured. With a flourishing literary and intellectual life, it provided a congenial environment for the rise of rationalism.

The MA in the Dutch Golden Age is designed to give students a thorough understanding of the history and culture of the Low Countries in the early modern period, focusing on the Dutch Republic during its seventeenth-century efflorescence. Jointly offered by UCL, King's College, and the Courtauld Institute, the programme draws on the full range of resources and expertise in London for study of this subject. Interdisciplinary, it combines three fields: history, art history, and Dutch language/literature. Students take a course in each of these fields over the autumn and spring terms. In addition, they attend a bi-weekly research skills seminar. In the third term and over the following summer, they write a dissertation that links the different fields covered in the taught courses. Most students take the programme full-time over one year (September to September), but the option also exists to take it part-time over two.

London is the premiere centre in the English-speaking world for the study of Low Countries history and culture, including the Dutch Golden Age. Its resources in this field are truly extraordinary, including:

  • Major collections of Dutch and Flemish art in seven museums, including top pieces by the great masters
  • The largest collection of Dutch and Flemish books and pamphlets to be found anywhere outside the Low Countries; the British Library alone has some 17,500 17th-century Dutch imprints
  • An abundance of largely unstudied Dutch manuscript sources in the National Archives
  • The Low Countries Seminar at the Institute for Historical Research, where scholars from Britain and abroad present the findings of recent research
  • The only Department of Dutch at a UK university, and a host of other experts ranged across London’s colleges and other institutions

For more information on this course, including a list of course options, click here.

Please see also
Faculty Institute for Graduate Studies

Page last modified on 14 nov 13 16:03 by Ulrich Tiedau