Graduate School of Social Sciences

Master's Contemporary Asian Studies

MSc Contemporary Asian Studies
Regular study programme
60 ECTS, 12 months
Language of instruction
Starts in

Contemporary Asian Studies is an innovative programme with a broad, interdisciplinary character and a comparative approach to the study of Asia, as a powerhouse of local and global changes. During the programme you will focus on all the main regions of Asia, stressing the importance of looking at interconnections both within the vast Asian region and between Asian societies and other parts of the world.

Academic research on Asian societies is becoming increasingly important, in terms of both its theoretical and practical relevance. How can we approach, in a rigorous academic manner, the many important issues that dominate today's news, whether they be China's and India's economic transformation, high- and low-skilled migration flows, political and social movements, or the global reach of Asian companies and the spread of Asian popular culture? The crucial importance of Asia for advancing and enriching contemporary theories and debates on transnationalism, citizenship, development, economic restructuration, mobility and many other issues is engaged and demonstrated throughout the programme.


The main objective of the programme is to meet a growing demand for social scientific knowledge and expertise in different areas concerning Asian societies. Therefore, this programme consists of courses that focus on contemporary themes as well as courses on specific regions of Asia.

Field research 

The programme offers you the opportunity to design and conduct an independent field research in Asia, leading to the Master’s thesis. If you wish to conduct research on Asia from the Netherlands, that can also be accommodated.

Student profile

As a highly motivated student with a strong academic background, you are expected to develop the ability to work independently as well as in a mixed group of Dutch and international students. This approach will enable you to enrich an interactive learning process and your crosscultural communication skills. 


The programme is designed to ensure that you advance your knowledge on Asian societies, develop analytical competencies, gain experience in conducting practical research in Asia, and learn to communicate your findings and arguments in a clear, measured and convincing manner. 

Focus on research

The lecturers in the Contemporary Asian Studies are all active researchers, who bring knowledge on the latest developments in the field of Asian studies to the programme (see Staff page). The core staff in the programme are leading cutting-edge research projects on different themes in Asia. Insights from these research projects are integrated into the courses in the programme, and students also enjoy the opportunity to conduct their own field-research in collaboration with these research projects.

Ambition in research?

For students interested in this field of study, we also offer a two-year Research Master’s programme in Social Sciences.

Degree certificate

Upon successful completion of Contemporary Asian Studies, students receive a Master of Science (MSc) degree in Contemporary Asian Studies. 

Published by  GSSS

Graduate School of Social Sciences