Utrecht University

History of Politics and Society, M.A.

  • Application Deadline
  • 12 months
  • Tuition
    Tuition (Year)
    Tuition (Year)
  • English
In this History of Politics and Society programme at Utrecht University, you will study the history and origins of institutions over the past 1,000 years. The emphasis is mainly on Europe in the modern age, but emphatically placed within a broader perspective, as the programme also pays attention to other eras and other parts of the world. You will combine your historical knowledge and academic skills with concepts from the social sciences.


Use historical insights to solve present-day issues

Have you wondered how some societies manage to achieve wealth, security, justice, and freedom – and eventual happiness – while others do not? What role do citizenship, democracy, and the organisation of the market play in this process? Why do you think it is so difficult to avoid negative effects such as social polarisation and environmental damage?

History and origins of institutions

These are the core questions addressed in the Master’s programme in History of Politics and Society at Utrecht University. The central theme is the concept of ‘institutions’, in the broadest sense of the word: the formal and informal rules, customs, and organisational structures that make up a society, but are themselves the result of a historical development process. As such, this programme is closely related toInstitutions, one of Utrecht University’s strategic international research themes.

After graduation

After completing their studies, many historians pursue careers as government researchers or policy assistants. Graduates find work in public or semi-public organisations, at NGOs, in the business world, or in media. During the Master’s programme History of Politics and Society, you will acquire the knowledge and tools to thoughtfully interpret the past in order to benefit the present.

  • You will acquire a thorough knowledge of the origins and development of social institutions from the late Middle Ages to the present day.
  • You will learn to understand how these institutions have influenced social and political relationships, economic affluence, and individual and collective well-being.
  • You will develop the skills needed to analyse social issues from a historical perspective.
  • You will learn how to develop scenarios and use instruments to contribute solutions to social issues.
Career prospects

There are a number of job market segments where there is a need for people who can tie together the past, present, and future: employees who help shape the future by providing insight into the origins of contemporary society.


  • Accredited by the NVAO

Programme Structure

  • Core theory: the origins and effects of institutions (compulsory)
  • Research methods and design (compulsory)
  • Theory & practice: challenges of the welfare state (compulsory)
  • Elective a: growth and inequality, 1000-2000
  • Elective b: coping with food crises
  • Elective c: democracy and democratization
  • Elective d: civil society in the 19th and 20th century
  • Ma-thesis history of politics and society (compulsory)
  • Internship history of politics and society
  • Skills lab history of politics and society
Please note: electives B and C are only offered in Dutch.

Detailed Programme Facts

English Language Requirements

You only need to take one of these language tests:

  • Minimum required score: 6.5

    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

    Take IELTS test
  • Minimum required score: 93

    The TOEFL – or Test Of English as a Foreign Language – offers an internet-based test (iBT). The final, overall iBT score ranges between 0 and 120, and includes a scaled average from the four components (reading, listening, speaking, and writing). Read more about TOEFL (iBT).

Academic Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree from a Dutch university (or foreign equivalent),
  • Bachelor’s degree in History, or another academic Bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 30 EC obtained in History.
  • Profound knowledge of and insight into the concepts and theories used in political, social, or economic history (or in political science, sociology, governance studies, or economics) as demonstrated by a minimum of 30 EC obtained in advanced courses in these fields.
  • Proof of your proficiency in English (CAE- Level B, CPC- Grade C).

Tuition Fee Per Year

  • EUR 15167 International
  • EUR 2006 EU/EEA


Scholarships, fellowships, and grants offered by Utrecht University, the Dutch government, and other organisations can help fund your studies at the university. Please note that the scholarship options for programmes starting in February are limited.

StudyPortals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.