Programme Design, Culture and Society

Programme information

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The specialisation Design, Culture and Society aims to give students training in historical research after design and decorative arts as well as insight in theoretical analyses of contemporary artefacts that can be headed under the concept of ‘design’.

Students who follow this specialisation will be taught how to reflect on design from both a historical perspective and engaged contemporary theoretical perspective. A first research seminar teaches how to analyse written primary sources from various periods (16th to 20th century) that are used in specialist discourses on design history. A second research seminar teaches students to reflect on contemporary issues in relation to the notion or concept of design.

In addition, the reading list Design, Culture and Society aims to give students insight in specialist reference works on various theoretical aspects and approaches to design and decorative art of all periods and with cross-cultural references as well. For this self study module students choose 650 pages of preferred titles from a general list. The literature will be studied individually for an oral or written exam. In the final thesis the student explores an argument with regard to an object or concept related to design or decorative arts.

Timetables and calendar

Prospectus: programme overview and course description

The Prospectus contains overviews and course details for all programmes in the Faculty of Humanities (and other faculties). The information in the Prospectus is updated annually, in June. Please consult the Arts and Culture section of the Prospectus for more information.

Application, enrollment and examinations

  • To enroll in a specific course or examination, use the Study administration system uSis.
  • This website is intended for students who are already enrolled in the programme. Prospective students looking for application information should consult

Papers and thesis

During your Master's studies you will need to write papers and a thesis. The following documents will give you information about the preferred lay-out for papers, the registration form for your MA thesis, and the evaluation form which is used to grade your thesis:

Study advice

Every department (or degree programme) has a Co-ordinator of Studies (studiecoördinator). The Co-ordinator of Studies knows all the ins and outs of the programme and can help with any problems. Typical subjects to discuss with the Co-ordinator of Studies are: student progress (and delay) and exam regulations.

Graduation procedures

MA students who are ready to apply for their graduation should follow the graduation procedure. See the graduation website for more information about this procedure, the MA thesis, and how to deregister from Leiden University after graduation.

Teaching and Examination Regulations and Faculty Regulations

All the rights and obligations of students in the Humanities faculty are set out in regulations. The most important of these are indicated below. (The list is not exhaustive; more documentation on regulations may appear here in the future.)

  • Teaching and Examination Regulations state the contents of your programme and the specialisations within the programme.
  • Registration for lectures, tutorials and tests is obligatory: see the uSis registration procedure.
  • The Student Charter informs students about what they can expect from the University and what the University expects from them.
  • Regulations on plagiarism are in place, to counter any instances of malpractice. These regulations provide advice on how to use sources and citations.

Boards, committees, and co-participation

Students within the Faculty of Humanities, are represented in the following boards and committees:

  • the departmental Teaching Committee
  • the departmental or institute administration ór Institute Board
  • the Faculty Council
  • the Faculty Board

Another committee that is relevant to your studies, but in which students are not represented, is the Board of Examiners.

Contact and staff for Design and Decorative Art Studies

Last Modified: 01-12-2016