MA in Cultural Leadership (research master)


Program Description

Culture and heritage are the sinews of society. In an era marked by rapid change, ambitious and critical cultural leaders are required to foster the cultural core of a sustainable society.

Culture defines humanity. Managing the valuation and transmission of culture through policy, entrepreneurship, and education across generations is, therefore, a key responsibility for a sustainable society. In our modern society, culture has to be negotiated as it is shaped by digitization and new media, ethnic and cultural diversity, changing audiences and economic circumstances, dwindling public funds, and a loss of shared historical awareness. The mission of the Research Master's track Cultural Leadership is to train its students to conduct academic research into processes of cultural leadership. We equip them with essential scholarly expertise as well as analytical and strategic skills, so that they may carry culture forward in a critical, sustainable, and creative manner, and ultimately become cultural leaders themselves.

In order to broaden our students’ outlook on their own cultures and provide them with the opportunity to exchange ideas with peers, we have joined forces with Roma Tre University. Students spend the second semester of the first year in Rome. This period ends with a Spring School at the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome (KNIR).

Why study this program in Groningen?

The program's broad definition of cultural leadership and its multidisciplinary set-up distinguishes it from programs offered elsewhere in the Netherlands and abroad that only deal with specific areas of culture as well as from programs that primarily address the organizational and managerial aspects of the cultural field.


Year 1

In their first year, students do course work.

The first semester is taught in Groningen. Students do one or two disciplinary electives (10 ECTS in total) depending on their BA-degree and further interests. They also follow the Cultural Leadership I and Cultural Leadership II courses plus Public Arts Policy in Global Context and The Global/Local Cultural Leader.

The second semester is taught in Rome. Students do one or more disciplinary electives (15 ECTS in total), again depending on their BA-degree and further interests. They also follow the Heritage, Media, and Sustainability & Cultural Awareness courses. Part of this last course is a five-day Spring School at the Royal Netherlands Institute (KNIR) in Rome in June.


  • Cultural Leadership 1: Theories & Practices (Groningen) (5 EC)
  • Public Arts Policy in Global Context (Groningen) (5 EC)
  • Disciplinary electives (Groningen) (10 EC)
  • Cultural Leadership 2: Visions & Values (Groningen) (5 EC)
  • The Global/Local Cultural Leader (Groningen) (5 EC)
  • Disciplinary electives (Rome) (15 EC)
  • Heritage (Rome) (5 EC)
  • Media (Rome) (5 EC)
  • Sustainability & Cultural Awareness (Rome) (5 EC)

Year 2

In their second year, students do a research traineeship and write their thesis.

In the third semester students design their thesis research and start their six-month research traineeship with a cultural institution (in the Netherlands or abroad). In January they will participate in a two-day Winter School in Groningen related to the research project carried out at their host institution.

In the fourth semester, they finish their traineeship and write their thesis.


  • Thesis preparation, including Methodology class (15 EC)
  • Research Traineeship, including Winter School (Groningen) (30 EC)
  • Thesis writing (15 EC)

Study abroad

  • Study abroad is required
  • For an average of 24 weeks
  • Maximum of 30 EC

All students spend the second semester of the first year in Rome, where they do course work at Roma Tre University and participate in a Spring School at the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome (KNIR). In the second year, a number of research traineeships are offered by partner institutions outside the Netherlands.

Entry requirements

Admission requirements

Dutch and international diploma

Specific requirements More information
assessment interview A personal (video) interview is part of the selection process.
grade list Excellent academic record.
language test Additional requirements English: A VWO diploma or a subject certificate for VWO English (mark 6 or higher), minimum requirement of TOEFL iBT 100 (with a minimum of 25 on writing skills), or IELTS 7 (with a minimum of 6.5 on all items). Language Centre English Test (LCET) level C1.
previous education

BA degree in:

  • Archaeology
  • History
  • Language and Culture Studies
  • Arts and Culture Studies
  • or any study related to the aforementioned programs
reference letter Two letters of recommendation from relevant experts.
other admission requirements NB. We strongly advise you to start the program in September.

Application deadlines

Type of student Deadline Start course
Dutch students

01 June 2021

01 September 2021

EU/EEA students

01 June 2021

01 September 2021

non-EU/EEA students

01 June 2021

01 September 2021

Tuition fees

Nationality Year Fee Program form
EU/EEA 2020-2021 € 2143 full-time
non-EU/EEA 2020-2021 € 13500 full-time

Job prospects

Cultural Leadership graduates find jobs as:

  • Cultural entrepreneurs, designing, promoting, and organizing cultural events on a variety of scales: from (inter)national festivals to regional and local projects;
  • Cultural administrators, policymakers, and educators working on different levels of government, public foundations, and pedagogical institutions;
  • Cultural media critics, working in print, audiovisual, and electronic media.


The research master offers the possibility to contribute to an international research agenda on the topic of cultural leadership. Our research program identifies cultural leadership as any cultural practice creating or strengthening interactions between the arts and societal debates in a local, national, or transnational context.

We encourage transdisciplinary research on cultural leadership, exploring and including perspectives from Archaeology, History, Language and Culture, and Arts and Culture studies. We employ analytical, critical, and cognitive perspectives.

Some research themes are:

  • Film and the mediation of global and local cultural values;
  • Heritage, urban development, and public space;
  • Arts and cultural heritage education;
  • Cultural leadership practice in a globalized participatory culture;
  • Developing new perspectives on cultural leadership’s impact on society;
  • Cultural leadership and the critical mediation of transnational discourses and local cultural identity;
  • The common as space for cultural policy design;
  • Organizational aspects of leadership such as entrepreneurial agency, strategy, and mediation.

The Cultural Leadership Seminar

The program hosts a seminar lecture series on cultural leadership in cooperation with the Groninger Museum, which is also the venue of the series.

Last updated Jun 2020

About the School

The University of Groningen has a rich academic tradition dating back to 1614. From this tradition arose the first female student and the first female lecturer in the Netherlands, the first Dutch astr ... Read More

The University of Groningen has a rich academic tradition dating back to 1614. From this tradition arose the first female student and the first female lecturer in the Netherlands, the first Dutch astronaut and the first president of the European Central Bank. Geographically, the University is rooted in the Northern part of the Netherlands, a region very close to its heart. Read less
Groningen , Leeuwarden + 1 More Less