Master in Cultural History of Modern Europe


Program Description

Explore Europe’s history and culture from a global perspective

In this program, we examine the role of culture in shaping past and present. We explore what culture is. We learn about the history of ideas and social practices, study how people use history today, apply cultural theories, and explore the formation of social identities and heritage.

The historians in the program are specialists in the fields of empire, public history, race, media history, history of the body, intellectual history, heritage studies and digital humanities. We bring our academic expertise into classroom discussions.

The scope of the program is Europe in a global setting. We use transnational and comparative approaches to our topics. We ensure there is a balance between the theory and practice of cultural history and heritage through the combination of courses, internships, and thesis. Students put theory into practice in their internships. Some choose internships at leading cultural history institutions while others select research-based internships working on cutting-edge projects with Utrecht researchers. Whichever option you choose, you will experience the challenges of being a historian in a changing society. Your internship experience should be connected to the research you do for your thesis, which is the product of a rigorous and rewarding process.

Students emerge from the program with skills in history, in analysis and writing, and with professional work experience. Our attention to public history and heritage has helped many graduates find jobs in these fields. Other students put our training to good use in a variety of fields from foreign policy and diplomatic work to journalism.

This program offers an English track and a Dutch track. The modules offered in these tracks are the same – only the language of instruction differs.

Why study in Utrecht?

  • Utrecht has one of the most rigorous, and cutting-edge programs in cultural history in Europe.
  • The program pays attention to the role of the past in the present and uses theories from cultural history to critically evaluate public history and heritage.
  • The program features rewarding domestic and international internships. Students select internships in institutions for public history and heritage or placements in university research centers and projects. They can also opt for a semester abroad.
  • Students receive personal academic advice and guidance throughout their studies.
  • Our lecturers are skilled teachers who produce groundbreaking work in cultural history, public history and heritage, and in the fields of digital humanities. Several are engaged public historians.
  • We work with you to find sources and material that fascinate you, teach you how to analyse them critically, and produce new knowledge about society that is relevant and meaningful.
  • Our cultural career seminar features alumni who now work in journalism, museums, and governmental agencies, or who have founded their own startup companies. They share their experiences of moving from the masters in cultural history and their working lives. The Career Services bureau also offers targeted workshops to guide students through finding a career after their studies.


The part-time option allows you to complete the full-time program over two years instead of one.

After Graduation

After graduating from the Master’s program in Cultural History of Modern Europe, you will:

  • Understand how Europe and European residents are involved in and produced by global processes.
  • Have the skills and knowledge to analyse and understand culture and cultural history
  • Be equipped with the tools to analyse the relationship between history, memory, and heritage.
  • Be prepared for careers that require an ability to process and synthesize knowledge fast, and that demand good analytic and communication skills.

In your program you will have the opportunity to actively work on your career development.

Graduates from our program have found jobs in museums and heritage organisations, education, media, policy, tourism, research and academia as well as in journalism, entrepreneurship and business.

Career prospects

Our graduates have socially relevant expertise at an academic level, applicable in areas such as cultural policy (municipal, regional, national, and European), journalism, media organisations, public history, the museum sector, the culture industry, the non-profit sector in general, and education. You may also combine this Master’s program with a program to become a grade-one history teacher.

Professional Careers

Graduates from our Cultural History program have mostly found jobs in museums and heritage organisations, as well as in the field of (secondary) education:

  • Guide at the Rijksmuseum
  • History Teacher in secondary education at SPCO Groene Hart
  • Image Editor at Matrijs Editors
  • Museum instructor at the National Maritime Museum
  • Historian at the Florence Nightingale Institute
  • Editor at the Atlas of Cultural Heritage, Noordhoff Editors

Other alumni found jobs at, for example: The Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands | The Dutch National Museum of Antiquities | Leiden University | Stedelijk Gymnasium Breda | Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Academic Careers

Students who want to continue with a PhD program after their Master’s degree might consider doing a Research Master (in History) at Utrecht University. However, several graduates of the Master’s program in Cultural History have found PhD positions.

Last updated Jan 2020

About the School

Founded in 1636, Utrecht University is an esteemed international research university, consistently positioned number one in The Netherlands, 14th in continental Europe and the worldwide top 100 of int ... Read More

Founded in 1636, Utrecht University is an esteemed international research university, consistently positioned number one in The Netherlands, 14th in continental Europe and the worldwide top 100 of international rankings, and member of the renowned European League of Research Universities. Read less