The highly regarded Keuzegids Master’s Selection Guide 2018 ranked Utrecht University’s Literature program as the best in the field in the Netherlands.

In the last edition of Elsevier Best Studies Survey, students have also rated International Relations as the best program.


Do you wonder how a literary work becomes a classic or bestseller in the Digital Age? Would you like to learn about the steps taken between publishing a manuscript and the media reviews, talk shows, or blogs in which the work is discussed? Then this Master's program might be for you.

Literature today continues to inspire as a laboratory of ideas, dreams, and narratives, even while facing new challenges. Novels, poems, and short stories now reach their audiences through printed books, e-books, and audiobooks, and through the Internet. Literary texts, including the classics, are being adapted to games and TV dramas, yet a growing numbers of visitors to book fairs shows that literature itself remains a powerful medium.

In the Master’s program Literature Today, you will learn to identify and critically evaluate the most recent national and international developments in literature, and to situate these from a historical perspective. You will be equipped with the tools to identify and explain the quality of literary works in times of increasing commercialisation. You will learn how literature circulates within the market as part of a creative industry sustained by centuries-old tradition, and you will investigate from theoretical and practical angles how to help to spread literature, explain it to a broader public, and translate academic insights for the reading public.

Critical reflection, building up a repertoire, the consolidation of writing skills, and an understanding of how literary institutions operate in an era of globalisation are central to your studies during this program. You can also complete an internship with publishing houses, media corporations, libraries, literary foundations, or cultural institutions – the job market and professional field for which this Master’s program prepares you.


You can choose from among the following tracks to tailor the program to your interests and desired career path:

1. English and Comparative Literature (entirely in English)
2. Dutch Literature (in Dutch and English)
3a. French Literature (Modern Literature in European Languages)
3b. German Literature (Modern Literature in European Languages)
3d. Hispanic Literature (Modern Literature in European Languages)


As a graduate of the Master in Literature Today, you will be trained to critically engage with the challenges that confront literature in our globalised, digitalised, and commercialised world. The program content approaches these challenges from both a theoretical and practical perspective so that you will be fully prepared for the job market.

During your studies, the program will:

  • Provide you with knowledge about the sociocultural contexts in which literature is created, distributed, and read.
  • Teach you to critically reflect on contemporary issues concerning the field of literature.
  • Train your analytical and writing skills so that you will be able to translate academic knowledge to a broad public.
  • Allow you to profile yourself as an expert in literature from a specific language area.

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

During your studies, you will become acquainted with different literary institutions that operate in the field of literature and culture. After finishing the program, you can use the academic and practical skills acquired during your year of study and begin working at one of these institutions.


During the Master’s program, you will get to know different literary institutions that operate in the field of literature and culture. After finishing this program, you can use the academic and practical skills that you acquired during your year of study and begin working at one of these institutions. You will be an expert on literature today who can work at (inter)national publishing houses, cultural institutions – places like the British Council, the Flemish-Dutch cultural platform deBuren (Brussels), the cultural centre deBalie (Amsterdam), etc. – libraries, or bookshops, or in media, museums, theatres, or literary-cultural festivals. In a wider sense, you are prepared for a future career in the sectors of literature, culture, and communication.

The Master’s program in Literature Today prepares students for a broad spectrum of occupations that require expertise in literature and literary institutions. These can be in the fields of editing and publishing, organisation and event management, journalism, education, archival and library services, or even research and research support.


Students (including students in the comparable precursor program Literatuur en cultuurkritiek at Utrecht University) have found employment in the following companies and institutions:

  • Literature assistant at the British Council in London
  • Deputy director at Stichting Collectieve Propaganda van het Nederlandse Boek
  • Junior editor at the publishing house Coutinho
  • Publishing assistant at The House of Books
  • Freelance journalist
  • Literature editor at the cultural webmagazine CultuurBewust.nl
  • Project manager marketing and digitalisation, Overamstel Publishers
  • Lecturer in the English Department, Utrecht University


Usually, students of this Master’s program are not interested in pursuing an academic career and continuing on to a PhD, although this does happen occasionally. Several alumni of the precursor program are completing PhDs at international universities (in the UK and Portugal). If you are considering a PhD in the disciplines of this Master’s program, the Research Master in Comparative Literary Studies might be of interest to you.

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Last updated December 1, 2018
This course is Campus based
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1 year
2,083 EUR
Dutch and other EU/EEA students (statutory fee 2019-2020): € 2,083. Non-EU/EEA students (institutional fee): 2018-19: € 15,575, 2019-20: € 16,600
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