Research School for Economic and Social History

The Posthumus Research Master Programme ‘Global Economic and Social History’

As of the academic year 2011/2012 the N.W. Posthumus Institute organises the Posthumus Research Master Programme. This programme allows Research Master students to gain knowledge of the Posthumus specialization and its specialists, by providing courses that they can follow as an elective in their home university programme.

The Posthumus Research Master Programme ‘Global Economic and Social History’ 2022-2023 consists of the following inter-university courses:

The courses are complementary to each other, but it is possible to follow parts of the courses separately.

Research Themes

How did ordinary people live the big changes of the past? Why did some societies achieve much more economic growth than others? Why are some inequalities much more persistent than others? Who had access to power and how did certain groups manage to exclude others from power? What were the risks and uncertainties of existence, such as sickness and death, unemployment and disability, and environmental hazards, how did these risks change over time and how did people try to reduce such risks? What kind of beliefs and norms guided the ordinary people and how did mental structures change over the long term? These are just few of the questions that are tackled by social and economic historians. In looking for answers, scholars have increasingly stressed transnational links and connections during the last decades. The rise of global history has stimulated comparisons and contrasts and has intensified scholarly exchange through numerous debates.

In the courses of the Posthumus Research Master Programme ‘Global Economic and Social History’ a thorough insight is offered into the economy and society in the pre-industrial and industrial periods, focusing on various aspects of social and economic change, such as economic growth, technological progress, mental structures, business development, group formation, social mobility, migration, and environmental hazards, often with the application models and theories from the social sciences to explain historical patterns and developments.

Embedding of the Posthumus Programme

The Posthumus Research Master Programme ‘Global Economic and Social History’ is offered as a specialisation within the existing Research Masters in the four participating universities: Leiden University, Utrecht University, University of Amsterdam, and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Scholars from the thirteen Dutch and Flemish Posthumus universities will participate in the courses. The programme thereby applies the strength of national cooperation in a successful research school and offers ambitious MA-students the opportunity to gain from this expertise. The course is open for Research Master students from all universities.

Objectives of the Posthumus programme

The Posthumus Research Master Programme ‘Global Economic and Social History’ aims to provide Research Master students with:

  • thorough knowledge of concepts, notions, and perceptions of economic and social history
  • up-to-date knowledge of the state of the art in global economic and social history
  • insight in and ability to take part in the on-going historical debates
  • experience with several of the most commonly used research methods and skills to conduct research in the field of global economic and social history
  • ability to use varied primary sources to build historical case-studies and re-define theoretical approaches
  • ability to report on research results in written and oral form at an academic level
  • ability to formulate a research proposal for a PhD project.

Admission Requirements & Application Procedure

Full info on admission requirements & procedures can be found via the button link below.