A Blog by International Students at Leiden University

A day in the life: Research Master in Archaeology

For a bit of a change, I thought I’d write a “day in the life” blog for you all. I know lots of people are currently trying to decide which course is right for you (as was I two years ago!), so I thought a useful insight might be what a normal day looks like for me.

Image result for neanderthal in suit

A very smart Neanderthal in a suit, thinking very hard about what course to take.

I’m a Research master in the Human Origins stream of Archaeology. Check out the e-prospectus to learn more about this course!  I started in September of 2017 and will be handing in my thesis in June.

I’m currently busy writing up my thesis, but I still have other courses. This is a standard day for me during this time.


I arrive at the faculty, make a cup of tea and my hot water bottle. I then check my emails and schedule for the day. I normally begin the day with reading over what I did yesterday to make sure it all makes sense and is well referenced.

pen calendar to do checklist

Check what’s on the to do list!


I have a class which starts at 11- or more accurately 11.15 (never forget the Leiden 15!). This is my research seminar, where I and other students from my speciality give presentations in turn and discuss papers we assign for each class. During this block we’re preparing for a field trip to the Dordogne region of France during April. We’re visiting this area as it holds a lot of important Middle and Upper Palaeolithic sites (my specialty). I’m very excited, I’ve heard from previous students how interesting this trip is.


My class ends and I head to the Van Steenis café for lunch with friends. I didn’t have any leftovers from dinner, so instead I return to an old favourite, the cheese and tomato panini. The cafes around the university are very well priced and offer vegetarian and vegan options, making them an excellent place for lunch.


I go back to work! I try to write around 500 words a day and use a distraction blocker to make sure I don’t end up getting side tracked. I’m trying to move methodically through my thesis, with my supervisor and research group reading each section when I’m done and suggesting any improvements.


Coffee break! The coffee machines around the faculties ae also quite cheap, so I normally have hot chocolate and a biscuit that I bring with me. This coffee break gives me and my friends a nice break from work and gives us a chance to re-caffeinate! If it’s nice weather we often go outside and get some fresh air.

happy coffee

My face when I realise it’s coffee break time.


I have a question so ask one of my research group if we can have a quick discussion about it. Working as part of a group of people is really useful to me as we all have different specialities and can support each other if we have questions.


Home! Dinner! I cook something quick and vegetarian with my partner. We try not to work in the evenings, instead watching one episode of TV and then reading or drawing. Quite often there will be drinks in the faculty after a lecture or we’ll join friends in town for a beer, but not today.


Before bed I try to write down anything urgent I need to do tomorrow and fill in my symptom diary. It’s time to sleep.

adorable animal animal world cat

Very accurate picture of me, sleeping after a good day at the University

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This entry was posted on February 28, 2019 by in How to choose your study, My programme, Practical Stuff, Sophie, Student Life, Study.

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