Classics and Ancient Civilizations: Ancient Studies

Studying Antiquity from an interdisciplinary perspective
Programme ofClassics and Ancient Civilizations 
TitleMA Classics and Ancient Civilizations


Transcending disciplinary boundaries
In order to answer any question about ancient civilizations you need more than one type of evidence. The one year master track Ancient Studies teaches you to combine written sources and archeological material. It offers:

  • an interdisciplinary approach to the ancient world;
  • the possibility to choose from five different specializations;
  • the option to include an ancient language (Assyrian-Babylonian, Greek, or Latin) in your programme.

Core Courses and Specializations
The programme consists of 60 ECTS. Obligatory for all students are two core courses and a master’s thesis (12 plus 18 ECTS). The core courses are two seminars, which both have an interdisciplinary angle. ‘Rulers’ Ideology and Representation’ compares the ways in which rulers from different parts of the ancient world and from a period stretching from 1000 BCE to Late Antiquity have represented their regimes. ‘Great Debates’ invites you to participate in some of the vehement discussions among historians and archaeologists about ancient cultures and societies and about the concepts and methods we use in attempting to understand them.

For the remaining 30 ECTS you can choose electives belonging to one of the following specializations:

  • Interdisciplinary Approaches to Antiquity;
  • Ancient Religions and the Rise of Christianity;
  • three language based specializations: Akkadian, Greek, or Latin.

ACASA: Classics and Ancient Civilizations in Amsterdam
Since September 2012, the Master’s programmes Archaeology and Classics & Ancient Civilizations have been jointly provided by the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) and the University of Amsterdam (UvA) in the context of the Amsterdam Centre for Ancient Studies and Archaeology (ACASA). Through this partnership, both universities are able to offer the broadest educational package in the field of the study of antiquity in the Netherlands.




The five specializations you can make your choice from are:

  • Interdisciplinary Approaches to Antiquity
  • Ancient Religions and the Rise of Christianity
  • Akkadian
  • Greek
  • Latin

Interdisciplinary Approaches to Antiquity
‘Interdisciplinary Approaches’ is a specialization that is available to students with a BA from the Faculty of Humanities or the Faculty of Social Sciences. It gives you the opportunity to discover the ancient world as a subject of graduate study. The focus of this specialization is on intercultural contacts and the presentation of the past to contemporary audiences.
Programme:
Period 1: ‘Rulers’ ideology and representation’; elective ACASA
Period 2: ‘Great Debates’; Archaeology, Museums, and the Public
Period 3: Tutorial
Period 4: Confrontations between Greek and Eastern Civilizations
Period 5: Elective (including Tutorial classes)
Period 4-6: Master thesis 

Ancient Religions and the Rise of Christianity
The rise of Christianity is arguably Antiquity’s most important legacy to Europe and the world. This specialization, which is available to students with a BA in Ancient Studies, Greek and Latin Language and Culture, History, or Religious Studies, offers you an in-depth introduction to an epoch-making development and its background in pagan polytheism and Jewish monotheism.
Programme
Period 1: Rulers’ ideology and representation; From Christ to Constantine
Period 2: Great Debates; From Constantine to Muhammad
Period 3: Tutorial
Period 4: The Beginning of Jewishness
Period 5: Elective ACASA (including Tutorial classes)
Period 4-6: Master thesis

Language based specializations: Akkadian
The language based specialization Akkadian will deepen your familiarity with the main language of Mesopotamian civilization, as well as with the region’s cultures and history. This specialization is only available for students with a BA in Ancient Studies with a major in Babylonian/Assyrian, or a BA in Ancient Civilizations of the Mediterranean World (track Languages and Cultures of Ancient Mesopotamia and Anatolia) from Leiden University. Students from abroad with a comparable BA (in Assyriology) are also welcome. We advise foreign students to contact the staff in advance in order to discuss eligibility.
Programme:
Period 1: Rulers’ ideology and representation; Master Seminar Akkadian 1
Period 2: Great Debates; Master Seminar Akkadian 2
Period 3: Tutorial
Period 4: Confrontations between Greek and Eastern Civilizations
Period 5: Tutorial class: Ancient Near Eastern History
Period 4-6: Master thesis

Language based specializations: Greek
The language based specialization Greek will extend your acquaintance with Greek, the language that around the turn of the common era connected all parts of the ancient world, from Gaul to Gandhara. This specialization is only available to students with a BA in Ancient Studies with a major in Greek or a BA in Greek and Latin Language and Culture.
Programme:
Period 1: Rulers’ ideology and representation; Methodology: Intertextuality and Classical Storytelling
Period 2: Great Debates; Greek Linguistics
Period 3: Tutorial, or Master Language: Greek Epigraphy (Athens)
Period 4: Greek Literature
Period 5: Ancient Epic through the Ages: From Homer to Nonnos, or Elective
Period 4-6: Master thesis

Language based specializations: Latin
The language based specialization Latin will make you into a connoisseur of the language that constitutes the link between Antiquity and European civilizations of more recent periods. This specialization is only available to students with a BA in Ancient Studies with a major in Latin or a BA in Greek and Latin Language and Culture.
Programme:
Period 1: Rulers’ ideology and representation; Methodology: Intertextuality and Classical Storytelling
Period 2: Great Debates; Latin Literature
Period 3: Tutorial
Period 4: Elective, including Master Language Elective: Latin Epigraphy (Rome)
Period 5: Ancient Epic through the Ages: From Homer to Nonnos, or Elective
Period 4-6: Master thesis

Classics & Ancient Civilizations: Ancient Studies courses in study guide (VU) and study guide (UvA).

Graduates of the MA in Ancient Studies can be employed in positions requiring an in-depth knowledge of antiquity. There are some specifically antiquarian-related jobs such as lecturer or museum employee. There are, however, also jobs that require academic skills such as conducting independent and critical research and then reporting on said research in a coherent, concise and clear manner. Some of the positions in which alumni of the MA in Ancient Studies have been employed include: 

  • profession educational (hbo) lecturer in ancient history;
  • pre-university education (vwo) lecturer in Latin;
  • pre-university education (vwo) lecturer in History;
  • librarian/subject librarian university library;
  • editor of an ancient studies magazine;
  • editor at a publishing house;
  • staff member at a museum (e.g. Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam, the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden, Archeon in Alphen aan den Rijn);
  • organiser of cultural tours to the Mediterranean;
  • staff member at an academic bookshop;
  • staff member at Dutch institutes in Rome, Istanbul and Damascus;
  • staff member at various cultural institutions and services such as the Rijksdienst voor het Oudheidkundige Bodemonderzoek;
  • cultural attaché at an embassy in the Mediterranean;
  • information officer at a university, faculty, applied sciences university, council.

Finally, an ACASA master's programme in Ancient Studies prepares students very well for additional education on the Master or, eventually, PhD level.

If after your BA's you find yourself specifically interested in an academic career, depending on your results it is possible to take the two-year research Master’s programme in Ancient studies, which prepares you directly for research at PHD level at a university.

The two universities in Amsterdam have joined forces by setting up ACASA (Amsterdam Centre for Ancient Studies and Archaeology). As a result, they offer you the widest package of Master’s degree programmes in the field of Ancient studies in the Netherlands.

Lectures will be given both at VU Amsterdam and at the University of Amsterdam. It makes no difference which of the two universities you are enrolled at with regards to the composition of your degree programme, the choice of your specializations or who supervises your Master’s thesis: the choice of university is mainly a personal matter. As a rule, the name of the university you are enrolled at will be stated on your degree certificate.

Marthe Jonkers

Student

"Ancient studies is a unique and fascinating degree programme. It brings you in contact with all kinds of aspects of Greek, Roman and Mesopotamian antiquity: religion, language, philosophy, art, politics, archaeology and mythology. And in addition, you have the scope to concentrate on the aspects you find most interesting yourself. It was precisely the width of the study and the scope for self-development that made me choose this course."

Overview Classics and Ancient Civilizations: Ancient Studies

Language of instruction

English

Duration

1 year

Application deadline

15 July

Start date

1 September

Study type

Full-time

Field of Interest

Art, Culture and History

Synkratos is an association for BA and MA students in Archaeology and in Classics and Ancient Civilizations at the Vrije Universiteit. We offer a broad spectre of social and cultural activities, varying from visits to museums and lectures to evenings with board games and sporting activities. We also organize, once a year, a cultural trip to an attractive destination with an arguable connection with the ancient world. Usually, we can be found in the main building of the VU, but you can also contact us through Facebook or by sending a mail to: synkratos.fgw@vu.nl.

During your master's programme it is possible to study abroad for a term. Many students will already have spent some time abroad during their Bachelor’s degree programme. The Department of Ancient studies at VU Amsterdam has set up cooperation agreements in the UK with Durham and University College London; in Italy with Lecce, Potenza and Venice; in Belgium with Leuven and Göttingen. However, students also go to other universities such as Belfast, Barcelona, Padua, Berlin and Ankara. In addition, you may choose as an elective a graduate course offered at the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome (KNIR), the Netherlands Institute in Athens (NIA),  or the Netherlands Institute in Turkey (NIT) in Istanbul. Many graduates of Ancient Studies have gained practical experience by participating in fieldwork carried out by the Vrije Universiteit and the University of Amsterdam in Italy, Greece, and Turkey. 

Further information on studying abroad


Dutch students

In order to gain admission to one of our Master’s programmes, you will need to have at least a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited research university including at least three full years of academic study amounting to a minimum of 180 ECTS or equivalent.

Specific admission requirements for the Master’s programme Ancient Studies, which may vary with the chosen specialization, are specified in the descriptions of the five specializations under the heading ‘STUDY PROGRAMME’.

Other Bachelor’s degrees
Prospective students with Bachelor’s degrees (university) other than those mentioned above can nonetheless apply for admission to the programme. In such cases the Admission Board will take a look at the content of the prospective student’s Bachelor programme, the study results obtained and general motivation.

Candidates with an HBO (higher professional education) qualification

Students with a higher professional education qualification cannot proceed directly to the Master’s programme in Ancient Studies. They will have to complete a Bachelor’s degree programme (or a short-track Bachelor’s programme) first.

Application Dutch students and international candidates with a Dutch degree

Students who wish to be admitted to the Master’s programme must register via Studielink for the degree course in Classics and Ancient Civilizations before 15 July.

After registration in Studielink you will receive an e-mail giving your log-in code for VUnet, the student portal of VU Amsterdam. You can complete your registration and upload your passport photo in VUnet. Here you need to register for your specific programme, in this case Ancient Studies.

Not a student of the Faculty of Humanities of VU Amsterdam?

In addition, you must e-mail the following documents to toelating.fgw@vu.nl:

  • application form (Dutch)
  • transcript of records (scan of original)
  • motivation letter
  • curriculum vitae

As soon as the notice of admission has been issued, you will be informed of this via Studielink. The notice of admission is issued by the Admission Board.

Further information

More information about admission and registration (Dutch) is available here.

For further information please contact:
Dr. Jaap-Jan Flinterman

ACASA (Amsterdam Centre for Ancient Studies and Archaeology)
Visit the ACASA website.

Information days
Meet us in Amsterdam!


International students

In order to gain admission to one of our Master’s programmes, you will need to have at least a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited research university including at least three full years of academic study amounting to a minimum of 180 ECTS or equivalent.

Specific admission requirements for the Master’s programme Ancient Studies, which may vary with the chosen specialization, are specified in the descriptions of the five specializations under the heading ‘STUDY PROGRAMME’.

You must always present official test results proving your proficiency in English. Only students who have completed a full high school/International Baccalaureate in English or bachelor’s degree in Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand, or Australia may be exempted. You can already apply online without having the test results. In case you haven’t taken a test yet we advise you to plan a test date as soon as possible. Below you will find the minimum English test scores for the English taught programmes at the Faculty of Humanities:

TOEFL score (score 600 paper based with a minimum of 55 in each of the subtests plus 4.0 in TWE, score 250 computer based or score 100 internet based with a minimum of 20-23 in each of the subtests). IELTS score of 7.0 overall band score (with none of the separate section scores dropping below a minimum score of 6.5).
Cambridge English : Cambridge Proficiency Exam A, B, C, or Cambridge Advanced Exam A, B, C.

Please refer to the language requirement page for the general requirements regarding the English language test.


Admission is based on a strict selection procedure. The Faculty’s Admission Board will decide upon your admission after having evaluated your complete online application. If you have read the admission criteria below and feel you are eligible for admission, please take the following steps to submit your application. Note that the initial application procedure is fully online and that scans of your relevant documents are required. 


Step 1: Meet admission criteria

Step 2: Prepare documents and apply online

Please prepare the following documents. You can find an explanation of each document on the application page. All documents should be provided in English.

  • Copy of your valid passport or ID (ID only for EU residents)
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Motivation Letter
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • Transcript of records
  • Thesis (or another sample of academic writing, at least 5 pages plus a list of used literature)
  • A description of the relevant courses you have taken during your previous higher education
  • A list of all the main literature used during your previous higher education

After having prepared the required documents, please follow the online application procedure. After you have completed the application, our international student advisors will contact you via email.

Step 3: Await decision on admission
The admission board will review your application as soon as it is complete. Normally this takes about four weeks, but it might take longer in busy periods so be sure to apply as soon as possible. If you gain admission, you will receive a letter of conditional admission by email. You can start planning your move to Amsterdam!


Step 4: Finalize your registration and move to Amsterdam!
Make sure to finalize your registration as a student before the start of the programme. Here you will find an explanation what to do after admission. When all conditions are met you will be ready to start your programme at VU Amsterdam!

Further information about;
Accommodation
Visa
Tuition fees

Contact for International Degree Students

For detailed questions about the Master’s programmes or the application procedure contact your International Student Advisor at the International Office:

Stipo Jeleč
Tel + 31 (0)20 598 8920
E admissionsfh@vu.nl


ACASA (Amsterdam Centre for Ancient Studies and Archaeology)
Visit the ACASA website.

International students:
For practical questions regarding your application, please contact:  
Irena Bunic
International Student Advisor
admissionsfh@vu.nl
t +31 (20) 59 85252

Information days
Meet us in Amsterdam!