Archaeology: Landscape & Heritage

Study the dynamic past of landscapes. Discover the significance of archaeology as heritage.
Programme ofArchaeology
TitleMA Archaeology
TrackLandscape and Heritage

VU Amsterdam has a leading international position in the field of Landscape and Heritage, in research and in teaching. The MA Archaeology of Landscape and Heritage deals thematically with archaeological landscapes and heritage in many different societies, and has no geographical or chronological limits. The strong tradition of landscape studies at the VU is combined with current perspectives on archaeological heritage. Both the cultural and the more science-based approach of Landscape Archaeology are present in the programme of this track. Archaeological Heritage focuses on the multifaceted meanings of archaeological remains in modern society. Processes of preservation and management, the role of archaeology in spatial planning, and its societal impact in Europe are some of the key-issues that are addressed in the MA Archaeology Landscape and Heritage.

Reading the landscape from past to present: creating sustainable futures for archaeological heritage

The Master track in Landscape and Heritage at VU Amsterdam is offered in collaboration with the University of Amsterdam, in the context of the Amsterdam Centre for Ancient Studies and Archaeology (ACASA). Thanks to this joint venture you can choose from a wide range of courses, allowing you to strengthen your own research profile and career prospects. The VU Archaeology MA is also closely linked within the VU department of Art and Culture, History and Antiquities. This collaboration offers students even more course options, from ancient history and classics to ecology, environmental science and digital courses.

The MA in Archaeology at VU Amsterdam offers a wide variety of course options, practical, methodological as well as theoretical, covering a diverse array of archaeological topics, interdisciplinary modules and wide-ranging fieldwork opportunities.

One track, two specialisations
The Master's programme Archaeology: track Landscape and Heritage combines two specialisations:

Landscape archaeology is a specialism which is well developed at the VU Amsterdam. VU staff has a longstanding tradition in regional archaeological landscape projects in the Netherlands (large scale excavations) as well as in the Mediterranean (surface surveys). Fieldwork is carried out with the use of Geographical Information Systems, to analyse spatial themes, ranging from the organisation of colonial Greek territories to the emergence of Roman villa landscapes or the long term biography of Dutch wetlands. Students in Landscape Archaeology at VU participate in this fieldwork, developing an interdisciplinary perspective and a sensitivity for broad concepts and views.

Worldwide, archaeological landscapes are progressively being defined as heritage, which gives them an entirely new social and economic meaning. This conjures up several important questions. What, for example, are heritage landscapes? How do we envision the processes of preservation and management? What role can archaeology play in spatial planning? How is archaeological heritage management currently organised and financed? These and other questions are dealt with in the programme, which encompasses several elective modules from the interdisciplinary Master’s in Heritage Studies.

Core themes in the programme are: the historical stratification of landscapes; the relationship of man and landscape in all its societal, spatial and chronological dimensions; heritage through the lens of landscape; spatial design of heritage landscapes, and museum and public archaeology. If you think archaeology is best studied and practised through a landscape perspective, then this Master is equipped for you. Do you want to be a graduated archaeologist, but also focus on heritage management and policy? If so, then this Master’s is the programme for you.

Programme structure

The programme comprises 60 ECTS credits:

  • 36 credits for core courses
  • 6 credits for tutorial
  • 18 credits for a Master’s thesis

Programme overview

Students are allowed to compose a programme with a deviant selection of courses. Their proposal needs approval of the ACASA examination board. A wide range of electives can be chosen from the master’s programmes of archaeology, landscape and heritage, and history. 

The Landscape and Heritage programme includes an individual tutorial in which you can either conduct your own archaeological research, head out to the field for fieldwork followed by the writing of a protocol book or do an internship at a museum or heritage institution.

You learn the skills you need for doing fieldwork. Apart from analysing, reporting and presenting field data, these skills also include managing and conducting fieldwork, e.g. making reasoned choices, adhering to deadlines, delegating tasks and working within a group. You will learn these skills in a practical setting at one of the VU’s current research locations in the Netherlands and in the Mediterranean.

The Master’s thesis (18 ECTS) reports on research carried out by the student under the supervision of two academic staff members involved in the programme. The subject of the thesis must be mutually agreed upon by the student and the academic advisor.

Archaeology: Landscape and Heritage courses in the study guide.

Well prepared for the job market

As an archaeologist with an MA Archaeology in Landscape and Heritage you are exceptionally suited to follow a professional career in archaeology. The conceptual and effective knowledge of landscapes, heritage and archaeological remains in their modern setting makes you qualified to work in local, national or international heritage management institutions and public services. Also, your experience with fieldwork and its management qualifies you for positions in European companies doing archaeological research. A broad knowledge of archaeology also makes you suitable for a career in sectors such as journalism, tourism and publishing. Finally, an ACASA Master in Archaeology prepares you very well for additional education on the Master or PhD level. 

Talent for research?

If you show exceptional promise in your Bachelor’s degree programme in Archaeology, you might think of applying for the two-year Research Master’s programme Classics and Ancient Civilizations, which prepares promising archaeology students for an academic research career. 

With ‘Landscape & Heritage’ the VU is the only university in Europe to offer a specialization which combines landscape archaeology and heritage studies. Though you receive a Master’s diploma in Archaeology, you also take heritage related courses during your study programme and you can tailor your programme with several elective modules from the interdisciplinary Master’s in Heritage Studies. You are trained in integrating heritage and landscape approaches and will be introduced to every facet of the current archaeological system, including ‘commercial’ archaeology. Thus, you will be well prepared for either a career in academic research or in archaeological heritage management, advise or policy making. The high quality and international reputation of VU archaeologists in the field of landscape and heritage will add to your chances of achieving such a career.

Enrico de Benedictis


Enrico de Benedictis

“Attending the MA Archaeology program at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam was a significant professional and personal experience. It gave me the opportunity to improve my critical approach to the discipline, and at the same time, showed the very important role that Archaeology can play in contemporary society. No less important, this experience helped me to critically analyze and better understand the society in which we are living and its complex dynamics.”

Overview Archaeology: Landscape and Heritage




1 year



1 June


1 September





Art, Culture and History

Ernst Maas



“Following an Archaeology master programme at the VU Amsterdam allows me to expand my knowledge about specific topics in Archaeology. Besides the possibility to improve my fieldwork skills, I am also challenged to think critically about relevant issues in Archaeology. The frequent fruitful discussions during lectures make me even more enthusiastic about my Master within Archaeology.”

Gert-Jan Burgers

professor in Mediterranean Archaeology


"This programme offers excellent opportunities to experience archaeological heritage through the lens of landscape and learn how to plan and design such landscapes for people to live in."

Dutch Students

Students with a Bachelor’s degree in Archaeology are eligible for admission to the Master’s programme in Archaeology. Admission on the basis of other related Bachelor’s degrees is at the discretion of the Examination Board. They determine which modules, if any, you need to follow first. If these amount to more than 60 credits, you will have to take a (short-track) Bachelor’s degree programme in Archaeology before you can start on the Master’s.

Students of the Dutch HBO programme in Archaeology at Saxion (Deventer) are eligible for admission to the MA Archaeology if they have followed, as part of their HBO programme, both the Plus programme at Saxion and the Doorstroomminor Archeologie (30 EC) at VU. Students from Saxion who wish to follow the ‘Doorstroomminor’, need to register as ‘bijvakstudent’ at VU.

Application for Dutch students and international candidates with a Dutch degree

Students who wish to be admitted to the Master’s programme in Archaeology must register via Studielink for the degree course in Archaeology (60 ECTS credits) before June 1st.

After you have applied for the master in Studielink, you will receive two emails with your login details for VUnet (VU studentportal). Please complete your application in VUnet. Don’t forget to fill in your specialization on VUnet : Archaeology Landscape and Heritage.

Next to this, you'll need to provide all the documents containing the information we need to decide whether you are admissible. The following required documents should be send to:

  • application form (Dutch)
  • transcript of records (scan of original)
  • motivation letter
  • curriculum vitae
Your application will be reviewed by the Admission Board of Faculty of Humanities. You will be informed whether you have been admitted via Studielink.

Study coordinator
The study coordinator for this Master’s programme in Archaeology is Prof.dr. Gert-Jan Burgers

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

Information days
Meet us in Amsterdam!

International Students

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.

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 Archaeology, specialization in Landscape and Heritage

Students with a Bachelor’s degree in Archaeology are eligible for admission.

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.

If you have read the admission criteria 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;
Tuition fees

As an international student planning to study at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, you can apply for a variety of grants and bursaries.
Detailed information about scholarships and deadlines can be found on or

Study coordinator
The study coordinator for this Master’s programme in Archaeology is prof.dr. Gert-Jan Burgers

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

Information days
Meet us in Amsterdam!

CLUE+ Research Institute
You can visit the website of the CLUE+Research Institute for the Heritage and History of the Cultural Landscape and Urban Environment to find out more about the institute.

For practical questions regarding your application, please contact:
Irena Paap
International Student Advisor
t +31 (20) 59 85252