Archaeology of Northwestern Europe

From Roman villa landscapes in the southern Netherlands to the shipyards of the VOC
Programme ofArchaeology
TitleArchaeology of Northwestern Europe

In the Master’s degree programme Archaeology of Northwestern Europe, you will investigate over 3,000 years of European archaeology and focus on the cultural dynamics of one of these two key European eras: Late Iron Age and Roman Period or the Medieval and Early Modern Period.

The programme offers you the rare opportunity to explore European archaeology through the study of landscapes, material culture and documentary sources, but also through integration processes in the Roman Empire. Close links exist between the teaching subjects and the results of current fieldwork and other research projects.

Two European Eras
In this Master’s programme you can choose between two regional archaeological eras. The focus area Late Iron Age and Roman Period explores the integration of Celtic/Germanic societies of the Iron Age into the Roman Empire. The field of study Medieval and Early Modern Period focuses on the origins and developments of medieval trade and exchange, the growth of Amsterdam and the expansion of European capitalism with the colonisation of the New World.

Why study Archaeology in Amsterdam?

  • This Master’s degree programme is offered by two universities. The University of Amsterdam and VU Amsterdam combined their expertise on the field of ancient history and archaeology in the Amsterdam Centre for Ancient Studies and Archaeology (ACASA). This merging of specialists from various academic disciplines creates a stimulating environment for collaboration and study.
  • A world-class education: the UvA is specialized in Archaeology of the Middle Ages and is ranked highest in the Netherlands.
    VU Amsterdam has a leading position in the field of late prehistory and the Roman era in Northwestern Europe.
  • The opportunity to study historical archaeology at leading research universities in Amsterdam, a vibrant European hub with a rich historical and cultural heritage.
  • The programme has forged strong ties with a number of archaeological institutions, such as the Allard Pierson Museum.
  • You will have hands-on experience in one of the UvA/VU Amsterdam’s research excavations or field survey projects.

Programme overview
The Master's programme Archaeology of Northwestern Europe comprises three core courses and two shared courses. You can tailor the programme to your own interests by choosing an elective from a wide range of Master’s programmes. Each student must either do a research tutorial or an internship, and complete an individual Master’s thesis.

Programme structure
The programme comprises 60 ECTS credits:

  • 18 credits for Core courses
  • 12 credits for Shared courses
  • 6 credits for Electives
  • 6 credits for Tutorial
  • 18 credits for a Master’s thesis

The programme offers two focus areas from which you can choose:

  1. The Late Iron Age and Roman Period
  2. The Medieval and Early Modern Period

1. The Late Iron Age and Roman Period:
You will explore the integration of Celtic and Germanic societies of the Iron Age into the Roman Empire. It combines results from recent fieldwork and material culture studies with recent debates about regionality, globalisation and interconnectivity.

Core courses
- Approaches to the Late Iron Age and Roman Countryside
- Money in the Ancient World
- Ceramics in Archaeology

2. The Medieval and Early Modern Period:
You will explore the roots of modern Europe and the transition from the medieval world to the early modern world. The results of recent fieldwork are combined with current debates about the growth of global trade, migration, colonialism, and globalisation.

Core courses
- From Feudalism to Capitalism
- Archaeology of Global Amsterdam
- Biography of Landscapes


Shared courses:
- Cutting Edge in Archaeology: Human Mobility
- Archaeology, Heritage and Society

Electives
An elective can be chosen from a wide range of courses, in related fields such as archaeology, heritage studies, history, ancient studies or classics.

Tutorial
This Master’s programme includes an individual tutorial, in which you can either conduct your own archaeological research, head out to undertake fieldwork or do an internship at a museum or heritage institution.

Fieldwork
You will learn essential skills for doing fieldwork, like analysing, reporting and presenting field data, but also managing and conducting fieldwork. You can develop these skills through a tutorial at one of UvA/VU Amsterdam’s current research locations in the Netherlands and in the Mediterranean, at fieldwork projects in Italy (Satricum and Muro Tenente), Turkey (Troy) and in Greece (Karystos and Halos). Archaeological fieldwork, which takes place in close cooperation with the local archaeological services, consists of excavations, field surveys, remote sensing and landscape analysis.

Thesis
An important part of the programme, the Master’s thesis enables you to conduct original research under the supervision of one of the staff members. The subject of the thesis must be mutually agreed upon by the student and the academic adviser.

Archaeology of Northwestern Europe courses in the study guide.

Students who show exceptional promise during a Master’s programme are encouraged to continue their studies in one of our Research Master’s programmes. If you decide to switch programmes and are admitted before the start of the second semester, you will be able to transfer all credits earned in the first semester to your Research Master’s degree programme. In case you join later, the Examinations Board determines which courses qualify for the Research Master’s programme.

Within ACASA, there are two Research Master’s programmes, which would be suitable for a continuation of your studies:

Once you enrol at VU Amsterdam, you will also automatically be enrolled as an guest student at the UvA. You will receive a diploma from VU Amsterdam once all of the course components have been successfully completed. If you enrolled at the UvA, the exact opposite applies. You will therefore receive one diploma from the university at which you originally enrolled.

Archaeology of Northwestern Europe is an accredited degree programme of Archaeology. After successful completion of this programme, you will receive a legally accredited Master’s degree in Archaeology and the title Master of Arts (MA).

The Master's programme Archaeology of Northwestern Europe prepares you for a broad range of career opportunities.

The Job Market
Students graduating with a Master’s degree Archaeology can be employed in positions requiring in-depth knowledge of archaeology. They also find their way into other jobs requiring a range of academic skills. Examples of sectors in which students who have followed this programme have found positions include:

  • commercial archaeological research
  • local, national or international heritage management
  • the public presentation of archaeology
  • the broad cultural heritage sector including:
    • museums
    • archives
    • journalism
    • cultural tourism

An Academic Career
Graduates can also continue to do a PhD programme at VU Amsterdam, another Dutch university or a university abroad. When pursuing an academic career, it is advisable to discuss the possibility of joining a two-year Research Master's programme.

Ernst Maas

Student

Ernst

“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.”

Dutch students

The Master’s programme Archaeology of Northwestern Europe is open for application to students with a Bachelor’s degree in Archaeology from the UvA or VU Amsterdam, or a recognized equivalent from another accredited university.
The level of the Bachelor’s degree from a foreign higher education institution must be equal to three years of Dutch university education (a minimum of 180 ECTS or equivalent).

On behalf of the Examinations Board, the Faculty’s Admissions Board will review whether you meet the admission requirements.

Dutch students of the HBO programme Archaeology at Saxion (Deventer) are eligible for admission to the Master’s programme Archaeology if they have followed the PlusProgramme at Saxion and in addition the Doorstroomminor Archeologie (30 EC) at the university of their choice. Students from Saxion who wish to follow the ‘Doorstroomminor’, need to register as ‘bijvakstudent’ at VU Amsterdam.

All students applying for the Master’s programme Archaeology of Northwestern Europe must register via Studielink before June 1st.

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

Next to this, the following required documents should be send to: toelating.fgw@vu.nl

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

On behalf of the Examinations Board, the Faculty’s Admissions Board will review your application. You will be notified via Studielink.

See the Application for Dutch Students page for more information on application.

For questions about the programme
Please contact the programme coordinator:

Prof. dr. Nico Roymans
E: n.g.a.m.roymans@vu.nl

Come meet us at the next Master's Event!

International Students

The Master’s programme Archaeology of Northwestern Europe is open for application to students with a Bachelor’s degree in Archaeology from the UvA or VU Amsterdam, or a recognized equivalent from another accredited university.
The level of the Bachelor’s degree from a foreign higher education institution must be equal to three years of Dutch university education (a minimum of 180 ECTS or equivalent).

On behalf of the Examinations Board, the Faculty’s Admission Board will review whether you meet the admission requirements.

English language requirements
Students applying for a Master’s degree programme should be able to speak, read, write and understand English at an advanced academic level.

The proficiency requirement in English can be met by the successful completion of one of the examinations mentioned below, with the scores indicated. 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.

  • Cambridge English: Cambridge Advanced Exam A, B or C
  • IELTS: 7.0 overall band score, with a minimum of 6.5 on each item
  • TOEFL score
    paper based: 600, with a minimum of 55 in each of the subtests plus 4.0 in TWE
    internet based: 100, with a minimum of 20-23 in each of the subtests

Please note: tests must have been completed no more than two years before the start of the programme.

See the Admission and language requirements page for further information on the general requirements.

If you are interested in a scholarship, you need to apply for both the Master's programme and the scholarship.

Learn more about Scholarships.

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.

You can find all information on the application procedure on the Admission and Language Requirements page.

Step 1: Meet admission criteria

Step 2: Prepare documents and apply online
Please prepare the following documents. 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 you have completed the application, our international student advisors will contact you via email.

Step 3: Await decision on admission
On behalf of the Examinations Board, the Faculty’s Admission Board will review your application. 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.

Step 4: Finalize your registration and move to Amsterdam!
Make sure to finalize your registration as a student before the start of the programme. On the Admission and Language Requirements page 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:

For questions about the programme
Please contact the programme coordinator:

Prof. dr. Nico Roymans
E: n.g.a.m.roymans@vu.nl

For practical questions regarding your application
Please contact our International Student Advisor:

Irena Paap
E: masters.hum@vu.nl
T: +31 (20) 59 85252

Come meet us at the next Master's Event!

CLUE+ Research Institute
Visit the website of CLUE+: the interfaculty Research Institute for Culture, Cognition, History and Heritage of VU Amsterdam.

Nico Roymans

Professor in Northwest-European Archaeology

roymans_n

“A fascinating topic of archaeology is the connectivity between the Celtic/Germanic world  and the Roman Empire. I invite you to participate in the development of new narratives of this past and to make them relevant for our own society.”

Overview Archaeology: of Northwestern Europe

LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION

English

DURATION

1 year

TUITION FEE

APPLICATION DEADLINE

1 June

START DATE

1 September

STUDY TYPE

Full-time

SPECIALIZATIONS

1. Late Iron Age and Roman archaeology of Northwestern Europe
2. Medieval and early modern archaeology

FIELD OF INTEREST

Art, Culture and History

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