Archaeology

Immerse yourself in the material culture of Europe’s past.

MA Archaeology

The Master's degree programme in Archaeology will immerse you in the material culture of Europe’s past from the Bronze Age until the Early Modern Period. The programme has two specialisations with distinctive profiles: European Archaeology and Mediterranean Archaeology.

Theory meets practice
The Master's degree programme in Archaeology has a theoretical orientation but at the same time offers practice-oriented modules in which you will interpret field data and study archaeological materials. Students are seen as partners in research; in two Research Labs you will actually participate in the ongoing research of the staff. Separate modules are devoted to preparation for the job market in field archaeology and heritage management.

Archaeology in Amsterdam
This Master’s degree programme is offered jointly by two universities. The University of Amsterdam and VU Amsterdam have combined their expertise in the fields of Archaeology, Ancient History and Classics in the Amsterdam Centre for Ancient Studies and Archaeology (ACASA). This merging of specialisations creates a stimulating environment for collaboration and study and extends the options when it comes to the supervision of your Master’s thesis.

Why study Archaeology in Amsterdam?

  • This Master’s programme offers the opportunity to gain a world-class education in the archaeology of Europe and the adjacent Mediterranean area at a leading European university;
  • You will gain hands-on experience of working with archaeological material from sites across the Mediterranean and Europe;
  • You will be able to follow and develop your personal interests, among others by tapping into the wide array of expertise of eminent scholars at the UvA and VU Amsterdam;
  • Teaching takes place in small group classes with direct personal contact with tutors;
  • As a student, you will profit from the programme’s collaboration with institutions such as the municipal archaeological service and the Allard Pierson Museum;
  • Amsterdam is an international metropolis with a small-city feel. It is a welcoming place to live and study and English is widely spoken.

The Master's in Archaeology is a one-year programme in which you acquire in-depth knowledge of the archaeology of Europe and the Mediterranean and obtain advanced skills that enable you to define relevant research questions, conduct independent research, and to report your findings according to the highest professional standards.

This programme is undergoing change (this applies to the academic year of 2020-2021 and beyond).

Programme structure
The Master's programme in Archaeology comprises 60 ECTS:

  • 24 credits for core courses
  • 18 credits for electives (Research and Skills Labs)
  • 18 credits for a Master’s thesis

Core courses
The objectives of the four core modules are to deepen the understanding of concepts and methods in archaeology. These courses cover broad themes illustrated with case studies from European and Mediterranean archaeology.

  • Block 1: Cutting Edge Archaeology: Human Mobility
  • Block 2: Historical Archaeology: Theories and Concepts
  • Block 4: Digital Archaeology: Modern Methodologies and Applications
  • Block 5: Archaeology, Heritage and Society: Professional and Contemporary Focus

Research Labs and specialisation
Modules with the explicit objective to acquire research skills and to work in a small team are taught in Research Labs in blocks 1 and 2. These specialisation classes are related to research projects by ACASA Archaeology staff and focus either on European or Mediterranean archaeology. It is possible to connect the Research Labs to Archaeology and Heritage in Practice (block 3) as well as to the research of your Master’s thesis (blocks 4-6) in order to specialise thoroughly.

Electives
In the first semester, electives may be taken instead of the Research Labs. These consist of Historical Landscapes and Archaeological Heritage, which focuses on contemporary professionalism (offered by VU Amsterdam), and Archaeology, Museums and the Public, which entails practical training in valorisation (offered by the UvA).

Tutorials and internships
In block 3, the course Archaeology and Heritage in Practice is offered (6 ECTS): in relation with either Research Labs or with a staff member involved in research projects, there is a choice of individual research assignments. Internships can be offered in collaboration with the Allard Pierson Museum, the City of Amsterdam, Dutch Heritage Institutions or the 4D Research Lab.

Fieldwork
You will learn essential skills for doing fieldwork, including analysing, reporting and presenting field data, but also managing fieldwork. You can develop these skills through an individual assignment at one of the UvA/VU Amsterdam’s current research locations in the Netherlands or in the Mediterranean, at fieldwork projects in Italy, Turkey, or Greece. You can also do a fieldwork assignment in North-Western and Central Europe through research projects led by staff members. Archaeological fieldwork, which takes place in close cooperation with the local archaeological services and international partners, consists of excavations, field surveys, remote sensing, digital applications and landscape analysis.

Thesis
The Master’s thesis is an important part of the programme, enabling 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. A Master's thesis seminar is offered to prepare you for the assignment. Thanks to the cooperation between the two universities a wide array of topics are available for supervision.

Detailed course information
VU Amsterdam's online study guide: Archaeology (2019-2020).

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:

Archaeology 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).

Once you enrol at VU Amsterdam, you will also automatically be enrolled as a guest student at the UvA. If you enrol at the UvA, the exact opposite applies. Please note that you will receive one diploma, from the university at which you originally enrolled.

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

Job Market
Students graduating with a Master’s degree in 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 agencies
  • the public presentation of archaeology
  • the broad cultural heritage sector including:
    • museums
    • archives
    • journalism
    • cultural tourism
  • IT sector
  • Banking and business administration

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

Natalie Park

Student

Natalie_Park

“Archaeology and Amsterdam? A perfect combination! You are surrounded by archaeology here! During the construction of the new metro line, for instance, many finds were made. As a student, you regularly visit the Allard Pierson Museum, where you study ancient materials while being surrounded by plaster copies of classical statues. During practical workshops, you study ceramics, glass finds, or bone combs in small classes tutored by very approachable staff.”

Dutch students

The Master's programme in Archaeology is open for application to students with a Bachelor's degree from an accredited university in:

  • Archaeology, or;
  • Geo-archaeology, Ancient Studies, Anthropology, History (with demonstrable relationship to Ancient Studies), or a similar degree programme with a minimum of 30 ECTS (equivalent to a full-time semester of academic studies) taken in the field of Archaeology.

You are expected to have an awareness of basic theoretical notions in Archaeology, Ancient Studies and Heritage Studies.

English language requirements
New Master's students should be able to speak, read, write and understand English at an advanced academic level. Please check carefully whether you already meet the English language requirements or whether you need to arrange to take an official English language test.

If you are unsure whether you meet the entry requirements, you are advised to get in touch with the programme coordinators before applying (See: Contact).

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 'doorstroomminor' Archeologie voor Saxion-studenten (30 ECTS). Students from Saxion who wish to follow the ‘doorstroomminor’, need to register as ‘bijvakstudent’ at UvA/VU Amsterdam.

It is not possible to apply to this programme with a degree from another Dutch University of Applied Sciences (hbo). We do not offer a pre-Master’s programme (schakelprogramma) for this Master's programme.

All students applying for the Master’s programme Archaeology 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.

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 coordinators:

prof. dr. J. P. (Jan Paul) Crielaard
E: j.p.crielaard@vu.nl

dr. A. M. J. (Ton) Derks
E: a.m.j.derks@vu.nl

Come meet us at the next Master's Event!

International Students

The Master's programme in Archaeology is open for application to students with a Bachelor's degree from an accredited university in:

  • Archaeology, or;
  • Geo-archaeology, Ancient Studies, Anthropology, History (with demonstrable relationship to Ancient Studies), or a similar degree programme with a minimum of 30 ECTS (equivalent to a full-time semester of academic studies) taken in the field of Archaeology.

You are expected to have an awareness of basic theoretical notions in Archaeology, Ancient Studies and Heritage Studies.

If you are unsure whether you meet the entry requirements, you are advised to get in touch with the programme coordinators before applying (See: Contact).

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 and a list of all the main literature

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 coordinators:

prof. dr. J. P. (Jan Paul) Crielaard
E: j.p.crielaard@vu.nl

dr. A. M. J. (Ton) Derks
E: a.m.j.derks@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!

Overview Archaeology

LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION

English

DURATION

1 year

TUITION FEE

APPLICATION DEADLINE

1 June for Dutch and EU-students. 1 April for non-EU-students

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

;