Classics and Ancient Civilizations: Ancient History

The Mediterranean and West Asian worlds during antiquity
Programme of Classics and Ancient Civilizations
TitleMA Classics and Ancient Civilizations

The Master’s programme in Ancient History is specially developed for students wanting to dedicate most of their Master's studies to the history of the Mediterranean and West Asian worlds during antiquity. While our first thoughts go to the BA in History, students with Bachelor's in Greek and Latin Languages and Cultures (Griekse en Latijnse taal en cultuur) , Ancient Studies (Oudheidkunde) and Archaeology (Archeologie) are also welcome to participate. The broad range of study programmes offered by ACASA allows you to become an accomplished historian of antiquity.

Starting September 2012, VU Amsterdam and the University of Amsterdam are offering a joint Master's programme in Classics and Ancient Civilizations within the Amsterdam Centre for Ancient Studies and Archaeology (ACASA), which also offers a range of other Master's programmes in the field of Ancient studies. Thanks to this joint venture you can choose from a wide range of subjects which allows you to develop as a scholar in many different specialisms.

The first semester (= periods 1-3) of the Master's programme Ancient History comprises two core modules (‘Interdisciplinary Seminar: Rulers’ Ideology and Representation’ and ‘Great Debates’). You will follow these core modules during the first two periods of the academic year. In addition, the programme of these periods consists of two modules: ‘A City Full of Gods: Roman Religion and Roman Imperialism’ and ‘From Constantine to Muhammad: Religion and Society in Late Antiquity’. In period 3, you should write a term paper.

During the second semester (= periods 4-6), in period 4 you will follow a module ‘City Life in the Roman Empire’. In period 5, you can opt for a tutorial about ‘Greek Elite Culture in the Roman Empire’ or ‘Ancient Near Eastern History and Culture’. Simultaneously you will be working on your Master’s thesis, period 6 being earmarked for giving it the finishing touch. 

Programme structure

The programme comprises 60 ECTS credits:

  • 42 credits for core courses
  • 18 credits for a Master’s thesis

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 supervisor.

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

Graduates of the MA in Ancient History can find employment in sectors where knowledge of ancient culture and history is important such as history magazines, publishers, cultural travel organisations and museums. Because of your broad background you will also be a sought after candidate for positions requiring one to critically assess esoteric data and then coherently report on said data in a clear and concise manner. 

Furthermore graduates of the MA in Ancient History can also enrol for a teaching qualification (first-level) in history. 

After obtaining an MA in Ancient History you will also be able to do PhD research at universities or research institutes. Both at VU and UvA Universities several new PhD positions become available to Master’s graduates. You can also do a PhD research project in your own time (external PhD researcher) if you are able to find a qualified person to act as your PhD thesis supervisor. However, if you’re seriously focused on an academic career, it is best to enrol for the two year research Master’s in Classics and Ancient Civilizations. This Master’s programme specifically trains you to become a (university) researcher.

VU Amsterdam together with UvA, are the only universities in the Netherlands where study of the ancient history of the Near and Far East is explicitly linked with consideration of Mediterranean history. We also focus on Greek elite culture in the Roman Imperial era. In addition, you come into contact with students from widely differing backgrounds such as history, ancient studies, Greek and Latin language and culture and Archaeology.

Synkratos is an association for students who study Archaeology, Classics or Ancient Studies. Since we were established in 1988, we welcome everyone who is interested in the cultures of the ancient Mediterranean world or who is just looking to socialize. Each year we offer a variety of social and cultural activities, varying from lectures, evenings with board games, visits to museums and sporting activities.

We also offer a cultural trip once a year to a beautiful destination with a focus on 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

Overview Classics and Ancient Civilizations: Ancient History




1 year


1 June


1 September




Art, Culture and History

Dutch Students

The Master’s programme Ancient History is open to students with a Bachelor’s degree from the UvA or the VU, or with a Bachelor’s degree or a recognized equivalent from another accredited university, in:

  • Ancient Studies
  • Archaeology *
  • Greek and Latin Language and Culture *
  • History *

* Provided that Ancient History has been adequately covered in your Bachelor’s programme. In addition to assessing the content of your Bachelor’s, the Admission Board will also take into consideration your study results and your motivation.

Other Bachelor’s diplomas
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 degree programme in Ancient history. They will have to complete a Bachelor’s degree programme (or a short-track Bachelor’s programme) first.

Application for Dutch students and international candidates with a Dutch degree

If you wish to be admitted to the Master’s programme in Ancient Studies (60 ECTS credits), you must register via Studielink  before June 1st.

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. Fill in Ancient History as your specialization

During this step you will be asked to upload the following documents:

• Transcript of records (scan from original)
• Course descriptions (i.e. for courses related to the discipline of the Master, and for courses on general academic skills)
• List of literature (the most important literature used for the courses)
• CV
• Motivation letter (max. one A4)

Please prepare these documents before you're going to complete your application in VUnet!

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.

Admission procedure

More information about admission and registration is available here.

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

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

International students

Specific admission requirements for the Master’s Programme Classics & Ancient Civilizations, specialization in Ancient History

The Ancient History specialization is open to students with a Bachelor’s degree in Ancient Studies. If you have a background in Archaeology, Greek and Latin Language and Culture, or History, you may also be eligible, provided that Ancient History has been adequately covered in your Bachelor’s 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;
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:

Irena Paap
Tel +31 (20) 59 85252

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

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

Some international students are happy to tell you about their experiences with living and studying in Amsterdam. These Student Ambassadors come from all over the world and have attended various bachelor's and master's programmes.

Our student ambassadors are listed here on this webpage:

Reach out to them and get their stories about being a student at VU Amsterdam!