Classics and Ancient Civilizations: Ancient Studies

Studying Antiquity from an interdisciplinary perspective
Programme ofClassics and Ancient Civilizations 
TitleAncient Studies

The Master's programme Ancient Studies is embedded in a long tradition of teaching and researching Greek and Roman Antiquity, as well as the wider cultural heritage of ancient societies.

The programme is designed as a multi-disciplinary programme, because hardly a single question on ancient culture or society can be solved if you limit the evidence to either written sources or archaeological material. Therefore, you will be combining historical, literary, and archaeological approaches.

Why study Ancient Studies 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.
  • You will have the possibility to choose from five different specializations, with the option to include an ancient language (Assyrian-Babylonian, Greek or Latin) in your programme.
  • Intensive classes consisting of small groups and direct personal contact with tutors.
  • The opportunity to study Ancient Studies in the beautiful city of Amsterdam, one of the most vibrant cultural and cosmopolitan cities of the world.
  • Amsterdam has its own antiquities museum, The Allard Pierson Museum, which is closely involved in the programme. The museum houses a large collection of ceramics, glass and bronzes from Greek and Roman Antiquity, as well as one of the most important collections of works of Classical Antiquity in the Netherlands and the wider European region.

Programme overview
Obligatory for all students are two core courses and a Master’s thesis.

Programme structure
The programme comprises 60 ECTS credits:
12 credits for Core courses
30 credits for Specialized courses and Electives
18 credits for a Master’s thesis

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 follow one of these courses:

  • Archaeology, Museums, and the Public
  • From Christ to Constantine: Judaism and Christianity in their Graeco-Roman contexts
  • Greek Elite Culture in the Roman Empire
  • Language based course:
    • Akkadian
    • Greek
    • Latin

Electives
Each focus area includes one or two 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.

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.

Classics & Ancient Civilizations: Ancient Studies courses in 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.

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

The Master's programme in Classics and Ancient Civilizations: Ancient Studies prepares you for a broad range of career opportunities.

The Job Market
Students graduating with a Master’s degree in Classics and Ancient Civilizations can be employed in positions requiring in-depth knowledge of the ancient world. 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 ancient research
  • teaching and academia
  • 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.

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."

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

The Master’s programme Classics and Ancient Civilizations: Ancient Studies is open to students with a Bachelor’s degree in one of the following programmes from the UvA or VU Amsterdam, or a recognized equivalent from another accredited university:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Greek and Latin language and culture, or a similar degree programme;
  • Bachelor’s degree in Latin language and culture, or a similar degree programme;
  • Bachelor’s degree in History, or a similar degree programme;
  • Bachelor’s degree in Ancient Studies , or a similar degree programme;
  • Bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies, or a similar degree programme (with a demonstrable relationship to Ancient Studies);
  • Bachelor’s degree in any humanities discipline with a minor of at least 30 EC in Ancient Studies.

The Faculty’s Admission Board will review whether you meet the admission requirements.

All students applying for the Master’s programme Classics and Ancient Civilizations: Ancient Studies 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: Ancient Studies.

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:

Dr. Jaap-Jan Flinterman
E: j.j.flinterman@vu.nl

Come meet us at the next Master's Event!

International students

The Master’s programme Classics and Ancient Civilizations: Ancient Studies is open to students with a Bachelor’s degree in one of the following programmes from the UvA or VU Amsterdam, or a recognized equivalent from another accredited university:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Greek and Latin language and culture, or a similar degree programme;
  • Bachelor’s degree in Latin language and culture, or a similar degree programme;
  • Bachelor’s degree in History, or a similar degree programme;
  • Bachelor’s degree in Ancient Studies , or a similar degree programme;
  • Bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies, or a similar degree programme (with a demonstrable relationship to Ancient Studies);
  • Bachelor’s degree in any humanities discipline with a minor of at least 30 EC in Ancient Studies.

The level of a Bachelor’s degree from a foreign institution of higher education must be equal to three years of Dutch university education (a minimum of 180 ECTS or equivalent).

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 Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE)
    Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE), score 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 Admissions 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:

Dr. Jaap-Jan Flinterman
E: j.j.flinterman@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 Classics and Ancient Civilizations: Ancient Studies

LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION

English

DURATION

1 year

APPLICATION DEADLINE

1 June

START DATE

1 September

STUDY TYPE

Full-time

FIELD OF INTEREST

Art, Culture and History

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