Classics and Ancient Civilizations

Gain in-depth understanding of the ancient world.

MA Classics and Ancient Civilizations

The Master's programme in Classics and Ancient Civilizations has two specialisations with distinctive profiles: Classics and Ancient Studies. It challenges excellent students to become experts with regard to the literature and linguistics of classical languages or in the cultures and religions of Ancient Greece, Rome or the Near East.

Partners in research
The Master's programme in Classics and Ancient Civilizations sees students as partners in research, and teaching is strongly related to the expertise of its staff. It offers a well-defined opportunity to specialise in either Classics or Ancient Studies. At the same time, the programme provides training in interdisciplinary thinking for which there is an increasing demand on the job market.

Classics and Ancient Civilizations 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 Classics and Ancient Civilizations in Amsterdam?

  • This Master’s programme provides the opportunity to gain a world-class, interdisciplinary education in the Antique World at a leading European university;
  • You will receive excellent training in classical linguistics, intertextuality and narratology, and post-classical Greek and Latin;
  • You will gain an in-depth understanding of the social, cultural and religious history of Ancient Greece, Rome and the Near East;
  • 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;
  • 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 Classics and Ancient Civilizations is a one-year programme in which you will explore the theoretical frameworks and methodologies currently used in Classics or Ancient Studies; you will gain a thorough knowledge of the Greek and Latin languages or of thematic specialisations in the field of Ancient History and Ancient Studies, such as Religion, Gender and Urban History.

Programme structure
The Master's programme in Classics and Ancient Civilizations comprises 60 ECTS:

  • 12 ECTS for interdisciplinary courses
  • 24 ECTS for core courses
  • 6 ECTS for electives
  • 18 ECTS for a Master’s thesis

The programme consists of a core of two interdisciplinary courses of 6 ECTS each (12 ECTS) with associated self-study in block 3 (6 ECTS); four core courses Classics (24 ECTS), four core courses Ancient Studies (24 ECTS), and the Master’s thesis (18 ECTS). Students who wish to pursue a career as a teacher of Classics or History, will be able to meet the disciplinary entry requirements of the Educational Master's programme (42 ECTS in Classics and 30 ECTS in History, respectively). A specialisation in Akkadian (30 ECTS) can also be realised.

Interdisciplinary courses
The first semester has two interdisciplinary courses taken by all students of the programme:

  • Rulers’ Ideology and Representation: aspects of language and culture of power
  • Great Debates: issues in the field of history and culture of the ancient world

Core courses (specialisation Classics)
The objectives of the four core modules are to deepen the understanding of modern literary and linguistic theory in Classics, post-classical Greek and Medieval Latin.

  • Block 1: Methodology: Intertextuality & Storytelling
  • Block 2: Greek & Latin Linguistics
  • Block 4: Greek Literature
  • Block 5: Latin Literature

Core courses (specialisation Ancient Studies)
The objectives of the four core modules are to deepen the understanding of concepts and methods in ancient history and ancient studies with literary, epigraphic, and iconographical sources.

  • Block 1: City and Empire
  • Block 2: From Constantine to Muhammed
  • Block 4: City Life in the Ancient World
  • Block 5: Greek Elite Culture

Electives
Electives which can be taken as part of this Master’s programme include the courses of the national Master Language programme, such as Greek epigraphy in Athens (block 3) and Latin epigraphy in Rome (block 4) or external electives offered by other universities (block 5). The programme also offers the possibility to specialize in Akkadian (30 ECTS). For Ancient Studies it is possible to take electives from the Archaeology programme in ACASA.

Thesis
The writing of your 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 supervisor. 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 is open for supervision.

Detailed course information
VU Amsterdam's online study guide: Classics & Ancient Civilizations (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:

Classics and Ancient Civilizations is an accredited degree programme of Archaeology. 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).

Once you enrol at VU Amsterdam, you will also automatically be enrolled as an 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 Classics and Ancient Civilizations 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 this area. 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:

  • teaching and academia
  • commercial ancient research
  • arts management
  • the broad cultural heritage sector including:
    • museums
    • archives
    • journalism
    • publishing
    • cultural tourism

An Academic Career
Graduates can also choose to pursue a PhD programme at the UvA or 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.

With the specialisation Classics you will be well-equipped to follow VU Amsterdam's one-year Dutch taught Educational Master's programme (Leraar VHO in de Taal- en Cultuurwetenschappen, specialisatie Griekse en Latijnse taal en cultuur), and become a fully qualified teacher of Classics at secondary school level in the Netherlands.

With the specialisation Ancient Studies you can also be admitted to an Educational Master's programme, profile History (the required 30 ECTS is guaranteed in the programme). Go to UvA Lerarenopleidingen for more information (in Dutch).

Synkratos is an association for students who study Classics or Ancient Studies. Ancient Studies 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 an appealing destination linked to 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.

Dutch students

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

  • the humanities or social sciences with a minimum of 30 ECTS (equivalent to a full-time semester of academic studies) taken in the field of:
    • Classics
    • Ancient Studies
    • Archaeology
    • History (with demonstrable relationship to Ancient History)
    • or a similar degree programme

You are expected to have an awareness of basic theoretical notions in Classics, Ancient Studies, and (Ancient) History.

If you plan to specialise in Classics you will need to have a Bachelor’s degree in Greek and Latin language and culture.

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).

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

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. M.A.J. (Mark) Heerink
E: m.a.j.heerink@vu.nl

Come meet us at the next Master's Event!

International students

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

  • the humanities or social sciences with a minimum of 30 ECTS (equivalent to a full-time semester of academic studies) taken in the field of:
    • Classics
    • Ancient Studies
    • Archaeology
    • History (with demonstrable relationship to Ancient History)
    • or a similar degree programme

You are expected to have an awareness of basic theoretical notions in Classics, Ancient Studies, and (Ancient) History.

If you plan to specialise in Classics you will need to have a Bachelor’s degree in Greek and Latin language and culture.

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 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 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. M.A.J. (Mark) Heerink
E: m.a.j.heerink@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

LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION

English

DURATION

1 year

APPLICATION DEADLINE

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

START DATE

1 September

STUDY TYPE

Full-time

FIELD OF INTEREST

Art, Culture and History

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