Master in Classics and Ancient Civilizations (Research)


Program Description

Master in Classics and Ancient Civilizations (Research)

The research Master’s program aims to deliver well-equipped researchers in the field of Ancient Studies. It focuses on the cultures and societies of the Mediterranean region, Western Europe, and Western Asia in the period from c. 1000 BC to 500 AD.

The program offers a good mix of disciplinary and interdisciplinary teaching and research. Disciplinary because the program builds on the specializations offered in your Bachelor’s program; interdisciplinary because you make use of the results of related disciplines during the so-called ‘core modules’. These are two interdisciplinary tutorials, in which members of the teaching staff from various disciplines from the Department of Ancient Studies and Archaeology teach you how to approach a shared research theme from different perspectives and to provide a theoretical underpinning for this theme.

Opting for the research Master’s program will bring you into an inspiring research environment. The Department of Ancient Studies and Archaeology has been extremely successful of recent years in creating research opportunities for doctoral and postdoctoral research students, including large thematic projects which have room for a number of doctoral and postdoctoral research students.

The program in a nutshell

The research Master’s program in Classics and Ancient Civilizations starts in September each year. The degree program lasts two years, full-time. Part-time study is not possible.

Students are enabled to follow a highly specialized, individualized study program and therefore receive close personal supervision from their assigned mentors.

Two specializations

The research Master’s program offers an archaeological/historical track and a literary/cultural track.

Each track comprises a number of disciplinary study clusters that are in line with the research interests of the various members of the teaching staff. These study clusters will offer students a basis for filling in their own individual study programs in consultation with a mentor.

Structure of the program

The Master’s program comprises the following main elements:

  • two core modules (interdisciplinary lectures on a theme that varies from year to year)
  • a number of specialized modules (lectures and tutorials, which may form part of a general Master’s program in archaeology, Classics or Ancient Studies); the choice of these modules will depend strongly on the study cluster you choose
  • tutorial
  • two modules on applying for research projects and writing academic English
  • a final thesis

On completion of this degree program, you will receive the title of Master of Arts (MA).

Wide range of career options

Academic career

The research Master’s program in Ancient Studies is the ideal stepping stone to an academic career in the field of archaeology, Greek and Latin language and culture, Ancient history and Assyriology of the first millennium BC. It opens the way to doctoral research at a university or research institute. There are currently a total of 26 doctoral students and 4 postdoctoral students in the Department of Ancient Studies and Archaeology. We aim to increase the number of doctoral students in the near future, so if you do well in your research Master’s program, you stand a good chance of being accepted for a doctoral study at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.


The Faculty of Arts at VU Amsterdam offers a number of fully paid Ph.D. studentships each year for doctoral students who submit a good research proposal that is in line with the Faculty’s research program. There are also a number of research projects at the Department of Ancient Studies funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO)

Other options

The research Master’s program Classics and Ancient Civilizations do not just train students to be academic researchers. You can find our alumni in challenging and interesting jobs as an archaeologist, classicist or consultant in Ancient Studies in archaeology firms, in museums of classical antiquity, in government services, in university libraries or as a science editor for a newspaper or magazine. Or if you want to go into teaching, you can become a university lecturer or a lecturer in higher professional education (HBO).

Admission requirements

You can be admitted to the Research Master’s program if you have a Bachelor’s degree in Archaeology, Greek and Latin language and culture, Ancient Studies or History (with Ancient history as your first major) from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam or a related degree (including one in Languages and Cultures of Mesopotamia and Anatolia) from another university in the Netherlands or abroad, if you meet the following further requirements:

  • you received a mark of 8 or more for your Bachelor’s thesis;
  • your average mark for a package of relevant subjects, as determined by the Examination Board, was 8 or higher;
  • the Bachelor’s thesis and projects' reports from your Bachelor’s program, show that you have appreciable research skills;
Last updated Nov 2019

About the School

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university offers over 150 English taught programmes at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level to 23,00 ... Read More

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university offers over 150 English taught programmes at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level to 23,000 students from all over the world. Students and staff of 130 nationalities create a dynamic international academic community. The University distinguishes itself in research and education through four interdisciplinary themes: Human Health and Life Sciences, Science for Sustainability, Connected World and Governance for Society. Read less