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3 years
Full time
Bachelor's degree
Scholarships available
English, Dutch

About this program

Ancient Studies

How were immigrants able to hold high positions in the Roman Empire? How did Greek sculpture influence the statues of later powers? Why does every period in world history give a different meaning to past events?

During the Bachelor of Ancient Studies you will go back in time, investigating works of art, literature, and architecture. And you will gain insight into the impact of the zeitgeist, which is always changing.

During the unique Bachelor of Ancient Studies at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, you will plunge into the fascinating world of antiquity. The curriculum is diverse and multifaceted: you will study the origins of various religions, political systems, and philosophies, not to mention the history of fascinating empires such the Persian, the Athenian, and the Roman.

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Admission requirements

Do you want to immerse yourself in the cultures and confrontations between East and West, pagans and Christians, antiquity and the present?

Then the Ancient Studies programme is just the thing for you. Check here whether you meet the admission requirements and find out how to apply.

Applicants holding a non-Dutch pre-university diploma apply via the International Office. We check if your previous education meets a number of requirements*. If you do not yet meet the requirements but expect to do so in the future (such as obtaining your diploma), you can already apply. We will evaluate your application and inform you of our admission decision.

Requirements that apply:

1. A diploma equivalent to the Dutch pre-university VWO-diploma

See the Diploma Requirement List for examples of accepted diplomas per country.

Please note: this list is meant to give you an indication of admissibility; no rights can be derived from it.

2. Proof of sufficient proficiency in English

Although complete applications are preferred, you can begin your application before you have completed the test and then submit your passing score once you have been conditionally admitted. You can find all accepted tests and scores on our Language Requirements webpage

Does this course require proof of English proficiency?

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Program content

1st year

  • A Cultural History of the Ancient World 1: The Near East and the Greek World
  • English Language Test
  • The Classical Canon 1: The Heritage of Antiquity
  • A Cultural History of the Ancient World 2: The Hellenistic World, Italy and Rome
  • Cultural Contact: East and West
  • Historical sources
  • Archaeology of Prehistoric and Roman Europe
  • Classical Mythology
  • Elementary Akkadian and A History of Ancient Mesopotamian Literature 1
  • Material Sources
  • Archaeology and Society
  • Classics beyond Antiquity
  • Elementary Akkadian and A History of Ancient Mesopotamian Literature 2
  • Seminar Ancient History
  • Ancient Philosophy

2nd year

  • Cultural Contact: Mediterranean Connections
  • Philosophy of the Humanities (ACASA)
  • Religion in Antiquity
  • Past and Present: Critical Approaches to Antiquity and Archaeological Heritage
  • ACASA Excursion
  • The Classical Canon 2: The Sociology of Cultural Selection
  • Classical Reception and Creative Writing
  • What is Archaeology ?
  • Archaeology of Cult
  • Theory in Archaeology
  • Field School 2

3rd year

  • Bachelor Thesis Ancient Studies
  • Lieux de mémoire
  • Archaeology and the City
  • Death and Commemoration

Scholarships & funding

Several scholarship options are available. Please check the university website for more information.


  • Tuition fee for EU: € 2,209
  • Tuition fee for NON-EU/EEA: € 9,130

Career paths

So you've graduated from Ancient Studies—now what? Most Bachelor's graduates choose to continue their studies, but you can also work in a range of different positions.

The programme prepares you for work in the cultural-educational sector, for example in museums and other heritage institutions, at publishing houses and in the travel world. As a graduate of Ancient Studies, you are well-suited for all sorts of positions requiring an academic level of thinking and working—positions in government but also in the business sector, for example as an information manager or a policy officer. There are ample opportunities in the field of archaeology, as well as in the education sector, where there is a great demand for university-trained teachers. You can also opt to pursue academic research as a career.

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About this institute

Welcome to Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (‘VU Amsterdam’) is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university offers over 175 English-taught programmes at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level to more than 26,000 students from all over the world. Students and staff...

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Why study at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

With more than 24,000 students, of which 4,088 are international, VU Amsterdam conducts cutting-edge research into problems of societal and scientific importance.

They distinguish themselves in research and education through four interdisciplinary themes:

  • Human Health and Life Sciences
  • Science for Sustainability
  • Connected World
  • Governance for Society

As a student this will help you to look beyond the boundaries of scientific disciplines, and to seek for tangible solutions for a better world.

In addition, VU Amsterdam regards diversity, whether in culture, conviction, nationality or prior education, as source of innovation and progress, and hence as special strength.

The Dutch higher education system has been ranked in the top 10 by Universitas 21. In the first Times Higher Education University Impact Ranking, VU Amsterdam is ranked 16th worldwide. In this ranking, universities are assessed based on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in order to measure the impact of the universities on society. In the Academic Ranking of World Universities 2018 (Shanghai Ranking) VU Amsterdam holds the 104th position. The international QS World University ranking 2021 places the Vrije Universiteit at number 236 in the world, which means the Vrije Universiteit belongs to the top 20% of the world.

At VU Amsterdam, the teaching style can be described as student-centred: they encourage students to develop their own opinions through independent and creative thinking. This means that teaching is mainly conducted in small tutorials, where interactivity is the norm rather than the exception. At every opportunity, students are encouraged to engage in constructive dialogue with their professors.

Contact info

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam
Netherlands, the

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