Masters in Archaeology: Archaeology of North Western EuropeVrije Universiteit Amsterdam
In the Master’s degree programme Archaeology of Northwestern Europe, you will investigate over 3,000 years of European archaeology and focus on the cultural dynamics of one of these two key European eras: Late Iron Age and Roman Period or the Medieval and Early Modern Period.
The programme offers you the rare opportunity to explore European archaeology through the study of landscapes, material culture and documentary sources, but also through integration processes in the Roman Empire. Close links exist between the teaching subjects and the results of current fieldwork and other research projects.
Two European Eras
In this Master’s programme you can choose between two regional archaeological eras. The focus areaLate Iron Age and Roman Periodexplores the integration of Celtic/Germanic societies of the Iron Age into the Roman Empire. The field of studyMedieval and Early Modern Periodfocuses on the origins and developments of medieval trade and exchange, the growth of Amsterdam and the expansion of European capitalism with the colonisation of the New World.
Why study archaeology 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.
- A world-class education: the UvA is specialized in Archaeology of the Middle Ages and is ranked highest in the Netherlands.
VU Amsterdam has a leading position in the field of late prehistory and the Roman era in Northwestern Europe.
- The opportunity to study historical archaeology at leading research universities in Amsterdam, a vibrant European hub with a rich historical and cultural heritage.
- The programme has forged strong ties with a number of archaeological institutions, such as the Allard Pierson Museum.
- You will have hands-on experience in one of the UvA/VU Amsterdam’s research excavations or field survey projects.
The Master’s programme Archaeology of Northwestern Europe is open for application to students with a Bachelor’s degree in Archaeology from the UvA or VU Amsterdam, or a recognized equivalent from another accredited university. The level of the Bachelor’s degree from a foreign higher education institution must be equal to three years of Dutch university education (a minimum of 180 ECTS or equivalent).
On behalf of the Examinations Board, 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 Advanced Exam 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 theAdmission and language requirements pagefor further information on the general requirements.
Does this course require proof of English proficiency?
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The Master's programme Archaeology of Northwestern Europe comprises three core courses and two shared courses. You can tailor the programme to your own interests by choosing an elective from a wide range of Master’s programmes. Each student must either do a research tutorial or an internship, and complete an individual Master’s thesis.
The programme comprises 60 ECTS credits:
- 18 credits for Core courses
- 12 credits for Shared courses
- 6 credits for Electives
- 6 credits for Tutorial
- 18 credits for a Master’s thesis
The programme offers two focus areas from which you can choose:
- The Late Iron Age and Roman Period
- The Medieval and Early Modern Period
1. The Late Iron Age and Roman Period:
You will explore the integration of Celtic and Germanic societies of the Iron Age into the Roman Empire. It combines results from recent fieldwork and material culture studies with recent debates about regionality, globalisation and interconnectivity.
- Approaches to the Late Iron Age and Roman Countryside
- Money in the Ancient World
- Ceramics in Archaeology
2. The Medieval and Early Modern Period:
You will explore the roots of modern Europe and the transition from the medieval world to the early modern world. The results of recent fieldwork are combined with current debates about the growth of global trade, migration, colonialism, and globalisation.
- From Feudalism to Capitalism
- Archaeology of Global Amsterdam
- Biography of Landscapes
- Cutting Edge in Archaeology: Human Mobility
- Archaeology, Heritage and Society
An elective can be chosen from a wide range of courses, in related fields such as archaeology, heritage studies, history, ancient studies or classics.
This Master’s programme includes an individual tutorial, in which you can either conduct your own archaeological research, head out to undertake fieldwork or do an internship at a museum or heritage institution.
You will learn essential skills for doing fieldwork, like analysing, reporting and presenting field data, but also managing and conducting fieldwork. You can develop these skills through a tutorial at one of UvA/VU Amsterdam’s current research locations in the Netherlands and in the Mediterranean, at fieldwork projects in Italy (Satricum and Muro Tenente), Turkey (Troy) and in Greece (Karystos and Halos). Archaeological fieldwork, which takes place in close cooperation with the local archaeological services, consists of excavations, field surveys, remote sensing and landscape analysis.
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.
The cost of this program for students of EU/EEA countries is €2,143
Scholarships & funding
With our own scholarship, the VU Fellowship Programme (VUFP), we offer highly motivated students with excellent study results the unique oppurtunity to pursue a Master’s degree with financial support provided by the university. The VUFP scholarship is a tuition fee waiver. The Holland Scholarship Programme (HSP) is meant for students from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) who want to follow a Master’s programme in the Netherlands. VU Amsterdam embraces diversity as an enrichment to our teaching, research and our contribution to society. This scholarship is specifically intended for excellent students who contribute to the diversity at our campus. As an international student planning to study at VU Amsterdam, you can apply for a variety of grants and bursaries.
MA in Archaeology
With a specialisation in the Archaeology of North Western Europe, you are exceptionally well equipped for a professional career in archaeology, either in the Netherlands or with a European firm in this field. You can also pursue your studies at PhD level, work in heritage management or public services, or enter sectors such as journalism, tourism and publishing.
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...
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.
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