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Masters in Classics and Ancient Civilizations: Ancient History

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
1 year
Full time
Master's degree
On campus
01 September 2022

About this program

Masters in Classics and Ancient Civilizations: Ancient History

The Master's programme Ancient History offers you a stimulating environment in which you can study a broad range of historical issues focusing on the ancient world. You can choose your own personal study programme and will be able to further develop your own interest in the field of Greek and Roman antiquity.

  • 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.
  • The only Dutch universities offering the possibility to study the interaction between the Graeco-Roman world and the Ancient Near East.
  • In-depth knowledge and understanding of the political, social, cultural and religious history of the ancient Greek, Roman and Near Eastern worlds.
  • Intensive classes consisting of small groups and direct personal contact with tutors.
  • The opportunity to study Ancient History 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.

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Admission requirements

The Master’s programme Classics and Ancient Civilizations: Ancient History 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 History, or a similar degree programme (with a demonstrable relationship to Ancient History);
  • Bachelor’s degree in Ancient Studies, or a similar degree programme;
  • Bachelor’s degree in Archaeology, or a similar degree programme (with a demonstrable relationship to Ancient History)
  • Bachelor’s degree in Greek and Latin language and culture, or a similar degree programme.

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 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 the Admission and language requirements page for further information on the general requirements.

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Program content

Programme overview
Throughout the programme you will come to grips with the main methodical and theoretical issues, as well as with the difficulties of interpreting different types of source material.

You will be thoroughly trained in analysing complicated historical issues using divergent source material, as well as developing reporting skills (both orally and in writing) on historical debates in Greek and Roman history.

Programme structure
The programme comprises 60 ECTS credits:
42 credits for Core courses
18 credits for a Master’s thesis

Core Courses
First semester (Periods 1-3):
- Great Debates
- Interdisciplinary Seminar
- MA Course City and Empire: War, Memory and Civic Identity in Republican Rome

Second semester (Periods 4-6):
- City Life in the Roman Empire

You will choose for a tutorial between Greek Elite Culture in the Roman Empire and Ancient Near Eastern History and Culture.

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.

Scholarships & funding

With our own scholarship, the VU Fellowship Programme (VUFP), we offer highly motivated students with excellent study results the unique opportunity 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.


  • Tuition fee for EU: € 1,084
  • Tuition fee for NON-EU/EEA: € 15,546


MA Classics and Ancient Civilizations

Continuing studies

The Master's programme in Classics and Ancient Civilizations: Ancient History 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 ancient history. 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.

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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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