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Masters in Classics and Ancient Civilizations: Ancient Studies

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 Studies

The Master's programme Ancient Studies is embedded in a long tradition of teaching and researching Greek and Roman Antiquity, as well as the wider cultural heritage of ancient societies.

The programme is designed as a multi-disciplinary programme, because hardly a single question on ancient culture or society can be solved if you limit the evidence to either written sources or archaeological material. Therefore, you will be combining historical, literary, and archaeological approaches.

  • 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.
  • You will have the possibility to choose from five different specializations, with the option to include an ancient language (Assyrian-Babylonian, Greek or Latin) in your programme.
  • Intensive classes consisting of small groups and direct personal contact with tutors.
  • The opportunity to study Ancient Studies 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 Studies 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 Greek and Latin language and culture, or a similar degree programme;
  • Bachelor’s degree in Latin language and culture, or a similar degree programme;
  • Bachelor’s degree in History, or a similar degree programme;
  • Bachelor’s degree in Ancient Studies , or a similar degree programme;
  • Bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies, or a similar degree programme (with a demonstrable relationship to Ancient Studies);
  • Bachelor’s degree in any humanities discipline with a minor of at least 30 EC in Ancient Studies.

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 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.

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Program content

Programme overview
Obligatory for all students are two core courses and a Master’s thesis.

Programme structure
The programme comprises 60 ECTS credits:
12 credits for Core courses
30 credits for Specialized courses and Electives
18 credits for a Master’s thesis

The core courses are two seminars, which both have an interdisciplinary angle:
- Rulers’ Ideology and Representation: compares the ways in which rulers from different parts of the ancient world and from a period stretching from 1000 BCE to Late Antiquity have represented their regimes.
- Great Debates: invites you to participate in some of the vehement discussions among historians and archaeologists about ancient cultures and societies and about the concepts and methods we use in attempting to understand them.

For the remaining 30 ECTS you follow one of these courses:

  • Archaeology, Museums, and the Public
  • From Christ to Constantine: Judaism and Christianity in their Graeco-Roman contexts
  • Greek Elite Culture in the Roman Empire
  • Language based course:
    • Akkadian
    • Greek
    • Latin

Each focus area includes one or two electives. An elective can be chosen from a wide range of courses, in related fields such as archaeology, heritage studies, history, ancient studies or classics.

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


Master’s degree in Classics and Ancient Civilizations and the title Master of Arts (MA)

Continuing studies

The Master's programme in Classics and Ancient Civilizations: Ancient Studies 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 the ancient world. 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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