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Modern research into the ancient world and its reception

Classics and Ancient Civilizations: Research

Focusing on the period from 1600 BCE to 700 CE, you will analyse the languages, (material) cultures, and history of the Mediterranean region, Western Europe, and Western Asia from a variety of perspectives.

Research expertise
This two-year programme trains you to do research, write project proposals, acquire research funding, and communicate your research results effectively to an academic audience and the wider public. You will be well-prepared for conducting PhD research in the Netherlands or abroad and will be able to function successfully as a researcher either in or outside academia.

Disciplinary specialization
The programme is not formally divided into tracks, but in composing your individual programme, you may opt for a disciplinary specialization in Classics, Ancient Studies, Archaeology or Ancient Near Eastern Studies. These areas of specialization are tied to the expertise areas and ongoing research projects of the academic staff. This gives you plenty of opportunities to participate in ongoing research within the department.

Interdisciplinary context
In the core modules, as well as in several elective courses, you will be stimulated to broaden your academic horizon by learning to position your discipline within a broader interdisciplinary academic context. You may also choose to give your entire programme, including your thesis, an interdisciplinary orientation.

The Near East, Late Antiquity, and Reception of Antiquity
In addition to the usual array of courses in Classics, Ancient Studies, and Archaeology, the Amsterdam programme is well known for the unique option to study the Classical World and the Ancient Near East in one single programme, as well as for the large expertise in Late Antique and Reception studies.

Small-scale and personal
The programme is small in scale, which allows for intensive interactions with your fellow students and the academic staff. You will not only receive close supervision from staff during the courses and your research, but you will also receive personal guidance from a member of the academic staff who will be assigned to you as your mentor.

The starting date of this programme is September 1st.

Study programme

The (Research) Master’s programme (120 EC) comprises the following main elements:

  • Three Core Courses (18 EC)
  • Two courses of the Graduate School of Humanities (12 EC)
  • Courses taught at one of the national Research Schools (at least 10 EC)
  • Specialization modules, research projects, and electives (30 EC)
  • Tutorials (up to 4 x 6 EC);
  • Research Master’s thesis (30 EC)

The Core Courses, accessible only to (Research) Master’s students, introduce you to various research perspectives and traditions. These are illustrated through a theme that is related to the ongoing research of the academic staff. The approach is interdisciplinary, allowing you to bring in your own expertise.

The Grad School Methodology course introduces you to the methods and concepts of various disciplines within the Humanities. It enables you to collaborate and communicate with other people across the boundaries of your own discipline. As applying for research funding is an important part of an academic career, the Grad School Career Preparation course teaches you about the various funding options and the writing of a research grant application. In addition, you will be coached in academic writing in English and receive feedback on the research plan for your Master’s thesis.

National Research Schools

All students follow courses or other forms of education developed by the National Research School in Classical Studies (OIKOS) or the Netherlands School of Archaeological Research (ARCHON).

Specialization courses and tutorials

Most specialization courses are shared with the one-year MA programmes offered by the Amsterdam Centre of Ancients Studies and Archaeology (ACASA); the choice of these modules will depend strongly on your specialization. It is also possible to participate in small group research projects, which are closely associated with research by faculty staff. Alternatively, you can choose to follow electives abroad or conduct an internship.

In tutorials you will work on a particular topic with individual supervision from an experienced lecturer or professor. The topic selected will often be closely related to that of your Master’s thesis.

Research Master’s thesis

Finally, you will write your (Research) Master’s thesis on your own area of research. The writing of your Master’s thesis is an important part of the programme, enabling 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 you and your academic supervisor. Thanks to the cooperation between the two universities a wide array of topics is open for supervision. Often Research Master’s theses form the basis of one’s first publication or PhD research proposal.


  • Research Master Thesis Classics & Ancient Civilizations
  • Tutorial Classics and Ancient Civilizations 1 (RM)
  • Tutorial Classics and Ancient Civilizations 2 (RM)
  • Tutorial Classics and Ancient Civilizations 3 (RM)
  • Core Course Interdisciplinary Theme-Ethnicity
  • From Theory to Text: How to Write a Commentary
  • Humanities Research Career Preparation
  • Methodologies

You will find the study programme in our studyguide.

Student Mick Geusebroek

Student Mick Geusebroek

'The Research Master’s helps me develop a broad spectrum of skills and enables me to explore and investigate my preferred topics. The faculty is academically diverse which means that there is always someone who can help you, not to mention your fellow students from various disciplines, whom you will meet through courses and extracurricular activities. Overall, the Research Master’s helps me prepare for my future in academia.' 

Student Mick

Why study Classics and Ancient Civilizations (Research) in Amsterdam?

  • The Amsterdam programme is well known for the unique option to study the Classical World and the Ancient Near East in one single programme, as well as for the large expertise in Late Antique and Reception studies
  • In-depth disciplinary studies in an interdisciplinary context
  • You will be able to follow and develop your personal interests, among others by tapping into the wide array of expertise of eminent scholars;
  • You will be excellently prepared for a research career
  • Teaching in small classes
  • Amsterdam is an international metropolis with a small-city feel. It is a welcoming place to live and study, and English is widely spoken.

Switching programmes

Students who show exceptional potential during the one-year Master’s programme in Classics and Ancient Civilizations are encouraged to continue their studies in one of our selective Research Master’s programmes. If you decide to switch programmes and are admitted before the start of the second semester, you will be able to transfer all credits earned in the first semester to your Research Master’s degree. If you decide to join later, the Examinations Board will determine which courses qualify for the Research Master’s programme.

The reverse also applies: it is possible to switch from a two-year programme to one of our one-year Master’s programmes, ideally before the start of the second semester. Within ACASA, there are two one-year Master’s programmes that are suitable for continuing your studies:

Change your future with the Classics and Ancient Civilizations Research Master's programme

Change your future with the Classics and Ancient Civilizations Research Master's programme

This research Master’s trains you for a wide variety of jobs in academia and beyond.

Explore your future prospects
 Woman walks around archaeological site

Questions about the programme?

Please contact the programme coordinator