Universiteit Leiden

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Classics (MA)

About the programme

Classics and Ancient Civilizations covers one year and can be studied in four programmes, one of them is the Classics programme. When you choose to study Classics, you will both be guided through the broadness of Classical sub-disciplines, as well as gradually led to develop your own specific research skills.

The MA Classics and Ancient Civilisations specialisation programme Classics comprises 60 EC spread out over two semesters.

Together with classes from cultural-historical disciplines (e.g., Ancient Philosophy, Ancient History or Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity), courses on Greek and (Renaissance-) Latin literature and linguistics form the heart of the programme.

Core courses
All students participate in the core courses MA CAC Seminar (a class on research methods of various disciplines focussing on the ancient world shared with all other specializations) and Classics Now!, a seminar focussing on the relevance of the study of Classics and discussing current issues in modern society while applying ancient texts as ‘tools for thinking’.

You will conclude the programme by writing a thesis based on a research question or hypothesis of your own formulation, which involves the interpretation of classical texts, and/or the exploration of linguistic or literary concepts.

Next to the MA CAC Seminar and Classics Now!, students of the MA programme Classics take 35 EC courses in Greek and Latin literature and/or linguistics and a limited number of classes from the cultural-historical disciplines (e.g., Ancient Philosophy, Ancient History or Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity).

You have the option to study abroad. A maximum of 20 EC can be obtained through classes taken abroad.

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Self-study
  • Internship + study abroad options
  • Thesis
  • Exams
  • Peer feedback and assessment
  • Essays, reports and final thesis
  • Oral presentations

Ineke Sluiter

Professor of Greek Language and Literature

Ineke Sluiter

“We have a wonderful and international team of colleagues here at Leiden: Dutch, German, French, and American classicists and guest-researchers come together to work side-by-side in a friendly yet competitive and challenging academic environment.Between us, we offer a wide range of expertise, including Homer, rhetoric, Greek and Roman drama, papyrology, philosophy, or Neo-Latin.”

Research enterprises

"I personally love to involve students in research enterprises – and they are very active and enterprising themselves: we have a manuscript club, where we decipher the oldest manuscript of Homer’s Iliad. The Iliad text is surrounded on all sides by very hard-to-read commentaries that go back to the 3rd century BCE. Our students are currently helping to create a digital edition of this as part of the Homer Multi-text Project, which we are working on together with Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies."

‘Classics now’

"Our courses offers a great mix: on the one hand we teach the continental approach to Classics, with its emphasis on technical skills and philology and, on the other, the more problem-driven and theory-oriented approach from the Anglo-American world. Our signature course ‘Classics Now’ makes the connections between antiquity and our modern world explicit.”

Mirjam de Baar


Mirjam de Baar

“Time has taught us that solutions to social problems do not lie in technology, but in human potential. Technological solutions are essential, but so is the significance people attribute to this information through culture or language. Experience shows us that research within the humanities and social sciences often provides these solutions. This is why the research conducted by our humanities faculty is so highly relevant and important. I am very proud of the fact that Leiden University’s Faculty of Humanities is one of the world’s leading faculties in the field.”

Broad and relevant research:

“One of this faculty’s strengths is how incredibly broad it is. We conduct a wealth of relevant research in so many different fields and disciplines. We have egyptologists working on excavation sites in Saqqara and the Dakhla Oasis. We have linguists who are documenting, for the first time, languages that are spoken by vast numbers of people in the world today; others creating computer simulations of language acquisition by the brain. The extent and variety of the activity going on is tremendous.”

A stimulating environment

“When you join Leiden’s Faculty of Humanities you are joining a community of passionate, stimulated and ambitious students and staff from all over the world. Our academic environment is known for being conducive to interaction between individuals of all standing: at Leiden even the most junior researcher is treated as a valuable member of the community with important opinions to share. You also gain access to truly unique resources found nowhere else in the world, such as our famous collections at the University Library. Our lecturers and support staff are committed to your success, both now and in the future, and offer you the tools needed to develop into a critically-minded professional who can truly make a difference to the world.”

Latest Research

Content is regularly updated to reflect contemporary academic debates and the very latest insights – many of them from the research conducted by lecturers on the programme. External lecturers are regularly invited to teach on specialised topics, for example, from the Forum Anticum and the national research institute OIKOS. The academically-rigorous design of the programme aims to develop in you essential skills in reasoning and critical thinking, as well as advanced abilities in independently conducting high-quality scientific research and developing this data into an academic dissertation.

Detailed programme

For a detailed programme, see the e-Prospectus. Please note that this guide applies to the current academic year, which means that the curriculum for next year may slightly differ.