Universiteit Leiden

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Classics and Ancient Civilizations (research) (MA)

About the programme

The research master in Classics and Ancient Civilizations covers two years (120 EC) and provides intensive and comprehensive training across the entire range of present-day research on the ancient civilizations of Greece and Rome and the Ancient Near East.

You may specialise in one of four specialisations:

  • Assyriology (Research): gives you the opportunity to explore the rich history of ancient Mesopotamia alongside top researchers in the field.
  • Classics (Research): is taught by scholars of the oldest Classics department in the Netherlands, with chairs held in Latin and Greek since the university was founded in 1575.
  • Egyptology (Research): focuses on Ancient Egypt as a major player in world history.
  • Hebrew and Aramaic Studies (Research): gives you the opportunity to specialise in the languages and culture of ancient Syria-Palestine.

About our Common Courses
All ResMA Classics and Ancient Civilizations specialisations share two compulsory Common Courses. These courses are geared towards connecting the various disciplines and cross-fertilising work in your own specialisation. Students of all specialisations  examine cultural phenomena that transcend their own discipline and engage in discussions with fellows from neighbouring fields. Since classes in the research master level always follow recent trends in research, specific topics presented in the Common Courses may change every year.

Common course 1
The first Common Course is titled The Commentary and focuses more on the literary world of the Ancient Mediterranean. The Commentary picks up one of the most distinctive literary genres common to various ancient cultural traditions (Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Jewish and Early Christian), namely forms and methods of appropriating cultural heritage and translating it to new situations and context by literary means.

Common course 2
The second Common Course, titled Cultural Contacts, has a stronger social-historical focus and also takes material culture into account. The current topic Remembering the Dead. Concepts and Practices around Death, Burial and Afterlife in Ancient Mediterranean Cultures guarantees that students from all specialisations can enter into fruitful debates about methodological questions, values and practices of various ancient cultures, aspects of their burial practices and implications of their traditions on the afterlife.

Tuturial and Elective
Next to the Common Courses, you will follow a tutorial which serves as a first step in the planning of your thesis. Additionally, you take another elective course within your specialisation area.

Thesis and Thesis Seminar
In the fourth semester, you are expected to start writing your thesis. In addition to individual guidance by your supervisor, the Seminar Thesis Presentation and Research Proposal will bolster up your work on the thesis by training you in specific writing and presentation skills. You will also learn, based on your thesis preparation, how to write a research proposal on the basis of academic requirements used by the Dutch Research Council (NWO).

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

Detailed programme

For a detailed programme, please 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.

Jürgen Zangenberg

Professor of Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity

Jürgen Zangenberg

"We all think we know how things are, or at least have preconceptions or - for the worse - prejudices. So I just confront students with "the obvious". Is this really what we can find in the sources? How far do they take us? Motivation comes from curiosity. So make students curious, and then you can see how they start thinking."

Preparing students for jobs

"We help our students prepare for the job market by teaching and coaching them. Make every student an expert in their field and coach them how to communicate and organise. If students understand that their field of study is not just an interesting academic discipline, but that they have something to tell which makes a difference in our societies, they will stand their ground."

Mirjam de Baar

Vice-dean

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.”

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