Universiteit Leiden

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Classics (research) (MA)

About the programme

The Research MA Classics and Ancient Civilizations covers two years and can be studied in four tracks: Classics is one of them. While diving into the literary, cultural and intellectual worlds of Greece and Rome, you will be involved in current research, and stimulated to reflect on the significance of Classics to the 21st century.

About our Common Courses
The Research Master Classics shares two Common Courses with Assyriology, Egyptology and Hebrew and Aramaic Studies (the other Classics and Ancient Civilizations specializations). These courses are geared towards connecting the various disciplines and cross-fertilizing work in your own specialization. Students are invited to 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 2019-2020
This year’s Common Course is ‘Libraries in the Ancient World’. All ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern civilizations had their archives and libraries. Kings, priests, philosophers and private persons organized collections of documents, in order to preserve knowledge and to make it available for contemporary or future readers. Famous ancient libraries include the Royal Library of Ashurbanipal, temple libraries in Egypt, the Qumran Library, the library of Alexandria, and the Villa dei Papiri in Herculaneum. But what were the functions of these libraries? Who founded and who funded them? Who had access to the collections, and how were these buildings organized? In answering these questions we will be comparing the different forms that libraries adopted in Egypt, Mesopotamia, Syria and Palestine, Greece and Rome.

Tutorial 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 specialization 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).

For a more detailed programme, see the Prospectus.

Please note that this guide applies to the current academic year, which means that the curriculum for next year may slightly differ.

Ineke Sluiter

Professor of Greek Language and Literature

Ineke Sluiter

“We have a wonderful and international team of colleagues here at Leiden: Dutch, German 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."

Approaches to Classics

"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.”

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