Universiteit Leiden

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Egyptology (research) (MA)

About the programme

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

About our Common Courses
With all other Classics and Ancient Civilisations specialisations, the ResMA specialisation Egyptology shares 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.

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 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, 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.

Olaf Kaper

Professor of Egyptology

Olaf Kaper

“Interesting finds are constantly being made on the many sites under excavation. This is what makes Egyptology so exciting. With their own research and their master’s thesis, master’s students can make a real contribution to this field. We offer our master’s students a broad range of opportunities to conduct archaeological research in Egypt.”

Archaeological research in Egypt

"As early as the second block our students go to Cairo to learn about archaeological research, to visit particular institutions and to meet colleagues. There is the opportunity for two students – if they are successful in their application – to work in Saqqara on the excavations organised by Leiden’s Egyptology department in co-operation with the National Museum of Antiquities. Leiden has a long history in the field of Egyptology because of this museum which, since the start of the nineteenth century, has housed a famous collection of Egyptian antiquities."

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