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Assyriology (MA)

About the programme

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

The MA CAC Assyriology comprises 60 EC, spread over two semesters.

Semester 1In the first semester you will select three courses from the electives on offer in the Assyriology programme focusing for example on language acquisition (Akkadian, Sumerian, Hittite) or advanced readings of cuneiform texts, their epigraphy and their historical and archeological context.

Semester 2
In the second semester you will choose one course related to your research interests.

Thesis
You will conclude the MA in Assyriology by writing a thesis based on a research question or hypothesis of your own formulation. Your supervisor will be a member of our small but dedicated staff of active researchers.

The programme offers a wide range of electives, including:

  • The Sumerian language, and history and culture of the third millennium BC
  • The Akkadian language, specifically Old and Middle Assyrian, Old Babylonian, Amarna Akkadian, Neo-Babylonian and Late Babylonian, and the society and culture of these periods
  • The Hittite language and Anatolian history and culture
  • Cuneiform epigraphy
  • Mesopotamian religion
  • Trade and economy
  • Archives and libraries
  • Cultural contacts
  • History of Empire
  • Historiography
  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Self-study
  • Internship and study abroad options
  • Thesis
  • Exams
  • Peer feedback and assessment
  • Essays, reports and final thesis
  • Oral presentations

Caroline Waerzeggers

Professor of Assyriology

Caroline Waerzeggers

"When you visit us at Leiden University, there is a big chance that you will find the students and staff of Assyriology reading and working together in the NINO library. Even the most obscure publications in the field are on the shelves here. And, hidden away in our vault, there are three thousand clay tablets from all paleographic phases of the cuneiform script that we can use in our classes. The nearby museum of antiquities is another great place for hands-on education. Our staff covers a variety of languages and cultures, spanning 3000 years of history, from Sumer to Babylonia and from Assyria and Anatolia. And our students? They come from all over the world and share the same passion for ancient Mesopotamia!"

Willemijn Waal

Researcher and University Lecturer

Willemijn Waal

"Hittitology is a relatively small and young discipline. Though today much is known about the Hittites and their language, many open questions remain and new – at times revolutionary – discoveries are still being made. During class, students learn to critically study and analyze the available (textual) sources and to evaluate their reliability for reconstructing the history of the Hittite Empire."

Latest Research

Our programme is regularly updated to reflect contemporary academic debates and the very latest insights – many of them from research conducted by lecturers on the programme. External lecturers are regularly invited to teach on specialised topics, for example, at Forum Antiquum, the Ancient Worlds Network  and the national research institute OIKOS. The academically rigorous design of the programme aims to develop your skills in reasoning and critical thinking, as well as advanced abilities in independently conducting high-quality scientific research.

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.

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