Universiteit Leiden

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Ancient History (MA)

About the programme

The one-year master’s programme in Ancient History covers a range of subjects. These include the complex history of the Roman Republic; civic life in Italy, Asia Minor and Egypt; Graeco-Roman religion; and the rise of Christianity.

Programme structure

  • Literature Seminar, 10 EC
  • Research Seminar, 10 EC
  • Research Workshop, 5 EC
  • Academic Skills and Thesis Seminar, 5 EC
  • Optional Courses, 10 EC
  • Thesis and Exam, 20 EC


During this programme you can also select an optional course from a wide range of possibilities. For an overview of all or our electives, please check the online studyguide.

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

Latest knowledge

All courses are taught by academics who are active researchers. The curriculum is regularly updated to reflect contemporary academic debates and the very latest insights. Regular seminars are held presenting students with our researchers' latest findings. Your research thesis is often linked to one of the research projects of our faculty members, who play an active role in every individual's education, acting as mentors and community builders.

Jordi Guardiola Cánaves

Why did Jordi choose to study Ancient History in Leiden?

Jordi Guardiola Cánaves

"One of the reasons for choosing the master’s programme in Ancient History at Leiden University was its long-standing tradition in the study of History."

A social history

"One of the reasons for choosing the master’s programme in Ancient History at Leiden University was its long-standing tradition in the study of History (the most used epigraphic system around the world is called Leiden Conventions). Moreover, I fell in love with the city as soon as I arrived. Nonetheless, what appealed to me most was the content of the courses, which focus on social history and the history of mentalities and religions, with a special interest in anthropological issues."

Methodologically effective

"I really liked how the courses were organised. They all revolved around the students’ exposition and discussion of the recommended texts, always with the guidance of the professors. I felt that this method enhanced our critical thinking and improved our presentation skills. I also valued the high level of autonomy and flexibility of the courses, which allowed me to combine the whole master’s programme with a part-time job in an international school."

Abilities to apply

"I intend to pursue a career in education. The master’s programme at Leiden University has made me realise how important it is for students to talk about History and to know that we can always reshape how we think about the past. Not only that, it has provided me with the confidence and independence to research and apply new techniques that may improve the quality of the learning process."

Liesbeth Claes

University Lecturer

Liesbeth Claes

"Ancient History in Leiden is focused on transformations of societies and empires in the Greco-Roman world, from Alexander the Great until the late Roman Empire. Our research programme has two major research lines: the history of mentality and religion of the Greco-Roman world and its social and economic history. All our courses are in one way or another linked to these research lines. Furthermore, we take pride in our strong emphasis on documentary sources, such as inscriptions, papyri, coinage and legal texts."

Admission and Application

Do you want to find out if you are eligible for this Master's Programme?

Check the entry requirements

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