Universiteit Leiden

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Ancient History (MA)

Career prospects

Create a world of opportunities with a master's degree from Leiden University.

What our graduates do

Your master will qualify you for roles in almost every sector of the employment market. Many of our graduates work for government and semi-government organisations, education, research institutes, information services, IT, cultural institutes, financial institutions, communications, marketing, business services and welfare services.

Examples of the diverse roles of our graduates include:

  • Senior assistant at the European Union
  • Consultant in information management
  • PhD candidate at various universities
  • History teacher at a secondary school
  • Public educational work at a Dutch museum
  • Project manager at a text agency
  • Heritage researcher of Indonesia for a Dutch museum
  • Archive clerk at a Dutch archive
  • Communication and organisation officer for a Dutch political party
  • Digital education officer at a museum
  • Policy advisor at a Dutch Ministry
  • Research assistent at a Spanish university
  • Editor at a publishing house
  • Web journalist at a multimedia publishing house

Your qualifications

The MA in History offers outstanding preparation for students seeking a profession that requires in-depth knowledge of history and strong academic skills, with a focus on analytical and writing skills.

Teaching qualification

If you are interested in a career in teaching, you may be eligible to follow a teacher-training master's at the ICLON Graduate School of Education once you have graduated from the master programme in History. You must speak fluent Dutch and there are other, additional entry requirements.

Diede Beckers

Graduated in Ancient History

Diede Beckers

“Historical research skills come in handy for all kinds of jobs. In fact, historians are quite sought after in the business world. As an information management trainee, I will be looking at how organisations organise and archive their information and how those processes could be more efficient.”

Valuable skills

“Although I’m currently doing a traineeship to learn about all the specific systems, the foundations are actually already there. After all, during your History degree you learn to search, select, prioritise and organise large quantities of diverse sources and process them into something new. In a way, that’s what I’ll be doing, but as an advisor on information processes at government institutions."

A lot of experience

“I chose the Master's program in Ancient History in Leiden because it best suited my interests. I had confidence in the teaching of Leiden University because I did my Bachelor there and wanted to stay at the same university. I combined the MA in Ancient History with a part-time job as an examination officer at the NTI university of applied sciences. After I graduated last year, I was able to move to a new position within the company, where I gained a lot of experience. This helped me in finding my new job as an information management trainee.”

Gabriël de Klerk

Graduated in Ancient History

Gabriël de Klerk

"I have decided to follow the Master's programme Ancient History because I have always been extremely interested in the fascinating world of Ancient Rome. Since I was a little child, The Romans were all I could talk about, and this Master's programme enabled me to continue to combine my passion with my studies at Leiden. Furthermore, I had a great relationship with the different lecturers who I met during my Bachelor's History. Moreover, the small-scale lectures and classes allowed me to deepen my knowledge of the ancient world on a more personal and intensive level."

Research what interests you

"I will be starting as a PhD-student at the University of Mainz in July, where I will write my dissertation on the gender constructions within the funerary context through a study of funerary inscriptions. While this might sound as a very dry or sombre subject, I am really excited to study how gender- and social status-related issues determine the organisation and reception of the deceased in the Roman world!"

Essentials for the academic world

"The Master's programme offered me the opportunity to intensively work with professors and lecturers on subjects that I found really interesting. In multiple instances, I was allowed to formulate my own research. Because of this, I have already done extensive studies on ancient epigraphy. Furthermore, students at Leiden University require a high level of independent thinking and researching, which is a feature that might be considered essential for working within the academic world."

The graphs below are based on alumni data from the MA in History 2016-2020.

In which sector do students find jobs?

  • 22 % Government and semi-government organisations
  • 14 % Education
  • 12 % Research
  • 8 % Information management
  • 6 % IT
  • 5 % Culture, sports and recreation
  • 5 % Financial institutions
  • 5 % Communication and marketing
  • 4 % Business services
  • 3 % Welfare and health
  • 16 % Other

How successful are they in finding a job?

  • 64 % found a job within two months
  • 82 % found their first job at academic level

Career preparation

Find out how this programme exactly prepares you for your future career and check our career preparation activities.

The master’s programme in History at Leiden University aims to equip you with a range of important skills and knowledge that will help you achieve your personal career goals. Whichever your area of expertise, you will have a broad and global context to your knowledge and critical-thinking skills that can be applied to the most complex conceptual problems.

Relevant professional experience

During your studies you have ample opportunity to gain experience studying, working, or conducting research at an organisation or institution. This experience is highly valued within international organisations. In class, we encourage every student to participate in discussions with fellow students and lecturers to develop their confidence articulating ideas. Regular events throughout the year, including an Employment Café, present opportunities to network with alumni and explore internship and job opportunities.

Students are personally responsible for arranging an internship assignment, which must have a minimum duration of 280 hours (good for 10 ECTS) and exploit the skills they acquire during the programme. Former students have completed internships with organisations that include:

  • The National Museum of Antiquities (RMO)
  • Dutch Cultural Heritage Agency
  • Museum Booijmans van Beuningen
  • Smith Davidson Gallery
  • Historisch Nieuwsblad and MAARTEN! (magazines)
  • De Nederlandse Bank

 The Humanities Faculty Career Service regularly publishes internship opportunities.

Patricia Kret

graduate Ancient History

Patricia Kret

‘I did an internship at the State art collection in the Dutch Cultural Heritage Agency. It was a very valuable experience to do an internship during my Research Master Ancient History that was not related to the ancient world. I gained knowledge about the different ways historians can put their research skills to practice and the possibilities for working with historical objects. I learned to work with, for me, new (art)historical sources. This stimulated my creative thinking, also in the field of ancient history.’

Key Tengeler

graduate Ancient History

Key Tengeler

‘I want to bring the wonderful world of Greeks and Romans I discovered in my study to a broader audience. At the University, I acquired the necessary research and writing skills for this job, but an internship could provide me with opportunities for publication. I looked for an internship in popular scientific journalism and found my way into the organisation behind 'Historisch Nieuwsblad' and 'Maarten!'. Now that I have finished my study, the first three projects I work on as a historical journalist all come from the people I met while I was doing my internship there.’

Our staff can help you identify both the career that is right for you, and the necessary steps to get you there. Our team at Humanities Career Service provide all Leiden University humanities students with professional advice and guidance on everything from internships and career planning to job applications. Humanities Career Service also organises regular workshops on topics such as effective interview skills and creating a successful CV.

The Humanities Career Service offers you various (online) workshops, webinars and info sessions. Check our overview of career activities

The Leiden University Career Zone is an online career portal that helps you to prepare for the job market. Here you can find information, tools and tips to help you gain more personal insight, learn about the job market, develop your application skills, plan your academic and professional career, find job vacancies and discover what the Career Service can do for you.

Join the Mentor Network to contact alumni with experience on the labour market and ask them for advice. More than 1200 alumni are happy to help you!

Jelle on finding an internship via Leiden University's Mentor Network

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