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.

Dennis van Leeuwen

Graduated in Ancient History (MA History)

Dennis van Leeuwen

"I chose Leiden University for the exceptional freedom of choice and excellent reputation of the programme. After my Bachelor’s in History, I followed my interest and curiosity and enrolled in the Master’s in Ancient History. During my studies, I was active as a student ambassador of History, and I still reap the benefits every day. Skills I acquired then, such as public speaking, event organisation and team management came in handy at my first job – as a museum education officer at the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden (National Museum of Antiquities)."

Translating old sources into relatable information

"I was also able to make immediate use of the subject-specific skills I acquired during the programme: historians are constantly translating old sources into easy-to-understand information and this is ideal for giving guided tours and teaching lessons. Through my work as a student ambassador and museum education officer, I have built up an extensive network of contacts that subsequently helped me find my current job."

Pleasure in my work

"I recently started working as a study coordinator for the MA & Research MA in History at my alma mater, where I mainly supervise students during their studies here. In this role, I answer all kinds of questions about study problems, courses, progress and options. The contact with history students, the variety, the challenging environment and pleasant, familiar working environment help me enjoy my work even more!"

Thomas Bliznicki

Graduated in Ancient History (MA History)

Thomas Bliznicki

"Since I graduated as a master of Ancient History in August 2013, I have been working in the commercial and financial sector. During my study at Leiden University, I also held several managerial functions like for instance a double treasurer function at the board of the A.L.S.V. Quintus and the treasurer function of my student fraternity. As a result of these side activities, I broadened my personal horizon and they helped me getting hired more easily for jobs after my graduation. Before the end of 2013, I became a financial and account manager at a company in Delft. I was responsible for the company’s financial administration and for sales in the United Kingdom."

Extracurricular activities are important

"In 2015, I applied for the Young Professional Traineeship of the Rabobank and was elected. During this traineeship, I was trained and educated to become a finance specialist, which is my current position at the Rabobank. I specialise in structuring finance applications of Food & Agri businesses that for instance want to build a new greenhouse or buy more agricultural land. The abilities and skills I learned during my study (analyzing, writing convincingly and to-the-point) help me a great deal in my current field of work. Though doing extracurricular activities next to your History study also proves to be important."

A Leiden University degree

Leiden University Master's graduates are sought-after employees at (inter)national organisations. Our graduates are known for their combination of robust academic training, in-depth and relevant knowledge, and critical, multidisciplinary approach to problem-solving.

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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