nl en

Classics and Ancient Civilizations (research): Classics

Classics is a specialization of the Research Master’s program in Classics and Ancient Civilizations. This Research Master program is unique in the Netherlands in the breadth of its subject matter, the historical periods covered and the multidisciplinary approach of its study. Characteristic for the Research Master is its focus on reading ancient texts in their original languages, and discussing the different interpretations the texts allow.

Students may specialize in one of four tracks:

See the information page for more details on the program or visit our website.

First year

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

First semester

Compulsory courses: 10 EC

Common course: Libraries in the Ancient World 10

Electives: select 20 EC from the following courses

Seminar Greek: Greek Poetry in Rome 10
Tutorial Greek: The Athenian Acropolis - Texts, Terms and Topography 10
Tutorial Latin: Ennius Tragedies 10
Roman Fake News. Documentary Fictions in the Roman World 10
Seminar Ancient Philosophy: Time for Plotinus: Enneads III.7 [45] in context 10
History writing in and on the Achaemenid Empire 10
Material Culture for Ancient Historians 10

Extra curricular course

Core Course: Classics Now! 5/10

Second semester

Compulsory courses: 5 EC

Research School Elective: 5 EC

Select from courses offered by National Research Schools

Research School Courses (ResMA Classics and Ancient Civilizations) 5/10

Electives: select 25 EC from the following courses

Seminar Greek: Friendship in the Greek World: forms of relationality, from Homer to Aristotle 10
Seminar Latin: More Than Civil War: Lucan’s Bellum Civile 10
Plato's Timaeus and Critias. Cosmology and History in Defense of Political Utopia 10
Egypt in Late Antiquity 10
Rebel, Prophet, Martyr: Jesus of Nazareth in the Context of his Time 10
Epigraphy 10
Greek Papyrology 10
Palaeography of the Greek Papyri and Edition Technique of Papyrus Documents 5

Second year

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

First semester

Compulsory courses: 15 EC

Common course: Libraries in the Ancient World 10
MA Thesis Tutorial Classics and Ancient Civilizations (Research) 5

Research School Elective(s) 5 EC

Research School Courses (ResMA Classics and Ancient Civilizations) 5/10

Elective(s): select 10 EC from the following courses

Seminar Greek: Greek Poetry in Rome 10
Tutorial Greek: The Athenian Acropolis - Texts, Terms and Topography 10
Tutorial Latin: Ennius Tragedies 10
Roman Fake News. Documentary Fictions in the Roman World 10
Seminar Ancient Philosophy: Time for Plotinus: Enneads III.7 [45] in context 10
History writing in and on the Achaemenid Empire 10
Epigraphy 10
Material Culture for Ancient Historians 10

Second semester

Compulsory courses: 30 EC

Thesis Presentation and Research Proposal 5
MA Thesis Classics and Ancient Civilizations (Research) 25

Extra curricular courses

The courses below are offered by the Classics and Ancient Civilizations program (or related programs), and are accessible for all students in the (Research) MA program Classics and Ancient Civilizations. The courses are not part of the Classics program, but can be taken as extra curricular courses.

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

First semester

Core Course: Classics Now! 5/10
Core Course Medieval and Early Modern Studies 10
Tutorial Akkadian 10
The Sumerian Language: Structure and Analysis 5
Introduction to Middle Egyptian and the Hieroglyphic Script 10
Selected Topics in Egyptian Archaeology 5

Second semester

Intermediate Sumerian 5

Career Preparation

Career preparation

The programme of the Research MA Classics and Ancient Civilizations provides comprehensive training in the languages, literatures and cultures of the ancient Mediterranean region and the Near East. How will you be able to use your knowledge of the ancient world and your academic skills on the job market? What skills do you already have, and what further skills do you still want to learn? How do you translate the courses that you choose into something that you would like to do after graduation? How can you best prepare yourself for the future? We discuss these questions at several moments during the Research MA program. You may already have spoken about them with your study coordinator, your track leader, the Humanities Career Service or other students, or perhaps you have made use of the Leiden University Career Zone. There are several other opportunities for you to receive more information, to help you reflect on your own wishes and options, and to give you the chance to explore the job market. We organize job market events and meetings with alumni, and we can help you to find internships.

Common courses:

Several courses of the study programme help you to prepare for the job market. Within the Research Master, this topic is addressed explicitly in the Common Courses. Students from all four tracks take two compulsory Common Courses in the course of their programme. During the course, students learn to present their research in accessible form to an audience of non-specialists. Furthermore, students develop a number of skills transferable to a career as junior researcher in an academic environment, or to a career outside of academia: research skills, critical assessment of secondary literature, oral presentation and written presentation.

Thesis presentation and research proposal

In their second year, all students take the compulsory Thesis Presentation and Research Proposal Seminar. This seminar concentrates on academic research skills. You will learn to write a conference abstract, compose a professional CV, write a research proposal and present the topic of your thesis. Academic integrity and planning a research career are also topics that will be addressed. During this seminar you are introduced to both academic and non-academic careers, as alumni are invited to talk about their experiences on the job market.


Internships are very useful for students who wish to familiarize themselves with the job market. We have established firm connections with several institutions and companies that have agreed to offer annual internships for students of Classics and Ancient Civilizations: Brill Publishers, Uitgeverij LAMBO, NINO and RMO (the National Museum of Antiquities). Other internships are also possible. The Board of Examiners must approve your internship plan, which can be either part of your study program (10 EC) or extracurricular. For more information, contact the internship coordinator and visit the website Finding and arranging an internship.

Leiden Antiquity Network Meetings

The programme annually organizes Leiden Antiquity Network Meetings: at these events students can meet alumni with different jobs. Apart from presentations by alumni about their careers, the Leiden Antiquity Network Meeting may include ‘speed-dating’ sessions for students and alumni.

Humanities Career Service

The Faculty of Humanities Career Service provides Humanities students with professional advice and guidance concerning (international) internships and jobs, courses in career planning and job application, and job application readers. The internship coordinator and the career advisor assist you in exploring your individual interests and abilities, and guide you towards the most appropriate internships and job.
Please consult the Humanities Career Service webpage for more information.

Humanities Career Event

This career day is organized by the Faculty of Humanities. It is meant for students who are preparing themselves for a future career in The Netherlands. There are various things to do during this event. There are inspiring keynote speakers; organisations and companies give workshops about work experience from employees and the career opportunities for Leiden University alumni; and there are also workshops about for example Linkedin, networking, and applying for jobs.
The date of the next Humanities Career Event will be announced on the university website and by e-mail.

Forum Antiquum and Ancient World Network (Lunch Talks)

For students who wish to pursue an academic career, there are two lecture series where you can meet scholars and learn about new approaches to the ancient world. Forum Antiquum is the lecture series that focuses on research in Classics. Lectures are organized every other week during the semester on Thursdays. Every semester, a number of national and international speakers are invited, both well-known experts and promising young researchers.
The Ancient World Lunch Talks provide an opportunity to exchange ideas and latest research in an informal atmosphere with an audience of MA and PhD students, Postdocs and Faculty and all interested students. There is free pizza and everyone is welcome to bring lunch!
If you are not in the mailing list and you would like to receive e-mails about the lunch talks, please contact the study adviser.

Transferrable Skills

Your future employers will not only be interested in your knowledge of Classics and Ancient Civilisations, but also in the skills that you have developed during your studies. Therefore, it is important that you are aware of the skills that you are training in your Research MA programme. The course descriptions in the e-Prospectus tell you which skills you will acquire.
In the research MA programme you learn how to analyze a problem, how to formulate a research question, how to select and assess your sources, how to assess secondary literature, how to give a clear and well-argued oral presentation either for specialists or for a wider audience, and how to write a clear and well-argued paper. You will be training the following transferrable skills:

  • critical thinking (formulating questions, checking assumptions, assessing sources and scholarship)

  • analytical skills (selecting, ordering, sorting out, and solving a problem)

  • oral presentation skills (speaking, listening, discussing, receiving feedback)

  • writing skills (reporting, summarizing, presenting an argument, with structure and style)

  • independence (self-discipline, initiative, motivation)

  • project management (planning, demarcation of a topic, discipline, meeting deadlines)

  • flexibility (adapting to changes)

  • creativity (curiosity, developing new ideas and innovative topics)

  • academic integrity (acting with honesty, fairness, and responsibility)

  • collaboration (working together with other students on a joint project)

Meetings with the Study Adviser

Students who have questions about their orientation on career prospects can contact the study adviser of the research MA programme Classics and Ancient Civilizations.