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Archaeology is an exciting discipline, in which you combine very different skills and fields of knowledge.
You venture out into the world to discover, study and interpret traces of past societies in the landscape, but you also work with both your head and hands in the classroom, in the laboratory, and at your desk, applying academic theories and analysing archaeological materials.

You often have to interpret scanty information, and fill in the gaps by thinking like an anthropologist, even if you are reconstructing life in societies we can no longer see. Where possible, you use historical sources, like a historian, but you also explore whether you can use high-tech methods from the natural sciences. Archaeology can therefore always be found at the interfaces between history and the social and natural sciences.
The field of archaeology itself encompasses the deep and even deepest history of humans, human societies and our intervention in nature.

As an archaeologist you also collect a large amount of valuable information that can shine new light on the big issues society faces today. You study early examples of globalisation and mass migration, following them over the centuries.
You study examples of growing social inequality and its effects on different groups in society. You deliberate over when humans first began to affect nature significantly and the long-term consequences of this, even for the population of today's world.
You study how different societies and cultures view their cultural and natural heritage, and how important this heritage can be to their identities.

This is what makes Archaeology the programme for people of all ages who wish to combine a particular fascination with the past with a broad general interest.

BA year 1

The first year of Heritage and Society consists of mostly introductory subjects and lectures on the basic knowledge and general skills that every archaeologist needs.
You will learn about the development of archaeology as a science and you will discover precisely what the most important archaeological concepts mean.
Also, you will get to know the research areas offered in Leiden archaeology.
Fieldwork is part of the programme as well. This is when you will learn what an excavation really involves, and you will put what you learn into practice.
You will also learn more about heritage and archaeological policies, and how to translate the data and finds from excavations to appeal to a wider audience.

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2
World Archaeology 1 5
Past and Future 5
Landscape Dynamics 1 5
World Archaeology 2 5
Introduction to Heritage Studies 1 5
Field Techniques 5
World Archaeology 3 5
Introduction to Heritage Studies 2 5
Landscape Dynamics 2 5
Material Studies 1 5
Exploratory Data Analysis in Archaeology 5
Field School 5

BA year 2

Bachelor year 2 consists of the following components:

A) Compulsory courses (50 ec)

B) Seminars (10 ec)

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

A) Compulsory courses

Heritage Protection in the 21st Century 5
Museums and Collections: A Practical Introduction 5
Deep History 5
Early Cities: A Comparative Perspective 5
Anthropological Research in Practice 10
Early Empires in West Asia and the Mediterranean 5
Designing Archaeological Research 5
Internship BA2: Heritage and Society 10

B) Choose 1 seminar from each series:

Series 1: October - December

Archaeology of the Eastern Mediterranean in the Late Bronze Age 5
The Roman Frontier 5
The Archaeology of the Ancient Silk Roads 5
Isotope Archaeology 5
Surviving The Delta 5
Byzantine Archaeology 5
Islamic Archaeology Research 5

Series 3: April - May

The Effects of Climate Change on Cultural Heritage 5
Maritime Archaeology, Culture and Landscapes: Research, Protection, and their Role in Identity(Building) 5
Osteology 5
Botany 5
Zoology 5
Histories We Play 5
Maya Archaeology 5
Experimental Archaeology 5

BA year 3

Bachelor year 3 consists of the following components:

A) Compulsory courses (30 ec)

B) Choose a minor (Dutch or English) at Leiden University, at another Dutch university, or spend a semester abroad.

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

A) Compulsory courses

Archaeological Theory (BA3) 5
Designing Archaeological Research 5
Science Communication: Archaeology in the 21st Century 5
Landscape Archaeology Projects 5
Internship BA3 5
Thesis BA3 10

B) Study Abroad / Minor

Study Abroad/Exchange

The 30 ec in elective courses can be spent on studying abroad, or a minor.

Studying abroad (30 ec)

An exchange programme offers you a convenient way to study abroad. You can study at a selected university that has exchange agreements with Leiden University. In exchange for your stay, a student from that university will come to Leiden.
Studying abroad provides you with new experiences and complements your studies in many ways. It will prepare you for the job market as well.

A stay abroad should be planned in the first semester of Bachelor year 3, so you can take courses in Leiden in the second semester. You will be granted permission to study abroad if you have completed the first Bachelor year, your stay actually complements your programme, and it does not cause study delay.

In order to study abroad, most institutions require a grade point average of 7,0 or higher. In Europe there are some institutions that accept a lower grade point average for exchange programmes.

Application deadlines

University-wide (worldwide): 1 December
Archaeology exchange (Europe+UK ): 15 February

More info

For more information, see the Exchange website.

You can also ask for information from the Exchange Coordinator: mrs. Cleody van der Eijk, Van Steenis building/room A2.04, e-mail:

Career orientation

Career preparation in bachelor Archaeology: Heritage and Society

In addition to offering you a solid university education, Leiden University aims to prepare you for the labour market as well as possible, and in doing so contribute to the development of your employability. In this way, it will become easier for you to make the transition to the labour market, to remain employable in a dynamic labour market, in a (career) job that suits your own personal values, preferences and development.

'Employability' consists of the following aspects that you will develop within your study programme, among others:

Discipline-specific knowledge and skills
Knowledge and skills specific to your study programme

Transferable skills
These are skills that are relevant to every student and that you can use in all kinds of jobs irrespective of your study programme, for example: researching, analysing, project-based working, generating solutions, digital skills, collaborating, oral communication, written communication, presenting, societal awareness, independent learning, resilience.
But also job application skills: preparing a CV, formulating a cover letter, compiling a LinkedIn profile, networking, practicing job interviews, preparing and holding a pitch.

This involves reflecting on your own (study) career (choices), reflecting on your own profile and your personal and professional development. Gaining insight into, among other things, your competences and personality, your (work) values and motives. What can you do with your knowledge and skills on the labour market?
Who are you, what are you good at, what do you find interesting, what suits you, what do you find important, what do you want to do?

Practical experience
Gaining practical experience through practical and social internships and work placements, external research internships and projects, practical assignments, which are integrated into an elective, minor or graduation assignment, business challenges etc.

Labour market orientation
Gaining insight into the labour market, fields of work, jobs and career paths through, for example, guest speakers from the work field, alumni presentations and experiences, career events within the study programme, the use of the alumni mentor network, interviewing people from the work field, and shadowing/visiting companies in the context of a particular subject.

Employability in bachelor Archaeology: Heritage and Society

The bachelor programme has the following objectives:
The aim of the programme is to give students elementary academic training enabling them, under supervision, to become involved in site work (prospecting and excavation), scientific research and archaeological policy matters.
The student will have acquired knowledge of materials from different periods and regions and be familiar with the possibilities offered by archaeometry and related techniques.
The student is also informed of the theoretical positions from which to analyse their observations and hypotheses. The student is, moreover, capable of reporting on the research they have done. Using this knowledge and these skills, the graduate is able to take their place in the field of professional practice or successfully follow a Masters programme in this discipline at another university in the Netherlands or abroad.
Concludingly, the student is aware of and adheres to the ethical aspects particular to working with archaeological material and cultural heritage, and will develop skills that are transferable to any kind of employment environment and/or further studies.

These employability elements feature in your study programme throughout the years. Examples of subjects that pay attention to this are:

Discipline-specific knowledge and skills
History of Archaeology: Past and Future (BA1)
Archaeological Field Techniques (such as coup drawings and using a total station): Field Techniques (BA1)
Curatorship: Museums and Collections: A Practical Introduction (BA2)
Antropology: Anthropological Research in Practice (BA2)

Transferable skills
Project management: Landscape Archaeology Projects (BA2)
Teamwork: The Roman Frontier (BA2)
Digital Skills: Predictive Modelling (BA2)
Analysing: Dutch Prehistory in a European Context (BA2)
Science Communication: Science Communication: Archaeology in the 21st Century (BA3)

Day reports: Field School 1 (BA1)
Evaluation and internship report: Internship BA2 and Internship BA3

Practical experience
Practice your archaeological skills in the field: Field School 1 (BA1)
Further develop archaeological skills or intern at a museum, laboratory or archaeological company: Internship BA2 and Internship BA3

Labour market orientation
LANCE (Leiden Archaeological Network and Career Event) Career service meetings

Activities to prepare for the labour market outside the curriculum

Every year, various activities take place, within, alongside and outside of your study programme, which contribute to your preparation for the labour market, especially where it concerns orientation towards the work field/the labour market, (career) skills and self-reflection.
These may be information meetings on decision moments within your programme, but also career workshops and events organised by your own programme, the faculty Career Service or your study association.

First Year

Information about the bachelor tracks (after the first year you choose either World Archaeology or Heritage and Society).

Second Year

Study Abroad Festival

Minor Market

Third Year

Master Open Day


Career Services and Career Advice workshops

Internship markets

LANCE (Leiden Archaeological Network and Career Event)

Leiden University Career Zone

Workshops and Courses

Career Service, LU Career Zone and career workshops calendar

Faculty Career Service
The Career Service offers information and advice on study (re)orientation and master's choice, (study) career planning, orientation on the labour market and job applications.

Leiden University Career Zone Leiden University Career Zone is the website for students and alumni of Leiden University to support their (study) career. You can find advice, information, (career) tests and tools in the area of (study) career planning, career possibilities with your study, job market orientation, job applications, the alumni mentor network, job portal, workshops and events and Career services.

Workshops and events
In the course calendar you will find an overview of career and application workshops, organised by the Career services.

Useful links


Studying for your PhD

LAS Terra podcasts

ALFA Alumni