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Classics and Ancient Civilizations: Assyriology

Assyriology is a specialization of the Master’s programme in Classics and Ancient Civilizations. This Master programme 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 Master is its focus on reading ancient texts in their original languages, and discussing the different interpretations the texts allow. The student may specialize in one of four tracks:

Click on “More info” below for more details about the programme or visit our website


Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

First semester

The Languages of Ancient West Asia 10
The Society of Mesopotamia and Anatolia 10
Critical Study of Literature 10

Second semester

Track elective

Students may choose a course from the following track electives (total 10 EC):

Religion and Science in West Asia before the Greeks 10
Reading Source Texts 10
The Hittite Language 10
MA thesis Classics and Ancient Civilizations 20

Meer info

Master’s thesis
Requirements for graduation
Students’ Counsellor: Assyriology


The Master Classics and Ancient Civilizations (1 year, study load: 60 EC) offers a comprehensive teaching programme which comprises all cultures of the Mediterranean sea in antiquity. The programme introduces a wide variety of research methods: traditional philology with its intimate knowledge of languages and texts, while still indispensable, is enriched by social history and economic theory, comparative literature, the study of religion in an anthropological perspective and, of course, archaeology and material culture.


The Master has four specializations, all of which focus on reading ancient texts in their original languages and discussing the interpretations these texts give rise to. Ranging from the sources of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece and the Roman Empire to the medieval texts in Neo-Latin, Coptic and Hebrew: Assyriology, Classics, Egyptology, and Hebrew and Aramaic Languages and Cultures.

Assyriology: Leiden University is an ideal place to study the Ancient Near East and its texts written cuneiform (invented around 3000 B.C.). Our university produced some generally acclaimed research, such as the Altbabylonische Briefe in Umschrift und Übersetzung series, which contains a large collection of Old Babylonian letters. In addition to the Master’s thesis, the programme contains four 10 EC courses: The languages of Ancient West Asia, the Society of Mesopotamia and Anatolia, Critical study of literature, and a special track elective.

Students have direct access to scholars and research projects, as well as the opportunity to be involved in research projects conducted at various top-level universities elsewhere, such as Leuven, Cambridge, Münster and Heidelberg, with which exchange programmes are organised on a regular basis.

This specialization involves close co-operation with academic staff who — as well as being experts on the languages and cultures of the Ancient Near East — are heavily involved in a variety of research projects, many of which are connected to the syllabus of the programme.

You will study through the Netherlands Institute for the Near East (NINO), which houses a library reputed to have one of the finest collections of books and journals connected with Mesopotamia and Anatolia, as well as a world-class collection of original cuneiform documents from all periods of Mesopotamian history.

For more information on the other three specializations, see Classics and Ancient Civilizations.

Master’s thesis

The thesis for the Master’s programme Classics and Ancient Civilizations is worth 20 EC, and contains a maximum of 20,000 words including notes, bibliography and appendices. More information about the official regulations regarding the MA thesis (attachment of the Teaching and Examination Regulations).

Assyriology and Hebrew and Aramaic languages and cultures: The Master’s thesis must be representative of the student’s ability to acquire knowledge on any topic covered by the degree programme and to process this knowledge in an academically sound manner, as well as presenting it in writing in accordance with generally accepted academic practices. The aforementioned topic generally implies working with primary sources in the original languages.

Requirements for graduation

In order to graduate, students must have successfully completed the 60 EC programme of their specialization and have completed their Master’s thesis as a component of that programme.

Students’ Counsellor: Assyriology

Dr. M.F.J. Baasten
Phone:+31 (0)71 527 2257 / 2960
Office hours: Monday and Thursday