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History: Ancient History

In the first semester, the student takes a Literature Seminar (10 EC) and two Research Seminars (20 EC), at least one of which within their specialisation.

In the second semester, the student has the opportunity to fill the Optional Course (10 EC) with several options (see below; first three options are especially interesting for Ancient History students), and has to write a Thesis (20 EC). Throughout the year, students are obliged to participate in a Thesis Seminar.

The student must get in touch with the Coordinator of Studies if the student wants advice on the study plan.


Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Literature Seminar within specialisation

The unification of the Mediterranean 10
Coping with Versnel: debating ancient religions 10

Research Seminar within specialisation

Roman Fake News. Documentary Fictions in the Roman World 10
Egypt in Late Antiquity 10

Research Seminar within department

Pick one out of the list of Research Seminars

Optional Courses

Material Culture for Ancient Historians 10
Epigraphy 10
Greek Papyrology 10
Optional Courses (MA History) 10

MA Thesis

MA Thesis Seminar 0
MA Thesis History & Final Exam 20

More info


The programme has the following objectives:

  • 1) To enable students to acquire academic knowledge, understanding and skills, and train them in the use of scientific methods in the field of history;

  • 2) To enable students to develop the following academic and professional skill:
    Independent academic reasoning and conduct,
    The ability to analyse complex problems,
    Academic reporting;

  • 3) To prepare students for an academic career and further education;

  • 4) To prepare students for a career outside academia.


The Master programme in History (60 EC) offers you the chance to determine a study based on your own particular interests and ambitions. With several specialisations on offer – each containing a number of specific subjects – you will pay specific attention to the development of theories on historical processes, historiography and methodology of historical research.


Literature Seminar 10 EC
Research Seminar I (within specialisation) 10 EC
Research Seminar II (within department of History) 10 EC
Optional Course 10 EC
Thesis, Thesis Seminar and Exam 20 EC


The Master History programme has the following specialisations: Ancient History Archival Studies Europe 1000-1800 Europaeum Programme Cities, Migration and Global Interdependence (with subtracks Economic History & Governance of Migration and Diversity) Colonial and Global History (with subtrack Maritime History) Political Culture and National Identities (with subtrack Political Debate)

Coordinator of Studies

Send an e-mail to

Career Preparation

Career Preparation in the MA History

The programme

The MA History in Leiden is an nationally and internationally renowned 1-year MA. It has as a guiding principle ‘Global Questions, Local Sources’, referring to our aim to follow the international developments in historiography and to teach students to critically analyze source materials. In our MA History students develop their academic skills by a thorough orientation on international debates, by analyzing historical sources, and by discussing these insights with professors and co-students. In the range of subjects that is on offer, the Leiden MA History is the broadest and most international History MA in the Netherlands.

The MA History offers seven specialisations. In each specialisation, students in the Leiden MA History acquire a broad, comparative dimension in their knowledge and connect this to global events. This approach to learning brings a broad understanding and an aptitude for critical thinking both of which are highly valued by employers today.

How can you use this knowledge and the skills that you acquire? Which specialisation should you choose within your study programme and why? 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’d like to do after graduation?

These questions and more will be discussed at various times during your study programme. You may already have spoken about them with your study coordinator, the Humanities Career Service or other students, or made use of the Leiden University Career Zone. Many different activities are organised to help you reflect on your own wishes and options, and give you the chance to explore the job market. All these activities are focused on the questions: ‘What can I do?’, ‘What do I want?’ and ‘How do I achieve my goals?’.


You will be notified via the Faculty website, your study programme website and e-mail about further activities in the area of job market preparation. The following activities will help you to thoroughly explore your options, so we advise you to take careful note of them:

Transferable skills

Future employers are interested not only in the subject-related knowledge that you acquired during your study programme, but also in the ‘transferable skills’. These include cognitive skills, such as critical thinking, reasoning and argumentation and innovation; intrapersonal skills, such as flexibility, initiative, appreciating diversity and metacognition; and interpersonal skills, such as communication, accountability and conflict resolution. In short, they are skills that all professionals need in order to perform well.

It is therefore important that during your study programme you not only acquire as much knowledge as possible about your subject, but also are aware of the skills you have gained and the further skills you still want to learn. The course descriptions in the e-Prospectus of the MA History include, in addition to the courses’ learning objectives, a list of the skills that they aim to develop.
The skills you may encounter in the various courses are:

  • Collaboration

  • Persuasion

  • Research

  • Self-directed learning

  • Creative thinking

Courses of the MA History

Courses of the study programme obviously help to prepare you for the job market. As a study programme, we aim to cover this topic either directly or less directly in each semester. Within the MA History, this takes place within, for example, the following courses:

  • Thesis Seminar

  • Research Seminar

  • Literature Seminar


If you have any questions about career choices, whether in your studies or on the job market, you are welcome to make an appointment with the career adviser of the the Humanities Career Service 071-5272235, or with your Coordinator of Studies, mrs. Esther Buizer-Janssen.