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Ancient Studies

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Was Caesar the first populist? Can Harry Potter be regarded as a mythological hero? In the Bachelor’s programme Ancient Studies, you will gain insight into the ancient origins of political systems and themes such as identity and migration, which remain relevant far beyond the time of the Persians, Athenians and Romans. Your expertise in the field of Ancient Studies will thus also allow you to develop a critical outlook on contemporary events.

UvA online Open House

This year, you won’t be able to attend any busy on-campus events with lots of people. But our online Open House is the perfect way to get to know UvA study programmes and university life from the comfort of your own home.

Every study programme has an Open House page with videos, FAQs and live events. On the main Open House website you can discover all our programmes,explore the city and campus, and get inspired during our theme weeks.

Antiquity in perspective

The Ancient Studies programme investigates the Classical cultures that lie at the roots of our modern world. You will be given an overview of the most important works of art, literature, philosophy, history and mythology of Antiquity, among which are such things as the pyramids, Greek tragedies, Cleopatra, the epics of Gilgamesh, and Hannibal’s conflict with Rome. As such, you will gain a critical perspective on cultural contact and conflict: between the ancient Greeks, Romans, Persians and Egyptians, but also between past and present. Can our present-day democracy draw any lessons from that of ancient Athens? As an Ancient Studies scholar, you will not only learn to conduct solid research into Ancient topics, but you will also use your historical knowledge to grasp contemporary issues and phenomena.

A combination of disciplines

Ancient Studies is a varied and many-faceted programme (from participating in excavations to deciphering manuscripts). History, archaeology and Classical languages converge within this programme. This innovative combination of disciplines gives you a unique overall perspective on Antiquity and its impact throughout the ages, as well as teaching you to reason from various types of sources and theories.

Furthermore, you will specialise in one of the following subjects: ancient history, Greek or Latin, archaeology, or Ancient Near Eastern Studies. As such, you will unite a broad, critical perspective with depth and expertise.

Bachelor's programme in Ancient Studies explained
Find out in 4 minutes what the unique Ancient Studies Bachelor's programme is about. Professor Vladimir Stissi and student Gijs explain.

Is Ancient Studies right for you?

  • You are fascinated by history, mythology and Classical languages, but you are also interested in present-day, universal themes such as democracy, discrimination and gender relations;
  • You would like to delve deeper into cultural exchange and confrontations between, for example, East and West, pagans and Christians, and Antiquity and the present;
  • You would love to go on a study trip and apply your knowledge of Antiquity in a practical setting.

Why study Ancient Studies in Amsterdam?

  • A world-class education: the University of Amsterdam is ranked one of the highest in the Netherlands and 64th overall in the QS World University Rankings 2020, and 26th overall and 3rd in Continental Europe in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021: Arts & Humanities.
  • In the Ancient Studies programme in Amsterdam, you are trained by the largest group of Ancient Studies specialists in the Netherlands. This is due to the UvA-VU collaboration in the fields of ancient history, archaeology and Classical languages.     
  • This programme is home to a combination of disciplines that is unique to the Netherlands: Ancient Near Eastern Studies, Classical languages, philosophy, archaeology and ancient history.
  • The sense of community is strong: the groups in which you are taught are mostly quite small in size, and you will benefit from lots of personal contact with the lecturers.
  • You will study in the cultural heart of Amsterdam, with its many museums and cultural institutions such as the Allard Pierson and the Rijksmuseum.
  • The programme is highly international in character. It is, of course, fully taught in English, but it also includes excursions to interesting locations such as Sicily.
‘The Ancient Studies programme at the UvA is a programme that connects the past and the present. So many themes from the Ancient world can be used as a sort of lens through which to look at the present.’
Koen Vacano, PhD candidate

Degree certificate

Ancient Studies is an accredited degree programme. After completion of this programme, you will receive a legally accredited Bachelor's degree in Ancient Studies and the title Bachelor of Arts (BA).

Facts & Figures
Degree programme BA Ancient Studies
Mode Full-time
Credits 180 ECTS, 36 months
Language of instruction English
Starts in September
CROHO code 56704