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Classics and Ancient Civilizations (research): Assyriology

Assyriology is a specialization of the Research Master’s programme in Classics and Ancient Civilizations. This Research 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 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 five tracks:

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

First year

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

First semester

The Commentary 10

Track electives

Students may choose from the following track electives (total of 20 ECTS):

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

Second semester

Track electives

Religion and Science in West Asia before the Greeks 10
Reading Source Texts 10
The Hittite Language 10

Second year

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

First semester

The Commentary 10
MA Thesis Tutorial Classics and Ancient Civilizations (Research) 10

Track electives

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

Second semester

MA Thesis Classics and Ancient Civilizations (Research) 25
Thesis presentation and research proposal 5

Meer info

Objectives Structure Specializations Master’s thesis Requirements for graduation Students’ Counsellor: Assyriology


The objectives of the Research Master’s programme in Classics and Ancient Civilizations are:

  • The broadening and deepening of knowledge, insight, skills and use of methodology in the field of Classics and Ancient Civilizations studies;

  • The furtherance of academic and professional training; to solve scholarly problems in an independent way, critically and creatively; and to report research results with clarity both orally and in writing;

  • Preparation for an academic career in universities, and/ or post-graduate education and for functions outside of academe in the public or private sector in which advanced research skills and substantial practical research experience are among qualifications required.

As a graduate of a two-year Research Master’s degree you are qualified to work as a junior academic researcher in an academic environment or carry out further research work on a PhD programme.


The Research Master’s programme in Classics and Ancient Civilizations provides intensive and comprehensive training covering the entire range of present-day research on the civilizations of Greece and Rome and the Ancient Near East. 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 study load runs up to 120 EC and is divided over four semesters. Apart from the obligatory core courses, a student of the Research Master programme follows a number of tracks electives within the programme. Though these track electives are shared with the 1-year Master programme Classics and Ancient Civilizations, students in the Research Master follow these courses at a more advanced level:

  • Common core courses (20 EC)

  • Track electives (60 EC)

  • Tutorial in preparation for the thesis (10 EC)

  • Thesis presentation and research proposal (5 EC)

  • Thesis (25 EC)

Please visit our website (and click on your specialization in the Research Master Programme) to find more details about the structure of the programme.


The Research Master has five 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, Hebrew Bible Studies, and New Testament and Early Christian Studies.

The specialization Assyriology includes the multi-disciplinary study of the various civilizations employing the cuneiform script for different languages. A total of six special track electives (10 EC each), the subject of which changes yearly, are to be chosen. A strong emphasis on society and administration makes a valuable contribution to the methodological framework of the Research Master’s programme as such.

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

Master’s thesis

The thesis for the Research Master’s programme Classics and Ancient Civilizations is worth 25 EC, and contains a maximum of 25,000 words including notes, bibliography and appendices. Students who (have) start(ed) writing their thesis, should attend the seminar: Thesis presentation and research proposal.

Assyriology: The 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

To complete the specialization for which you have been accepted, students will have to conclude the two common courses (20 EC). They have to accumulate 60 EC of track electives, of which a number can be replaced by a stay abroad. Further, they should have finished a thesis in their field of specialization (40 EC, including a thesis tutorial and thesis seminar).

If students want to meet the nationally determined requirements for admission to the Teachers Training programme Classics (in Dutch), they are required to take at least 45 EC (including a Master’s thesis of 25 EC) in Greek and Latin literature or linguistics, and they are required to take at least one course (seminars/tutorials) of 10 EC for each language. The academically more advanced cultural-historical element in the Master’s programme, and the requirements of the Greek/Latin language component provide an adequate basis for the Teachers Training programme Classics required for a qualification for teaching Greek and Latin in secondary school.

Students’ Counsellor: Assyriology

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