University of Groningen

What are the classical roots of modern ideas about politics? How did the religious landscape interact with its political environment? What made the Roman Empire so successful? Why were sports so important? What was the context of the rise of Christianity? The Master in Classics and Ancient Civilizations teaches you about researching and answering those questions and more.

Ancient history is a dynamic discipline with a long tradition. In Groningen, Ancient History takes the form of a one-year Master's track with a full-time and a part-time variant. Ancient History in Groningen covers the whole of antiquity, from archaic Greece to the late Roman Empire. We have a particular focus on the political cultural and religious connectivities of the Mediterranean world. We take an interdisciplinary approach especially with archaeology and religious studies. We integrate theoretical approaches and digital humanities in our teaching. In addition to elite culture, we are also interested in aspects of daily life – besides literary sources, we focus on inscriptions, papyri and archaeological sources as cultural objects that cast a radically different light on the ancient world.

Ancient History is a track within the Master's degree programme in Classics and Ancient Civilizations. Within this track, we offer three specializations:

  • Ancient History and Culture
  • Ancient History and Archaeology
  • Ancient History and Religious Studies

Programme options

Master Honours College (honours program)

The Master's Honours Programme was developed especially for students who want to get more from their studies.

It is a programme worth 15 ECTS that is followed in addition to the standard Master's programme. It is a one-year interdisciplinary programme that is designed to introduce students to various aspects of leadership.

Ancient History and Culture (specialization)

This specialization gives you the opportunity to specialize in ancient history and antique culture by freely making your own selection of electives worth 20 ECTS.

Ancient History and Archaeology (specialization)

This specialization gives you the opportunity to specialize in ancient history and archaeology by selecting 20 ECTS worth of electives from course units on Archaeology. You can also write a thesis that combines Ancient History and Archaeology.

Ook is het mogelijk een gecombineerde scriptie Oude Geschiedenis / Archeologie te schrijven.

Ancient History and Religious Studies (specialization)

Deze specialisatie biedt de mogelijkheid om je te specialiseren in de oude geschiedenis en archeologie door de 20 ECTS vrije ruimte in te vullen met vakken Godsdienstwetenschap.

This specialization gives you the opportunity to specialize in ancient history and religious studies by selecting 20 ECTS worth of electives from course units on Religious Studies. You can also write a thesis that combines Ancient History and Religious Studies.

Master's placement (specialization)

During this Master's degree programme, you can follow a placement for ECTS credit points.

It is your responsibility to find a placement yourself, but the Mobility Office can offer help with this where necessary. Click the link above to find examples of placements completed by other Master's students.

Programme schedule

Universtiy of Groningen

The degree programme consists of two research seminars: Ancient History (2 x 10 ECTS) and a Master's thesis (20 ECTS). The remaining 20 ECTS can be freely selected from the following tracks/degree programmes: Classical Studies, History Today, Archaeology, Religious Studies, and Philosophy. It is also possible to follow a work placement for 10 ECTS.

Below is a selection from the Research Seminars offered over the past years:

  • From Constantine to Charlemagne: The transformation from Antiquity to the Middle Ages
  • Athens and Rome. Culture, trauma and memory in Roman Greece
  • Crisis. What Crisis? The Roman Empire of the third Century
  • Sports and festivals in Antiquity
  • The impact of the Roman Empire on the Greek world
  • Friendship
  • Emperor and God: the Christianization of the Roman world

Admission requirements

Specific requirements More information
language test Minimum language requirements of TOEFL iBT 90 (with a minimum of 21 on all items), or IELTS 6.5 (with a minimum of 6 on all items). ERK level B2 (preferably C1).
previous education Bachelor's degree in Classics, History, Archaeology or other relevant programme.

Tuition fees

Nationality Year Fee Programme form
EU/EEA 2017-2018 €2060 full-time
EU/EEA 2017-2018 €1478 part-time
non-EU/EEA 2017-2018 €11400 full-time
non-EU/EEA 2017-2018 €7600 part-time

Application deadlines

Type of student Deadline Start course
EU/EEA students 01 May 2018, 15 October 2018 01 September 2018, 01 February 2019
non-EU/EEA students 01 May 2018, 15 October 2018 01 September 2018, 01 February 2019

Job prospects

Ancient History graduates are trained in historical insight, critical reflection and working in an interdisciplinary context. This makes them suitable for careers in

  • Academia
  • Government
  • Media
  • Cultural sector
  • Education

Job examples

  • Historical Researcher
  • Policy Officer
  • Educator


University of Groningen research on Ancient History covers a wide range, from the Greek Classical period up to and including the Late Roman Empire, and from religion and political representation to network theory. We are part of the large History department, which provides us with many opportunities for comparative teaching and research. In addition, we enjoy the full advantages of the diverse Groningen expertise in Classical Studies: an excellent thriving Classical Studies department, a good Mediterranean Archaeology department, and a highly prominent Faculty of Theology. We collaborate intensively with all of these departments in our teaching and research.

Our permanent staff are all active and internationally published researchers with research experience abroad and many international contacts. Our research projects are organised under the title Political Culture, Religion and Identities from the Hellenistic Period to Late Antiquity. Our research is locally subsumed under ICOG and CRASIS, and on a national level under the national research school OIKOS.

Our teaching and research are characterized by a focus on interdisciplinary approaches. In our research projects, we work together with archaeologists, classical studies experts and religious studies experts, and most of our PhD students are supervised in collaboration with experts from these disciplines. We are also involved in supervising PhD students from other departments.

There is an active group of PhD students at the Ancient History department and neighbouring departments. Recent and current PhD projects include the following:

  • Citizens, elites and benefactors: The politics of generosity in Roman Asia Minor
  • Societal Changes reflected in material culture: the Greek agora in the Hellenistic and Roman periods
  • The standard of living in the Roman Empire
  • City and sanctuary in Hellenistic Asia Minor
  • Emperors and decurions in Italy (27 BC - AD 68)
  • Cultural identities in in the Latin colonies of Central Italy
  • Patronage and social hierarchies in Rome
  • Finding the Present in the Distant Past: The Cultural Meaning of Antiquarianism in Late Antiquity

Our PhD students also organize their own Ancient World Seminar.

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Last updated October 26, 2018
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