Programme Assyriology (research)

The Research master programme in Classics and Ancient Civilizations: Assyriology is a two-year programme, which prepares students to pursue academic research positions in the field of languages and civilizations of Ancient Mesopotamia and Anatolia from a philological, linguistic, historical or socio-religious point of view. 

Programme information

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The study load of the Research Master programme runs up to 120 EC and is spread over four semesters. To complete the specialisation in Assyriology, students attend 55 EC of electives within the specialisation track Assyriology (seminars, tutorials, reading lists): e.g. “Tutorial Akkadian”, “The Sumerian Language”, “Advanced Sumerian”, “The Gilgamesh Epic in Context”, “Amarna Seminar”, “Trade and Economy in Mesopotamia”, and “Hittite”. Language modules are offered both at an introductory and an advanced level; this allows students to acquire or perfect their reading skills as required.

A number of specialisation electives can be replaced by a stay abroad. For research activities abroad Research Master students are eligible for the The Uhlenbeck scholarship programme. It is also possible to follow courses from other MA programmes within the Faculties of the Humanities and Archaeology and combine these with courses from Assyriology into a coherent package. For instance, at the MA Linguistics courses in Hittite and Luwian are offered which, in combination with courses from Assyriology, offer the student a complete programme in Hittite and Anatolian Studies. Similar combinations are possible with the programme in Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology.

In addition to the track electives, two core common courses are part of the programme (compulsory for all students), concentrating on "The Commentary in Ancient Civilizations" and "Cultural Contact in the Hellenistic World". Research MA students also take a course offered by a research school. OIKOS (the National Research School in Classical Studies) alternately offers a module on “Cuneiform Epigraphy” where students learn the skills to handle, read and edit original cuneiform inscriptions and a module focusing on the culture and language of the Mycenaean World. Students apply for a full membership of OIKOS via the online applications form.

The structure of the study programme:

First semester
- Common core course 1 (10 EC)
- Track electives (10 EC)
- Course research school (10 EC)

Second semester 
- Track electives/stay abroad (30 EC)

Third semester
- Common core course 2 (10 EC)
- Tutorial in preparation for the thesis (5 EC) 
- Track elective (15 EC)

Fourth semester
- Thesis presentation and research proposal (5 EC)
- Master thesis (25 EC)

The e-Prospectus contains course details for all programmes in the Faculty of Humanities (and other faculties). Please consult the Assyriology (research) section of the Prospectus for more (detailed) information about the programme and for recent courses on offer. The information in the Prospectus is updated annually, in June.

Forms for approval programme and thesis

Students are required to hand in a programme proposal to the Board of Examiners, because all Research Master students have an individual programme focusing on their specialization track. The form Approval Individual Programme is filled in at the start of the first study year. To fill in this form, students first make an appointment with the Co-ordinator of Studies, in order to check whether or not their study plans meet the requirements of the Research Master programme. Then, students discuss their programme with their track leader. If the track leader has approved the programme and signed the form, the student sends it to the secretary of the Board of Examiners for final approval.

N.B. Courses for the second year of the programme are sometimes not available yet. In this case, students are required to fill in at least one study year. They fill in the second year in general terms (track elective, tutorial, reading list, thesis, etc.)

In the second year, when students start writing the Master thesis, they should hand in the Thesis Approval form to the Board of Examiners. As soon as students have determined the subject of their thesis, and when they have formulated their research questions, they fill in the Thesis Approval form. On this form they also put the name of the thesis supervisor they have in mind, since the supervisor must also be approved by the board of examiners.  

Timetables and calendar

Application, enrollment and examinations

  • To enroll in a specific course or examination, use the Study administration system uSis.
  • This website is intended for students who are already enrolled in the programme. Prospective students looking for application information should consult

Co-ordinator of Studies

For practical issues and information concerning the Research Master's programme students may refer to the Co-ordinator of Studies. The Co-ordinator of Studies is available for advice pertaining to progress and delay, personal circumstances and exam regulations.

Graduation and deregistration

Research Master students who have completed the Research Master programme can apply for their graduation. See the Graduation page for more information about the graduation procedure, the regulations concerning the Reseach Master thesis, and the process of deregistration from Leiden University after graduation.

Teaching and Examination Regulations and Faculty Regulations

All rights and obligations of students in the faculty of Humanities are stated in regulations, the most important of which are indicated below.

  • Teaching and Examination Regulations state the contents of your programme and the specialisations within the programme.
  • Registration for lectures, tutorials and tests is obligatory: see the uSis registration procedure.
  • The Student Charter informs students about what they can expect from the University and what the University expects from them.
  • Regulations on plagiarism are in place, to counter any instances of malpractice. These regulations provide advice on how to use sources and citations.

Boards, committees, and co-participation

Students within the Faculty of Humanities, are represented in the following boards and committees:

  • the Departmental Teaching Committee
  • the Departmental Board
  • the Faculty Council
  • the Faculty Board

Another committee that is relevant to your studies, but in which students are not represented, is the Board of Examiners.


Practical questions can be directed to: