Archaeology in Leiden encompasses the study of societies and cultures from the past, aiming to reconstruct and revive them. Make a meaningful contribution to resolving present-day societal issues such as migration, globalisation and climate change, using your interest in the past.
Leiden’s Archaeology master’s degree has the most diverse programme in the Netherlands. Leiden also boasts the only independent Faculty of Archaeology in the Netherlands. The study programme offers various regional and thematic specialisations and the teaching programme is closely linked to ongoing research.
Our academic staff are involved in research all over the world, with a strong focus on field research. In addition, the programme emphasises ecology and geology, combined with both iconology and historical studies, as well as ethno-archaeological, anthropological and experimental approaches. A combination with modern museum practices and developments in archaeological heritage management broadens your scope even more.
As a student of one of our specialisations, you will gain in-depth knowledge of the discipline of your choice. At the same time, you will take part in ongoing debates about general theory, the development of new methods and the use of information technology.
Our teaching is multidisciplinary and uses theories, methods and techniques drawn from the humanities, social sciences and sciences. By regarding the matter from an ecologist's viewpoint, or seeing it through a geologist's or anthropologist's eye, you add great value to your studies and research.
Students who choose the Archaeological Science specialisation receive a Master of Science degree in Archaeology. For World Archaeology and Heritage and Museum Studies, you receive a Master of Arts degree in Archaeology.
The Research Master’s programme in Archaeology is the most diverse in the Netherlands. Benefit from our extensive experience and reputation in archaeological research.
Our research master's programme offers interesting regional and thematic specialisation possibilities. It stimulates extra-talented and motivated students by exposing them to cutting edge research and making them part of it.
The programme helps you to find your own place in the wide world of archaeological careers, and equips you with all the 21st century professional and transferable skills you need.
Our research facilities and labs, field schools and excavation projects, experimental archaeology projects and the national research schools (ARCHON, OIKOS) offer excellent opportunities for every prospective researcher.
Australopithecus africanus, one of our many ancestors
This programme provides an in-depth interdisciplinary introduction in the European Palaeolithic record and its wider setting, from the Early Pleistocene to the Late Pleistocene.
The programme aims to develop a detailed and coherent view of past communities.
This programme focuses on a region that has enormous culture-historical significance, and is a cradle of civilisation from Prehistory up to the Early Medieval period.
Leiden Archaeology researchers used high-tech imaging to reveal rare precolonial Mexican manuscript hidden from view for 500 years
The programme offers an interdisciplinary context, where archaeology, anthropology, sciences, history, linguistics, landscape and heritage studies come together.
Fragments of a sabre-toothed cat skull where recenty excavated
Discover our four research disciplines, together covering an extensive geographical area and time range.
The programme focuses on the role of the past in the present. Explore the various aspects of recent developments in international politics, cultural tourism, the use of social media, and the revitalisation of local traditions and regional identities.
This programme offers an introduction to advanced studies of Europe and the Mediterranean in Late Roman and Post-Roman times (c. 300-900 AD).
Students who choose the Bioarchaeology track receive a Master of Science degree in Archaeology. For the other research tracks you receive a Master of Arts degree in Archaeology.
Human skeletal remains are the most direct evidence of past lifeways and their scientific investigation gives unique insights into human history.
Bioarchaeology (the study of archaeological human remains) is an exciting field that draws on a variety of techniques, ranging from visual examination of the whole skeleton to the biomolecular analysis of small bone samples. Demographic shifts, environmental changes, migrations, the spread of diseases and the impact of violence and conflict all leave traces on the skeleton.
This MSc provides the skills required to understand skeletal biographies and interpret them in their cultural context at the individual and the population level. Combining theoretical learning with hands-on practice, we will provide you with the theoretical knowledge and practical skills essential to your handling and analysis of specimens recovered from archaeological sites.
Throughout the programme, you’ll take part in lectures, seminars and practical work with archaeological skeletal assemblages and reference collections. You will complete six courses that are assessed through reports, lab exams, oral and poster presentations and essays.
Drawing on Edinburgh’s long history in the study of the human body, you will also have the opportunity to visit Surgeons’ Hall Museum and the Anatomy Department, which provide unique collections of pathological and anatomical study specimens.
You will also submit a dissertation on a research topic of your choosing. Past dissertations have ranged from experimental projects on violence in prehistory to dietary studies of Chalcolithic Turkey and considerations of disease and impairment in post-Medieval England.
The courses on this programme are:
On successful completion of the programme, you will be able to:
Examples of career paths available to archaeology graduates (although some may require additional training) include: higher education, heritage management and agencies, commercial archaeology, environmental assessment, teaching, tourism industry, broadcasting and the police.
An archaeology degree does not, of course, restrict you to a career in archaeology. The programme also equips you for advanced study.
Joining our world-leading Language Evolution and Computation (LEC) research unit, you will investigate the origins and evolution of human language, tackling questions such as ‘what is it that makes us human?’, ‘how did our brains evolve?’ and ‘what are the origins of human language?’.
The LEC is at the cutting edge of research in this area and one of the world’s biggest research groups working on language evolution. You will have the opportunity to become involved with the unit’s research effort, and to make your own contribution to this dynamic field through your dissertation.
The programme focuses on a treatment of language as a dynamic evolving system, bringing together origins, acquisition and change.
It provides a broad introduction to the field of language evolution and cognitive evolution, and can form the basis for further (typically PhD) study for those wishing to continue their research.
The programme draws on many disciplines in the University, including archaeology, biology, linguistics, neuroscience, informatics, philosophy and psychology.
The programme involves two taught semesters and your own research dissertation. Four compulsory courses (in addition to the compulsory dissertation) provide a solid foundation, while optional courses allow you to explore your own areas of interest.
The taught element is delivered through a mix of lectures, tutorials, seminars and practical sessions. Assessment is by written/project work and examination.
Option courses may include:
You may also be able to take a course from other degree programmes in the School of Philosophy, Psychology & Language Sciences, and in some cases from elsewhere in the University.
On successful completion of this programme, you will have gained:
This programme provides solid grounding for further research in many associated areas, such as linguistics, cognitive sciences and human evolution.