StudyQA — Master: Archaeology of North Western Europe — Free University Amsterdam

Archaeology of North Western Europe

Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Foreign:$ 14 k / Year(s) Deadline: Apr 1, 2023
StudyQA ranking:1993 Duration:1 year

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The Master’s programme ‘Archaeology of Northwest Europe’ covers the period from the Late Iron Age into the Early Modern period. The two specialisations in this programme are: ‘Late Iron Age and Roman archaeology of Northwest Europe’ and ‘Medieval and Early Modern archaeology’. 

VU University Amsterdam has a leading position in research and teaching in the field of late prehistory and the Roman era in Northwest Europe. Archaeology of the Middle Ages and of the early modern period is a specialism of the University of Amsterdam. Thus, the two universities together cover 3000 years of west-European archaeology. 

The particular interest of this programme lies with settlement archaeology, the archaeology of ritual, integration processes in the Roman Empire and studies of city centres and material culture. Close links exist between the teaching subjects and the results of current fieldwork and other research projects, from the Roman villa landscapes in the southern Netherlands to the shipyards of the VOC (Dutch East India Company) in the heart of Amsterdam. 


1. Late Iron Age and Roman archaeology of Northwestern Europe 
2. Medieval and early modern archaeology


Master's Students in Archaeology of North Western Europe can choose one of the following specializations:

  • Late Prehistory and Roman Archaeology of North Western Europe

This specialisation explores the Celtic/Germanic societies of North Western Europe during the late Iron Age, and their eventual integration into the Roman Empire. Archaeological analyses of results from recent fieldwork and material culture are combined with the exploration of theoretical concepts and ideas about integration processes - and the therein occurring variations - within the Roman Empire.

  • Medieval and Early Modern Archaeology

This specialisation focuses on the study of the origins and developments of cities (especially Amsterdam) in conjunction with developments in landscape, as well as the settlement and agrarian strategies in various Dutch landscapes.


The programme comprises 60 ECTS credits:

  • 42 credits for core courses
  • 18 credits for a thesis

Field work

You learn the skills you need for doing fieldwork. Apart from analysing, reporting and presenting field data, these skills also include managing and conducting fieldwork, e.g. making reasoned choices, adhering to deadlines, delegating tasks and working within a group. You will learn these skills in a practical setting at one of ACASA's current research locations in the Netherlands and in the Mediterranean.

As a Master’s student you can also do a protocol internship in the field, followed by the writing of a protocol book (maximum of 12 ECTS).


The Master’s thesis (18 ECTS) reports on research carried out by the student under the supervision of two academic staff members involved in the programme. The subject of the thesis must be mutually agreed upon by the student and the academic adviser.

Admission and application

Admission is based on a strict selection procedure. The Faculty’s Admission Board will decide upon your admission after having evaluated your complete online application. If you have read the admission criteria below and feel you are eligible for admission, please take the following steps to submit your application. Note that the initial application procedure is fully online and that scans of your relevant documents are required.

Step 1: Meet admission criteria 
Step 2: Prepare documents and apply online 
Step 3: Await decision on admission 
Step 4: Finalize registration and move to Amsterdam! 

Step 1: Meet admission criteria

In order to gain admission to one of our Master’s programmes, you will need to have at least a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited research university including at least three full years of academic study amounting to a minimum of 180 ECTS or equivalent. 

Specific admission requirements for the Master’s Programme Archaeology, specialization in Archaeology of North Western Europe

Students with a Bachelor’s degree in Archaeology are eligible for admission. 

You must always present official test results proving your proficiency in English. Only students who have completed a  full high school/International Baccalaureate in English or bachelor’s degree in Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand, or Australia may be exempted. You can already apply online without having the test results. In case you haven’t taken a test yet we advise you to plan a test date as soon as possible. Below you will find the minimum English test scores for the English taught programmes at the Faculty of Humanities: 

TOEFL score (score 600 paper based with a minimum of 55 in each of the subtests plus 4.0 in TWE, score 250 computer based or score 100 internet based with a minimum of 20-23 in each of the subtests).  IELTS score of 7.0 overall band score (with none of the separate section scores dropping below a minimum score of 6.5). 

Cambridge English: Cambridge Proficiency Exam A, B, C, or Cambridge Advanced Exam A, B, C.

Step 2: Prepare documents and apply online 

Please prepare the following documents. You can find an explanation of each document on the application page. All documents should be provided in English. 

  • Copy of your valid passport or ID (ID only for EU residents) 
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Motivation Letter
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • Transcript of records 
  • Thesis (or another sample of academic writing, at least 5 pages plus a list of used literature)
  • A description of the relevant courses you have taken during your previous higher education 
  • A list of all the main literature used during your previous higher education  

After having prepared the required documents, please follow the online application procedure. After you have completed the application, our international student advisors will contact you via email.

Step 3: Await decision on admission
The admission board will review your application as soon as it is complete. Normally this takes about four weeks, but it might take longer in busy periods so be sure to apply as soon as possible. If you gain admission, you will receive a letter of conditional admission by email. You can start planning your move to Amsterdam!

Step 4: Finalize your registration and move to Amsterdam!
Make sure to finalize your registration as a student before the start of the programme. Here you will find an explanation what to do after admission. When all conditions are met you will be ready to start your programme at VU University Amsterdam! 

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