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Classical Archaeology

Degree Master of Arts
Application required  access-restricted
Course commences winter semester / summer semester
Standard course duration 4 semesters
Format options full-time only
Language requirements certified proficiency in Latin (on application);
certified proficiency in ancient Greek (on application);
English, another modern foreign language (on application)
Language of instruction German
Other features postgraduate / consecutive

Faculty of Philosophy

Course outline

Classical Archaeology is the scholarly engagement with the material testimonies of the Greek, Etruscan and Roman civilisations. It also extends to their precursors and aftermaths and their relations with neighbouring civilisations. Here the Department works in conjunction with other relevant institutes.
In geographical terms, the range of the subject corresponds to the dissemination of Greek and Roman culture in the various epochs of their existence. Central areas are Greece, Asia minor and Italy, plus the entire Mediterranean region and (in certain periods) the Near East and central Europe.
In its periodicity, the eras of relevance are in Greece the Minoan and Mycenaean cultures of the Bronze Age (3rd-2nd century BC), the world of the Greek and Roman city states, the Hellenistic monarchies and federations, and the Roman Empire up to late Antiquity (5th-6th century AD). Recently, the reception of ancient cultures and the history of archaeological research up to the present have gained increasing significance in the critical definition of the subject and its identity.
When we say that Classical Archaeology investigates the material and artistic testimonies of the Greek, Etruscan and Roman civilisations, we takle this to include:

  • settlements and environment
  • buildings and tombs with their accoutrements
  • objects of social life and religious cults
  • works of art.

In the 18th century and thereafter, the great monuments and the history of ancient art were the central concern of Classical Archaeology. More recently, archaeologists have increasingly homed in on social life contexts and phenomena and issues connected with cultural history. The monuments and relics of everyday life have immense value as testimonies of an ancient culture and have now been understood and interpreted as such.

Knowledge of Latin and ancient Greek and of Greek and Roman history is indispensable for students of Classical Archaeology. Certified proficiency in one of the ancient languages is required for admission, the other can be learned in the course of the M.A. programme (before registering to take the examination). In the long term, qualified scholarly work is only possible with reading knowledge of various modern foreign languages (especially English, French, German and Italian, but also modern Greek and Turkish). To be admitted to the course, applicants must be conversant with at least two of them.

Course structure

The course is modular in structure and comprises a main subject and a subsidiary subject. The subsidiary subject can in principle be any subject with a suitable curriculum at M.A. level.

Standard course duration is four semesters, including the final exams and completion of the M.A. thesis. In the first three semesters, the taught classes extend and deepen the basic knowledge acquired at B.A. level. Elective-compulsory modules enable students to follow their individual inclinations to some extent. The fourth semester is reserved for completion of the M.A. thesis and taking the final examinations. A detailed overview of the requirements can be found in the Examination Regulations (see below).

Subsidiary (minor) subject

In this programme, M.A. students need to acquire 20 CP in a subsidiary (minor) subject. You will find a list of all the subsidiary subjects on offer here.

The M.A. in Classical Archaeology can also be studied as a subsidiary (minor) subject accounting for 20 CP.

Main research interests

The Institute of Classical Archaeology is almost unique in Germany for the range and breadth of its interests in research and teaching. Alongside the classical mainstays (Greek and Roman archaeology) the teaching staff also specialise in Aegean Bronze Age archaeology/Aegean archaeology, the archaeology of the Roman provinces, and museology. The aim of the specific “Heidelberg profile” in teaching is to achieve a combination of broad foundational content and high theoretical competence. With its own Antiquity museum, its collection of plaster casts, an Institute library of international standing and a special subject collection “Classical Archaeology” funded by the German Research Foundation, Heidelberg is the ideal location for the study of Classical Archaeology.

Formal requirements

Access and Admission

Access to the course is restricted. The current Admission Regulations are available here.

Prospective students from Germany

Prospective students from Germany can enrol without prior application at the Central University Administration building by the beginning of the lecture period. To matriculate, they are required to show a written statement of admission issued by the representative of the Master’s programme they wish to attend, confirming that the requirements set out in the Admission Regulations have been met. Please apply to the Institute of Classical Archaeology for further information on how to proceed.

International prospective students

Prospective students from other countries must apply in writing, so that their previous academic record can be verified. The deadline for international applicants is 15 June for the winter semester and 15 November for the summer semester. Applications must be addressed directly to the International Relations Office. Please use the M.A. application form here and enclose the necessary documents.

Further information

Current information on procedure

Study and examination regulations

Examination regulations M.A. (8 November 2007)
Examination regulations M.A. (8 November 2007, amended 2 November 2015)

Module Handbook

Please click here to find the latest Module Handbook.

Examinations board

Issues arising in connection with examinations, credit transfer and academic credential recognition are dealt with by the relevant examinations board/office. For more information, consult the academic advisor(s) indicated below.


Tuition fees at Heidelberg University are payable at the beginning of each semester.


Academic advisors

Arne Reinhardt, M.A.
Marstallhof, Office 405
office hours: Mondays, 10.00h – 12.30h
phone: +49 (0)6221 542530


Institute of Classical Archaeology
Centre for Ancient Studies
Marstallhof 4
D-69117 Heidelberg


Anna Erb
phone: +49 (0)6221 542512
fax: +49 (0)6221 543385


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Latest Revision: 2017-12-20
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