Study programme

The research Master's programme Ancient, Medieval and Renaissance Studies comprises two years (120 EC). Each year is divided into two semesters, running from September until January and from February until June. A semester is divided into two study periods. 


The programme consists of core courses, track-specific (language) courses, electives and a Master's thesis. Check the study schedule (PDF). 

Year 1

In the first year, you take four core courses, four research seminars specific for your chosen track, and special requirements: two language courses and two electives of the National Research Schools.

Year 2 | Semester 1

In the first semester of the second year you create your own study programme by taking courses or tutorials on offer in other tracks of this programme, in other Master's programmes at Utrecht University, a university elsewhere in the Netherlands, or abroad. You may also opt for one of the general electives on offer in the research Master's programme. The aim of this semester is to invest in knowledge and skills specifically for your personal research interests, in preperation of writing your thesis during the second semester.

Year 2 | Semester 2

The programme is concluded with a research Master's thesis. The quality of this thesis is especially important if you plan on seeking admission to a PhD programme after graduation.  You can also participate in a Thesis Lab designed to support your research and writing proces.

Educational methods

Educational methods differ from one course to another. The most used methods are:

  • seminars (30%)
  • group work (25%)
  • independent study (30%)
  • research internship (15%)

Individual work will also be discussed (for example, in the research tutorials).


You may complete an internship if it includes a clear research component, i.e. an internship in an archive, library, or museum. Internships may involve national or international research projects with Utrecht University scholars or with publishers. In the past our students have done internships at the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden and Brill Publishers. You can also do an internship abroad, at a research project at a university or at an international organisation.

Keep in mind that most organisations in the Netherlands use Dutch as their working language. However, you can also do an internship abroad, at a research project at a university or at an international organisation.


The option to take a tutorial is provided for the study, individually or in small groups, of specific topics in the field of Ancient, Medieval or Renaissance studies.

Among the topics available for your choice are: Religious History, Saints, Relics and Religious Material Culture, Early Medieval History, Later Middle Ages, Medieval Communication, Medieval Liturgy, The Transmission of Medieval Latin Texts, Editions, Italian Renaissance Literature, Humour and Religion in Early Modern Imaginative Literature, and Religious Conflict in Early Modern Europe.


  • written exams
  • take-home exams
  • written assignments
  • oral presentations
  • written reports (on paper and/or electronically)
  • participation in discussions
  • preparation of symposia

Extra opportunities

Are you looking for an extra challenge?

For students looking for an extra challenge in addition to their Master's, there are several options. Utrecht University offers several honours programmes for students looking for an extra challenge. Honours education is followed on top of your regular Master's programme and goes beyond the regular curriculum. Honours programmes are available at interdisciplinary level and allow you to work on projects that transcend your own discipline.

Read more about the honours programmes