Programme structure

The Archaeology programme includes an undergraduate (propaedeutic year and Bachelor) and a graduate (Master) phase.


In the first year of the programme (the propaedeutic year), introductory lectures are given about general aspects of archaeology and about the civilisations which can be chosen as a graduation topic. In addition, various important auxiliary subjects are offered. The first-year programme largely consists of (interactive) lectures, as well as essays and material and field practice.

The propaedeutic year is followed by three further study years, two in the BA phase (2nd and 3rd years) and the third in the MA phase (4th year).
In the 2nd year, you choose 2 profiles plus an in-depth or broad lecture. The wide range of courses on offer allows you to explore and familiarise yourself with the diversity of the subject.
The in-depth lectures consist of 3rd year subjects which alternate each year, so that you don’t attend the same lecture in the 3rd year. Broad lectures address subjects from the profile that you didn’t choose.

In the 3rd year, you have a choice of 5 specialisations. You may choose to do 2 of these specialisations, or 1 specialisation plus half a minor.

Another option is to attend courses outside Leiden University, but it is advisable to consult your study advisor first.

As time goes on, the number of interactive lectures gradually becomes less and you are required to work more independently. This means following practical lectures, giving presentations and writing essays.

The Bachelor’s programme is concluded with a more extensive piece of work, the thesis.

In principle, you follow the study programme as described in the study guide in the year in which you embark on your studies.

It is possible to switch to a (modified) programme from a later guide if the opportunity is available.
In the option part, study elements from the old programme which are no longer required may either be upgraded or equated with new elements through the transitional arrangement.

Level definition

Each programme element can be described in the following abstract categories. This overview is based on courses (with text books, assignments, papers, essays, etc.). Other forms of education, such as practical sessions, skills training, research projects, tutorials, etc. can be placed in the same scale. In particular, the level of examinations should be included as a criterion.

Undergraduate/ Bachelor

  • level 100: introductory course, continuing on from the level of the final pre-university exams at secondary school. Features: programme based on material in handbook or syllabus, didactically structured, with exercises and mock exams; supervised tutorials, accents in study material and examples in lectures
  • level 200: course with introductory character, no specific prior knowledge required, but experience in studying independently is desired.
    Features: textbooks or other educational material with a more or less introductory character; lectures, e.g. in the form of capita selecta, independent study of the material is assumed; no tutorials or mock exams
  • level 300: course for advanced students (required entry level 100 or 200). Features: textbooks, which do not necessarily need to have been written specially for educational purposes; independent study of the exam material; in exams, independent application of the learned material to new problems.
  • level 400: specialised course (required entry level 200 or 300). Features: besides a textbook, use of professional literature (academic articles); assessment (partly) by means of a small research project, a paper or a written essay.


  • level 500: academically oriented course (required entry level: the student has been accepted into a Master’s programme; preparatory course at level 300 or 400 has been completed). Features: study of advanced academic literature on the subject, intended for researchers; assessment aimed at problem solving by means of a paper and/or essay or own research, with independent critical interpretation of the material.
  • level 600: very specialised course (required entry level 400 or 500). Features: current academic articles; latest developments in academic thinking; independent contribution (thesis research) in which an unsolved problem is addressed, with a verbal presentation.

Study credits

According to the ECTS (=European Credit Transfer System), 1 year’s study consists of 60 ects (credits). 1 ects = 28 hours’ study. One ects represents:

  • 14 hours of lectures, or
  • 14 hours of tutorial sessions, or
  • 20 hours of practice, or
  • 140 pages of literature study, or
  • 3.5 days of field work, or
  • 1,500-1,800 words (e.g. essay)

Essays / theses

Essays are subject to the following minimum requirements:

  • must be in A4 format
  • must have numbered pages
  • must comply with the given norms for quotes and references
  • must include the required number of pages (excluding the bibliography)
  • must include relevant and high quality visual material
  • must show understanding of the material learned in the Academic Skills course
For more information about thesis criteria: "what requirements must a thesis meet?"

For graduation, one copy of the BA project/MA thesis, accompanied by the appraisal form (completed in full and signed by the main tutor), should be handed in to the Administration Office.

After graduation, this copy will be forwarded to the faculty library for the archives.

Exams and re-sits

Most study elements are concluded with a project or written exam. These must all receive a satisfactory grade. 5.5 is unsatisfactory; 5.6 is satisfactory – for the sake of clarity, these are rounded down or up to 5 and 6 respectively. Consult the programme and examination regulations (OER) for the validity term of exams.

An exam is held twice in each academic year. If you fail an exam, you are expected to re-sit it at the next possible opportunity.

You are only entitled to re-sit an exam if you have taken the exam at the first opportunity or if you have demonstrated incapacity. The latter obviously requires consultation with the tutor and study advisor concerned.

During an exam, you must present valid identification and your student identification card if requested to do so.

For all assessments (written exams, essays, presentations, etc.), you must register using the online registration system uSis. Strict time limits apply to registrations; these can be found in the exam timetables.

You can register on uSis up to 3 days before an exam/deadline.

Last Modified: 23-02-2015