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Study programme

Programme overview

The two-year Research Master's programme Heritage, Memory Studies and Archaeology offers a unique opportunity to combine processes that shape the collective memory and determine how society deals with tangible and intangible remnants of the past. The programme provides in-depth training in the theory and practice of heritage and memory studies, and archaeology.

The programme offers two specialisation tracks: ‘Heritage & Memory Studies’ and ‘Archaeology’. Both specialisations give access to a wide range of courses offered across the Faculty of Humanities, while individual research tutorials enable you to explore your own interests in the fields of Heritage and Memory Studies and Archaeology and Material Culture.

Research Master's specialisations

  • ‘Heritage & Memory Studies’ offers the understanding of long- and short-term processes that shape the collective memory, and examines the individuals and groups involved in heritage as an industry and as a contemporary narration of history.
  • ‘Archaeology and Material Culture’ offers training in the theory and practice of historical and contemporary archaeology. You have the flexibility to choose from a variety of courses, ranging from the archaeology of ancient civilisations to the archaeology of the modern world. Participation in archaeological fieldwork is a key component of the Archaeology and Material Culture specialisation.

Programme structure

The Research Master’s programme Heritage, Memory and Archaeology comprises 120 ECTS credits:

  • 36 credits core courses
  • 54 credits electives and tutorials
  • 30 credits Research Master’s thesis project

Core courses

All students take the following core courses:

Matter, Materials, and Materiality

This course offers in-depth training in archaeological theory, whilst practice will enable you to understand how archaeological data is collected, analysed, and interpreted. 

Heritage Studies

Combining perspectives and research methodologies from a range disciplines, ‘Heritage Studies’ introduces you to the theoretical precepts that underpin current heritage research and explores the past as a field of contestation and meaning-making.

Memory Studies

In this course, you will delve into the ways in which collective memory is constructed and transmitted. By looking at sites of memory and commemorative practices throughout time, the course explores memory politics and its sociocultural contexts. 

Current Issues in Heritage and Archaeology

Featuring guest lecturers from the Netherlands and abroad, ‘Current Issues Lecture Series’ offers you insight into cutting-edge research in a wide range of topics in the fields of Heritage Studies, Memory Studies, and Archaeology.


You may choose electives from a range of Master’s programmes of the Faculty of Humanities. Elective options include courses from the Master’s programmes Heritage and Memory Studies, Museum Studies, and ACASA Master’s programmes such as ‘Archaeology of Northwestern Europe’, ‘Landscape and Heritage’, and ‘Mediterranean Archaeology’.


Individual tutorials form an important component of the Research Master's programme Heritage, Memory and Archaeology. They typically comprise a research assignment, and include material research at museums and excavations. There is also the opportunity to participate in archaeological fieldwork projects directed by staff in Northwestern Europe and the Mediterranean.


The Master's thesis reports on research carried out under the supervision of an academic staff member involved in the programme. The subject of the thesis must be mutually agreed upon by the student and the academic adviser.

Bologna Exchange Programme

The University of Amsterdam–University of Bologna programme is an international Erasmus+ postgraduate students and staff exchange programme. Bologna students and staff join the UvA programme in the first semester (September—January), and UvA students who are enroled in the Research Master's Heritage, Memory and Archaeology can participate in the programme during the second semester (February—June) of the second year. UvA students will have the opportunity either to follow courses or combine coursework with an internship (minimum 18 EC) in Bologna. UvA students who wish to follow this trajectory can submit a plan of activities and a motivation letter to:

Bologna University: Degree Programmes

Detailed course information

For detailed course information, please see:

UvA Course Catalogue: Heritage, Memory and Archaeology

Credit transfer

Students who show exceptional capacities during a regular or professional Master's programme are encouraged to continue their studies in a two-year Research Master's programme. Once students are admitted to the Research Master's programme, they can transfer credits earned during their previous course of study towards their Research Master's degree. The Examinations Board determines which courses qualify for transfer.