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History of Ancient Mediterranean Civilizations




M.A. Programme, diploma in ancient history
2 years
25 persons (minimum 8 persons)
coming soon Registration via the IRK website
No course fees

Why apply to the University of Warsaw?

The University of Warsaw (UW) is the best university in Poland and one of the best in Central and Eastern Europe, according to international rankings. Annual evaluations confirm the quality of education at UW and show that most students are satisfied with their choice of university and educational curriculum. Graduates express similar satisfaction with their UW education.

Surveys on graduates’ career trajectories show that obtaining a degree from the University of Warsaw is an undoubted advantage on the job market. As many as 94% of respondents find employment after graduation.

The Faculty of History at UW is one of the best humanities research centres in Poland.

We focus on educating professionals and equipping them with skills from many scientific disciplines, capable of not only posing questions about the past, but also proficient in explaining the present by tracing the origins and development of social, political, economic and cultural processes in societies throughout history.

We conduct unique research on the ancient world and non-European civilizations, as well as in auxiliary fields, including papyrology, epigraphy, and numismatics. The results largely shape the image of historical research in Poland.

We have a long tradition of research and teaching – the Faculty of History at UW (initially called an Institute) began its activities in the academic year 1930/1931.

The University of Warsaw is perfectly equipped to run programmes in ancient history and has a unique – on a European scale – research and teaching staff.

Our antiquities research community at UW is distinguished by the presence of researchers with rare specialties in the world – Nubiology (at the Faculty of Archaeology and the Centre for Mediterranean Archaeology), Papyrology (at the Faculty of Archaeology and the Faculty of Law and Administration) ) as well as Roman Law through papyri (at the Faculty of Law and Administration), Epigraphy (at the Faculty of Archaeology and the Faculty of History), Hittitology, Akkadian and Sumerian studies (at the Faculty of Oriental Studies). It should also be mentioned that we teach and conduct research on ancient history and classical philology at the Faculty of History and the Institute of Classical Philology (at the Faculty of Polish Studies), respectively.

Due to the size of the community, the wide range of activities, and especially the quality of research, the University of Warsaw is an outstanding centre for the study of antiquity not only in Poland, but also comparable in terms of scientific potential to the best academic centres in Europe and the world. An excellent example is the Centre for Mediterranean Archaeology, managed by Dr hab. Artur Obłuski, which conducts numerous archaeological missions to sites of prime international importance. The Centre’s activities cover southwestern Asia and northeast Africa: Egypt, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Cyprus, Lebanon and Jordan, and in recent years the Arabian Gulf (Kuwait, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia) and Transcaucasus (Georgia and Armenia), as well as North Africa (Tunisia). Until 2010, Prof. Michał Gawlikowski’s mission Palmyra was the flagship site and the contribution of Polish archaeologists to the study of its history cannot be overestimated. For many years research is/was carried out at: Kom el-Dikka in Alexandria, Deir el-Bahari, Berenike in Egypt, Nea Paphos in Cyprus, Jiyeh and Khalde in Lebanon, Hatra in Mesopotamia, Mustis in North Africa and at dozens of other sites. Particularly noteworthy is the research in Sudan, including Dongola, Banganarti, and Soba. The Centre for Mediterranean Archaeology as well as the UW Faculty of Archaeology are among the world’s leading nubiological research institutions and have made significant contributions to the development and popularization of the discipline.

Our high standing in the research world is proved by numerous publications in prestigious journals and the most renowned publishing houses (e.g. Brill, Brepols, Oxford University Press, Harrassowitz, Peeters).  These publications show extraordinary activity of our employees and the highest quality of their scientific research.

We are very proud of our antiquity researchers whose results of international collaboration are published in such in-house journals as “Journal of Juristic Papyrology”, “Palamedes: A Journal of Ancient History,” “Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean,” not to mention the series Journal of Juristic Papyrology: Supplements: Supplements caught the attention of the prestigious Peeters company, which has now taken over responsibilities for editing and printing the volumes.

Researchers and scholars of antiquity at the University of Warsaw regularly receive and carry out prestigious research grants. This includes historians of antiquities at the Faculty of History, which has hosted a number of national research projects on antiquities. Prof. Robert Wisniewski and the Faculty of History at the UW implemented the Polish division of the European Research Council (ERC) project, “The Cult of Saints” directed by Dr Bryan Ward-Perkins at University of Oxford.

The European Research Council (ERC) grant “Masters of the stone” is currently underway (2022–2027) at the Department of History, under the direction of Dr Pawel Nowakowski. Another ERC grant “UMMA – Urban Metamorphosis of the community of a Medieval African capital city”, led by Dr hab. Artur Obłuski is being implemented at the UW Centre for Mediterranean Archaeology (2018–2023). Recently, Obłuski was awarded his second ERC grant: “Afropolis Tungul: Urban biography of a cosmopolitan African capital” (Consolidator grant, 2024–2029).

Recognition of our community is reflected in the international congresses and conferences organized at the UW, including the 27th International Congress of Papyrology (2013), the International Conference for Nubian Studies (2022), the 8th International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East (2012), Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale (2014), the European Association of Biblical Studies Conference (2019), and the 16th International Numismatic Congress (2022).


About the programme

We invite students to apply for the two-year second degree programmeHistory of Ancient Mediterranean Civilizations” taught in English.

Ancient civilizations are an exciting field for conducting research, and numerous research sources open up possibilities for undiscovered interpretations of the past.

The master’s programme is highly interdisciplinary. The core curriculum is based on history (70%), archaeology (20%) and studies on culture and religion (10%).

We also offer general education classes on the ancient world. The obligatory canon of knowledge (e.g., Mesopotamian, Greek and Roman history, ancient literature and philosophy) has the possibility of broadening individual interests through the addition of class modules on early Christianity and literature, ancient Judaism, history of women, history of ancient slavery and discriminated groups, and the plurality of legal systems among other topics.

The offer of tailor-made courses includes workshops that develop research competencies, such as reading groups and the intensive, practical course of an ancient language (e.g., Greek, Latin, Syriac, Aramaic, Akkadian, Coptic or Hebrew – the selection of languages is subject to change and depends on the availability of lecturers each year) to enable students to read and interpret ancient sources in their original languages. Students will also choose from a wide variety of courses such as epigraphy, papyrology, numismatics, ancient historiography, the interpretation of cuneiform texts or specialized classes in source criticism or the editing ancient texts.

An additional module focuses on developing competences in digital humanities and academic writing. The module includes diverse workshops on the use of digital tools for text processing, in particular the editing and data processing used in the work of historians, papyrologists, epigraphers and numismatists.

A distinctive feature of this programme is the field training: not only practical geodata collection, but also an engrossing, Mediterranean tour, funded by the Faculty.

The small size of our courses fosters a collaborative educational environment and provides the opportunity for individual mentoring.

All abovementioned activities lead to the achievement of the primary objective of our programme: students’ proficiency in conducting high-quality research using a wide range of methods.

The studies conclude with a diploma in ancient history.


Profile of the graduate

Our students will receive qualifications which will improve their profile on the demanding labour market. The central skills developed in our program–critical thinking, questioning and looking for new perspectives–are desirable not only in the research sector, but also in education in the broad sense.

Graduates will also be equipped with unique qualifications for careers in the preservation of cultural heritage, museology, the public sector, including central administration and career in politics, as well as in the local administration.

The acquired skills can also be useful in the NGO sector, especially organizations focused on cultural heritage or cultural diversity.

Our graduates may also aspire to a career in publishing, media & public relations, or in diplomacy and international institutions. Skills such as database management and graphics processing will come in handy in today’s digital job market.

Alumni will gain all necessary skills for professional research work. They will be prepared for positions in prestigious international research projects that require specialized skills in addition to factual knowledge of the era (especially in digital techniques and operation of specialized software and equipment), or for applying for their own research grants.

Study plan

Year I
Semester I
Course Form Hrs ECTS
M.A. Seminar Seminar 30 4
Practical course of an ancient language Language course / Reading group 60 3
Seminar class in source studies I Seminar classes 30 4
Lecture in ancient history I Lecture 30 2
Academic writing Seminar classes 30 3
Elective courses Elective 60 8
General university course (OGUN) in social sciences Elective minimum 60 6
Year I
Semester II
M.A. Seminar Seminar 30 4
Practical course of an ancient language Language course / Reading group 60 3
Seminar class in source studies II Seminar classes 30 4
Lecture in ancient history II Lecture 30 2
 Specialist lecture (elective) Lecture e-learning 30 2
Introduction to the methodics of work with archaeological sources Seminar classes 30 3
Interdisciplinarity in research on antiquity Seminar classes 30 4
Elective courses Elective 30 5
Spatial contextualization of archaeological sources Lecture+ Field practical classes 15+60 3
Year II
Semester III
M.A. Seminar Seminar 30 4
Practical course of an ancient language Language course / Reading group 60 3
Cultural anthropology Seminar classes 30 4
Archaeological reports in the historical research Seminar classes 30 4
Digital instruments of research I Seminar classes 30 4
Funding research and obtaining grants Laboratory classes 15 1
Elective courses in history Elective 30 4
Elective courses in archaeology Elective 30 3
Elective courses in the study of culture and religion Elective 30 3
Year II
Semester IV
M.A. Seminar Seminar 30 4+12
Practical course of an ancient language Language course / Reading group 30 2
Digital instruments of research II Seminar classes 30 4
Elective courses Elective 60 8


Application rules



The admission procedure for candidates with a diploma obtained in Poland

The interview will take place in English on Zoom.

The admission procedure will be assessed from the results of the interview based on a topic selected by the candidate from the list of ten broad topics regarding the history, culture and religion of ancient Mediterranean and Mesopotamian civilizations, as published in the Internet Recruitment of Candidates (IRK) system.

  1. Diversity of political systems of the Greek poleis of the Archaic period.
  2. Athenian democracy in action: Institutions of the Athenian polis in modern research and in primary sources.
  3. Power and subjects: The diversity of the Achaemenid Empire
  4. The symptoms of change in the Hellenistic period based on chosen examples.
  5. Tradition and innovation in the political practice of the Late Roman Republic.
  6. Imperial ideology in antiquity based on selected examples.
  7. The Roman state and non-traditional cults.
  8. Crisis of the third century CE and its significance in politics, culture and religion.
  9. When does the ancient world end?
  10. The periods of the “dark ages,” or how archeology builds knowledge about a period without written sources.

Candidates will be assessed on a scale from 0 to 100 points. The interview begins with a 5–10 minutes discussion of the candidate’s chosen topic. Use of a multimedia slide show is permitted. After discussing the topic, committee members ask broad problem-oriented questions for approximately 20–25 minutes.

Subject to evaluation are: the candidate’s command of the basic primary and secondary sources on the chosen subject – the accuracy of the selection of the most important primary and secondary sources, knowledge of the broad context of the topic, and proficiency in English.

Admission to the full-time M.A.-level programme will be contingent upon obtaining a minimum of 30 points from the interview and submitting a set of required documents, including a university diploma, within the prescribed period. If the limit of places is not met, a second round of admissions will be conducted. Only university graduates will be able to participate. As in the first round, the condition for admission to full-time M.A.-level programme will be contingent upon obtaining a minimum of 30 points from the interview and the submission of a set of documents, including a university diploma, within the prescribed period.

Failure to achieve the minimum number of points at any stage of the admissions procedure results in the award of 0 (zero) points from the entire procedure and disqualification of the candidate.

Candidates with a foreign diploma

The same rules apply as for candidates with a diploma obtained in Poland.

Verification of English-language competency

A positive result of the qualifications procedure is tantamount to confirmation of the candidate’s competence to study in English at the above-mentioned programme (this applies to candidates who do not have a document recognized by the University of Warsaw confirming their command of English at least at B2 level).

Registration deadlines

Mandatory registration in the IRK system:

Interview: 16-17 July 2024 online


There are no course fees.

Housing and social facilities

The University of Warsaw offers more than 2,500 rooms in six residence halls located in different parts of the city. Each hall has a quiet study room, TV room, computer room and laundry facilities. Monthly rent ranges from 480 to 950 PLN (102 to 202 euros) per person, depending on the type of room and a dormitory.

You can find detailed information on social facilities here:


NAWA Zawacka Programme – the aim of the Programme is to deepen international academic cooperation through visits of students, doctoral students, academic teachers and researchers to Polish institutions of higher education and science, on the basis of international agreements concluded between Poland and the partner countries indicated in the announcement.

Applicants for participation in the Programme may include:

  1. secondary school graduates who, at the time of commencement of their studies in Poland, hold a school-leaving certificate giving them the right to take up studies in the country in which the certificate was issued in any field and type of university;
  2. students;
  3. higher education graduates applying for admission to the next level of education, who obtained their diploma no earlier than 2022;
  4. those with doctoral status in accordance with the rules of their country’s higher education and science system;
  5. researchers and academic teachers conducting research or teaching in a country participating in the Programme who are not employed by a Polish institution of the higher education and science system.

See more


Dr Pawel Nowakowski was appointed as the contact person for those who would like to receive further details. You can ask him about the admissions process, the curriculum and courses.

e-mail: hamc.warsaw@uw.edu.pl

Strona www po polsku (Website in Polish)