Studying Egyptology #2 – European undergraduate courses #1

The rising tuition fee situation in the United Kingdom is driving many prospective undergraduates to seek cheaper fees overseas. There are many excellent undergraduate Egyptology programmes in Europe – here I present a brief overview of those available.

The University of Vienna (photograph from http://moyalaura3ra.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/9jjuni1.jpg).


The Universität Wien, or University of Vienna, has its own Egyptological institute, and offers a bachelors degree programme. It has an Egyptian antiquities collection, as well as an impressive library. To be accepted for entry onto the programme, you need to complete a Latin course before enrolment, or sit a supplementary examination offering by the university. You will also need to sit a supplementary examination in Greek before you finish the course if you have no previous knowledge of the language. The course covers all aspects of Egyptian religion, archaeology, and history, as well as the language.

Language: German.

In a nutshell: a good all-round degree for German-speakers. 


The Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL), or the Catholic University of Leuven, offers the Bachelor in Ancient Languages and Literatures: Oriental Languages, as does the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), or the Free University of Brussells. There is the option to specialise in the languages and literature of ancient Egypt and the Near East, including the biblical world. For the UCL, you need to pass a French language entrance examination, unless you can show that you have a working knowledge of French. The Université Libre de Liège (ULG), or the Free University of Liège, also offers the Bachelor in Ancient Languages and Literatures: Oriental Studies, which is similar to those offered by UCL and ULB. The ULG particularly encourages French-speaking international students.

Language: French.

In a nutshell: a perfect degrees for French-speakers who wish to specialise in the language and literature of ancient Egypt, in combination with other ancient languages. 

The Katholieke Universiteit van Leuven, or the Catholic University of Leuven, offers two courses that allow specialisation in Egyptology – the Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics and Area Studies: Ancient Near East which focuses on the language (Egyptian and Coptic), archaeology, culture, history, geography, economy, law and religion, and the Bachelor of Arts in Archaeology, which allows specialisation in the archaeology of Egypt. The university requires you to have a knowledge of French and English, and also recommends a reading knowledge of German.

Language: French.

In a nutshell: perfect for French-speakers who wish to study the language or the archaeology, or both!


The Univerzita Karlova, or the Charles University in Prague, offers the Bachelor degree in History and Culture of the Eastern Mediterranean in antiquity through its Český egyptologický ústav (Czech Institute of Egyptology).There are course entrance examinations, including a written part which tests knowledge of ancient history of the eastern Mediterranean (today’s Egypt, Libya, Israel, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon. Jordan, Turkey), and an oral part which examines motivation to study the field, knowledge of the debate in the field of Egyptology (from a list of recommended reading), and verification of a reading knowledge of two foreign languages ​​selected by the candidate from a choice of five.

Language: Czech.

In a nutshell: although there is little English information online about the course, it does appear to be all-encompassing, including language, history, and archaeology. If you speak Czech, this would be a great way to study Egypt in its wider context of the ancient eastern Mediterranean.


The University of Helsinki offers studies in Egyptology up until the Coptic period. Approximately half of the course is given over to the language, with the remaining half made up of the culture and history. Unfortunately, an emphasis on archaeology is lacking as Finland has not yet excavated in Egypt. A reading knowledge of German is required, and French is also advised.

Language: Finnish and Swedish.

In a nutshell: with its long and established history of teaching Egyptology, the University of Helsinki is an attractive prospect to those wishing for a philological emphasis…if they speak Finnish and Swedish.

Next week: European undergraduate courses #2 – courses in France, Germany, Hungary, and Italy. 


3 comments on “Studying Egyptology #2 – European undergraduate courses #1

  1. Reblogged this on The Amateur Archaeologist and commented:
    In the second post of her “Studying Egyptology”blog series, Gemma turns her attention to some of the European universities that offer degree programmes in Egyptology and/or Egyptian archaeology. The countries featured in this week’s post are Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic and Finland.
    Check out Gemma’s blog, The Egyptiana Emporium, for more fantastic articles on ancient Egyptian history and culture.

  2. Wow! Those are tough entry requirements!! Applying for university here in England is easy in comparison!
    BA Hons Egyptian Archaeology; MA Hons Egyptology @University of Liverpool

    • I sometimes wish that the UK entry requirements were more like this – being forced to be able to read French and German before applying for my BA Egyptology would have made things much easier! Thankfully Google Translate has assisted me over the last three years, and I’m starting my MA in September armed with a basic reading knowledge that is improving all the time 🙂

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