MRes Classics

This programme offers a unique opportunity to deepen and develop your knowledge of classical antiquity by combining a substantial (20,000 words) research thesis with research training and taught elements.

It can lead to doctoral research, but also provides the chance to undertake scholarly research as an enrichment of undergraduate study or for career development purposes.

Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology at the University of Birmingham has been ranked among the top five departments of Classics in the latest Research Excellence Framework.

Dr Gideon Nisbet

Dr Gideon Nisbet

“The MRes is the course for an academically ambitious student who wants to get stuck into serious research as quickly as possible, probably with a view to progressing – or just maybe, converting – to a full PhD. We give you enough taught provision to top up your existing expertise and embed you in our postgraduate community, and then it’s one-on-one with a supervisor (or two) with the focus on developing a thesis with real academic stature.”

A research skills training module equips you with a range of specialised and generic skills, including textual criticism, document handling, literary theory, information resources, thesis presentation and bibliographical management.

Many students also opt to take further training in classical languages.

In addition, you may choose modules from the MA Antiquity syllabus, which allows for interdisciplinary study of the ancient world. We also offer the opportunity to take modules from other related postgraduate programmes, such as Byzantine Studies.

Typically, applicants will have a degree in some area of classical or ancient historical studies, and we recommend that you discuss your proposed research with a potential supervisor before applying - see the full range of academic research interests of individual staff.

Why study this course

  • Disciplines in dialogue: Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology at Birmingham is one of the few university departments in the UK that draws together the study of Greece and Rome with Egypt and the ancient Near East.
  • Unparalleled range: You will be able to draw on a wide range of academic expertise in the history, culture, and languages of the ancient world in its broadest sense, from the beginnings of civilisation to the fall of Byzantium and even beyond (classical reception).
  • World-leading excellence: The department was ranked fifth in the UK in the latest Research Excellence Framework results. Over four-fifths of our submitted research was ranked either ‘world-leading’ (38% - the highest possible rating) or ‘internationally excellent’ (43%). We were also ranked fifth for the impact of our research on the economic and social life of the United Kingdom.

Modules

As well as your 20,000 word thesis, you will study one core module in Research Skills and choose two optional modules.

Core Module:

Research & Scholarship in Classics and Ancient History

This module ensures that you acquire the necessary generic and specific skills needed for further research. These will include advanced bibliographic skills, familiarity with theoretical and critical approaches and schools of thought, technical skills such as techniques of epigraphy or numismatics where appropriate. Delivery will take place in seminar formats, with sub-disciplines offering different break-out sessions as needed. The module also demands that you attend the CAHA research seminar throughout the semester and engage with research presentations in a critical manner, evaluating presentation skills and discussing questions of methodology. Presentations are discussed and evaluated in debriefing sessions, and finally you will give your own presentations on aspects of your research projects.
Assessment: Written coursework and a presentation

Optional module choices include the following (two will be selected):

Individuals in History

This module explores the theory and practice of historiography, normally in the Roman world, with particular emphasis on the role of the individual. Typically, the module will be centred on a key text or texts which will enable you to develop strategies for reading and understanding the sources (biographic, literary, historical, material cultural) through which the role of the individual is accessed, and the relationship between individuals and their cultures is understood. This module will investigate issues such as: the significance of individuals in models of historical causation; the impact of biographical tropes and the importance of particular topics for understanding characterisation; theories of the individual, character-development and biographical criticism; how individuals project themselves into history, versus the impact of historiographic/cultural imperatives on the representation of individuals within history.
Assessment: Written coursework

Herodotus and Ancient Worlds

This module explores the theory and practice of historiography in the ancient world, with particular emphasis on the role of Greek-speaking peoples and the cultures with which they came into contact. The module will be centred on Herodotus' Histories, enabling you to develop strategies for reading and understanding the rhetorics of history, in conjunction with study of the cultural contexts which produce them. The module investigates the different ways in which texts produce, and are produced by, cultures, and the interfaces between civilisations that generate them. It investigates the connections between theories of history, reception and hermeneutics, and the development of cultural identity and historical consciousness.
Assessment: Written coursework

Translation, Adaptation, Performance and Reception of Ancient Greek Drama in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries

The 20th century saw ancient Greek drama in performance reach a level of popularity (not only in Europe but world-wide) unparalleled since Athens in the fifth century BC. In the 21st century, performances and adaptations of Greek plays continue to proliferate. Directors turn to them both as ‘timeless classics’ and as opportunities for shocking iconoclasm. They are invoked as celebrations of shared heritage (Greek, other national, European, or human/ global) and as ‘transcending’ political difference but also as engaged theatre serving a wide range of political causes, perhaps especially as giving a voice to groups oppressed on grounds of sex, gender, ethnicity or religion and to victims of violence and war. There has also been a growing interest in the cognitive and psychological dimensions of Greek tragedy in particular, which has found a prominent place in the growing fields of theatre-in-education and drama therapy. Re-creation of Greek drama runs the gamut of theatrical practice from conservative to radical, from popular cultural traditions to intellectual experimentalism (often combining elements of both). New editions of ancient plays, new online archives, databases, and search engines, and other developments in digital scholarship have combined with advances in methodology to open the way for research into ancient drama and its reception of a depth and diversity hitherto impossible. This module draws on all these resources and on the constellation of expertise in CAHA and elsewhere in CAL to realise this potential.
Assessment: Written coursework

Beginners' Greek or Latin

These modules provide an intensive introduction to Greek or Latin. They aim to provide you with the basic linguistic skills needed to acquire a reading knowledge of Greek or Latin for the purposes of research.

Advanced Greek or Latin

These modules consolidate linguistic skills to enable you to work independently on Greek or Latin texts in the original language, building upon existing knowledge. They develop analytical and critical skills by means of advanced grammar and reading classes focusing in detail on a text or texts. Texts chosen will generally reflect the interests of students in the group.


Please note that the optional module information listed on the website for this programme is intended to be indicative, and the availability of optional modules may vary from year to year. Where a module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you to make other choices.

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2017/18:

  • Home/EU: £4,195 full-time; £2,098 part-time
  • Overseas: £15,210 full-time

The above fee quoted is for one year only; for those studying over two or more years, tuition fees will also be payable in subsequent years of your programme.

Fee status

Eligibility for home/EU or overseas fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students

We can also confirm that EU students who are already studying at the University of Birmingham or who have an offer to start their studies in 2017-18 or 2018-19 academic years will continue to be charged the UK fee rate applicable at the time, provided this continues to be permitted by UK law. The UK Government has also confirmed that students from the EU applying to courses starting in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 academic years will not see any changes to their loan eligibility or fee status. This guarantee will apply for the full duration of the course, even if the course finishes after the UK has left the EU.

Paying your fees

Tuition fees can either be paid in full or by instalments. Learn more about postgraduate tuition fees and funding.

Scholarships and studentships

Scholarships to cover fees and/or maintenance costs may be available. To discover whether you are eligible for any award across the University, and to start your funding application, please visit the University's Postgraduate Funding Database.

International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.

Entry requirements

Our requirements for postgraduate research are dependent on the type of programme you are applying for:

  • For MRes and MA by Research programmes, entry to our programmes usually requires a good (normally a 2:1 or above) Honours degree, or an equivalent qualification if you were educated outside the UK.
  • Applicants for a PhD will also need to hold a Masters qualification at Merit level or above (or its international equivalent).

Any academic and professional qualifications or relevant professional experience you may have are normally taken into account, and in some cases, form an integral part of the entrance requirements.

If you are applying for distance learning research programmes, you will also be required to demonstrate that you have the time, commitment, facilities and experience to study by distance learning.

If your qualifications are non-standard or different from the entry requirements stated here, please contact the admissions tutor.

International students

Academic requirements

We accept a range of qualifications; our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements

You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:

How to apply

Before you make your application

Please refer to our six step process on applying for PhD, MA by Research and MRes opportunities for Arts subject areas.

You may wish to register your interest with us to receive regular news and updates on postgraduate life within this Department and the wider University.

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

Classics and Ancient History at Birmingham is one of the few university departments in the UK that draws together the study of Greece and Rome with Egypt and the Near East.

You will be able to draw on a wide range of academic expertise in the history, culture, and languages of the ancient world.

You will also become part of, and contribute to, the lively international community of the College of Arts and Law Graduate School, which offers dedicated research resources and a supportive working environment. Our team of academic and operational staff are on hand to offer support and advice to all postgraduate students within the College.

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University.

The University's Careers Network provides advice and information specifically for postgraduates that will help you to develop an effective career and skills development strategy, and to make the most of your time with us at the University. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated careers and employability team to deliver tailored programmes of careers events and local support.

You will have opportunities to: meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs; attend employer presentations and skills workshops; receive individual guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique; and access to comprehensive listings of hundreds of graduate jobs and work experience opportunities.

You will also be able to access our full range of careers support for up to two years after graduation.

Postgraduate employability: Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology

Birmingham's Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology graduates develop a broad range of transferable skills including: familiarity with research methods; the ability to manage large quantities of information from diverse sources; the ability to organise information in a logical and coherent manner; the expertise to write clearly and concisely and to tight deadlines; critical and analytical ability; the capacity for argument, debate and speculation; and the ability to base conclusions on statistical research.

Over the past three years, over 97% of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology postgraduates were in work and/or further study six months after graduation. Many of our postgraduates enter roles for which their programme has especially prepared them, such as museum and heritage activities and archaeological posts. Elsewhere, a range of professions are undertaken by our graduates, from librarianship and teaching to accountancy. Employers that our graduates have gone on to work for include: AC archaeology; University of Birmingham; National Trust; and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.

Birmingham has been transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.

Get involved

In addition to the student groups hosted by the Guild of Students, each school runs its own social activities, research fora, seminars and groups for postgraduates.

Accommodation

Coming to Birmingham to study might be your first time living away from home. Our student accommodation will allow you to enjoy your new-found independence in safe, welcoming and sociable surroundings.

Support in your studies

We offer an Academic Writing Advisory Service, which aims to help your transition to postgraduate research. The service offers guidance on organising your ideas and structuring an argument, referencing and avoiding plagiarism, being clear and coherent and editing your work for academic style and linguistic accuracy. Individual support is provided by a professional academic writing advisor via tutorials or email, as well as through the provision of online materials.

The City of Birmingham

One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and cultures, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work. Our students fall in love with the city - around 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.