We offer promising candidates the opportunity to carry out research in a range of areas across the disciplines of Classics and Ancient History (including Ancient Near Eastern Studies and Egyptology).
Subject to programme requirements, you can also learn or improve your knowledge of Classical and Byzantine Greek, Latin, Greek, Ancient Egyptian, and the languages of the Ancient Near East.
Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology at the University of Birmingham has been ranked among the top five departments of Classics in the Research Excellence Framework 2014.
Major funding opportunity for Home/EU applicants to this PhD programme
We are part of the Midlands3Cities consortium, offering up to 89 Arts and Humanities Research Council funded studentships. This includes full research fees, a substantial maintenance grant and additional research training support. Applications are now open. Find out more detailed information on this scheme.
“The highlight of my time at Birmingham has been the active postgraduate life and community within the School of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology. It is a group of people working on similar projects, however with very different interests. This makes our weekly meetings at Rosetta Forum very interesting and helpful. Whenever you have a problem, there is always someone around who understands what you are going through and is able to help you out.”
Ask Ruth a question
The MA by Research programme requires you to prepare a dissertation of up to 40,000 words on a topic of your choice, for which an academic staff member will provide expert supervision.
You can study for an MA by Research on campus.
The PhD – the most advanced research degree – leads to a dissertation of up to 80,000 words on a subject of your choice and under the expert supervision of an academic member of staff.
You can study an MA by Research or PhD programme on campus or by distance learning. Please note that if you are studying with us by distance learning, there is a compulsory annual visit to campus (every two years for part-time PhD students) - please see our frequently asked questions about distance learning to find out more.
These degrees have no taught components, but relevant taught modules may be attended by arrangement to develop appropriate research skills, including the study of ancient languages, which, subject to programme requirements, you can access training in:
- Classical Greek and Latin
- Byzantine Greek
- Ancient Egyptian
- Languages of the Ancient Near East
We also encourage you to attend conferences on subjects related to your research interests and to participate in our lively interdisciplinary seminar series (some of which are run by our postgraduates). We enable advanced research students to broaden their skills through appropriate training in teaching skills and, where possible, through offering the chance to gain experience in teaching. In addition, our annual postgraduate colloquia provide training in oral presentation skills and the professional dissemination of research within an interdisciplinary environment.
At Birmingham you also have the option of studying languages, free of charge. Almost no other UK University offers you the opportunity to learn the intense graduate academic language skills which you may need to pursue your research.
- The department celebrated excellent Research Assessment Exercise 2014 results. 38% of research at the University of Birmingham for Classics was top 4* rated ‘world-leading’. A further 43% was rated 3* ‘internationally excellent’.
- 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.
- In 2013, over 92% 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: AOC Archaeology Group; Blakesley Hall Museum; City and Borough Councils; English Heritage; KPMG; National Trust; and Sotheby’s.
We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2016/17:
Home / EU £4,110 full-time; £2,055 part-time*
Overseas: £13,680 full-time
For part-time students, the above fee quoted is for year one only and tuition fees will also be payable in subsequent years of your programme.
* For UK/EU postgraduate research students the University fee level is set at Research Council rates and as such is subject to change. The final fee will be announced by Research Councils UK in spring 2016.
Eligibility for Home/EU or Overseas fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students.
Tuition fees can either be paid in full or by instalments. Learn more about postgraduate tuituion fees and funding.
Typically, applicants for these research programmes will already have undertaken postgraduate study.
Learn more about entry 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:
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.
Additional Guidance for
applicants to the PhD Distance Learning study
Making your application
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
The following summary indicates our principal areas of research expertise. Please view our staff profiles for further possible research topics.
Greek History – Classical and Hellenistic history, with particular expertise in the politics and political structures of the Greek Mediterranean world.
Contact: Dr Andrew Bayliss; Email: email@example.com
Egyptology – religion; settlement archaeology; temple architecture; cultural contacts with the Mediterranean world; current fieldwork at Elephantine.
Contact: Dr Martin Bommas; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Greek and Roman religion; mythology; the ancient novel.
Contact: Professor Ken Dowden; Email: email@example.com
Roman archaeology; archaeology of the western provinces; late antiquity
Contact: Professor Simon Esmonde Cleary; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Egyptology – language, history, archaeology and religion in Egypt in the first millennium BC; current fieldwork at Saqqara.
Contact: Dr Tony Leahy; Email: email@example.com
Western Asia; the history, languages and archaeology of Sumerian, Babylonian, Assyrian and Hittite civilisations; cuneiform inscriptions; pre-Islamic Arabia.
Contact: Dr Alasdair Livingstone; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Athenian education and culture; Greek drama and performance; Isocrates.
Contact: Dr Niall Livingstone; Email: email@example.com
Greek History – Classical and Hellenistic history, particularly inter-city relations.
Contact: Dr William Mack; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Greek and Roman epigram; ancient popular culture; receptions of antiquity; classics and film.
Contact: Dr Gideon Nisbet; Email email@example.com
Later Roman Empire; North African urbanism; early Christianity.
Contact: Dr Gareth Sears; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Roman literary topography; classical landscape and aesthetics; Republican and Augustan literature (esp. Horace, Livy); post-classical reception of Rome; reception of Alexander the Great.
Contact: Dr Diana Spencer; Email: email@example.com
Catullus; Augustan poetry; epic of all periods; reception of antiquity; classics and film.
Contact: Dr Elena Theodorakopoulos; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Classical archaeology; Greek prehistory; Bronze Age Macedonia; current research at Mycenae, Knossos, Assiros and Servia.
Contact: Dr Ken Wardle; Email: email@example.com
The University has been recognised for its impressive graduate employment, being named ‘University of the Year for Graduate Employment’ in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016.
In addition, the global edition of The New York Times has ranked the University 60th in the world and 9th in UK for post-qualification employability. The rankings illustrate the top 150 universities most frequently selected by global employers and are the result of a survey by French consulting firm Emerging and German consulting firm Trendence.
Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by the employability skills training offered through the College of Arts and Law Graduate School. The University also offers a wide range of activities and services to give our students the edge in the job market, including: career planning designed to meet the needs of postgraduates; opportunities to meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs, employer presentations and skills workshops; 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.
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.
In 2013, over 92% 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: AOC Archaeology Group; Blakesley Hall Museum; City and Borough Councils; English Heritage; KPMG; National Trust; and Sotheby's.
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.
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.
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.
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.