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 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.
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“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.”
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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.
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, the programme includes a fully-funded annual visit to campus for each full year of your programme (every two years for part-time students).
For more information on distance learning including answers to frequently asked questions, student experiences and funding opportunities, please see our
distance learning website.
These degrees have no taught components, but relevant taught modules may be attended by arrangement to develop appropriate research skills, this includes the study of ancient languages. Subject to programme requirements and the approval of your supervisor, you can access training in:
- 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 heritage activities, archaeological posts and advanced academic posts in high-ranking universities in the UK and abroad. 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 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.
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 tuition fees and funding.
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.
Students applying for the MA by Research programme may be eligible to apply for a postgraduate loan to help finance their studies. For those starting in the 2017/18 academic year, these government-backed student loans will provide up to £10,280 for Masters courses in all subject areas. Criteria, eligibility, repayment and application information are available on the UK government website.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Roman Republic; political life; Roman oratory; Cicero; cultural memory at Rome; the City of Rome. Contact: Dr Henriette van der Blom; Email: c/o 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
Western Asia; the history, languages and archaeology of Sumerian, Babylonian, Assyrian and Hittite civilisations; cuneiform inscriptions; pre-Islamic Arabia. Contact: Dr Alasdair Livingstone; Email: email@example.com
Greek literature, especially poetry and philosophical literature, e.g. dialogues; Greek drama; ancient oratory and rhetoric; the intellectual culture of Athenian democracy; Greek epigram; the literature of Greek mythology and its reception. Contact: Dr Niall Livingstone; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Greek History – Classical and Hellenistic history, particularly inter-city relations. Contact: Dr William Mack; Email: email@example.com
Classical Archaeology – Greek and Roman art and architecture, architectural decoration, urbanism, sanctuaries and material culture; archaeology of the Late Roman provinces; current fieldwork at Carnuntum (Austria). Contact: Dr Dominik Maschek; 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
Roman Archaeology; Roman Britain; Post-Roman Britain. Contact: Dr Roger White; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Greek and Roman art and architecture; Greek and Roman urbanism; landscape architecture and representation of landscape in antiquity; computer applications in art history and classical archaeology. Contact: Dr Mantha Zarmakoupi; 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.