MA Antiquity: Byzantine Studies pathway

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The Antiquity MA: Byzantine Studies pathway allows you to study the political, cultural, social economic and literary history of the Byzantine Empire. This programme offers an ideal opportunity to pursue your interests in greater depth and also provides an ideal foundation for further research at doctoral level. This is one of several pathways available on the Antiquity MA.

Course fact file

Type of Course: Taught

Study Options: Full time, part time

Duration: 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time

Start date: September

Details

This is the degree for you if you enjoyed studying the ancient world as an undergraduate, and would now like to study Byzantine Studies in greater depth and at a higher level; or if you want to explore this aspect of antiquity and it wasn’t included in your first degree. It allows you to specialise, but also encourages you to branch out into related disciplines and to consider interdisciplinary approaches.

You will choose two core language modules, at least one which should be Greek, from a range of which includes:

  • Beginners Greek
  • Beginners Latin
  • Advanced Greek
  • Advanced Latin
  • Modern Languages

You will also study a third core module in Research and Scholarship.

You will also choose three optional modules, at least two of which should relate to Byzantine Studies. Options available may include:

  • Byzantine Archaeology and Material Culture
  • Byzantine Art and Architecture
  • Coins and Economy in the Byzantine World

Full module descriptions are available below.

You will also complete a 15,000-word dissertation on a subject of your choice, with one-to-one expert supervision. 

Why study this course

The Byzantine Empire was a fascinatingly rich and diverse cultural world, cutting across familiar ideas of divisions between East and West, and ancient and medieval.

The University of Birmingham has a long-established record as one of the world’s leading centres for the study of this field.

Modules

You will study two core language modules, at least one of which should be Greek, from a range which includes:

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.

Modern Languages modules are also available.

You will also study a third core module:

Research and Scholarship

This module ensures that students across the range of sub-disciplines in Classics and Ancient History 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.

You will also choose three optional modules, at least two of which should relate to the Byzantine Studies pathway. Options available may include:

Byzantine Archaeology and Material Culture

This course offers a framework, partly empirical, partly conceptual, whereby to engage with the problems of investigating and interpreting Late Roman and Byzantine archaeology. It introduces all the major types of evidence (artefactual, topographical, monumental, environmental), deploying them to test reassessments of major debates in Late Roman and Byzantine Studies. Tutorial reading develop introduction to archaeology as an intellectual practice within Late Roman and Byzantine historical enquiry, focusing upon archaeology's developing contributions to economic, cultural and politico-administrative history, and evaluation of best practice in excavation, survey, recording and publication.

Byzantine Art and Architecture

This course ensures a thorough grounding in the monuments of Byzantium, and an understanding of the methodological issues and problems confronting modern scholars. Lectures provide a chronological survey of the monuments (architecture, architectural decoration, sculpture, and painting including icons and book illumination) from the foundation of Constantinople in 324 until Iconoclasm (730-843), with an emphasis on the interpretation of the monuments in their historical context. Seminars are devoted to research skills in particular areas of their discipline.

Coins and Economy in the Byzantine World

The study of Byzantine coins is primarily the study of the movement of people, commodities and ideas within and outside the borders of the Byzantine commonwealth. By placing coins in their geographical, historical and archaeological background, students could trace the commercial, and military land- and sea-routes, the extent of the monetary sector in the cities and the countryside, the political and cultural interchange between areas, and the circulation of various mint issues in Eastern and Western Medieval Europe. During the first semester, the course aims to discuss the history and development of the Byzantine coinage and economic history from the currency reform of Anastasius (AD498) to the early Macedonian dynasty (AD 867-969).

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2015/16 are as follows:

  • Home / EU: £6,210 full-time; £3,105 part-time
  • Overseas: £14,140 full-time

For part-time students, the above fee quoted is for year one only and tuition fees will also be payable in year two 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 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.

Birmingham Masters Scholarship Scheme

For 2015 entry the University has 224 new £10,000 scholarships available for Masters students from under-represented groups. These scholarships have been jointly funded by the British Government; the allocation of the awards, which is the fourth highest in the UK, further cements Birmingham?s place amongst the very best higher education institutions for postgraduate study. The application deadline is 31 July 2015.

Entry requirements

Learn more about entry requirements

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

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.

Making your application

Learn more about applying

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

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Learning and teaching

The research modules will train you to a professional level in bibliographic research, project development, information management and retrieval, oral presentation, active listening, and a range of subject-specific skills tailored to this pathway.

You will also become part of, and contribute to, the vibrant 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.

Support with academic writing

As a postgraduate student in the College of Arts and Law, you have access to the Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) which aims to help your transition from undergraduate to taught Masters level, or back into academia after time away. The service offers guidance on writing assignments and dissertations for your MA/MSc programme with individual support from an academic writing advisor via tutorials, email and the provision of online materials.

International students can access support through the English for International Students Unit (EISU).

Related research

Employability

The University of Birmingham has been ranked 8th in the UK and 60th in the world for post-qualification employability in the latest global survey of universities commissioned by the International Herald Tribune.

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.

Graduates with a postgraduate degree in Antiquity can boast a wide combination of skills that can be applied in many types of work and which employers regard very positively. That’s why historically, over 91% of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology postgraduates have been in employment or further study within six months of graduating.