MA Antiquity: Classics and Ancient History pathway

The Antiquity MA: Classics pathway is for students interested in advanced study of any aspect of Greco-Roman civilisation.

Modules emphasise independent interpretation of primary evidence, and encourage you to draw connections across historical periods, between different types of evidence (textual, archaeological, iconographic), and between different cultures.

This programme offers an ideal opportunity to pursue your interests in the Graeco-Roman world in greater depth and also provides an ideal foundation for further research at doctoral level. All students take at least one classical language module, plus a general module on Research and Scholarship designed to introduce them to the professional skills required by an independent researcher. This is one of several pathways available on the Antiquity MA.

Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology at the University of Birmingham has been ranked among the top five Russell Group departments of Classics in the Research Excellence Framework 2014.

Tamsin Cross

“The academic staff are fantastic at what they do – they are leaders in their field. We’ve recently been named as one of the top five red brick universities for research in the Classics Department so I wanted to learn from people who are at the top of their field. ”

This is the degree for you if you enjoyed studying the ancient world as an undergraduate, and would now like to study Classics and Ancient History 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 or Latin, from a range 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 Classics and Ancient History. Options available may include:

  • Cities in the Ancient World
  • Greek Drama since 1900
  • Herodotus and Ancient Worlds

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

  1. Research strengths - the University of Birmingham has a distinguished tradition of Classical scholarship going back more than a hundred years. Particular current research strengths include: Greek mythology and religion; Greek and Latin poetry and its reception, both in European literature and film and in modern popular culture; drama, democracy, and citizenship in Ancient Greece; and the social history, and modern reception, of Roman cities and of the City of Rome in particular.
  2. Flexibility - with such a range of expertise available, you will be supported to explore your specific interests, particularly through the dissertation.
  3. Exceptional learning resources – you will have access to a range of learning resources including environmental and material culture teaching collections; the Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology Museum, the Eton Myers Collection at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts; and the Danford Collection of African art and artefacts.
  4. Taught by experts - you will study alongside some of the finest minds at Birmingham. Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology at the University of Birmingham has been ranked among the top five Russell Group departments of Classics in the Research Excellence Framework.
  5. Be a part of an exciting department – you will join a lively postgraduate community with many opportunities to enhance your learning from events, research seminars and conferences.


You will study two core language modules, at least one of which should be Greek or Latin, 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 Classics and Ancient History pathway. Options available may include:

Greek Drama Since 1900

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.

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 students 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 connexions between theories of history, reception and hermeneutics, and the development of cultural identity and historical consciousness.

Cities in the Ancient World

Related staff

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2016/17 are as follows:

  • Home / EU: £6,570 full-time; £3,285 part-time
  • Overseas: £14,850 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.

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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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).

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.

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.


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.