MA Antiquity: Egyptology pathway

The Antiquity MA: Egyptology pathway provides training in archaeological and historical approaches to the study of Ancient Egyptian civilisation across its long history, as well as in Egyptian language.

Working with leading experts in the field, you will study the history, culture, religion and evolving thought-systems of Ancient Egypt, with a strong focus on the interpretation of primary evidence, both textual and archaeological. 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 Egyptology 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 study three core modules [full descriptions available below]:

  • Egyptian Culture in Context, 1100-200 BC
  • Approaches to Images, Material Culture and Texts
  • Research Skills

You will also choose three optional modules from across all of the programme’s pathways, offering the opportunity for interdisciplinary study. 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

Egyptology at the University of Birmingham is led by internationally-renowned scholars and commands an impressive record of research and of achievement at postgraduate level. Dr Leahy is co-director of a survey project at Saqqara, west of the step pyramid, while Dr Bommas is conducting research on the remains of the Temple of Chnum on the island of Elephantine. 

With such a range of expertise available, you will be supported to explore your specific interests, particularly through the dissertation.

Modules

You will study three core modules:

Egyptian Culture in Context, 1100-200 BC

This module provides you with a thorough grounding in this key period for Egyptian history and culture. It covers the dramatic shifts in power and ideology as Pharaonic Egypt clashed first with Persia, then with Alexander the Great, before it finally came into contact with the new superpower: Rome.

Approaches to Images, Material Culture and Texts

This module invites you to experiment with interdisciplinary approaches. Linked to a series of research seminars by academic staff, the module is a forum in which staff and students work together to identify significant current directions in research, and to explore links, and differences, between academic disciplines.

Research Skills

This module will help you to develop the skills necessary for graduate level research, introduce you to the latest methods and techniques for interpreting primary sources, and demonstrate how to make critical use of scholarly works. You will learn how to define and approach interesting research questions, and develop an overview of the fields of scholarship most relevant to your pathway.

You will also choose three optional modules, from a range which typically includes:

Egyptian Language

This is a beginners’ course in Middle Egyptian, so you will start from scratch learning to read ancient Egyptian texts and translate sentences written in hieroglyphs into English. Two contact hours per week will enable us to make fast progress so that you are able to translate even unseen texts from the age of the Pharaohs into English by the end of term 2. Concentrating purely on what is called Middle Egyptian, which was the language introduced during the Middle Kingdom (c. 2000 BC), will build a strong basis for any further studies of Egyptian language. 

Ancient Greek or Latin Language

Available at beginner or advanced levels.

The beginners' module provides an intensive introduction to either Greek or Latin. It aims to provide you with the basic linguistic skills needed to acquire a reading knowledge of Greek/Latin for the purposes of research.

The advanced module consolidates linguistic skills to enable you to work independently on Latin/Greek texts in the original language, building upon existing knowledge. It develops analytical and critical skills by means of advanced grammar and reading classes focusing in detail on a text or texts.

Creating Europe: Complex Societies 1000 BC – 1000 AD 

This module explores the nature of complex societies in Europe from the late Bronze Age to the early medieval period, and their interactions with the state-organised and imperial societies of the Mediterranean. The module is organised thematically and chronologically, exploring the theorisation and interpretation of complex societies, large-scale economic and political systems, ethnicity and cultural identity, elite culture and chiefdom social structures, urbanism, coinage, social power and state formation, empire, and long-term social change. Case studies are drawn from a wide range of cultural contexts, focussing on rich and diverse kinds of archaeological evidence from temperate north-west and central Europe, and considering how these relate to historical sources. A key theme addressed throughout the module is the extent to which the social forms and transformations of temperate Europe can be explained in terms of Mediterranean influences and dependencies, and vice versa, or were driven primarily by indigenous cultural, economic and political rationales and processes in both regions.

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 students 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 topoi 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.

Plus:

  • Archaeology of Greece
  • Herodotus and Ancient Worlds
  • Myth and Text in Antiquity
  • Research Project Development

Some of these optional modules may form the core of other pathways.

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.

University of Birmingham graduates may be entitled to a fee reduction through the College of Arts and Law Alumni Bursary scheme.

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

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Making your application

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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).

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.

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.