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.

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.

You will choose two core language modules.

Normally this will be two modules of Egyptian, but you may take one module of Egyptian and one from the following languages: 

  • Greek (beginners' or advanced) 
  • Latin (beginners' or advanced) 
  • Sumerian 
  • Akkadian 

You will also study a third core module in Research and Scholarship, an introduction to the general craft of researching, developing and communicating your ideas within and beyond the postgraduate community. 

You will also choose three optional modules, at least two of which should relate to the Egyptology pathway. Egyptology options available include:

  • Ancient Egyptian Religion
  • Egyptian Culture in Context

Other options offered include: 

  • Herodotus and Other Worlds
  • Funerary Archaeology  

Sample 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. Taught by experts - 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. 
  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. Excellent research reputation - 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 Egyptian, from a range which 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.

Sumerian Language

The module provides an introduction to the Sumerian language and to the cuneiform literature written in that language.

Akkadian Language

The module provides an introduction to the Akkadian language and to the cuneiform literature written in that language.

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 Egyptology pathway. Options available include:

Ancient Egyptian Religion

This course will cover diverse aspects of religion in ancient Egypt, including ideas about creation, the gods and the afterlife, religious practice in the community as well as in the temples, the interrelationship between religious and political authority, and funerary religion. Three different kinds of evidence, each with its own problems of interpretation, in combination provide as rounded a view of the subject as is possible: 1) texts, whether monumental or on papyrus; 2) pictorial evidence from temples, tombs, stelae etc; 3) other archaeological artifacts and contexts.

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.

Herodotus and Other 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.

Funerary Archaeology

This module presents a critical review of theoretical approaches and interpretative themes in contemporary funerary archaeology, and examines the central significance of this field of study in current debates in world archaeology. As a core module for the Cultural Archaeology pathway, it uses this evidence-rich field of study to explore the relationships between cultural ideals, values, social agency and symbolic representation. There will be particular focus on a range of interpretative themes, including social interpretation, cultural identity and personhood, ritual practice, and past belief systems. It will draw widely on cross-cultural and inter-disciplinary case studies in archaeology and cognate disciplines such as anthropology and history, and will be available to students on the other MA/MSc Archaeology pathways and other CAL PGT programmes as an option.

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

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Making your application

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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.

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