Michael Whitby studied Classics at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and then returned for postgraduate study in Byzantine History after three years as a civil servant in the Scottish Office. Following research fellowships and lectureships in various Oxford Colleges, he joined the Ancient History department at St Andrews in 1987, subsequently becoming head of department in 1993 and receiving a personal chair in 1995. He moved to Warwick in 1996 as Professor of Classics and Ancient History, where he was appointed Chair of Faculty (2001) and then Pro-Vice-Chancellor (2003). As PVC his main responsibilities were Learning and Teaching, International Strategy, and Academic Resourcing. He served on the 2001 RAE panel for Classics, and chaired the Classics Sub-panel for the 2008 RAE.
Michael was founder editor of the Brill series on The Medieval Mediterranean, served as editor of Classical Review, and currently sits on the editorial board of the Liverpool series Translated Texts for Historians. He was awarded a D.Litt. by the University of Warwick for his work on Late Roman history. He has written or edited a dozen books, and numerous articles or book chapters.