MRes Cuneiform and Ancient Near Eastern Studies

This programme provides an introduction to the Akkadian and Sumerian languages and to the cuneiform script within the context of the history and culture of the Ancient Near East.

It combines a 20,000-word research thesis, supervised by a specialist in the field of study, with research training and taught elements. 

Times Higher Education ranked the department of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology in the top five departments of Classics in the country for its performance in the latest Research Excellence Framework exercise.

The MRes programme features three taught modules, followed by a 20,000-word supervised research project on an Ancient Near Eastern topic.

MRes programmes offer a unique opportunity to deepen and develop your knowledge of the subject by combining taught elements with research training and an individual research project. They can lead to doctoral research, and will also provide the chance for you to undertake scholarly research as an enrichment of undergraduate study or for career development purposes.

Your research will be supported by three taught modules. You will acquire a knowledge of the two key languages of the Ancient Near East, Sumerian and Akkadian, which will enable you to work with texts in the original. A research training module equips you for your thesis by allowing you to develop a range of specialised and generic skills, including textual criticism, document handling, literary theory, information resources, thesis presentation and bibliographical management. 

We recommend that you discuss your proposed research project with a potential supervisor before applying.

Why study this course

  • Disciplines in dialogue: Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology at Birmingham is one of the few university departments in the UK that draws together the study of Greece and Rome with Egypt and the ancient Near East.
  • Research strengths - Times Higher Education ranked us among the top five departments of Classics in the country for our performance in the latest Research Excellence Framework exercise.
  • Excellent resources: We have an outstanding research collection in the University Library, with strong holdings in periodicals and other scholarly publications, including those in relevant European languages, and subscriptions to all major online databases and e-resources.
  • Postgraduate community: We have a vibrant and productive postgraduate community and students are encouraged to enter fully into the life of the Department and the University. We enable advanced research students to broaden their skills through appropriate training in teaching skills and, where possible, through offering the chance to gain experience in teaching.

 

Modules

Taught modules

You will study three core modules:

Akkadian Language

This module offers beginning instruction in the Old Babylonian dialect of Akkadian as well as an extended introduction to the cuneiform writing system. MRes students enrolled in the module will be expected to master approximately 100 cuneiform signs and develop a solid knowledge of Akkadian grammar over the course of the year.
Assessment: One three hour examination.

Sumerian Language

The Sumerian module provides an accelerated introduction to the Sumerian language in the first term, while in the second term it focuses on key passages from Gudea Statue B or the Cylinders of Gudea. 
Assessment: One three hour examination.

Research and Scholarship in Classics and Ancient History

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.
Assessment: Two written assignments and a 10-minute presentation

Thesis

The programme is completed with a 20,000-word thesis, supported by expert academic supervision.

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2019/20 are as follows:

  • UK/EU: £6,030 full-time; £3,015 part-time
  • International: £17,040 full-time

The above fees quoted are for one year only; for those studying over two or more years, tuition fees will also be payable in subsequent years of your programme.

Fee status

Eligibility for UK/EU or international fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students

We can also confirm that EU students who are already studying at the University of Birmingham or who have an offer to start their studies in the 2019-20 academic year will continue to be charged the UK fee rate applicable at the time, provided this continues to be permitted by UK law. The UK Government has also confirmed that students from the EU applying to courses starting in the 2019-20 academic year will not see any changes to their loan eligibility or fee status. This guarantee will apply for the full duration of the course, even if the course finishes after the UK has left the EU.

Paying your fees

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

Our requirements for postgraduate research are dependent on the type of programme you are applying for:

  • For MRes and MA by Research programmes, entry to our programmes usually requires a good (normally a 2:1 or above) Honours degree, or an equivalent qualification if you were educated outside the UK.
  • Applicants for a PhD will also need to hold a Masters qualification at Merit level or above (or its international equivalent).

Any academic and professional qualifications or relevant professional experience you may have are normally taken into account, and in some cases, form an integral part of the entrance requirements.

If you are applying for distance learning research programmes, you will also be required to demonstrate that you have the time, commitment, facilities and experience to study by distance learning.

If your qualifications are non-standard or different from the entry requirements stated here, please contact the admissions tutor.

International students

Academic requirements: We accept a range of qualifications from different countries - our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements: standard language requirements apply for this course - IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band, or PTE with 59 in all four skills. If you are made an offer of a place to study and you do not meet the language requirement, you have the option to enrol on our English for Academic Purposes Presessional Course - if you successfully complete the course, you will be able to fulfil the language requirement without retaking a language qualification.

Learn more about international entry requirements

How to apply

Application deadlines

International students requiring visas

Monday 1 July 2019 is the application deadline for international students who require a visa to study in the United Kingdom. We are not able to consider applications for 2019 made after this date - a new application should be made for September 2020. Applications will reopen for 2020 entry in early October 2019.

UK/EU students

We would recommend that you aim to submit your application and supporting documents by the end of July. However, we would encourage you to apply at the earliest opportunity, to allow adequate time to prepare for starting your studies once receiving a decision on your application.

Before you make your application

Please refer to our six step process on applying for PhD, MA by Research and MRes opportunities for Arts subject areas, which includes detailed advice on research proposals and how to write them.

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

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

Apply now

Birmingham is one of the few university departments in the UK that draws together the study of Greece and Rome with Egypt and the Near East, antiquity with Byzantium, and allows you to use historical approaches alongside those from classics and archaeology.

You will be able to draw on a wide range of academic expertise in the history, culture, and languages of the ancient world. For some topics research work in a museum with Ancient Near Eastern holdings may be possible.

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

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University.

The University's Careers Network provides advice and information specifically for postgraduates that will help you to develop an effective career and skills development strategy, and to make the most of your time with us at the University. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated careers and employability team to deliver tailored programmes of careers events and local support.

You will have opportunities to: meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs; attend employer presentations and skills workshops; receive 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.

You will also be able to access our full range of careers support for up to two years after graduation.

Postgraduate employability: Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology

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.

Over the past three years, over 93% 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: AC archaeology; University of Birmingham; and the National Trust.

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

The Guild of Students hosts over 250 student groups and societies to suit a wide range of interests. These include the Postgraduate and Mature Students Association which runs a regular and varied programme of events specifically tailored to postgraduate students.

In addition, you will find that each Department runs its own social activities, research fora and student groups.

Accommodation

We offer accommodation for postgraduates on or near to campus, although many of our students also choose to live privately in student accommodation, shared houses or flats. If you do choose to live in private accommodation, the University has dedicated support services to help you to find properties from accredited landlords.

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.