MRes Late Antiquity

This programme offers you the opportunity to research one of the aspects of the fragmentation of the Roman World and its transformation into a myriad of new states as the result of internal pressures and barbarian invasion in the period AD 300–700.

The taught elements examine major debates about the period, tackling historical, textual, archaeological and art historical material as an essential foundation for your research topic.

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.

Dr Gareth Sears

“The MRes in Late Antiquity allows you to combine research skills training such as ancient language study or the investigation of an aspect of the late antique worlds in taught sessions, with an extended project supervised by experts in the field. The intellectual atmosphere in the department will prove challenging and inspirational – Birmingham has a large academic community that works on all aspects of the late antique period and you’ll be part of a thriving postgraduate group here.”

The MRes consists of 60 credits of taught modules and 120 credits achieved through a 20,000 word supervised research thesis on a topic of your choice in the late antique world. You should talk to a potential supervisor about this project before making your application.

Your taught modules would usually include Research Skills to support you with the thesis. You will then choose two ptions from a range of modules taught by the Department of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology or the Department of History depending on your interests and research needs.

Why study this course

  • Research 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.
  • Research excellence: 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.

Modules

You will study three taught modules - the first module is core:

Research and Scholarship in Classics and Ancient History

This module ensures that you 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. The module also demands that you attend the CAHA research seminar throughout the semester and engage with research presentations in a critical manner, evaluating presentation skills and discussing questions of methodology. Presentations are discussed and evaluated in debriefing sessions, and finally you will give your own presentations on aspects of your research projects.
Assessment: Written coursework and a presentation

Your remaining two modules are optional, chosen from a range which includes:

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 you 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.
Assessment: Written coursework

Byzantine Archaeology and Material Culture

This course offers a framework, partly empirical, partly conceptual, whereby to engage with the problems of investigating and interpreting Late Roman and Byzantine archaeology. It introduces all the major types of evidence (artefactual, topographical, monumental, environmental), deploying them to test reassessments of major debates in Late Roman and Byzantine Studies. Tutorial reading develop introduction to archaeology as an intellectual practice within Late Roman and Byzantine historical enquiry, focusing upon archaeology's developing contributions to economic, cultural and politico-administrative history, and evaluation of best practice in excavation, survey, recording and publication.
Assessment: Written coursework

Byzantine Art and Architecture

This course ensures a thorough grounding in the monuments of Byzantium, and an understanding of the methodological issues and problems confronting modern scholars. Lectures provide a chronological survey of the monuments (architecture, architectural decoration, sculpture, and painting including icons and book illumination) from the foundation of Constantinople in 324 until Iconoclasm (730-843), with an emphasis on the interpretation of the monuments in their historical context. Seminars are devoted to research skills in particular areas of their discipline.
Assessment: Written coursework

Coins and Economy in the Byzantine World

The study of Byzantine coins is primarily the study of the movement of people, commodities and ideas within and outside the borders of the Byzantine commonwealth. By placing coins in their geographical, historical and archaeological background, students could trace the commercial, and military land- and sea-routes, the extent of the monetary sector in the cities and the countryside, the political and cultural interchange between areas, and the circulation of various mint issues in Eastern and Western Medieval Europe. During the first semester, the course aims to discuss the history and development of the Byzantine coinage and economic history from the currency reform of Anastasius (AD498) to the early Macedonian dynasty (AD 867-969).
Assessment: Written coursework

Empire and Identity

This module is in two parts, both linked by questions of how contact with the Roman empire changed peoples’ perceptions of themselves and how this was represented in particular through their material culture. The first part considers the ‘Romanisation’ debate of the last hundred years, from the ‘top-down’ view of Haverfield and his successors, who brought to bear their own experiences of European colonialism and imperialism, through to more recent ‘bottom-up’ analyses employing post-colonial and related analyses, to the current position where the term can be seen as counter-productive. The second part looks at the construction of ‘barbarian’ identities in the later Roman period (mainly the 4th and 5th centuries). It considers the construction of ‘ethnicity’ in the 20th century, from Kossinna on, and its relationship to material culture (if there is any). The recent discussions of the construction of ‘identity’ rather than just ‘ethnicity’ are considered. Particular use is made of the rich textual and archaeological evidence for the (Visi-)Goths.
Assessment: Written coursework

The City in the Greco-Roman World

The ancient city lies at the heart of the study of the Classical World. Cities and city-states in the ancient world represented the fundamental units of political power and personal identity and the context within which most of the artefacts and products which we study today were produced. This option will provide you with a secure basis for undertaking independent research in Ancient History, Literature, and Archaeology, by exploring a wide range of crucial questions and cutting-edge approaches to these urbanized political communities led by specialists in particular areas, but primarily from an Ancient History disciplinary perspective. The teaching will comprise of a series of nine seminar topics, selected from a longer list of possible choices to support the research interests of participants. The seminar will explore a range of different topics and approaches, reflecting the interests of participants and lecturers, but key themes will include: cities as political communities; cities and personal identity; muted groups and the city; places and spaces within ancient cities; city and hinterland; monumentality; economics and political economy.
Assessment: Written coursework

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.


Please note that the optional module information listed on the website for this programme is intended to be indicative, and the availability of optional modules may vary from year to year. Where a module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you to make other choices.

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2018/19 are as follows:

  • UK/EU: £5,850 full-time; £2,925 part-time
  • International: £16,320 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 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 2018-19 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 2018-19 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; 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

International students requiring visas

Monday 2 July 2018 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 2018 made after this date - a new application should be made for September 2019. Applications will reopen for 2019 entry by 21 September 2018.

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.

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

The MRes in Late Antiquity is taught by a large concentration of staff approaching the late antique world from a range of perspectives – archaeological, art historical, historical, philosophical and literary.

Staff within the Department of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology, work particularly on late antique North Africa and Augustine of Hippo, Britain and the western provinces, the Balkans and the East Roman/Byzantine empire. Relevant colleagues in the Department of History work on early Islam and on Scandinavia.

You will benefit from the large postgraduate community in the Department who work on all aspects of the ancient and late antique worlds. There is a particular concentration of students who work on the Byzantine period.

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.

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; National Trust; and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.

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.

Accommodation

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.

Support in your studies

We offer an Academic Writing Advisory Service, which aims to help your transition to postgraduate research. The service offers guidance on organising your ideas and structuring an argument, referencing and avoiding plagiarism, being clear and coherent and editing your work for academic style and linguistic accuracy. Individual support is provided by a professional academic writing advisor via tutorials or email, as well as through the provision of online materials.

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.