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 latest Research Excellence Framework exercise.

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 may include:

  • Ancient Egyptian Religion
  • Egyptian Culture in Context

Other options offered may include: 

  • Herodotus and Other Worlds
  • Funerary Archaeology  

Further module information is available below.

Assessment

Modules are typically assessed by written assignment, exam or presentation, or a combination of these methods. You will also complete a 15,000-word dissertation on a subject of your choice.  

Why study this course

  • Established expertise - 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 Bommas is conducting research on the remains of the Temple of Chnum on the island of Elephantine, while Dr Jurman is engaged in a research project focussing on the history and archaeology of Memphis, the famous ancient capital of Egypt.
  • Flexibility - with such a range of expertise available, you will be supported to explore your specific interests, particularly through the dissertation.
  • 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, and the Danford Collection of African art and artefacts.
  • Research strengths - Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology at the University of Birmingham has been ranked among the top five Russell Group departments of Classics in the latest Research Excellence Framework exercise.
  • 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.

Modules

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.
Assessment: Class test or examination

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.
Assessment: Class test, take home paper or examination

Sumerian Language

The module provides an introduction to the Sumerian language and to the cuneiform literature written in that language.
Assessment: Three-hour examination

Akkadian Language

The module provides an introduction to the Akkadian language and to the cuneiform literature written in that language.
Assessment: Three-hour examination

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

You will also choose three optional modules, at least two of which should relate to the Egyptology pathway. Options available may 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.
Assessment: 4,000-word essay

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.
Assessment: 4,000-word essay

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.
Assessment: 4,000-word essay

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. The extraordinarily rich and diverse character of mortuary evidence is highlighted, with particular focus on how this kind of evidence is used to explore the relationships between cultural ideals, values, social agency and symbolic representation. Key interpretative themes that are considered from several perspectives include social interpretation, cultural identity and personhood, ritual practice, and past belief systems. The module draws widely on cross-cultural and inter-disciplinary case studies in archaeology and cognate disciplines such as anthropology and history.
Assessment: 4,000-word essay


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: £9,000 full-time; £4,500 part-time
  • International: £17,010 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 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

We normally require a 2:1 degree, or equivalent, in a discipline relevant to the selected pathway, such as Classics, Archaeology or History.

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

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

Learn more about applying

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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The course is delivered through a range of teaching and learning methods, including lectures and seminars. You will also receive one-to-one supervision to support you in the development of your dissertation.

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 for English Language development and skills through the Birmingham International Academy (BIA).

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.

Over the past five years, 91% of MA Antiquity postgraduates were in work and/or further study six months after graduation. 

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.