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Q8K307 Classics MA Postgraduate Taught  2017


Degree MA
Mode of study Part Time + Full Time
Duration 1 year (full-time), 2 years (part-time)
Start Date 02-10-2017
Location Durham City
Department(s) Website
Telephone +44 (0)191 334 1670

Course Content


The MA in Classics is our core research training degree, suitable for anyone wishing to pursue doctoral work in a branch of Classics. The programme places a strong emphasis on language training, on theoretically informed approaches to Classical texts, and on practical engagement with your chosen specialism. The programme lasts for one year full-time (two years part-time).

Course Structure

You will take modules to a total of 180 or 190 credits. The structure of the course is as follows:

  • Core research training module (30 credits)
  • Language module in an ancient or modern language relevant to research in the area of Classics (20-40 credits)
  • 15,000-word Dissertation (60 credits)
  • Optional modules (60-70 credits).

MA modules are 30 credits; you may substitute two undergraduate (20 credit) modules for one MA module. You may also take up to 40 credits of modules offered by other Departments (subject to approval).

Not all modules will be offered every year, and new modules (both elective and core) are added regularly.

Core Modules

  • Classical Research Methods and Resources
  • Language module in an ancient or modern language relevant to research in the area of Classics
  • Dissertation.

Optional Modules

Optional modules are offered according to the current research interests of members of staff. In recent years, optional modules available in the Department have included:

  • Akkadian
  • Ancient Philosophers on Necessity, Fate and Free Will
  • Ancient Philosophers on Origins
  • Animals in Graeco-Roman Antiquity
  • Forms After Plato
  • Greek Text Seminar on Homeric Epic
  • Greek Sacred Regulations
  • Latin Love Elegy
  • Latin Text Seminar on Roman Epic
  • Life and Death on Roman Sarcophagi
  • Monumental Architecture of the Roman East
  • Religious Life in The Roman Near East
  • Rewriting Empire: Eusebius of Caesarea and the First Christian History
  • The Classical Tradition: Art, Literature, Thought
  • The Queen of the Desert: Rise and Decline of Palmyra’s Civilization
  • The Roman Republic: Debates and Approaches.


Course Learning and Teaching

The MA in Classics is principally conceived as a research training programme which aims to build on the skills in independent learning acquired in the course of the student’s first degree and enable them to undertake fully independent research at a higher level. Contact time with tutors for taught modules is typically a total of 5 hours per week (rising to 7 for someone beginning Latin or ancient Greek at this level), with an emphasis on small group teaching, and a structure that maximises the value of this time, and best encourages and focuses the student’s own independent study and preparation. On average, around 2 hours a week of other relevant academic contact (research seminars, dissertation supervision) is also available.

At the heart of the course is a module focused on the range of research methods and resources available to someone working in the field of Classics. This is run as a weekly class, with a mixture of lectures and student-led discussions. Four further elective modules deal with particular specialised subjects. You must choose one module involving work with a relevant language (ancient or modern; beginners modules in each language and specialised text seminars for those who have already studied Greek and Latin are offered every year). All the modules offered will form part of the current research activity of the tutor taking the module. Numbers for each module are typically very small (there are rarely more than five in a class). Typically, classes are two hours long and held fortnightly, and discussion is based on student presentations. (Modules for those beginning ancient Latin or Greek are typically more heavily subscribed, but their classes also meet more often: 3 hours per week.) All students write a 15,000-word dissertation, for which they receive an additional five hours of supervisory contact with an expert in their field of interest. 

All staff teaching on the MA are available for consultation by students, and advertise office hours when their presence can be guaranteed. The MA Director acts as academic adviser to MA students, and is available as an additional point of contact, especially for matters concerning academic progress. MA students are strongly encouraged to attend the Department’s two research seminar series. Although not a formal (assessed) part of the MA, we aim to instil the message that engagement with these seminars across a range of subjects is part of the students’ development as researchers and ought to be viewed as essential to their programme. In addition, MA students are welcomed to attend and present at the ‘Junior Work-in-Progress’ seminar series organised by the PhD students in the Department. Finally, the student-run Classics Society regularly organises guest speakers – often very high-profile scholars from outside Durham.

Admissions Process

Subject requirements, level and grade

A good second class honours degree in a relevant subject (typically 2:1 Honours) or international equivalent (e.g. USA 3.3 g.p.a.; Greek 6.5 / Lian Kalos).

Since all postgraduate degrees are meant to build on your undergraduate work, we ask for a previous degree in a 'relevant' subject. Note that this need not be 'Classics' (so named). If your plan is to specialise in ancient history, literature, or philosophy, for example, it might be perfectly natural to apply with a first degree in History, or English, or Philosophy; or you might just have taken a substantial range of Classical options along the course of your previous studies.

English Language requirements

Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

How to apply

Fees and Funding

Full Time Fees

EU Student £6,900.00
Home Student £6,900.00
Island Student £6,900.00
International non-EU Student £16,500.00

Part Time Fees

EU Student £3,800.00
Home Student £3,800.00
Island Student £3,800.00
International non-EU Student £9,100.00

Note: Fees are subject to review and change in-line with inflation.

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and funding

Career Opportunities

Department of Classics and Ancient History

For information on career options and employability, including the results of the Destination of Leavers survey, student and employer testimonials and details of work experience and study abroad opportunities, please visit our employability web pages.

Open days and visits

Pre-application open day

Overseas Visit Schedule

Postgraduate Visits


Department Information

Department of Classics and Ancient History


The Department of Classics and Ancient History is an internationally leading centre for postgraduate study. As a centre of world-class research, we have a strong commitment to postgraduate provision, and welcome applications for MA and PhD work in any of the research specialties represented in the Department. We are one of the largest Classics departments in the UK and our staff are engaged in international-level research in core disciplines, such as the study of ancient literature and its reception, philosophy, history, and epigraphy.

This wealth of expertise has allowed us to develop some major interdisciplinary research groupings along distinctive lines including two areas in which we host research centres: the Centre for Classical Reception and the Centre for the Study of the Ancient Mediterranean and the Near East.

Our taught Masters programmes offer research training at the highest of levels, including generic training in classical research methods and resources and dedicated postgraduate courses in Latin, Greek and a range of other ancient and modern languages.

Our PhD programme is one of the fastest-growing in the country; it provides outstanding opportunities for training and professional development to students at all stages of doctoral research. Postgraduate students are at the heart of our research culture, and are actively involved in departmental seminars, research projects, conferences, workshops, and publications.


Ranked joint 2nd in the UK for grade point average (GPA) and joint 1st for Internationally Excellent or World-Leading research in both impact and research environment in REF 2014.


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