The major civilisations of the ancient world, including those of Egypt, Greece and Rome, still shape global culture today. Our MA in Ancient History enables you to gain an advanced understanding of ancient culture, whether you focus on literature, thought, art or religion. The MA gives you an opportunity explore the history, political and social organisation, or material artefacts of ancient cultures, to demonstrate a critical engagement and develop an informed sense of the similarities and differences between them and our own culture.
The programme allows you to develop your research skills and to become by the end of the degree an independent researcher, well equipped for future work for a PhD or to undertake research outside academia. The programme begins by focusing on research skills, which you study alongside either an option module or a language module (in ancient Greek or Latin). For the Spring Term, you choose two option modules that reflect the research interests of staff within the Department of Classical and Archaeological Studies.
In the summer, you write a dissertation of up to 15,000 words with advice from one of our experts to demonstrate the skills that you will have gained during your 12 month MA.
This is an ideal programme for graduates of history, ancient history, classics or the wider humanities, wanting to gain practical experience in applying their expertise.
This programme is taught at our Canterbury campus. There is also a version of this programme which allows you to spend a term in Rome. This gives you direct access to Roman sites, museums and architecture, in order to see how the Roman Empire has shaped the city to this day.
A first or upper-second class honours degree in ancient history, ancient history and archaeology, classical studies, classical and archaeological studies or another relevant subject (or the equivalent).
All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, professional qualifications and relevant experience may also be taken into account when considering applications.
Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information. Due to visa restrictions, students who require a student visa to study cannot study part-time unless undertaking a distance or blended-learning programme with no on-campus provision.
The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.
For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages.
Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.
Duration: 1 year full-time (part-time enrolment possible)
The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation. Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you.
The module introduces students to key research skills for the study of ancient history and the associated discipline of Roman archaeology. The focus will be on group work that will investigate how we can gain greater knowledge of an aspect of the ancient city. In so doing, students will learn new skills ranging from researching bibliographies to the development of a sustained research project. A particular focus will be placed on critique of the modern scholarship on the subject, based on historical, epigraphic, archaeological, numismatic and visual sources. The curriculum is designed to develop students' research skills at the beginning of a one year FT MA or two-year PT MA in the Autumn term. The seminars will also focus on the development of the PhD research proposal.
The module introduces students to key skills for the study of the mythology of Rome as an eternal city. The focus will be on group work that will investigate how we can gain greater knowledge of key aspects of the creation of myths of the city of Rome and how mythology can be adjusted through reception and incorporation of new ideas, yet proclaiming a continuity with the past. The curriculum is designed to develop students' research skills and the development of their awareness of public engagement with research. The seminars will also focus on the development of blogs as well as the research skills to develop a longer piece of academic writing in the form of an essay. Students will learn new skills ranging from researching bibliographies, writing succinctly, using hyperlinks in blog formats, through to the development of a sustained research project to underpin their essay.
This module gives students a foundation in Ancient Greek, covering the fundamentals of morphology and syntax. By the end of the module, students will be able to read, comprehend, and translate simple sentences and short passages of Ancient Greek.
This module is designed for students who have already acquired some fundamentals of Ancient Greek morphology and syntax. It aims to introduce students to reading and understanding complex sentence and longer passages by providing them with more knowledge of grammar and syntax.
This module gives students a foundation in Latin, covering the fundamentals of morphology and syntax. By the end of the module, students will be able to read, comprehend, and translate simple sentences and short passages of Latin.
This module is designed for students who have already acquired some fundamentals of Latin morphology and syntax. It aims to introduce students to reading and understanding complex sentence and longer passages by providing them with more knowledge of grammar and syntax.
The module provides students with an advanced understanding of Ancient Greek Prose through the reading, translation and interpretation of ancient text(s). Students will gain a systematic understanding of Greek by reading texts in the original with special attention to stylistics, textual criticism and/or thematic development through the use of author- and theme-specific scholarly tools and publications. The emphasis in this module will be on the development of critical skills that aid in the analysis of the text(s) as literature within a broader literary and cultural context.
The module focuses on solidifying students' knowledge of Ancient Greek grammar and vocabulary through exercises and by reading texts in the original. Students will participate in the close reading and interpretation of Greek literary texts through translation. This enhances their understanding of the key themes and ideas in the text.
In addition to consolidating intermediate knowledge of grammar and vocabulary, this module emphasises close reading and interpretation of Ancient Greek literary texts in their literary and cultural contexts.
The module provides students with an advanced understanding of Ancient Greek Verse through the reading, translation and interpretation of ancient text(s). Students will gain a systematic understanding of Greek by reading texts in the original with special attention to stylistics, textual criticism and/or thematic development through the use of author- and theme-specific scholarly tools and publications. The emphasis in this module will be on the development of critical skills that aid in the analysis of the text(s) as literature within a broader literary and cultural context.
The module provides students with an advanced understanding of Latin Prose through the reading, translation and interpretation of ancient text(s). Students will gain a systematic understanding of Latin by reading texts in the original with special attention to stylistics, textual criticism and/or thematic development through the use of author- and theme-specific scholarly tools and publications. The emphasis in this module will be on the development of critical skills that aid in the analysis of the text(s) as literature within a broader literary and cultural context.
The module provides students with an advanced understanding of Latin Verse through the reading, translation and interpretation of ancient text(s). Students will gain a systematic understanding of Latin by reading texts in the original with special attention to stylistics, textual criticism and/or thematic development through the use of author- and theme-specific scholarly tools and publications. The emphasis in this module will be on the development of critical skills that aid in the analysis of the text(s) as literature within a broader literary and cultural context.
The module focuses on solidifying students' knowledge of Latin grammar and vocabulary through exercises and by reading texts in the original. Students will participate in the close reading and interpretation of Latin literary texts through translation. This enhances their understanding of the key themes and ideas in the text.
In addition to consolidating advanced knowledge of grammar and vocabulary, this module emphasises close reading and interpretation of Latin literary texts in their literary and cultural contexts.
The module is designed with training, knowledge enhancement and skills acquisition to the fore. The module begins with an introduction to the origins and development of theoretical perspectives in archaeology (e.g. ‘cultural history’, the ‘New Archaeology’, ‘Post-Processualism’), and assesses the contributions of these approaches. A central question is how we may study and define past society. Artefacts and their value as evidence of the past are then considered within a contemporary intellectual framework. Settlement sites are then examined and in particular approaches to understanding their morphology, elements and their identity as lived environments; spatial approaches are considered here too. Approaches to the archaeology of landscape are in turn examined, this being a dynamic field in contemporary archaeological understanding. How archaeological data is assesses, organized, and published is then examined from a theoretical and methodological angle. Finally, how the various strands of archaeological data can be brought together to assemble a coherent picture of past human life and society are critically examined and reviewed.
The module examines the varied, rich and extensive archaeological (and historical) evidence for settlement and social life in the area of the northern provinces of the Roman empire and its near neighbours during the Late Iron Age and Roman eras. The module structure is thematic and explores a range of inter-related topic areas. Particular emphasis is placed on new ideas and approaches. It is expected that there will be site and museum visits related to this module, undertaken in the south-east of England and/or on the near continent.
Topics typically covered would be: the nature of the archaeological record for the era and approaches to its study; material culture and society in the Iron Age: production and consumption; regional patterns and identity in the Iron Age; continuities into the Roman era and the civitates system; the historiography of Roman studies in North West Europe; the archaeology of Roman London; the character and morphology of settlement in the Roman era: towns and cities, smaller centres and the countryside; material culture and society in the Roman period: production and consumption; regional civitas capitals; the archaeology of the Roman era in The Netherlands (Lower Germany); the Roman ‘Saxon-Shore’ and military society; religion and ritual; society in the later Roman era and the end of ‘urban life; burial evidence and patterns; the archaeologies of people: gender, status, ethnicity and biography.
This module aims to provide a detailed overview of the most important events and trends of the political, social and economic history of the Hellenistic period, based on the most recent results of research. Its objective is to make the students familiar with both the diverse ancient sources and the secondary literature, not just from the perspective of the conquering Macedonians and Greeks but also from that of the conquered native civilisations, such as Persians, Jews, Syrians and Egyptians. The module will be taught on the basis of a wide variety of sources, including historical, literary, epigraphic, papyrological and archaeological. Particular attention will be paid to the interaction of different political, social and economic systems and to the emergence of new structures as a consequence.
Ancient Greek concepts of 'rational science' were vastly different from modern perceptions and discipline classifications. Its foundation was grounded in philosophical discussions that considered the nature of the cosmos and all that existed within it. This module demonstrates how the subjects were interlinked through a close analysis of the development of ancient astronomy and medicine, from the Geometric to the Hellenistic periods. It discusses literary, philosophical and archaeological material. The first half of the module will focus on astronomy. The second half of the module will concentrate on medicine and begin with a discussion of the pre-Socratic philosophers’ introduction of the theory of the four elements: earth, air, fire and water that were present within everything, including the stars and the body. From here students will examine how the theory of the four elements was transformed into the humoural system. Consideration will also be given to how the body and health were influenced by environment and astronomy discussed in the first half of the module.
The Dissertation module comprises supervised research undertaken by the student, in the broad area of the history, literary sources and archaeology of the ancient world. A curriculum will be developed by the student around their own particular research interests.
The programme is assessed by coursework for each of the modules, an examination in Latin or ancient Greek, if these modules are taken, and by the dissertation.
This programme aims to:
You will gain knowledge and understanding of:
You develop intellectual skills in how to:
You gain subject-specific skills in:
You will gain the following transferable skills:
The 2021/22 annual tuition fees for this programme are:
For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.
For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact email@example.com.
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In The Complete University Guide 2021, the University of Kent was ranked in the top 10 for research intensity. This is a measure of the proportion of staff involved in high-quality research in the university.
Please see the University League Tables 2021 for more information.
In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, classics was ranked 2nd for research impact and in the top 20 for research intensity, research power, research quality and research output in the UK.
An impressive 97% of our research was judged to be of international quality and the School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of world-leading research.
Currently particular areas of interest are:
The history of archaeology; Roman ceramics; the archaeology of the Roman army and frontier; archaeology and gender; classical medicine; Minoan iconography, Mycenaean administration, Mycenaean epigraphy, ritual theory and general Bronze Age Aegean archaeology; archaeoastronomy; catasterism myths; later prehistory in temperate Europe, including the British Isles; the archaeology of the Roman era in Britain and the Western Provinces; Roman artefacts and art; the late post-Roman transition in the West; landscape and settlement studies; the archaeology of the Transmanche region; investigating the Mediterranean city in Late Antiquity (AD 300-650); Late Antiquity cities.
Ancient narrative literature, especially the novel; classical literature; Greek palaeography; hagiography; Byzantium; historiography; and gender studies.
Archaic, classical and Hellenistic Greece; late period, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine Egypt; the history of the Roman Republic; the life course; roads and the landscape of the Roman Empire; tourism and the classical tradition; the social, economic and financial aspects of the Roman Republic and Roman Empire; Greek and Egyptian papyrology; epigraphy; palaeography; Greek and Roman performance arts, costume, and gender studies.
Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.
Our MA programmes include much scope for vocational training, skills acquisition and guided project work, often with use of our extensive facilities. These aspects of our programmes have been praised by external assessors in recent years. Recent graduates have progressed to careers in a wide range of related professional and leadership areas, including national and local museums, teaching and senior roles with archaeological organisations (national government institutions, contracting units and trusts). A large proportion of completing Master’s students have progressed onto PhD study.
Classical & archaeological studies examines the textual and material evidence for a wide cross-section of the ancient world and includes three convergent research and teaching pathways: ancient history, classical literature, and archaeology. Many core areas in the investigation of the ancient world can be studied with us at postgraduate level.
The Department of Classical & Archaeological Studies operates as part of the School of European Culture and Languages (SECL), and there are corresponding opportunities for a high level of interdisciplinary interaction (five modern languages, philosophy, theology and religious studies and comparative literature), in addition to the informal links with staff in the rest of the University researching medieval history, the history of science, architecture and social anthropology. We have good partnerships with high-profile universities and organisations such as the Ghent University, University Lille 3, the Flemish Heritage Institute, UCLA, the Free University of Amsterdam and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB).
We offer bursaries to enable students to participate in departmental fieldwork projects covering travel, food and accommodation. Typically, around 30 students each year have been placed on research and training excavations in Britain, Italy (including Ostia, port of Rome) and Greece, relating to sites of Bronze Age Greek (Minoan), Iron Age, Roman, and Late Antique and Anglo-Saxon date.
The School has extensive literary holdings and many other facilities to support active research, and the Templeman Library also has excellent holdings in all our areas of research interest. This includes an extensive range of English and international periodicals, as well as specialist collections (the library of A S L Farquharson, specialising in the age of Marcus Aurelius, and generous donations from the libraries of Victor Ehrenberg in ancient social history, Anthony Snodgrass, Richard Reece and Jill Braithwaite in archaeology). We have access to Canterbury Cathedral Library, and to archaeological libraries and collections in Kent, such as the major collection of the Kent Archaeological Society, and first-rate connections with London and continental Europe. Kent is now the home of the Colin Renfrew Archive, a major resource for research on the history of archaeology, archaeological theory, prehistoric Orkney and the Aegean Bronze Age.
The Department has its own specialist technician, Lloyd Bosworth, who is widely experienced and skilled in landscape archaeology, geographic information systems (GIS), digital imaging and laser scanning, as well as geophysical surveying. He offers advice and training in the use of the archaeological equipment and has worked in Belgium, Ostia, Rome and Crete.
The University has recently invested in a range of new archaeological equipment including a Romer laser scanner, portable XRF machinery, resistivity and magnetometer survey machines, GPS and a photographic lab.
The University of Kent’s location is highly convenient for students who need to visit not only the British Library and other specialist libraries in London, but also the major libraries and research centres within Europe.
All postgraduate students in SECL receive support and guidance within their departments and from the Graduate School. Within SECL, in addition to the research culture of your department, our research centres combine overlapping interests to foster interdisciplinary support and dialogue, while the Graduate School provides a Researcher Development Programme to equip you with a full range of skills that will improve your effectiveness as a researcher. Training courses are also offered by the Library and Computing Services, and by the Unit for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (UELT).
Individual training is offered in accordance with a student’s needs. We offer training in Greek and Latin languages at the appropriate level; and specialist skills training in epigraphy, papyrology, palaeography and Egyptology, artefact studies and fieldwork methods. Postgraduates have also gained experience by mounting their own independent seminar programme to discuss work in progress (in addition to taking part in staff/postgraduate research seminars).
Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Among others, they have recently contributed to: Acta Antiqua; Archiv für Papyrusforschung, European Journal of Archaeology; Latomus; Hermes; L’études Classiques; Aegyptus; Annual Review of the British School at Rome; American Journal of Archaeology.
All students registered for a taught Master's programme are eligible to apply for a place on our Global Skills Award Programme. The programme is designed to broaden your understanding of global issues and current affairs as well as to develop personal skills which will enhance your employability.