Ancient History

Ancient History - MA

November Open Event

Meet us at our Canterbury campus or join our virtual Open Event. Come along from 17.00 - 19.00 on Wednesday 16 November to find out more about postgraduate study at Kent.

Join a friendly academic community in exploring ancient Greece, Rome, and their neighbours. Our MA in Ancient History challenges you to immerse yourself in the ancient world in all its complexity and equips you to engage with evidence at an advanced level.

Overview

Our MA in Ancient History is an opportunity to see the ancient past as familiar yet provocative, a world as multifaceted as our own. We will guide you in forming your own critical judgements of classical antiquity, together with its living legacies.

We invite you to join our thriving, creative, and supportive comm­unity of scholars beyond the classroom in regular postgraduate social meetings, weekly seminars, and site visits. This degree allows you to develop a wide range of skills in interpreting source materials and data related to ancient history, and teaches you how to ask the most important questions. With this qualification, you will be equipped for future work involving independent research skills, either in academia or beyond.

Our MA in Ancient History is designed to give you a thorough training in the theories, methods, and concepts now shaping the study of the ancient world. You can also gain the skills of the ancient Greek or Latin linguist and the historian, through hands-on learning in the classroom and in museums and archives.

By taking your choice of optional modules, you will enhance your analytical skills and broaden your knowledge of ancient Mediterranean cultures including Greece, Rome and Egypt. All of these options are taught by friendly, internationally-recognised experts whose cutting-edge research informs their teaching. They will provide personalised supervision as you develop your own research specialisms.

On a campus overlooking the heart of Roman Canterbury, the Department of Classical and Archaeological Studies is advantageously situated just one hour by train from London’s British Museum and British Library. We are also the UK’s closest university to Europe, and less than two hours away is another capital city, Paris, with its Louvre Museum and Bibliothèque Nationale de France.

Our nearness to these world-leading resources, combined with our own excellent laboratory and library collections, form an attractive setting for your research on a dissertation topic. In the summer term, one of our experts will guide you to explore your own interests in a substantial independent research project, using all the skills that you have gained during your 12 month Master's degree.

This is an ideal degree for graduates of History, Ancient History, Classics or the wider humanities, who want to engage intellectually with the ancient Mediterranean and develop the skills of an independent researcher. This course is also available part time (24 months).

Entry requirements

A first or second class honours degree or equivalent in ancient history, ancient history and archaeology, classical studies, classical and archaeological studies or another relevant subject.

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. 

International students

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.

English language entry requirements

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. 

Need help with English?

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.

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Teaching

Teaching and assessment

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.

Programme aims

This programme aims to:

  • provide research training in the subject area of ancient history
  • expand your depth of knowledge of key subject areas in ancient history
  • attract outstanding students, irrespective of race, background, gender or physical disability from both within the UK, and EU, and also from overseas
  • develop new areas of postgraduate teaching in response to the advance of scholarship
  • provide you with the skills to equip you for a further career either for doctoral research in ancient history, or in employment, with the use of these transferable skills
  • develop your competence in applying skills to analysis of a diverse body of ancient evidence
  • develop your critical and analytical powers in relation to the ancient material
  • provide you with the skills to adapt and respond positively to change
  • develop critical, analytical problem-based learning skills and the transferable skills to prepare you for graduate employment
  • enhance the development of your interpersonal skills
  • provide you with opportunities for shared multidisciplinary learning with archaeology, religious studies and philosophy
  • assist you to develop the skills required for both autonomous practice and team-working.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You will gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • a complex range of disciplines, cultural relationships and varied geographical regions
  • the research skills associated with the use of ancient evidence to produce historical narratives and analyses that engage with the most recent development in research in ancient history
  • to come to terms with philosophical issues by thinkers of very different cultural and linguistic assumptions from our own
  • to understand the nature of the societies and political systems of antiquity
  • be familiar with an appropriate and diverse range of primary materials, epigraphy, papyrology, literature, visual material, and history
  • a broad and systematic knowledge developed within a coherent framework of complementary subjects, including religion, history and ancient languages.

Intellectual skills

You develop intellectual skills in how to:

  • apply the skills needed for academic study and enquiry
  • evaluate research and a variety of types of information and evidence critically
  • synthesise information critically from a number of sources in order to gain a coherent understanding of theory and practice
  • apply strategies for appropriate selection of relevant information from a wide source and large body of knowledge
  • utilise problem-solving skills
  • analyse, evaluate and interpret the evidence underpinning historical, linguistic and literary evidence critically.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in:

  • having an advanced understanding of another culture, whether focused on its literature, thought, art and religion, or its history and political and social organisation, or its material culture, demonstrate a critical engagement with it, develop an informed sense of the similarities and differences between it and our own culture
  • have a broad knowledge, developed within a coherent framework, of complementary subjects, drawn from such fields as language, literature, linguistics, philosophy, history, art and archaeology, or theme-based topics which cross the boundaries between them (eg religion, gender studies), and periods
  • be familiar with and able to evaluate an appropriate and diverse range of primary materials, eg literary, philosophical and historical texts, art objects, archaeological evidence and inscriptions
  • command a range of techniques and methodologies, such as bibliographical and library research skills, a range of skills in reading and textual analysis, the varieties of historical method, the visual skills characteristic of art criticism, use of statistics (eg in archaeology), philosophical argument and analysis, and analytical grasp of an ancient language.

Transferable skills

You will gain the following transferable skills:

  • the ability to communicate effectively with a wide range of individuals using a variety of means
  • the ability to evaluate your own academic performance
  • the ability to manage change effectively and respond to changing demands

Fees

The 2023/24 annual tuition fees for this course are:

  • Home full-time £9500
  • EU full-time £13500
  • International full-time £18000
  • Home part-time £4750
  • EU part-time £6750
  • International part-time £9000

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 information@kent.ac.uk.

Your fee status

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

Additional costs

General additional costs

Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent. 

Funding

Search our scholarships finder for possible funding opportunities. You may find it helpful to look at both:

We have a range of subject-specific awards and scholarships for academic, sporting and musical achievement.

Search scholarships

Independent rankings

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021, 100% of our Classics research was classified as ‘world-leading’ for impact. In addition, 85% of our research and over 80% of our research publications were classified as 'world leading' or 'internationally excellent'.

Following the REF 2021, Classics at Kent was ranked 6th in the UK in the Times Higher Education.

Research

Research areas

The Department of CLAS is a lively intellectual community that prizes collaboration and thrives on interdisciplinarity. Our main areas of research are the following. 

Archaeology and Heritage 

Our specialists cover a vast swathe of the ancient world, from the Eastern Mediterranean to Italy to North Western Europe and the British Isles, and from prehistory to the early Middle Ages. Colleagues have worked extensively on landscapes and urbanism, religious sites, archeoastronomy, ceramics, artefacts and objects, and the archaeology of gender. We are active in fieldwork, work closely with museums, and are a major voice in international debates about cultural heritage preservation. Our research is supported by a specialised archaeology technician. 

Classical Studies and Byzantium 

The department has extensive expertise on the languages, literature, and cultural history of the Greek and Roman worlds in a wide sense, ranging in time from Ancient Greece and Rome all the way up to the Byzantine Middle Ages. Research within the department has focused in particular on classical Greek drama, performance studies, mythology, ancient philosophy and science, Latin poetry, historiography, gender studies, early Christian literature, and the reception of Antiquity in later periods. We also have experts on palaeography, textual transmission, and fragmentary texts. 

Ancient History and Late Antiquity 

Ancient History at Kent is much more than Greece and Rome alone. Spanning from the Bronze Age to the Arab Conquest, our research covers the entire Ancient Mediterranean world, including Egypt and North Africa, the Phoenician / Punic world, Greece and Rome, the migrant groups of Late Antiquity (such as the Visigoths), and Byzantium. Our specialists have made important contributions to the understanding of social life in Late Pharaonic, Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine Egypt; the politics of the Roman Republic; law and legal culture of the Roman Empire and its successors; Greek and Roman historiography; women and children in the ancient world; ancient religious practice; and ancient education. The department houses experts in numismatics, epigraphy, papyrology, and manuscript studies.

Careers

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.

Study support

About the Department of Classical & Archaeological Studies

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.

Postgraduate resources

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.

Training

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).

Dynamic publishing culture

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.

Global Skills Award

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.  

Apply now

Learn more about the application process or begin your application by clicking on a link below.

You will be able to choose your preferred year of entry once you have started your application. You can also save and return to your application at any time.

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United Kingdom/EU enquiries

MA at Canterbury

Admissions enquiries

T: +44 (0)1227 768896

E: information@kent.ac.uk

Subject enquiries

Postgraduate Office, School of European Culture and Languages
T: +44 (0)1227 816119
E: seclpgadmin@kent.ac.uk

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International student enquiries

Enquire online

T: +44 (0)1227 823254
E: internationalstudent@kent.ac.uk

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