Ancient History

Roman History and Archaeology - MA

2019

Kent’s MA in Roman History and Archaeology is designed for students who wish to adopt a twin-tracked approach to the past by using both historical and archaeological evidence.

2019

Overview

Roman civilisation produced one of the largest empires of the ancient world. The Roman Empire had one of the most advanced technologies of the ancient world, producing major architectural, cultural and artistic achievements. The extensive remnants left behind enable us to recreate and understand Roman culture thousands of years later.

Our Department of Classical & Archaeological Studies contains one of the largest concentrations of experts in Roman History and Archaeology with experts in Pompeii, Rome, Egypt, as well as in the study of artefacts and of ancient medicine. You spend your first term at our beautiful campus overlooking the Roman and Medieval city of Canterbury, just one hour from London. While in Canterbury, you gain training in research skills in both Roman History and in Archaeology.

The second term is based at Kent's Rome School of Classical and Renaissance Studies, at the campus of the American University of Rome, where you study the sites and museums of ancient Rome. All teaching is in English. The experience of staying in Rome and studying the city brings into focus new ideas and a new perspective of the ‘Eternal City’. 

The programme can also be studied at Canterbury only.

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 and benefit from the experience and confidence gained from living and studying overseas.

Think Kent video series

Migration is the key challenge of the 21st century, but almost 2,000 years ago in the Roman Empire, migration rates were higher than those in Europe today. In this lecture, Professor Ray Laurence, Professor of Roman History and Archaeology at the University of Kent, examines how the Roman Empire enabled the mobility of both the forces of the state and of its subjects.

National ratings

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.

Course structure

During the first term at Canterbury you take two core modules. Your second term is in Rome and you take one core module and one optional module. 

Each week is structured around a series of site visits, so that you gain an in-depth knowledge of the ancient city.

Over the course of these two terms you discuss with the course director your ideas and plans for your 15,000-word dissertation. In the final term, you complete your MA by writing a dissertation of up to 15,000 words on a research topic defined in collaboration with your supervisor. This is written over the summer with completion in August.

Modules

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.

Modules may include Credits

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.

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This module is satisfied by one of a number of modules provided by the American University of Rome (AUR). Possible options include (subject to availability):

• Roman Imperial Art and Architecture

• Late Antique and Byzantine Art

• Museum Management

• Conserving Rome's Monuments

• The Mediterranean World

• Bodies and Burial

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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.

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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.

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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 Roman history and archaeology
  • expand your depth of knowledge of key subject areas in Roman history and archaeology
  • 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 skills to equip you for a further career either for doctoral research in Roman history and archaeology, 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 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 at an advanced level
  • the research skills associated with the use of ancient evidence to produce historical and archaeological narratives and analyses that engage with the most recent development in research in Roman history and archaeology
  • basic philosophical issues by thinkers of very different cultural and linguistic assumptions from our own
  • the nature of the societies and political systems of antiquity
  • familiarity with an appropriate and diverse range of primary materials: material culture, epigraphy, papyrology, literature, visual material, and history
  • a broad and systematic knowledge developed within a coherent framework of complementary subjects, including archaeology, and history.

Intellectual skills

You develop intellectual skills in:

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

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in:

  • have an advanced  understanding of another culture, whether focused on its archaeology, history, 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 archaeology, history, art, literature, linguistics, language, and philosophy, or theme-based topics which cross the boundaries between them (e.g. religion, gender studies), and periods
  • familiarity with, and be able to evaluate, an appropriate and diverse range of primary materials, e.g. archaeological evidence, historical texts, art objects, 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 (e.g. in archaeology), philosophical argument and analysis.

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
  • the ability to take responsibility for personal and professional learning and development (personal development planning)
  • the ability to manage time, prioritise workloads and recognise and manage personal emotions and stress
  • the ability to understand your career opportunities and challenges ahead and begin to plan your career path
  • the ability to develop information management skills, e.g. IT skills.

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.

About the Rome School of Classical and Renaissance Studies

Kent’s Rome School of Classical and Renaissance studies is a specialist postgraduate centre. We offer advanced humanities degrees split between our main campus in Canterbury and our centre in the heart of Rome - one of the most culturally rich cities in the world. 

Programmes are tailored to take full advantage of their particular locations and Rome’s wealth of history, architecture, and art offer students a unique opportunity to have direct access to archaeological sites, museums, and galleries. They are fully taught in English and offer a selection of module choices to tailor the programme to your individual needs.

About the American University of Rome

The American University of Rome was founded in 1969 and runs a wide-ranging series of programmes in the arts and in business administration, including the subjects of archaeology, classics, and cultural heritage. The campus is located in the Monteverde district of Rome, a picturesque district with a wide range of shops and amenities. From nearby Trastevere, it is a short bus-ride to the historic centre of Rome with its extensive array of Roman sites, monuments and museums.

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 ArchaeologyLatomusHermesL’études ClassiquesAegyptusAnnual Review of the British School at RomeAmerican 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.  

Entry requirements

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, and professional qualifications and experience will 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 for your country. 

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.

Research areas

Currently particular areas of interest are:

Archaeology

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.

Classical studies, Late Antiquity and Byzantium

Ancient narrative literature, especially the novel; classical literature; Greek palaeography; hagiography; Byzantium; historiography; and gender studies.

Ancient History

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.

Staff research interests

Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.

Dr Anne Alwis: Senior Lecturer in Classical Literature

Late Antiquity and Byzantium; hagiography; gender studies; Greek palaeography.

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Dr Patricia Baker: Senior Lecturer in Archaeology

The archaeology of the Roman army and frontier; archaeology and gender; classical medicine.

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Dr Efrosyni Boutsikas: Lecturer in Archaeology

Archaeoastronomy; Greek ritual; religious timekeeping; catasterism myths.

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Dr Evangelos Kyriakidis: Senior Lecturer in Classical and Archaeological Studies

Minoan iconography; Mycenaean administration; ritual theory; general Bronze Age Aegean.

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Dr Csaba La'da: Reader in Ancient History, Papyrology and Egyptology

Late period, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine Egypt; archaic, classical and Hellenistic Greece; Greek and Egyptian papyrology, epigraphy and palaeography.

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Dr Sophia Labadi: Senior Lecturer in Heritage and Archaeology

Museums and human rights, world heritage and intangible heritage conventions as well as heritage and development.

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Dr Luke Lavan: Lecturer in Archaeology

Late antique archaeology; the archaeology of late antique cities; visualisation of the ancient world.

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Dr Dunstan Lowe: Lecturer in Classical Studies

Roman poetry, especially Virgil and Ovid.

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Dr Ellen Swift: Senior Lecturer in Archaeology

Artefact studies; Roman dress accessories; the late post-Roman transition in the West; Roman art.

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Dr Steven Willis: Senior Lecturer in Archaeology

Britain and Europe in the first millennium BC, the western Roman provinces, later prehistoric pottery and artefacts; samian pottery; the archaeology of the Transmanche area; landscape and maritime studies. 

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Dr Rosie Wyles: Lecturer in Classical History and Literature

Research interests include: Greek and Roman performance arts, costume, reception within antiquity and beyond it, and gender.

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Dr Kelli Rudolph: Lecturer in Classical Studies

Ancient philosophy and science, especially issues related to ancient physics, metaphysics and epistemology.

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Fees

The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

Roman History and Archaeology - MA at Canterbury and Rome:
UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £8550 £15700

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

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: