Students preparing for their graduation ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral

Classical and Archaeological Studies - PhD


Classical & Archaeological Studies at Kent 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. 



A PhD in Classical & Archaeological Studies enables you to undertake a substantial piece of supervised research in the subject that makes an original contribution to knowledge and is worthy of publication.

A PhD, also known as a doctorate, is a requirement for a career as an academic or researcher. In addition, it has become a qualification valued by many employers who recognise the skills and commitment a PhD requires. Employers also recognise that a PhD indicates excellent research capabilities, discipline and communication skills.

Over the duration of the PhD, you produce an original piece of research of up to 100,000 words. Previous doctoral theses have included ‘Virgo to Virago:  Medea in the Silver Age’, ‘Aristophanes and Euripides: A Palimpsestuous Relationship’, ‘Aspects of Ecphrastic Technique in Ovid's Metamorphoses’, ‘In Search of "The People of La Manche": A Comparative Study of Funerary Practices in the Transmanche Region during the Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age (2500 BC-1500 BC)’.

The Department of Classical & Archaeological Studies offers supervision from world-class academics with expertise in a wide range of disciplines, able to support and guide you through your research. Your progress is carefully monitored to ensure that you are on track to produce a thesis valued by the academic community. Throughout your programme, you are able to attend and contribute to research seminars, workshops, and research and transferable skills training courses.

You may be eligible for a fully-funded PhD scholarship to support your studies with us. The PhD in Classical and Archaeological Studies at Kent can be funded through the Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA) scheme, or through the Consortium for the Humanities and the Arts South-East England (CHASE) collaborative doctoral partnerships. Please indicate in your application if you want to be considered for any of these programmes, and explain your eligibility for the chosen scheme. For the full list of scholarships available within the School, please see our postgraduate scholarship page.

For the full list of ongoing and completed projects in the department, see our postgraduate research page.

About the Department of Classical & Archaeological Studies

Classical & Archaeological Studies operates as a department 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, and social anthropology. We have good partnerships with high-profile universities and organisations such as the Universities of Ghent and Lille 3, the Flemish Heritage Institute, UCLA, the Free University of Amsterdam and the Vrije Universitat Brussel (VUB).

We offer bursaries to enable students to participate in departmental fieldwork projects for three weeks at a time, 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, Late Antique and Anglo-Saxon date.

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.


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).

Study support

You undertake supervised research within the School of European Culture and Languages, specialising in one of the topic(s) listed under research areas.

Each research student is assigned two internal supervisors who arrange the programme of study and research to suit individual interests. Staff have received research finance from sources including the British Academy, Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Leverhulme Trust, English Heritage, European Union funds and University sources. In the last couple of years, we have been awarded INSTAP funding totalling $30,000 and grants from the Mediterranean Archaeology Trust, UCLA and the Cotsen Foundation for Academic Research (€300,000).

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.


All postgraduate students in the School of European Culture and Languages have the opportunity to undertake both subject-specific training and training provided by the Graduate School. The School provides training workshops for all postgraduate students with teaching responsibilities, bringing together students from all its subject areas. 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; European Journal of Archaeology; Latomus; Hermes; L’études Classiques; Aegyptus; Annual Review of the British School at Rome; and American Journal of Archaeology.

Researcher Development Programme

Kent's Graduate School co-ordinates the Researcher Development Programme for research students, which includes workshops focused on research, specialist and transferable skills. The programme is mapped to the national Researcher Development Framework and covers a diverse range of topics, including subject-specific research skills, research management, personal effectiveness, communication skills, networking and teamworking, and career management skills.

Entry requirements

A first or upper-second class BA honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject, and a Distinction or Merit in an MA programme or equivalent in a relevant subject.

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:


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

Kent’s world-class academics provide research students with excellent supervision. The academic staff in this school and their research interests are shown below. You are strongly encouraged to contact the school to discuss your proposed research and potential supervision prior to making an application. Please note, it is possible for students to be supervised by a member of academic staff from any of Kent’s schools, providing their expertise matches your research interests. Use our ‘find a supervisor’ search to search by staff member or keyword.

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.

View Profile

Dr Patricia Baker: Senior Lecturer in Archaeology

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

View Profile

Dr Efrosyni Boutsikas: Lecturer in Archaeology

Archaeoastronomy; Greek ritual; religious timekeeping; catasterism myths.

View Profile

Dr Evangelos Kyriakidis: Senior Lecturer in Classical and Archaeological Studies

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

View Profile

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.

View Profile

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.

View Profile

Dr Luke Lavan: Lecturer in Archaeology

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

View Profile

Dr Dunstan Lowe: Lecturer in Classical Studies

Roman poetry, especially Virgil and Ovid.

View Profile

Dr Ellen Swift: Senior Lecturer in Archaeology

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

View Profile

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. 

View Profile

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.

View Profile

Dr Kelli Rudolph: Lecturer in Classical Studies

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

View Profile

Dr Luke Lavan: Lecturer in Archaeology

Everyday use of space in the late antique and early medieval city (AD 300-700), drawing on archaeological, textual and epigraphic evidence from across the Roman Empire.

View Profile

Dr Kelli Rudolph: Lecturer in Philosophy

Ancient philosophy and science, especially issues related to ancient physics, metaphysics and epistemology; the fragmentary texts of Presocratic and Hellenistic philosophy.

View Profile

Dr Christopher Burden-Strevens: Lecturer in Ancient History

Republican Roman history, Greek and Roman historiography, Latin and Ancient Greek, and the city of Rome.

View Profile

Dr Benjamin Vis: Eastern ARC Research Fellow (Digital Humanities)

Digital Humanities and Digital Heritage; material and social space, urban space and the built environment in particular.

View Profile


The 2018/19 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

Classical and Archaeological Studies - MA at Canterbury:
UK/EU Overseas
Classical and Archaeological Studies - PhD at Canterbury:
UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £4260 £15200
Part-time £2130 £7600

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

General additional costs

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


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