MA Classics and Ancient History

Year of entry: 2024


Degree awarded
Master of Arts (MA)
1 year
Entry requirements

We normally expect students to have a First or Upper Second class honours degree or its overseas equivalent in a humanities-based subject area.

Full entry requirements

How to apply
Apply online

Course options

Full-time Part-time Full-time distance learning Part-time distance learning

Course overview

  • Join a department with a long and distinguished history and an excellent record in both teaching and research, supported by excellent resources.
  • Enjoy opportunities to begin or continue your study of Ancient Greek or Latin.
  • Access the exclusive holdings of The John Rylands Library, home to one of the most important collections of papyri in the world, including fragments of works by ancient authors such as Homer and Hippocrates.

Open days

Find out what it's like to study at Manchester by visiting us on one of our open days .


Fees for entry in 2024 have not yet been set. For reference, the fees for the academic year beginning September 2023 were as follows:

  • MA (full-time)
    UK students (per annum): £11,000
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £23,500
  • MA (part-time)
    UK students (per annum): £5,500
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £11,750

Further information for EU students can be found on our dedicated EU page.

The fees quoted above will be fully inclusive for the course tuition, administration and computational costs during your studies.

All fees for entry will be subject to yearly review and incremental rises per annum are also likely over the duration of courses lasting more than a year for UK/EU students (fees are typically fixed for International students, for the course duration at the year of entry). For general fees information please visit: postgraduate fees . Always contact the department if you are unsure which fee applies to your qualification award and method of attendance.

Self-funded international applicants for this course will be required to pay a deposit of £1000 towards their tuition fees before a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) is issued. This deposit will only be refunded if immigration permission is refused. We will notify you about how and when to make this payment.

Policy on additional costs

All students should normally be able to complete their programme of study without incurring additional study costs over and above the tuition fee for that programme. Any unavoidable additional compulsory costs totalling more than 1% of the annual home undergraduate fee per annum, regardless of whether the programme in question is undergraduate or postgraduate taught, will be made clear to you at the point of application. Further information can be found in the University's Policy on additional costs incurred by students on undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes (PDF document, 91KB).


Each year the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures offer a number of School awards and Subject-specific bursaries (the values of which are usually set at Home/EU fees level), open to both Home/EU and international students. The deadline for these is early February each year. Details of all funding opportunities, including deadlines, eligibility and how to apply, can be found on the School's funding page  where you can also find details of the Government Postgraduate Loan Scheme. 

See also the University's postgraduate funding database  to see if you are eligible for any other funding opportunities. 

For University of Manchester graduates, the Manchester Alumni Bursary offers a £3,000 reduction in tuition fees to University of Manchester alumni who achieved a First within the last three years and are progressing to a postgraduate taught master's course. 

The Manchester Master's Bursary is a University-wide scheme that offers 100 bursaries worth £3,000 in funding for students from underrepresented groups.

Contact details

School of Arts, Languages and Cultures
Contact name
PG Taught Admissions
+44 (0)161 275 3098

See: About us

Courses in related subject areas

Use the links below to view lists of courses in related subject areas.

Entry requirements

Academic entry qualification overview

We normally expect students to have a First or Upper Second class honours degree or its overseas equivalent in a humanities-based subject area.

English language

An overall grade of IELTS 7.0 with 7.0 in writing and no skill below 6.5 is required or 100+ in the TOEFL iBT with a minimum writing score of 25 and no skill below 22.

If you have obtained a different qualification, please check our  English language requirements  to ensure that it is accepted and equivalent to the above requirements.

English language test validity

Some English Language test results are only valid for two years. Your English Language test report must be valid on the start date of the course.

Application and selection

How to apply

Advice to applicants

You should include a personal statement (no more than 500 words) that demonstrates your understanding of the subject and your motivation for wanting to study the programme.

If your academic background is not directly related to the programme, you should supply an academic-standard writing sample on a subject related to the programme.

If English is not your native language, then you should provide an academic-standard writing sample in English directly related to the subject.

For more advice on the application process, please visit our  Applying  page.

How your application is considered

Applications are mainly considered on the basis of an assessment of past and predicted academic achievements, the academic reference(s) and any other supplementary evidence that supports the application. Once we have an application that is ready for a decision, the admissions tutor (often the Programme Director) will relay the decision to the admissions team, who will send you this decision.

Please note that your application is usually received by the School 24 to 48 hours after the time you submit it. If you have not provided documentation that allows the admissions tutor to make a decision, we will contact you.

Overseas (non-UK) applicants

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries that equate to a UK 2.1. For these and general requirements including English language see entry requirements from your country .

If English is not your first language, please provide us with evidence of: 

  • an overall grade 7.0 (with a minimum writing score of 7) in IELTS; or
  • 100+ in the IBT Internet-based TOEFL).

The other language tests we accept can be found here:

Exceptions to needing a language test (if English is NOT your first language) are:

  • if you have successfully completed an academic qualification deemed by UK NARIC as equivalent to at least a UK Bachelors Degree or higher from one of the following countries:

Antigua & Barbuda; Australia; Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Dominica; Grenada; Guyana; Ireland; Jamaica; New Zealand; St Kitts and Nevis; St Lucia; St Vincent and the Grenadines; Trinidad and Tobago; UK; USA.


Applicants may defer entry for 12 months provided they contact .

Please note that applicants are subject to the fees for the entry year they will start the course.


If you applied in the previous year and your application was not successful you may apply again. Your application will be considered against the standard course entry criteria for that year of entry.  In your new application you should demonstrate how your application has improved.  We may draw upon all information from your previous applications or any previous registrations at the University as a student when assessing your suitability for your chosen course.

Course details

Course description

Our MA Classics and Ancient History is flexible and wide-ranging.

It reflects the broad, multidisciplinary nature of the subject, which includes Latin and Greek language, the history of Greek and Roman antiquity from archaic times to the beginning of the Middle Ages, and Greek and Roman literature, philosophy, and culture.

The course is designed to introduce you to advanced study in your chosen field and equip you with the skills required for doctoral research.

The course and most units within it allow you to tailor your advanced study and research-preparation to your interests, needs and existing knowledge.

We also offer a specialist route through the MA, the City of Rome pathway. This pathway involves taking a course unit at the British School at Rome, for which you prepare by studying a course on Roman social and urban history.

We expect all students to study Greek or Latin at an appropriate level. However, no existing knowledge of Latin or Greek is required, and we welcome students who want to begin their study of the ancient languages during their MA.

For any queries related to the course, please contact Dr Ruth Morello .


On successful completion of this MA, you will be able to:

  • demonstrate the enhancement of previously acquired skills at a more critical, reflective, and sophisticated level, especially skills involving synthesising information from a variety of sources, historical and/or literary interpretation, exercising independent and critical judgement;
  • understand and respect the 'otherness' of the past by developing specialist knowledge about one or more aspect of Graeco-Roman civilisation;
  • describe, analyse, and assess ancient sources, including (as appropriate) literary, non-literary, visual, and material evidence;
  • design and complete a substantial piece of independent research;
  • work effectively as an autonomous scholar;
  • understand complex problems and communicate them clearly in oral and written form, with the help, where appropriate, of visual or graphic aids.

Special features

City of Rome pathway 

You can take a specialist route through the MA, the City of Rome pathway.

This pathway involves taking a course unit at the British School at Rome, for which you prepare by studying a course on Roman social and urban history.

Teaching and learning

You will learn through a variety of teaching methods, depending on the units you take. These can include seminars, eLearning and one-to-one sessions.

Taught units usually involve 11 'classroom' hours consisting of both student-led and tutor-led discussion, supported by additional guidance and planning sessions. 

You may (with the permission of the Programme Director) take a Directed Reading course unit (typically delivered in six 'classroom' hours). These units come in three slightly different forms: (1) a personalised independent study unit, on a topic of your choice, (2) an enhanced Level 3 course unit, in which you attend the scheduled lectures and seminars, but you receive additional seminars at a more advanced level, and (3) a small-group (3-6 students) independent study unit on a specific advertised topic. You must apply to the Postgraduate Programme Director if you wish to be considered for one of these units.

Coursework and assessment

Taught units are usually assessed by extended essay, but assessment might also include oral presentations, conference posters, commentary exercises and (particularly for language units) formal examinations.

You will also write a dissertation of between 12,000 and 15,000 words.

Course unit details

The MA is made up of a taught element (120 credits) and a dissertation (60 credits).  

Course units vary from year to year, depending on staff availability and student enrolment, but you will find below details of the units which we are currently planning to offer in 2021. 

If you are planning to take the MA part-time over two years, please note that we cannot guarantee that all of these course units will definitely run in 2023.

If you are particularly keen to take a specific course unit, you are advised to discuss your plans with the Programme Director, Dr Ruth Morello ( ). 

Research training 

Our core unit, 'Studying the Ancient World: Techniques and Approaches', introduces you to the key research questions and methods involved in advanced study of the discipline and, in Semester 2, gives you experience in developing and presenting your own research project. 

Language units 

If you are a beginner, you will take one of our specially-designed 'intensive' courses in Latin or Greek, which will put you in a position to start reading ancient texts in the original language before the end of your MA.

If you have already studied Greek or Latin, you will continue your study of one or both languages at an appropriate level.

If you are already at a very advanced stage in both languages, you will take a specially-designed course unit which allows you further to develop your language skills in an area related to your research interests (for example, palaeography, papyrology, textual criticism or epigraphy). 

Taught course units 

The remainder of your taught credits are selected from a range of taught units, chosen from a menu covering a range of topics in Greek and Roman history, literature, and culture. Most taught units are worth 15 credits.

It is possible for one of these units to be an approved unit from another subject area (for example, History or Archaeology), or a Directed Reading course, in which you are free to pursue whatever avenue is of interest to you, by negotiation with a tutor and with the Postgraduate Programme Director.

Course unit list

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
MA Dissertation CAHE60070 60 Mandatory
The Study of the Ancient World CAHE60510 30 Mandatory
Directed Reading (semester 1) CAHE60001 15 Optional
Directed Reading (semester 2) CAHE60002 15 Optional
Advice & Abuse: Horace's Satires and Epistles CAHE60022 15 Optional
Climate and Environment in the Ancient World: Integrating written and geoarchaeological evidence CAHE60051 15 Optional
The City of Rome (Course-Unit Provided by the British School at Rome) CAHE60222 30 Optional
Hellenistic Poetry CAHE60302 15 Optional
Heritage, Museums & Conflict CAHE60462 15 Optional
Heritage, Museums and Conflict CAHE60562 30 Optional
Using the Past: History & Memory in the Greek World CAHE61121 15 Optional
Augustan Rome CAHE64031 15 Optional
Social Studies of Ancient Egypt CAHE66111 15 Optional
Art and Artists in Ancient Egypt CAHE66132 15 Optional
Urbanism in Ancient Egypt CAHE66142 15 Optional
Speaking Stones: Roman Epigraphy CAHE66811 15 Optional
Advanced Latin Language 1 CAHE70110 15 Optional
Advanced Greek Language 1 CAHE70120 15 Optional
Intensive Greek 1 CAHE70151 15 Optional
Intensive Greek 2 CAHE70162 15 Optional
Intensive Latin 1 CAHE70171 15 Optional
Intensive Latin 2 CAHE70182 15 Optional
Advanced Latin Language 2 CAHE70210 15 Optional
Advanced Greek Language 2 CAHE70220 15 Optional
Advanced Latin Language 3 CAHE70310 15 Optional
Advanced Greek Language 3 CAHE70320 15 Optional
Reading the Middle Ages and Renaissance: Palaeography, Codicology, and Sources SALC70040 15 Optional
From Papyrus to Print: The History of the Book SALC72110 15 Optional
Displaying 10 of 28 course units


Of special significance for classicists and ancient historians are the impressive collections of papyri, medieval manuscripts and early printed books held at The John Rylands Library.

The library boasts 12,500 books printed between 1475 and 1640 (including the second largest collection of works printed by Caxton), and around 45,000 printed between 1641 and 1700.

The Manchester Museum houses one of the UK's most important collections, including artefacts of particular relevance to ancient historians.

We have our own collection of classical texts, translations and reference works, housed in a recently refurbished study room, which is always available for use.

Find out more on the Facilities page.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email:


Career opportunities

This non-vocational master's degree teaches and develops a wealth of transferable skills, and enables students to keep a very wide range of career options open.

Recent graduates have gone on to vocational MAs (e.g. in Gallery and Museum Studies), PhDs in Classics or Ancient History, teaching, contract researching or a wide range of careers in local or central government, commerce or industry.

The University has its own dedicated Careers Service that you would have full access to as a student and for two years after you graduate. At Manchester you will have access to a number of opportunities to help boost your employability .