Coronavirus information for applicants and offer-holders

We understand that prospective students and offer holders may have concerns about the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. The University is following the advice from Universities UK, Public Health England and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Read our latest coronavirus information

MA Egyptology / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
Fast-Track Middle Egyptian

Unit code CAHE66311
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Classics & Ancient History
Available as a free choice unit? No


Overview: This 15-credit module is an optional part of the part-time online master’s in Egyptology and will be taught during the first semester of the second year. The first part of the module concerns the basic the construction, history and development of the Egyptian language and the various scripts employed at different stages of the Pharaonic civilisation (hieroglyphs, hieratic, demotic, Coptic). The second part of the course focuses on formulaic inscriptions and the grammatical constructions necessary to read them (the Offering Formula, the Appeal to the Living). The third part of the course focuses on Middle Kingdom literature and the more complex grammatical constructions required for successful translation (the past tense, suffix, dependent and independent pronouns, participles and nominal sentences as well as the stative and relative clauses). The module also addresses the analysis of ancient literature and its use in the study of social and cultural traits and tendencies in ancient societies.




Historical Studies of Ancient Egypt; Urbanism in Ancient Egypt; Art and Artists in Ancient Egypt.


The unit aims to: 

1. provide the students with a good knowledge of the basic structure, grammar and use of the Middle Egyptian language and hieroglyphic script.

2. assess the significance of the hieroglyphic script in the development of Egyptian culture.

3. provide an overview of the various stages of decipherment of the hieroglyphic script from Antiquity to 1822.

4. provide the students with the opportunity to translate original source material and work directly with ancient text.

5. assess the differences in modern translations and the impact on the use and function of textual sources in the study of ancient Egypt.




Week 1: Middle Egyptian Hieroglyphs: Structure and Decipherment

Week 2: Basic Nouns

Week 3: The Genitive

Week 4: The Offering Formula and Appeal to the Living

Week 5: The Basic Past Tense and Suffix Pronouns

Week 6: The Present Tense

Week 7: Negation, Auxiliaries and Adjectives

Week 8: The Infinitive

Week 9: The Future Tense

Week 10: Royal names, dates and numbering systems

Week 11: Nominal Sentences and Participles


Teaching and learning methods

One weekly lecture recorded by members of staff. Some lectures will use objects from the Manchester Museum collection to illustrate specific points. 

A weekly seminar topic provided on the Blackboard™ discussion boards. These seminar topics are designed to stimulate debate between the students. A member of staff will monitor and guide the discussion.


Knowledge and understanding

Demonstrate knowledge of the development of the ancient Egyptian language and script. 

Show an understanding of the types of textual material which survives from ancient Egypt and the limitations and uses specific to each category.

Intellectual skills

Display the ability to transliterate and translate basic sentence constructions.

Display the ability to interpret the translated material vis a vis their historical and/or socio-cultural significance.

Practical skills

Demonstrate the ability to transliterate and translate Middle Egyptian hieroglyphs. 

Show a knowledge of how to interpret ancient languages.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Display a knowledge of basic grammatical and linguistic constructs. 

Demonstrate the ability to critically asses textual data.

Show a high level of intercultural understanding.

Assessment methods

Discussion Boards, 10%

Translation, 500 words, 10%

Essay, 3000 words, 80%

Feedback methods

The feedback will be provided 15 days after submission.

Recommended reading

Allen, J. P. 2014. Middle Egyptian: An Introduction to the Language and Culture of Hieroglyphs. Cambridge University Press.

Allen, J. P. 2015. Middle Egyptian Literature: Eight Literary Works of the Middle Kingdom. Cambridge University Press.

Collier, M. and B. Manley. 2003. How to Read Egyptian Hieroglyphs: A Step-by-Step Guide to Teach Yourself. University of California Press.

Faulkner, R. O. 1962. A Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian. Vivian Ridler.

Gardiner, A. H. Egyptian Grammar. Griffith Institute.

Kamrin, J. 2004. Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs: A Practical Guide. Harry N. Abrams.

Loprieno, A. 2008. Ancient Egyptian: A Linguistic Introduction. Cambridge University Press.

Manley, B. 2012. Egyptian Hieroglyphs for Complete Beginners. Thames and Hudson.

Parkinson, R. B. 1999. Cracking Codes: The Rosetta Stone and Decipherment. University of California Press.

Sethe, K. E. 1929. Ägyptische Lesestücke zum Gebrauch im Akademischen Unterricht. Georg Olms.

Wilson, P. 2004. Hieroglyphs: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press.

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 139

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Nicky Nielsen Unit coordinator

Additional notes

11 lectures; 11 seminar discussions. Written seminar discussions on Discussion Boards.

Return to course details