PhD Classics and Ancient History

Year of entry: 2024

Overview

Degree awarded
Doctor of Philosophy
Duration
3 years [full-time], 6 years [part-time]
Entry requirements
  • A Bachelors (Honours) degree at 2:1 level or above (or its international equivalent) in a related subject; and
  • Master's degree in a relevant subject – with an overall average of 65% or above, a minimum mark of 65% in your dissertation and no mark below 55% (or overseas equivalent)
  • Any strong relevant professional experience will be considered on a case by case basis.

Full entry requirements

How to apply

Apply online

Please ensure you include all  required supporting documents at the time of submission, as incomplete applications may not be considered. 

Application Deadlines 

For consideration in internal funding competitions, you must submit your completed application by  12 January 2024. 

If you are applying for or have secured external funding (for example, from an employer or government) or are self–funding, you must submit your application before the below deadlines to be considered. You will not be able to apply after these dates have passed. 

  • For September 2024 entry:  30 June 2024 
  • For January 2025 entry:  30 September 2024

Programme options

Full-time Part-time Full-time distance learning Part-time distance learning
PhD Y Y N N

Programme description

Our PhD Classics and Ancient History programme is aimed at students who want to make a genuine contribution to scholarly knowledge and understanding of the field through their thesis.

You will acquire an excellent general knowledge of the wider field in question and high competence in relevant languages - ancient and modern - and associated skills, both subject-specific and generic.

Our research covers Greek and Roman history, Classical literature and its reception, and ancient philosophy.

We enjoy close links with researchers in areas including Medieval and Modern History, Archaeology, Art History, English and American Studies, Linguistics, Religions and Theology, the John Rylands University Library and the Manchester Museum.

Research centres of special importance to us and our research students include the Centre for Correspondence Studies, the Centre for the Cultural History of War, and the Cultural Theory Institute.

We offer supervision in a very broad range of subjects spanning Greek and Roman culture, history, literature and language from the archaic period to late antiquity.

Certain research clusters stand out within our present constellation of permanent staff and research fellows, especially in the areas of Greek and Roman history and Greek and Latin literature. Areas of specialism include epistolography, epigraphy, Hellenistic and Augustan poetry, drama, oratory, historiography, Greek and Roman warfare, Greek institutional history, critical theory, and ancient philosophy. For a comprehensive list of our research interests, click here

Open days

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

Potential graduate applicants are always welcome to visit the department outside of open days, and these visits can often be arranged to give you a chance to meet existing graduate students and/or to attend one of the graduate seminars. Please contact Dr Ina Berg ( ina.berg@manchester.ac.uk ) for more information.

Fees

For entry in the academic year beginning September 2024, the tuition fees are as follows:

  • PhD (full-time)
    UK students (per annum): £4,786
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £21,500
  • PhD (part-time)
    UK students (per annum): £2,393

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

Please note for the majority of projects where experimentation requires further resource: higher fee bands (where quoted) will be charged rather than the base rate for supervision, administration and computational costs. The fees quoted above will be fully inclusive and, therefore, you will not be required to pay any additional bench fees or administration costs.

All fees for entry will be subject to yearly review and incremental rises per annum are also likely over the duration of the course 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 project.

Scholarships/sponsorships

There are a range of scholarships, studentships and awards to support both UK and overseas postgraduate researchers, details of which can be found via the links below.

To apply University of Manchester funding, you must indicate in your application the competitions for which you wish to be considered. The deadline for most internal competitions, including AHRC NWCDTP and School of Arts, Languages and Cultures studentships is 12 January 2024. 

All external funding competitions have a specified deadline for submitting the funding application form and a separate (earlier) deadline for submitting the online programme application form, both of which will be stated in the funding competition details below.  

For more information about funding, visit our funding page to browse for scholarships, studentships and awards you may be eligible for.

Contact details

School/Faculty
School of Arts, Languages and Cultures
Contact name
Humanities Doctoral Academy Admissions
Email
Website
https://www.humanities.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/
School/Faculty

See: About us

Programmes in related subject areas

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

Entry requirements

Academic entry qualification overview

  • A Bachelors (Honours) degree at 2:1 level or above (or its international equivalent) in a related subject; and
  • Master's degree in a relevant subject – with an overall average of 65% or above, a minimum mark of 65% in your dissertation and no mark below 55% (or overseas equivalent)
  • Any strong relevant professional experience will be considered on a case by case basis.

English language

International applicants must provide one of the following:

  • IELTS test minimum score – 7.0 overall, 7.0 in writing. 
  • TOEFL (internet based) test minimum score – 100 overall, 25 in all sections. 
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) UKVI/SELT or PTE Academic minimum score – 76 overall, 76 in writing. 
  • To demonstrate that you have taken an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in a majority English speaking nation within the last 5 years. 
  • Other tests may be considered.

Please note, CAS statements are only issued when all conditions of the offer have been satisfied, offer accepted, and a PDF copy of passport received.

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 programme.

Other international entry requirements

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

 The University requires you to reside within a commutable distance from Manchester during your time as a registered student, unless you are on approved fieldwork/a formal placement or are on a period of Submission pending. This is to ensure that you are able to meet attendance expectations and participate in wider research activities within your discipline area and/or School. 

Other entry requirements

The University requires you to reside within a commutable distance from Manchester during your time as a registered student, unless you are on approved fieldwork/a formal placement or are on a period of Submission pending. This is to ensure that you are able to meet attendance expectations and participate in wider research activities within your discipline area and/or School. Should you be unable to do this at any point during your programme, a formal case must be made to the Faculty office, together with the full support of your supervisor(s). The University reserves the right to reject such a request where it is considered that your residency could have a detrimental impact on the progression and engagement of your studies.

Application and selection

How to apply

Apply online

Please ensure you include all  required supporting documents at the time of submission, as incomplete applications may not be considered. 

Application Deadlines 

For consideration in internal funding competitions, you must submit your completed application by  12 January 2024. 

If you are applying for or have secured external funding (for example, from an employer or government) or are self–funding, you must submit your application before the below deadlines to be considered. You will not be able to apply after these dates have passed. 

  • For September 2024 entry:  30 June 2024 
  • For January 2025 entry:  30 September 2024

Advice to applicants

Before you start your application, you should: 

  1. Develop your own research proposal and project title. 
  2. Find a supervisor by browsing our academics’ profiles, and reach out directly to discuss if they are interested in supporting your research. 
  3. Consider how you plan on funding your research and discuss this with your supervisor. 

When you submit your application, you must include each of the below required documents: 

  • A 1,500 word PhD research proposal
  • Copies of the academic transcript and certificate from both your Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. If your Master’s degree is pending, please provide an interim transcript. 
  • An up to date academic CV, detailing your education and qualifications; employment history; publications; and any other relevant information. 
  • You must nominate two academic referees (including one from your most recent institution). Your referees will be contacted directly via the Referee Portal following submission of your application form. You may wish to contact your referees to request they submit your reference in a reasonable timeframe as this forms part of the review process. 
  • International applicants must additionally provide English Language evidence (e.g IELTS).  

Interview requirements

As part of the offer making process applicants will be required to undertake an interview assessment. This may be in the form of an in–person interview, or video call. 

The interview is designed to assess your knowledge and understanding of the broad topic area, the viability of your proposed research and its intellectual contribution, alongside the fit of your project with the supervisory team. You also may be asked to identify and address any potential ethical considerations in relation to your proposed research, and discuss how best to progress your ideas in line with University of Manchester ethics guidance.

The interview panel will consist at minimum of your primary supervisor and an independent interviewer.

Deferrals

It is normally possible to defer your offer to a later entry point, with the approval of your supervisory team and Department PGR Director, and if applicable, funder. Please be aware that the University of Manchester permits applications to be deferred only once, for a maximum of two years. Your English Language evidence must be valid on the date of registration.

Re-applications

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 programme 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 programme.

Programme details

Programme description

Our PhD Classics and Ancient History programme is aimed at students who want to make a genuine contribution to scholarly knowledge and understanding of the field through their thesis.

You will acquire an excellent general knowledge of the wider field in question and high competence in relevant languages - ancient and modern - and associated skills, both subject-specific and generic.

Our research covers Greek and Roman history, Classical literature and its reception, and ancient philosophy.

We enjoy close links with researchers in areas including Medieval and Modern History, Archaeology, Art History, English and American Studies, Linguistics, Religions and Theology, the John Rylands University Library and the Manchester Museum.

Research centres of special importance to us and our research students include the Centre for Correspondence Studies, the Centre for the Cultural History of War, and the Cultural Theory Institute.

We offer supervision in a very broad range of subjects spanning Greek and Roman culture, history, literature and language from the archaic period to late antiquity.

Certain research clusters stand out within our present constellation of permanent staff and research fellows, especially in the areas of Greek and Roman history and Greek and Latin literature. Areas of specialism include epistolography, epigraphy, Hellenistic and Augustan poetry, drama, oratory, historiography, Greek and Roman warfare, Greek institutional history, critical theory, and ancient philosophy. For a comprehensive list of our research interests, click here

Aims

We aim to:

  • further your academic career objectives by making you feel welcome within, and a part of, our dynamic and demanding research culture;
  • inspire you to attend and give papers at seminars and conferences;
  • encourage you to undertake a modicum of appropriate undergraduate teaching, with guidance and support throughout.

Special features

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Graduate School

All of our postgraduate students become members of the Graduate School when you start at Manchester. It has dedicated facilities for students and offers opportunities to collaborate with other postgraduates.

Lively research environment

Symptomatic of the size and dynamism of our research community is our research seminar, which meets every Thursday in term-time and is one of the largest and liveliest in the country.

Addressed mainly by visiting speakers from universities in the UK and overseas, the seminar attracts an audience typically of 40 to 50 people, and usually also gives you the opportunity of meeting and talking with the speaker.

Lockdown conditions permitting, every Thursday in term-time, in the Department's Common Room, a buffet lunch is held for all postgraduates and staff with interests in the Greek and Roman worlds from across the University.

Additional programme information

Equality, diversity and inclusion  is fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester, and is at the heart of all of our activities. 

We know that diversity strengthens our research community, leading to enhanced research creativity, productivity and quality, and societal and economic impact. 

We actively encourage applicants from diverse career paths and backgrounds and from all sections of the community, regardless of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation and transgender status. 

All appointments are made on merit. 

The University of Manchester and our external partners are fully committed to equality, diversity and inclusion.

Teaching and learning

Given the all-important emphasis on the production of a PhD thesis in three years, good research training and good proactive supervision are essential.

PhD study centres on the student-supervisor relationship and on regular meetings with the supervisor (at least once a month for full-time students).

Our PhD students have three members of academic staff assigned to them in a supervisory role.

The principal supervisor, a co-supervisor, and a further 'independent reviewer' together constitute the PhD Panel, which meets biannually to review and give constructive advice on the student's individual progress, both on the thesis and more generally.

Research training teaches you how to devise realistic independent research projects, how to plan and execute them, and how to present your results.

Core/generic training areas include:

  • IT, research and analytical skills
  • academic writing and publishing
  • communication and networking
  • career management
  • language support
  • teacher training.
Subject-specific training includes special language support (eg academic German, Italian, Latin or Greek as required) and technical skills (eg papyrology, palaeography).

Coursework and assessment

Assessment is based on the thesis and an oral examination.

Programme unit details

First-year research students participate in our research training course 'Studying the Ancient World: Techniques and Approaches', and any MA or advanced BA course units recommended by the supervisor.

You are expected to acquire and develop knowledge of relevant languages (modern as well as ancient) throughout the PhD.

Recent and current PhD topics include:

  • Shapeshifters in Greek Poetry;
  • Medical Imagery in Seneca;
  • Vision, space and time in Lycophron's Alexandra;
  • Commentary on Apollonius of Rhodes, Argonautica Book 1;
  • Past and Present in Ovid's Fasti;
  • Commentary on Ovid, Ars Amatoria 2;
  • Banquet of Death: Alimentary Imagery in Statius' Thebaid;
  • Leadership in Herodotus;
  • Identity in Ammianus Marcellinus;
  • The Amphiareion at Oropos: Euergetism, Honour and Internal Politics;
  • Retirement in the Roman world;
  • Burial societies in the Roman World;
  • The Language of the Ancient Mediterranean.

Find out more about current PhD research in Classics and Ancient History.

Facilities

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Alan Gilbert Learning Commons Fly Through

The vast book and periodical collections of The University of Manchester Library are the result of well over a century of large-scale book purchasing, and are deservedly world-famous.

Of special note for you are the impressive collections of papyri, medieval manuscripts and early printed books held at the John Rylands Library on Deansgate in the city centre (a ten-minute bus ride from the department).

The Library's holdings are constantly updated and enlarged on every front, with purchasing in all areas of Greek and Roman studies being exceptionally vigorous.

Find out more about libraries and study spaces for postgraduate research students at Manchester.

We also have one of the largest academic IT services in Europe - supporting world-class teaching and research. There are extensive computing facilities across campus, with access to standard office software as well as specialist programmes, all connected to the campus network and internet.

Every student is registered for email, file storage and internet access. If more demanding computer access is required, our specialist computing division can provide high-end and specialist computing services.

The Graduate School offers dedicated state of the art facilities to research students, including common rooms and workstations.

Find out more about our facilities for Classics and Ancient History students.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: dass@manchester.ac.uk

Careers

Career opportunities

The PhD is a vital vocational qualification for those planning to pursue an academic career.

Recent graduates have gone on to research fellowships, and to part-time and full-time temporary and permanent academic positions in UK and overseas universities including Oxford, UCL, Manchester, Exeter and Leeds.

As a non-vocational qualification, the PhD offers a wealth of highly valued transferable skills, and allows you to keep open a very wide range of career options in virtually any branch of professional employment in the public or private sector, including government, commerce, industry or teaching.

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 support you with your goals for the future.