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Late Antique, Islamic and Byzantine Studies - MSc


Course Description

The end of classical antiquity in the Mediterranean and the Middle East witnessed the formation of polities, institutions and ideologies which define and continue to influence our world today. By combining a diverse, yet related range of research interests, our programme offers an exceptional selection of linguistic and disciplinary expertise in the study of late antique, early Islamic and Byzantine worlds, embracing Arabic, archaeology, art history, classical languages and literature, history, Persian and theology.

Linguistic training is a vital part of the programme,with courses available in four relevant languages. You will have access to the expertise of academics who are all passionate about their area of study.

Teaching on this programme comes from subject areas brought together in the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. It is one of the largest communities of Medieval and early modern specialists internationally, with more than 70 members actively pursuing research in this field. This MSc offers you the opportunity for regional and disciplinary specialisation depending on your own research interests.

Programme structure

The MSc comprises seminars, language classes and tutorials, which will include seminar discussion and debate, presentation to peers, directed and independent reading, as well as interactive language teaching.

The compulsory course is: Approaches to the Long Late Antiquity. This course provides specialist methodological, theoretical, and cross-disciplinary training. There will also be a language option in Classical Greek, Latin, Arabic or Persian.

Option courses previously offered include:

  • Archaeology of the Roman Economy
  • Byzantine Archaeology: The Archaeology of the Byzantine Empire and its Neighbours AD 600–1000
  • Constantinople: The History of a Medieval Megalopolis from Constantine the Great to Suleyman the Magnificent
  • Late Antique Visual Culture
  • Palaces and Gardens in the Golden Age of Islam
  • Persian Painting
  • Rome Across Time and Space: Visual Culture and Cultural Exchange AD 300–1300
  • The Seven Ecumenical Councils AD 325–787
  • The Umayyad Empire: The Islamic World in its Late Antique Context
  • Topics in Byzantine Literary History
  • Centre and Periphery in the Age of Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos
  • Greek, Latin, Byzantine and Medieval Latin Text Seminars

Learning outcomes

The programme emphasises acquisition of essential language skills for original research and close work with key historical and/or literary sources of evidence and grounding in the issues surrounding them.

You will gain an appreciation of the associated material cultures, including issues surrounding its recovery, survival and curation, which will prepare you for future academic research and prospective careers in aspects of museums and heritage management.

Career opportunities

Our students view the programme and a graduate degree from Edinburgh as an advanced qualification valued and respected by many employers. Those interested in long-term academic careers consider the MSc as preparation for a PhD.

The MSc provides a toolkit of transferable skills in organisation, research and analysis that will be highly prized in any field of work. It can form a stepping stone to many careers, such as further academic research, museum and art curation, literary translation or analysis, education or public heritage. Graduates of related programmes are putting their skills to use as tutors, archivists, writers and conference coordinators for employers including the RSPB.


Visit the Late Antique, Islamic and Byzantine Studies - MSc page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

Entry Requirements

A UK 2:1 honours degree, US GPA 3.4 or other international equivalent, in a subject related to this programme. All applicants must also meet our English language requirements.

Last Updated

03 March 2017

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