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Classical Civilisation (MA)

Course Description

This Master’s degree in classical civilisation is a unique, interdisciplinary programme that offers graduates of subjects other than classics the opportunity to study the classical world at postgraduate level without prior knowledge or study of Latin or Greek. You can focus on multiple aspects of ancient Greek and Roman archaeology, history and culture from the archaic period through the classical era to late antiquity, including literary and material evidence. A particular focus of the programme is contemporary debate about the reception and interpretation of classical history and culture, particularly the meanings that have been attached to the classical past, including archaeological objects, architectural remains and literary works.

The course starts with a broad introduction to postgraduate study of the classical world, with sessions proceeding in broadly chronological order from the archaic Mediterranean to the early Christian empire. Themes considered will include politics and culture, religion, sex and sexuality, the writing of history, and the reception of classical culture in the modern world. You will also have the opportunity to study Greek or Latin from beginners’ to advanced level, while a wide range of option modules allow you to explore and expand your interests more fully. You will receive training in research methods and techniques that will give you the confidence and skills to research and write a dissertation on a subject of particular interest to you.

Key teaching staff on this programme

Course director: Dr Christy Constantakopoulou

Dr Serafina Cuomo
Professor Catharine Edwards (on leave 2015/16)
Dr Rebecca Darley
Dr Ian Goh

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 11th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2015-16 World University Subject Rankings.
This Master’s degree will allow you to follow your own interests, with a wide choice of option modules, while developing your research skills and undertaking a dissertation in an area that interests you.
We are located 5 minutes' walk from the British Museum and the British Library, while the Museum of London is easily reachable. The Institute of Classical Studies and the Institute of Historical Research, the Institute of Archaeology and the Warburg Institute are all located in Bloomsbury, near the main Birkbeck campus. All 4 institutes have internationally renowned library collections and run seminars you can attend.
Our Department of History, Classics and Archaeology is ranked in the top 20 nationally and is a world-renowned centre of original, influential research.
Our academic staff are international authorities in their respective fields, delivering stimulating teaching. You will be taught by specialists engaged in cutting-edge research in the archaeology, history and culture of the ancient Mediterranean.
The department is home to thriving student societies and a number of affiliated research centres that actively run seminars, conferences and other events where some of the world's best scholars present their latest research.
Find out more about why you should study with us.
Birkbeck Library has an extensive history collection, including the major specialist journals, and access to online materials.

Visit the Classical Civilisation (MA) page on the Birkbeck, University of London website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Brian Hanley

Brian Hanley’s reason for choosing to study an MA in Classical Civilisation is clear – pure enjoyment.
'I had some experience of the subject as part of my undergraduate degree, and I had always wanted to go deeper into the subject. To have the opportunity to explore classical history was too good to be true. People ask what I had hoped to get out of the course: for me it was simple pleasure.'

Brian (46) was running his own yoga studio, but when business started tiling off, he saw it as an opportunity to explore his passion for classical history:

'The course gave me the confidence to tackle something new, including a career change. I now have a much more highly tuned sense of analysis which I didn’t have before. Socially, too, Birkbeck was great; the class really gelled – I have made some friends for life.'


Eric Hobsbawm Postgraduate Scholarships - Fee Waiver - 2 Awards

Birkbeck College is pleased to announce the first call for Eric Hobsbawm Postgraduate Scholarships, named in memory of one of the greatest historians of the last century. From 1947 until his death in 2012, Eric Hobsbawm was a loyal member of Birkbeck College.The Scholarships have been set up to encourage the next generation of talented historians to pursue original, high-quality and exciting research in history by assisting financially with study and research costs.Applicants are invited for two full fee-waiver scholarships for MA study in the department of History, Classics and Archaeology (£6,950). Overseas applicants and part-time applicants are welcome, as well as home/EU full-time applications (part-time awards are pro-rata).The Eric Hobsbawm Scholarships have been made possible thanks to many large and small donations from his friends and former students. Birkbeck College gratefully acknowledges the help and support of the Hobsbawm family.

Value of Scholarship(s)



Overseas applicants and part-time applicants are welcome, as well as home/EU full-time applications (part-time awards are pro-rata).

Application Procedure

Applicant for the MA fee-waiver scholarships must apply through the usual process for a place on the MA programme (see information elsewhere on this website). In addition, applicants are asked to submit two documents directly to the department:1) a one-page statement outlining what they hope to achieve by taking the MA programme, noting in particular what they hope to research for their dissertation2) a one-page personal statement that includes a basic CV, and a note on the applicant’s financial circumstances.

Further Information



School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy, Postgraduate Taught (PGT) Bursary - Single Award

Applications are invited for one 'Postgraduate Taught' Bursary worth £6,000, to be awarded to a candidate with an outstanding academic record who shows high potential for strong performance on one of the School's 'Postgraduate Taught' programmes.This competition is open to new Home/EU and International students who are applying for either a full-time or part-time MA/MSc place in the departments listed below; the competition is also open to students who are applying to the Department of Philosophy and the degree of M.Phil. Stud. Philosophy.This £6,000 award is in the form of a bursary (i.e., there is no 'fee waiver' but the bursary may be used towards payment of fees). If awarded to a part-time student, the bursary will be paid for two years of PGT study.Please note that in order to apply for funding you must also complete an application for a place at Birkbeck on an MA/MSc programme within the School of SSHP or the MPhil. Stud. in the Department of Philosophy, either before or at the same time as applying for funding.Prospective studentsCandidates will be expected to fulfil similar academic criteria to those demanded by external funding bodies. They will normally possess at least an upper second class honours degree or equivalent.

Value of Scholarship(s)



This competition is open to new Home/EU and International students who are applying for either a full-time or part-time MA/MSc place in the School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy; the competition is also open to students who are applying to the Department of Philosophy and the degree of M.Phil. Stud. Philosophy.This competition is open to new students only.

Application Procedure

Before you apply, you should contact the relevant department for advice.Once you have identified a relevant programme, you will need to:Apply online for the relevant MA/MSc or MPhil. Stud. (Dept. of Philosophy) degree in the normal wayDownload the SSHP Postgraduate Taught Bursary Application Form Word iconThe SSHP Studentship application form should be returned to Jane Halstead, Assistant School Manager, via the following email address:[email protected] STATE ‘PGT BURSARY’ AND DEPARTMENT APPLIED TO IN THE ‘SUBJECT’ LINE OF YOUR E-MAIL.Any queries relating to the PGT Bursary can also be sent to this email address.

Further Information



Postgraduate Support Scheme for final-year undergraduates (full-time) - 20+ Awards

We are pleased to announce that, for October 2015 entry, Birkbeck has a limited number of new £10,000 postgraduate scholarships. These scholarships are for students progressing from a full-time undergraduate degree to a part-time Master’s degree starting in 2015/16.

Value of Scholarship(s)



To be eligible for the scholarship you must be:Starting a 2-year part-time taught Master’s degree in 2015/16
Domiciled in the UK/EU
Progressing from an undergraduate course for which you were charged the higher tuition fee (applicable since 2012–13)
Studying at postgraduate Master’s level for the first time

Application Procedure

If you want to apply for this support, you must follow these steps:Submit an application for your intended course
Submit an application for the Postgraduate Support Scheme

Further Information


Entry Requirements

A good degree in an arts subject. No previous knowledge of Greek or Latin is required. We also offer a 1-year Graduate Certificate in History , which can be used as a conversion course if you want to study at postgraduate level, but have a degree in a significantly different discipline. If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

Course Fees

Part-time home/EU students: £ 3975 pa Full-time home/EU students: £ 7950 pa

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