Up to four years full-time or seven years part-time
Regular meetings with your supervisor(s)
Other entry years for this course2018
In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, History at Birkbeck was ranked 6th in the UK for the percentage of our research deemed world-leading or internationally excellent. 94% of our eligible staff submitted research and we achieved 100% for a research environment supporting world-leading and internationally excellent research. Our research areas include: classical Greek, Hellenistic and Roman Republican archaeology; Roman provincial archaeology; and late antique and early medieval Western European archaeology. Key specialisms include: archaeology of urban settlement, archaeology of cult and ritual, death and burial, social archaeology, attitudes to the past, and interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary studies in history and archaeology.
A research degree offers you the opportunity to acquire a highly advanced set of conceptual skills developed in the pursuit of new knowledge, which can be applied within or beyond an academic or scholarly context. Research training in any academic discipline helps to channel creativity into critical innovatory reasoning. The legitimate authority of original, independent research depends upon persuasive analytical arguments supported by critically evaluated evidence.
An MPhil/PhD is an advanced postgraduate research degree that requires original research and the submission of a substantial dissertation of 60,000 to 100,000 words. At Birkbeck, you are initially registered on an MPhil and you upgrade to a PhD after satisfactory progress in the first year or two. You need to find a suitable academic supervisor at Birkbeck, who can offer the requisite expertise to guide and support you through your research. Find out more about undertaking a research degree at Birkbeck.
This course is also available for distance learning, which makes it ideal if your work, family or personal commitments make coming into Birkbeck difficult, if you are living in another country, or if you live near an archive, museum or site that is central to your research. You can conduct all of your supervisions via Skype or other virtual meeting software. You will have to visit the main Birkbeck campus in Bloomsbury, central London at the end of your first year (full-time students) or your second year (part-time students), during MPhil/PhD Induction Week. You will also need to visit London for your upgrade from MPhil and to present a paper (these may be scheduled to coincide), and you will also usually need to be present in London for your PhD viva, at the end of your programme.
- Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 13th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2016-17 World University Subject Rankings.
- Birkbeck’s research excellence was confirmed in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, which placed Birkbeck 30th in the UK for research, with 73% of our research rated world-leading or internationally excellent.
- Our department is located close to the British Museum, the British Library, and other relevant centres of research.
- This programme is also available via distance learning, allowing you to study outside London.
We welcome a wide range of qualifications, from the UK and abroad, and we will also consider your non-academic achievements.
A good degree in ancient history, archaeology, classical studies, classics, history or a related discipline. Students applying for the MPhil/PhD by distance learning will need a distinction at MA level (or equivalent) in history, classics, or archaeology.
International entry requirements
If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, the requirement for this programme is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 7.0, with not less than 6.5 in each of the sub-tests and at least 7.0 in writing.
If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.
Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.
We are committed to doing everything we can to help you finance your studies.
FeesPart-time home/EU students: £ 2226 pa
Full-time home/EU students: £ 4195 pa
Part-time overseas students: £ 6050 pa
Full-time overseas students: £ 11995 pa
Fees and finance
Flexible finance: pay your fees in monthly instalments at no extra cost. Enrol early to spread your costs and reduce your monthly payments.
Fees discounts: If you are a member of a union that is recognised by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), you may apply for a 10% discount off your tuition fees.
Named in memory of Birkbeck’s former President, and one of the greatest historians of the twentieth century, the Eric Hobsbawm Postgraduate Scholarship fund offers financial assistance for research expenses (including travel, accommodation, conference fees and particular training needs) to doctoral students in the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology.
Read more about other funding opportunities for research students within the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology. Find out about other research funding opportunities at Birkbeck (including the School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy).
Our Research Culture
Birkbeck is a world-leading research university with a vibrant, interdisciplinary research culture and a welcoming, supportive community of researchers.
Our Research Culture
We are located just five minutes' walk from the British Museum and 10 minutes from the British Library.
Other nearby specialist centres of research include the Institute of Archaeology, the Institute of Classical Studies and the Institute of Historical Research, all of which offer regular seminars on research areas covered by the department.
Find out more about our vibrant research culture and our current MPhil/PhD students and their research topics.
How to apply
Once you've found the course that's right for you, here's what to do next to get your place at Birkbeck.
How to apply
You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course, using the online application.
Before deciding to pursue a research degree, you should ideally draft an independent proposal for your intended area of research. We also strongly advise that, before submitting your application, you informally approach and establish contact with a potential supervisor based in the department.
If you wish to apply for the MPhil/PhD by distance learning, you will also need to provide a writing sample, preferably from a Master’s dissertation (or equivalent).
You may apply for full-time or part-time study mode; part-time study mode is open to UK, EU, EEA and Swiss nationals. Fees for EU nationals are charged at the UK home student rate. International students may apply for full-time study mode only.
Suitable candidates will be interviewed by a panel of the Research Committee, which will include the prospective supervisor. During the application process, candidates may also contact the department for advice. Find out more about our application process.
Application deadlines and interviews
You can apply, and start studying, at any time during the year.
If you wish to apply for funding, you will need to apply by certain deadlines. Consult the websites of relevant bodies for details.
Finding a supervisor
Finding the right supervisor for your research is important: we offer supervision in over 40 subject areas and in interdisciplinary combinations.
Finding a supervisor
A crucial factor when applying for postgraduate study in archaeology is the correlation between the applicant’s intellectual and research interests and those of one or more potential supervisors within the Department.
Find out more about the research interests of our academic staff:
- : Roman provincial archaeology. , BA, MA, PhD
- : medieval history, architecture and archaeology, in particular southern Italy in the early Middle Ages. , PhD
- : prehistoric archaeology. , MA, MA, PhD
- : Greek art and archaeology. , BA, DPhil
- Tim Reynolds, BA, MA, PhD: Middle and Upper Palaeolithic human behaviour; human evolution; lithic technology; post-Pleistocene adaptations.
Fees and payment
With government loans for undergraduate and postgraduate study, fantastic financial support packages and flexible payment options, there’s never been a better time to study at Birkbeck.
Evening study explained
Birkbeck is London’s only specialist provider of evening higher education. With classes held 6pm-9pm, your days are free to study, work, volunteer, or just do your own thing.
Birkbeck is one of the world’s leading research universities. Discover more about our vibrant, intellectually challenging and exciting research culture.
Birkbeck is committed to doing everything we can to help you finance your studies. Find out about what is available, how to apply and the advice and support we provide.
The Birkbeck experience
Birkbeck is different: our classes are held in the evening, so your days are free - to study, work, volunteer or just do your own thing.
Careers and employability
Our free Careers and Employability Service provides comprehensive careers advice, events and information services for current students, both in person and online, and for recent Birkbeck graduates.
Life at Birkbeck
Birkbeck offers a unique combination of evening study and a matchless central London location, right in the geographic and academic centre of the city, giving you exceptional opportunities.
Birkbeck Graduate Research School (BGRS)
The Birkbeck Graduate Research School (BGRS) offers support, training and a warm welcome to Birkbeck's vibrant community of MPhil/PhD researchers.
How to apply
Once you've found the course that's right for you, here's what to do next to get your place at Birkbeck. We can give you the advice and support you need.
Art exhibition at Birkbeck explores fertility in history
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