Classical Archaeology and Ancient History (MPhil / PhD)

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.

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.

In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, History at Birkbeck was ranked sixth 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 current research interests include: the cultural and social history of ancient Greece; the Hellenistic world; ancient Italy and Rome; the reception of the 'classical' past within ancient and modern worlds; the study of approaches to identity in the ancient world; and cultural change in the Hellenistic and Roman worlds.


  • Entry Requirements

    Entry requirements

    A good degree in ancient history, archaeology, classical studies, classics, history or a related discipline.

    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.

    Visa requirements

    If you are not from the European Economic Area (EEA) and/or Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK, you may need to apply for a visa.

    The visa you apply for varies according to the length of your course:

    • Courses of more than six months’ duration.
    • Courses of less than six months’ duration.
    • Pre-sessional English language courses.

    International students who require a Tier 4 visa should apply for our three-year evening study BA/BSc/LLB degrees, as these are classified as full-time study and qualify for student visa status. If you are living in the UK on a Tier 4 visa, you will not be eligible to enrol as a student on Birkbeck’s part-time evening study degrees.

    For full information, read our visa information for international students page.

  • Fees


    Part-time home/EU students: £2260 pa
    Full-time home/EU students: £4260 pa
    Part-time international students: £6225 pa
    Full-time international students: £12325 pa

    Students are charged a tuition fee in each year of their programme. Tuition fees for students continuing on their programme in following years may be subject to annual inflationary increases. For more information, please see the College Fees Policy.

    Fees and finance

    From 2018-19, PhD students resident in England can apply for government loans of up to £25,000 to cover the cost of tuition fees, maintenance and other study-related costs.

    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 20th 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 School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy).

  • Our Research Culture

    Our Research Culture

    You will find the British Museum and the British Library just a few minutes' walk away from Birkbeck. Other nearby specialist centres of research include the Institute of Classical Studies, the Institute of Historical Research, the Institute of Archaeology and the Warburg Institute, all immediately adjacent to Birkbeck. All four institutes offer regular seminars on research areas covered by the department.

    Other benefits for MPhil/PhD students include ancillary skills courses, work-in-progress seminars and a historical sociology reading group.

    Read more about our vibrant research culture.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

    You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course, using the online application link.

    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.

    It is important to have a supervisor who will provide an overview of your chosen field. Candidates are welcome to contact a potential supervisor for advice on their research proposal, and are encouraged to do so. Find out more about our current MPhil/PhD students and their research topics.

    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 the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology's MPhil/PhD 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 a supervisor

    A critical factor when applying for postgraduate study in history, classics and 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:

    For details of academic staff working in related areas, see the entries for MPhil/PhD Archaeology, MPhil/PhD Classics and MPhil/PhD History.