MPhil/PhD Classics and Ancient History

Duration MPhil: Full time 2-3 years; Part time 4-5 years
PhD: Full time 3-4 years; Part time 6-7 years
Distance Learning available
  • Classics and Ancient History
LocationExeter (Streatham)
Start date September, January or April


The Department prides itself on its vigorous research culture. There are current major research projects on pagan monotheism in the Roman Empire and on Galen and the world of knowledge in the 2nd century AD. Individual staff research projects range from the study of the ancient Black Sea to moral concepts in Latin literature, from Greek inscriptions to ancient ideas of character, including food, sex, politics and religion. There are strong clusters of postgraduate students studying aspects of ancient drama and the Eastern regions of the Hellenistic world.

Current available funding

Research areas

  • Ancient and modern philosophy, especially ethics
  • Classical art and archaeology
  • Classics in the history of sexuality
  • Comparative philology and linguistics
  • Food in the ancient world
  • Greek and Roman epic, tragedy and comedy
  • Greek and Roman mythology, religion and magic
  • Greek and Roman social history, especially sexuality
  • Hellenistic history, especially the barbarian interface and the Greek culture of Asia Minor and dynastic studies
  • History of medicine in antiquity, especially Galen
  • Later Greek literature, including Lucian, Athenaeus, ecphrasis
  • Latin literature
  • Palaeography

The Classics and Ancient History research webpages provide more comprehensive details about current research projects. Details on individual staff research interests and publications can be found on the Classics and Ancient History staff profiles pages.

Classics and Ancient History at Exeter is ranked 6th in the UK for research power by the Times Higher (using the Research Excellence Framework 2014 results), with 75% of research classified as world-leading or internationally excellent. The Department has a vigorous research culture, with international conferences, at least once a year, most of which lead to published volumes.

The impact of our research benefits the larger community in many ways, in the UK, and in other countries where our research is conducted.

Our postgraduates are a part of the vigorous research culture in the Department. They have taken a leading role in setting up their own seminar series, and in giving conference papers throughout the UK and abroad. They have also organised conferences at Exeter on Women in Antiquity, Pollution and the Ancient City and Tragic Fragments, which are to be published. They have also organised conferences on the Seleukid Kingdom (2008) and the national Ancient History conference for postgraduates, AMPAH (2006).

The Department journal Pegasus is currently edited by postgraduates and includes contributions by undergraduates and staff members.

Research centre

Supported by a £1.25 million Leverhulme grant, the Centre for Hellenistic and Romano-Greek Culture and Society is rapidly becoming internationally recognised for the study of the history and culture of the post-classical Greek world.

Research projects

Most staff research is based on individual research projects, many of which are externally funded. There are also clusters of research expertise, enabling fruitful synergy between colleagues, and these provide a framework for much of the postgraduate research.

Our academics

We offer supervision across a wide variety of research specialism. Visit our staff profiles for details of our individual research interests.


We offer excellent support including research skills training, dedicated postgraduate facilities including an IT suite and common room. PhD students who undertake undergraduate teaching enjoy the use of a pleasant suite of offices in the heart of the department. There is a lively postgraduate community whose regular activities include reading groups and a seminar series in the Leventis room, which also houses the department’s postgraduate library. Our postgraduates attend the weekly departmental research seminar; are involved in editing and writing for the departmental journal Pegasus; and in events run by the undergraduate Classics Society, such as the staging of classical plays.


We are committed to ensuring you receive high quality research supervision to maximise your potential and prepare you for a rewarding career.

Postgraduate students have access to the wide range of support offered by our Career Zone. In addition, postgraduate research students can access our Postgraduate Researchers' Programme, which covers a range of topics to help you to succeed during your research degree and to act as a springboard for your research career.

Graduate destinations

Below are some examples of initial jobs undertaken by Classics and Ancient History postgraduates who studied with us in recent years.

Please note that, due to data protection, the job titles and organisations are listed independently and do not necessarily correspond.

Job titleOrganisation
Classics Teacher
Climate Change Communications Manager
English Foreign Language Teacher
Freelance Journalist
Production Supplier Analyst
Teacher in Ancient and Greek literature
Exeter School
Goodridge Ltd UK
Homerun Consulting
Met Office
National Museum Wales
Plymouth College
Stellenbosch University
University of Exeter

Entry requirements 2017

Students applying to enter directly into the MPhil/PhD programme would normally be expected to have a Masters degree with Merit or equivalent in Classics and Ancient History, or other relevant qualifications such as a doctorate in another subject.

If you are an international student, please visit our international equivalency pages to enable you to see if your existing academic qualifications meet our entry requirements. 

Applying for MPhil/PhD study

You may wish to read our general advice for PhD applicants, which give tips on how to put together a successful research degree application.

Applicants for research programmes are also advised to visit the College's webpages to check for specific advice. Here you will be able to find out about staff research interests and make preliminary enquiries about supervision. We advise that you do this before applying.

Requirements for international students

If you are an international student, please visit our international equivalency pages to enable you to see if your existing academic qualifications meet our entry requirements.

English language requirements

IELTS (Academic)

Overall score 7.0 with a minimum score of 6.5 in the writing component and all other sections no less than 6.0.


Overall score 100 with minimum scores of 25 for writing, 21 for listening, 22 for reading and 23 for speaking.

Pearson Test of English (Academic)

65 with no less than 58 in all communicative skills.

Other accepted tests

Information about other acceptable tests of linguistic ability can be found on our English language requirements page.

Pre-sessional English

Applicants with lower English language test scores may be able to take pre-sessional English at INTO University of Exeter prior to commencing their programme. See our English language requirements page for more information.

Finance: fees and funding

Tuition fees per year 2017/18

  • UK/EU: £4,400 full-time; £2,200 part-time
  • International: £15,950 full-time

Fee information

Fees can normally be paid by two termly instalments and may be paid online. For further information about paying fees see our Student Fees pages.

Current available funding

Contact us

College of Humanities
Postgraduate Administrator
Phone: +44 (0)1392 725306

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Why study Classics at Exeter?

Dr Richard Flower (Senior Lecturer in Classics and Ancient History) gives an overview of the Classics and Ancient History department and what postgraduate students can expect at Exeter.