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 spanning the breadth of the Classical world and its neighbours, with methodological strengths in the various fields of literature, language, history, archaeology and philosophy. Our academic staff have a broad range of expertise and ground-breaking research interests, much of which (but not all) falling within the remit of our three research centres:

We have a real research culture at Exeter, with international conferences and regular publications. We hope that you will become part of that culture and add to our research strength. Prospective PhD candidates are encouraged to explore the interests of our staff in more detail via their individual pages, and should make informal contact with a potential supervisor before submitting a formal application.

Current available funding

Research areas

  • Ancient and modern philosophy, especially metaphysics and ethics
  • Archaeology and material culture, especially of the Roman world
  • Classical art and visual culture
  • Classics in the history of sexuality
  • Comparative philology and linguistics
  • Greek and Roman epic, tragedy and comedy
  • Greek and Roman mythology, religion and magic
  • Greek and Roman socio-economic history
  • Greek literature in the Roman empire, including Lucian, Athenaeus, ecphrasis
  • Hellenistic history, especially the barbarian interface and the Greek culture of Asia Minor Medicine in antiquity, especially Galen
  • Latin literature
  • Migration and mobility, especially in Italy and the Roman empire

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.

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

Research centres

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.

The Centre for Connectivity in the Roman World aims to examine in what ways connectivity contributed to the shaping of distinctive cultures, economies and societies across the breadth of the Roman world (and its immediate neighbours).

The Centre for Knowledge in Culture in Antiquity and Beyond brings together research in specialised areas including ancient medicine, ancient science and the scientific imagination, metaphysics, philosophy, ethics, sexual knowledge, military strategy and political thought, and on ancient technical writings from across the Classical 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
Production Supplier Analyst
English Foreign Language Teacher
Senior Lecturer
International Public Relations Specialist
Assistant Head, International Partnerships
Lecturer in Roman History

Exeter School
Met Office
Homerun Consulting
Goodridge Ltd UK
Plymouth College
Stellenbosch University, South Africa
University of Exeter
Hokkaido University, Japan
University of Exeter
Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil

Entry requirements 2018

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 2018/19

  • UK/EU: £4,400 full-time; £2,200 part-time
  • International: £16,400 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
Web: Enquire online

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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.