Classics and Ancient History

  • MPhil/PhD Classics and Ancient History 
  • MA by Research Classics and Ancient History 
Degree typesTypes of research degrees explained
DurationDegree duration details
LocationExeter (Streatham)
Study modesFull time and part time Study mode details
Start date September, January or April

Research overview

Research areas

Our vigorous research culture spans the breadth of the Classical world with methodological strengths literature, language, history, archaeology and philosophy.

We offer a wide range of world-leading research expertise, much of which falls within the remit of our three research centres. We welcome applications for postgraduate research across all our specialisms.

Prospective PhD candidates are encouraged to explore the interests of our academic staff in more detail and should make informal contact with a potential supervisor before submitting a formal application.

Research degrees are currently available at the level of PhD, MPhil and MA by Research. Enrolment for a PhD usually follows after a year of being registered for an MPhil, following a successful upgrade involving the submission of sample work. There are also opportunities for MA by Research students to upgrade to MPhil status if they wish. The MA by Research is suited to dedicated students who are comfortable with independent research with a focused topic already in mind.

Research centres

The Department of Classics and Ancient History currently hosts three research centres:

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

Centre for Connectivity in the Roman World  The centre examines how connectivity contributed to the shaping of distinctive cultures, economies and societies spanning the breadth of the Roman world and its immediate neighbours, focusing on novel historical, archaeological and digital approaches to human mobility and material culture.

Centre for Knowledge in Culture in Antiquity and Beyond  This centre 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.


Our research is primarily supported an extensive research library, which includes a substantial collection of both physical and digital books, journals and resources.

Two members of the Department with research interests in digital classics are based within the Digital Humanities Lab, a state-of-the-art facility for undertaking digitally-enabled research and teaching. The facility houses two photography labs, an audio-video lab and a 3D makerspace, as well as a seminar room equipped with a nine-screen video wall. The facility offers a programme of events throughout the year including training sessions in digital skills for postgraduate researchers and staff, hackathons, and a seminar series. 


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

Education Officer
International Public Relations Specialist
Classics Teacher
Adjunct Instructor
Teaching Fellow
International Public Relations Specialist
Academic issues manager

Department of Education
Hokkaido University, Japan
Plymouth College
Seoul National University
Art Institute of Calefornia, LA
Stellenbosch University, South Africa
University of Edinburgh
Hokkaido University, Japan
University of Exeter
University of Exeter Guild of Students

Entry requirements

Applying for MPhil/PhD study

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. 

Applying for MA by Research

The MA by Research is suited to dedicated students who are comfortable with independent research with a focused topic already in mind. Applicants should have a proven track-record of producing excellent research at undergraduate level, either in the form of an overall first class degree in Classics and Ancient History, or an upper-second class degree with a first-class dissertation (or equivalent). They should also obtain prior approval on a research proposal from their prospective supervisor in the department of Classics and Ancient History before submitting an application. Students should also have an undergraduate degree in Classics and Ancient History, or a cognate discipline e.g. Archaeology.

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.

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 2023/24

For those studying for more than one year, our fees are expected to increase modestly in line with Consumer Price Inflation measured in December each year. More information can be found on our Student Finance webpages.

Tuition fees per year 2022/23

For those studying for more than one year, our fees are expected to increase modestly in line with Consumer Price Inflation measured in December each year. More information can be found on our Student Finance webpages.

Current available funding

Contact us

College of Humanities
Postgraduate Administrator
Phone: 0300 555 60 60 (UK callers)
+44 (0) 1392 723044 (EU/International callers)
Enquire online

Supervision and support

You can expect attentive and supportive expert supervision through regular meetings, including the provision of constructive feedback on draft written work. You will be assigned a first supervisor, second supervisor and a pastoral tutor. You can view profiles of our academic staff in order to identify possible supervision.

Co-supervision involving expertise from other departments and colleges at Exeter (and other universities as part of the AHRC SWW DTP) is possible, if relevant to the needs of your project.

Over a given 12 month period supervisory meetings are expected roughly once every month, although it is common for more frequent meetings to take place in the first year of study to provide assistance in shaping your project. As well as advising on the content of your thesis, supervision can also help provide further guidance on the upgrade processes, and the preparation of papers for academic conferences and publication (where appropriate).

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. Postgraduates are also welcome to attend and participate in the Department’s annual research seminar series, in addition to smaller events and workshops run by our research centres.

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Find out more

  • Staff profiles

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.

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