Classics and Ancient History

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Run by Faculty of Arts
Awards available PhD, MPhil
Programme length MPhil: one year full-time;
two years part-time
PhD: four years full-time (minimum period of study three years);
eight years part-time
Location of programme Clifton campus
Part-time study available Yes
Start date January 2022 September 2022 January 2023 The Mphil and PhD can be studied via distance learning.

Programme overview

MPhil: a standalone, one-year (full-time) research degree. Students will undertake their own research project, concluding in the submission of a 25,000 word dissertation. Students may have the option to audit units from taught programmes if they are relevant to their research.

PhD: a research project undertaken across four years (full-time, minimum period of study three years), culminating in an 80,000 word thesis. As well as having the option to audit taught units, there may be opportunities for PhD students to gain teaching experience from their second year of study onwards.

The Department of Classics and Ancient History has an international reputation for outstanding and innovative research. We are particularly well known for reception studies, which we pioneered in Britain, and interdisciplinary approaches to the study of antiquity. As a research student, you will be a member of a thriving and dynamic community.

Fees for 2022/23

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2022/23 are as follows:

UK: full-time
UK: part-time
Overseas: full-time

Following the recent changes to fee assessment regulation, Channel Islands and Isle of Man students will no longer be charged a separate tuition fee. From the 2021/22 academic year they will be charged the same fees as Home students.

Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to a five per cent increase in fees each year. Find out more about tuition fees.

Alumni discount

University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a 25% reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni discount.

Funding for 2022/23

The University of Bristol is part of the South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership (SWW DTP), which will be offering studentships for September 2022. For information on other funding opportunities, please see the Faculty of Arts funding pages.

Further information on funding for prospective UK, EU and international postgraduate students.

Entry requirements

MPhil: An upper second-class degree or international equivalent. Please note, acceptance will also depend on evidence of your readiness to pursue a research degree.

PhD: A master's qualification, or be working towards a master's qualification, or international equivalent. Applicants without a master's qualification may be considered on an exceptional basis, provided they hold a first-class undergraduate degree (or international equivalent). Applicants with a non-traditional background may be considered provided they can demonstrate substantial equivalent and relevant experience that has prepared them to undertake their proposed course of study.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you need to meet this profile level:
Profile C
Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.

Admissions statement

Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.

Admissions statement

Research groups

Members of the department carry out research across the whole range of classical studies: Greek and Latin literature, ancient history and historiography, visual culture, philosophy and reception. Our work is characterised by a particular focus on interdisciplinary approaches and theoretical questions, and by an interest in the globalisation of classics.

A special resource is the Bristol Institute of Greece, Rome and the Classical Tradition, which provides a focus for collaborative and interdisciplinary work and support for conferences and other research activities. The institute encompasses research from many fields, including history, art history, archaeology, literary studies and philosophy, with a particular interest in exploring links between the ancient and modern worlds.

Individual members of staff are involved with research groups across the faculty and University, such as medieval studies, early modern studies, colonialism and the Cabot Institute for the Environment. They have run Faculty of Arts research clusters on topics such as ‘The Embodied Mind’ and ‘Tragedy’.  Members of the department currently hold, and have recently held, major research fellowships from the Alan Turing Institute, the Leverhulme Trust and the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

All research students attend a core unit on Theories and Approaches in their first year or two, as well as training run by the School of Humanities and the fortnightly departmental seminar.


A large number of graduates from this programme develop careers in higher education or work on high-level research projects in the field of classics and ancient history; some graduates go on to careers in museums, education, and journalism.

Staff profiles

Dr Emma Cole, (Senior Lecturer), classical performance reception, esp. the reception of tragedy in avant-garde and experimental theatre ; Greek and Roman tragedy

Dr Lyndsay Coo, (Senior Lecturer), Ancient Greek tragedy, with particular focus on Sophocles; the representation of women (particularly sisters) in Athenian tragedy; Troy and the Trojan War in ancient thought and literature.

Professor Esther Eidinow, (Professor of Ancient History), Ancient Greek social and cultural history, esp. religion and magic; cognitive humanities; historiography, esp. Herodotus and Thucydides; history of emotions; myth

Professor Patrick Finglass, (Henry Overton Wills Professor of Greek), Greek language and literature generally; Greek myth; Greek tragedy; history of scholarship; Lyric poetry; textual criticism

Dr Shelley Hales, (Senior Lecturer), Ancient art and its reception; reception of Pompeii; Roman cultural history; Roman provincial identities.

Dr Laura Jansen, (Senior Lecturer), classical tradition and its reception in the 20th century; classics and comparative literature; Latin literature; paratextuality

Dr Silke Knippschild, (Senior Lecturer), classical reception; Greek and Ancient Near Eastern history and visual culture.

Dr Kurt Lampe, (Senior Lecturer), ancient philosophy; Greek poetry; modern continental philosophy; reception of classical antiquity

Professor Genevieve Liveley, (Professor), Augustan literature; critical theory; gender theory; narratology; the classical tradition.

Dr Pantelis Michelakis, (Reader), critical theory; cultural transmission; Greek literature and theatre, especially tragedy,; the classical tradition

Professor Nicoletta Momigliano, (Professor of Aegean Studies), Aegean prehistory; classical reception; history of Aegean Bronze Age scholarship

Dr Ellen O'Gorman, (Senior Lecturer), Latin poetry and prose literature, especially Neronian, Flavian and Trajanic; Roman historiography and its reception in political thought; theories of ideology and reading, especially psychoanalysis.

Professor Karla Pollman, (Dean of the Faculty of Arts), Classical literature and culture; Theology and Religious Studies (especially Early Christianity, and the interaction of Classical and early Christian thought)

Dr Isabella Sandwell, (Senior Lecturer), early Christianity; late antiquity; Roman religion.

Dr Vanda Zajko, (Reader), feminist theory; psychoanalysis; the reception of classical myth and literature, particularly in the 20th century.

Apply now

Find out how to apply

Application deadline

January 2022 start: 1 December 2021
September 2022 start: 1 August 2022
January 2023 start: 1 December 2022

Open days and visits

Watch on-demand recordings from November's virtual open week.

Get in touch

Faculty of Arts Postgraduate Research Admissions Phone: +44 (0) 117 428 2296 Email:

Faculty of Arts
University of Bristol
7 Woodland Road
School website: School of Humanities
Department website: Department of Classics and Ancient History

International students

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Bristol Doctoral College

The Bristol Doctoral College facilitates and supports doctoral training and researcher development across the University.

REF 2021 results

The University of Bristol is ranked fifth for research in the UK (Times Higher Education), with 94% of our research assessed as world-leading or internationally excellent.

Full REF 2021 results for the University of Bristol.


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