Postgraduate study
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Late Antique, Islamic and Byzantine Studies MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

The end of classical antiquity in the Mediterranean and the Middle East witnessed the formation of polities, institutions and ideologies which define and continue to influence our world to the present day.

By combining a diverse, yet related range of research interests, this programme offers an exceptional selection of linguistic and disciplinary expertise in the study of the late antique, Islamic and Byzantine worlds.

Through this programme, you will engage with:

  • archaeology
  • art history
  • history
  • languages and literatures
  • auxiliary disciplines such as palaeography, numismatics, and sigillography

You will also be trained in the following source languages:

  • Greek
  • Latin
  • Arabic
  • and/or Hebrew

This programme provides you with excellent preparation for graduate research in historical, archaeological, literary or art-historical topics. You will focus on the Mediterranean and western Asia from late antiquity into the early middle ages as well as on the entire span of Byzantine history.

You will have access to the expertise of academics who are all passionate about their area of study. Drawn from several schools across the University and brought together in the Centre for Late Antique, Islamic and Byzantine Studies, the team comprises specialists in the various branches of late antique, Islamic and Byzantine studies.

The MSc comprises seminars, language classes and tutorials.

You will take part in:

  • seminar discussions and debate
  • peer presentations
  • directed and independent reading
  • interactive language teaching

You will complete one compulsory course and select a further two language courses and an additional three options from a wide range on offer.

The compulsory course is:

  • Approaches to the Long Late Antiquity

Option courses previously offered include those listed below. Option courses change from year to year and those available when you start your studies may be different from those shown in the list:

  • Elementary Greek (PG) 1 and Elementary Greek (PG) 2
  • Intermediate Greek (PG) 1 and Intermediate Greek (PG) 2
  • Elementary Latin (PG) 1 and Elementary Latin (PG) 2
  • Intermediate Latin (PG) 1 and Intermediate Latin (PG) 2
  • Arabic 1A and Arabic 1B for MSc LAIBS
  • Archaeology of the Roman Economy
  • Constantinople: The History of a Medieval Megalopolis from Constantine the Great to Süleyman the Magnificent
  • Mosques, Palaces and Gardens in the Golden Age of Islam
  • Mystical Islam
  • The Qur'an - Islam's Holy Book
  • A Topic in Late Antique and Byzantine History, for example:

    • Popular Culture in Late Antiquity
    • The Mediterranean in the Fifth Century
    • Centre and Periphery in the Age of Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos
  • Topics in Byzantine Literary History
  • Debating Marriage between Antiquity and the Middle Ages
  • Latin Text Seminar
  • Greek Text Seminar
  • Byzantine Text Seminar
  • Greek Palaeography
  • The Latin Manuscript

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScLate Antique, Islamic and Byzantine Studies1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2024/25
MScLate Antique, Islamic and Byzantine Studies2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2024/25

You will gain:

  • the essential language skills for original research and close work with key historical and/or literary sources of evidence
  • a grounding in the issues surrounding these sources
  • an appreciation of the associated material cultures, including the challenges surrounding their recovery, survival and curation

This will prepare you for future academic research and prospective careers in aspects of museums and heritage management.

Our students view the programme and a graduate degree from Edinburgh as an advanced qualification valued and respected by many employers. Others are interested in pursuing long-term academic careers and therefore consider the MSc as preparation for a PhD.

The programme provides a toolkit of transferable skills in organisation, research and analysis that will be highly prized in any field of work.

This programme can form the stepping stone to many career options, such as:

  • further academic research
  • law
  • museum and art curation
  • literary translation or analysis
  • education
  • public heritage

Recent graduates in Classics are now putting their skills to use as:

  • tutors
  • archivists
  • writers
  • editors
  • civil servants

These entry requirements are for the 2024/25 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2025/26 academic year will be published on 1 Oct 2024.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, a minimum US 3.25 GPA or international equivalent, in a subject related to this programme.

Relevant experience, or professional or other qualifications will also be considered.

Students from China

This degree is Band C.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

Regardless of your nationality or country of residence, you must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.0 in each component. We do not accept IELTS One Skill Retake to meet our English language requirements.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 185 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with passes in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 70 with at least 59 in each component.

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries (non-MESC).

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than five years old* at the beginning of your programme of study. (*Revised 05 March 2024 to extend degree validity to five years.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScLate Antique, Islamic and Byzantine Studies1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MScLate Antique, Islamic and Byzantine Studies2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

Featured funding

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments.

The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on:

  • your programme
  • the duration of your studies
  • your tuition fee status

Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • School of History, Classics & Archaeology
  • William Robertson Wing
  • Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG
Programme start date Application deadline
9 September 2024 31 July 2024

If you are applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

You must submit one reference with your application.

Please read the application guidance for more information:

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • School of History, Classics & Archaeology
  • William Robertson Wing
  • Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG