Postgraduate study

Classics PhD

Awards: PhD

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Classics

Our classics research group is one of the most significant clusters of scholars in the UK, working in all areas of the discipline: Greek and Latin language, literature and thought, Greek and Roman history from classical Greece to late antiquity, and Greek, Roman, and Byzantine literature and history.

Major research interests include: Homer and early Greek poetry; Greek philosophy; Greek drama; Hellenistic and Roman poetry; classical Greek and Hellenistic history; ancient Persia, the Roman republic; Cicero; Roman imperial history; Greek literature of the Roman empire; late Roman literature and history; Christianity in the Roman empire; ancient slavery; ancient law; epigraphy; the city of Rome; gender in antiquity; the reception of classical antiquity; Greek sculpture; mythology in art; Roman and Byzantine archaeology.

Our research culture centres on the weekly research seminar which welcomes distinguished speakers in all fields of classics, one of the most high-profile and best-attended events of its type in the UK. Every year we host major international conferences (including the biennial conference on a Greek topic endowed by the Leventis Foundation, which is organised by an eminent visiting professor), as well as a wide range of one-day events.

You will be assigned two supervisors who will provide expert academic guidance on your chosen research topic. You will meet regularly to discuss your progress and research plans, as well as drafts of your thesis/dissertation chapters, conference papers and potential articles.

In addition to individual supervision, all our PhD students pursue an individually tailored programme of research and professional skills training agreed with their supervisors.

Our building offers you exceptional, modern facilities, resources and study spaces, in a stunning location.

Our postgraduate students have access to:

  • A dedicated study and computing lab with printing, copying and scanning facilities, overlooking the Meadows, one of the city’s best-loved green spaces.
  • Two research rooms, shared with undergraduates, housing some of our impressive book collections and a small selection of computing facilities.
  • A large common room overlooking the Meadows, shared by students and staff.
  • Our PhD study room. Subject to available desk space, you may apply after semester one of your first year.
  • A number of small-scale teaching rooms, well-equipped with facilities such as data projection and smart boards.
  • Exhibition areas, filled with artefacts and artwork from our collections.

All of our facilities are in addition to the multiple libraries and computer labs provided across the University’s estate. Many of our rooms overlook the Meadows.

Our location, right in the heart of Edinburgh, means you will be based close to the city’s cultural attractions and facilities, including a wealth of libraries, archives, museums and galleries, which provide uniquely rich support for the disciplines we teach.

Our PhD students develop a highly valued set of research and professional skills which enable them to go on to a wide variety of careers.

Many of our PhD students wish to pursue an academic career, and we have an excellent record of helping our students obtain research and teaching posts in universities in the UK and overseas.

PhD students also develop a portfolio of skills which are highly desirable across a wide range of sectors, from museums and heritage to the civil service, banking and the law.

A UK 2:1 honours degree in a relevant discipline and a relevant masters degree with an overall mark of at least 65%, or US GPA 3.4 or other international equivalent.

We may also consider your application if you have relevant professional experience; please check with your potential supervisor before you apply.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

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

English language tests

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

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.0 in each module)

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 20 in each module)

  • PTE Academic: total 67 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)

  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 169 in each module)

  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

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, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, 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.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.*

(*Revised 8/11/2018 to provide more accurate information on English language qualifications expiry dates. Revised 22/03/2019 to provide more accurate/comprehensive information.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

Read our general information on tuition fees and studying costs:

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, and your residency 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
  • Graduate School Office, Room 2.29, William Robertson Wing
  • Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG

You must submit a research proposal demonstrating your knowledge of your field of research, which will be closely scrutinised as part of the decision-making process.

Two supervisors will be appointed to work with you on the project.

If necessary start dates outwith September and January are available. Please begin your application using the closest date and contact the Graduate School to discuss the matter.

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

Further information

  • School of History, Classics & Archaeology
  • Graduate School Office, Room 2.29, William Robertson Wing
  • Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG