Postgraduate study

Late Antique, Islamic & Byzantine Studies

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding available

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 cognate 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, embracing archaeology, art history, history, languages and literatures, and auxiliary disciplines such as palaeography, numismatics, and sigillography. It presently provides training 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 focusing on the Mediterranean and western Asia from late antiquity into the early middle ages.

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 Medieval and Renaissance Studies, the team comprises specialists in the various branches of late antique, Islamic and Byzantine studies.

The MSc comprises seminars, language classes and tutorials, which will include seminar discussion and debate, presentation to peers, directed and independent reading, as well as 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
  • Byzantine Archaeology: The archaeology of the Byzantine empire and its neighbours AD 500-850.
  • Archaeology of the Roman Economy
  • 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, e.g.: Popular Culture in Late Antiquity; The Mediterranean in the Fifth Century; Centre and Periphery in the Age of Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos
  • Constantinople: The History of a Medieval Megalopolis from Constantine the Great to S├╝leyman the Magnificent
  • 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 2018/19
MScLate Antique, Islamic and Byzantine Studies2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2018/19

The programme emphasises acquisition of essential language skills for original research and close work with key historical and/or literary sources of evidence and grounding in the issues surrounding them.

You will gain an appreciation of the associated material cultures, including issues surrounding its recovery, survival and curation, which 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 or public heritage. Recent graduates in Classics are now putting their skills to use as tutors, archivists, writers, editors and civil servants.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, US GPA 3.4 or other international equivalent, in a subject related to this programme

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

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

All applicants must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of their English language ability:

  • an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration

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

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

  • PTE(A): 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

Degrees taught and assessed in English must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your degree programme. IELTS, TOEFL, Pearson Test of English and Trinity ISE must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.*

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

Find out more about our language requirements:

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

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

You must submit a 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
  • Graduate School Office, Room 2.29, William Robertson Wing
  • Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG