Postgraduate study

Ancient History MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Ancient History

This programme gives you the opportunity to study ancient history at an advanced level, developing your interest in the ancient world and providing an excellent preparation for further graduate research.

Edinburgh is one of the leading centres in the UK for the study of ancient history, in the chronological, geographical and methodological scope of the research interests of our staff. The range and content of our courses reflect staff research strengths in Greek, Hellenistic, Roman and Late Antique topics. Greek and Latin language courses are always offered. Our particular strengths lie in the legal, institutional, social and economic history of the Greek and Roman worlds, as well as in political theory and practice, Hellenistic history, and late antique history.

As a student on this programme, you will develop your skills in critical thinking, clear writing and research, verbal presentation and critical analysis.

Most teaching takes place in small-group seminars and the programme is designed to allow both breadth of coverage and specialisation. The specialised compulsory course will provide you with the key methodological and practical skills required of researchers in all classical subjects, while the options offer a large degree of flexibility, allowing you to develop or consolidate your language skills and explore a diverse range of historical topics in depth. Independent research, in the form of a dissertation, forms a substantial component of the programme, challenging you to build on the material and approaches covered in the taught courses and develop your research skills.

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

The compulsory course is:

  • Skills and Methods in Classics

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 Latin (PG) 1
  • Elementary Greek (PG) 1
  • Elementary Latin (PG) 2
  • Elementary Greek (PG) 2
  • Intermediate Latin (PG) 1
  • Intermediate Greek (PG) 1
  • Intermediate Latin (PG) 2
  • Intermediate Greek (PG) 2
  • A Period of Ancient History 1
  • A Period of Ancient History 2
  • A Topic in Late Antique and Byzantine History 1
  • The Hellenistic City
  • Constantinople: The History of a Medieval Megalopolis from * Constantine the Great to Suleyman the Magnificent
  • Archaeology of the Roman Economy
  • Classical Greek Sculpture
  • Space, Place and Time: the archaeology of built environments
  • Byzantine Archaeology: The archaeology of the Byzantine empire and its neighbours AD 500-850.
  • Conflict archaeology: materialities of violence
  • Bronze Age Civilisations of the Near East and Greece
  • Etruscan Italy, 1000 - 300 BC
  • Gallia from the Third Century BC to Augustus

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
MScAncient History1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2019/20
MScAncient History2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2019/20
  • considerable familiarity with many aspects of ancient history and the principal challenges, approaches and issues involved in their study
  • specialist understanding of the intellectual background of ancient history as a distinct discipline
  • development of existing reading/writing skills, through critical assessment of written work
  • advanced appreciation of a wide range of methodologies involved in evaluating and employing sources of ancient historical evidence, through participation in core course and assessed work
  • the option to further develop language skills (normally Greek and Latin), which can be acquired by instruction and assessed exercises
  • specialist understanding of at least one significant field of research in associated cultural history, developed and assessed through a 15,000-word dissertation.

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, normally Classics, Classical Civilization, Ancient History or Classical Archaeology.

We will also consider an honours degree in another subject if your personal statement demonstrates how you are equipped to undertake the 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

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:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScAncient History1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MScAncient History2 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, 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 and Archaeology
  • Room 2.29, William Robertson Wing
  • Old Medical School, Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG
Programme start date Application deadline
9 September 2019 31 July 2019

We strongly recommend you submit your completed application as early as possible, particularly if you are also applying for funding or will require a visa. We may consider late applications if we have places available.

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 and Archaeology
  • Room 2.29, William Robertson Wing
  • Old Medical School, Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG