Postgraduate study
Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

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 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.

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. 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 will be different from those shown in this representative 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 2024/25
MScAncient History2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2024/25
  • 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
  • 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, 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.

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