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Master's Programmes

Our Department of Classics & Ancient History is able to provide exceptionally rich resources for Masters-level work, whatever your reason for thinking about an MA:

  • as preparation for higher research (for example PhD work);
  • to allow you to go deeper into subjects you enjoyed as an undergraduate;
  • to give you a highly-regarded degree which attests to your personal enthusiasm, dedication, and academic achievement.

Taught MA programme

Our taught MA in Classics is a research training degree developed with a particular view to the needs of students who plan to pursue higher research in Classics.

This course lasts for one year if taken full time, and can also be taken part-time over two years. There is a research training component, language work, and dissertation (of 12,000 - 15,000 words). The dissertation offers you the chance to undertake a substantial piece of independent research, and many former students, including both those who continued into academia and those who pursued other opportunities, were able to publish work arising from their MA in prominent journals. 

For more information on the modules available in this programme, and to apply, please visit the course details page. For general information on applying to taught MA programmes at Durham, please visit the university's taught postgraduate degree page.

Prospective students are also encouraged to consider the Recommended Reading List (in Translation) for Incoming MA Students in order to gain further context for their MA studies in the Department of Classics and Ancient History.

Research master's programmes

We offer two research master's programmes which allow you greater autonomy than the taught MA without demanding the length of commitment required for a PhD: 

  • MA by Thesis: a one-year programme (two years part time), examined by a thesis of not more than 50,000 words. 
  • MLitt: a two year programme (three years part time) examined by a thesis of not more than 70,000 words. 

The admissions process for these programmes is essentially identical to that for the PhD. (You should, for example, identify and discuss your plans with a prospective supervisor.) Subject to satisfactory performance it is possible to upgrade to the PhD from either of these programmes (though this is not a route we recommend if the PhD is really what you have in mind).

Over the past five years, graduates of our Taught MA programmes have gone onto receive funded offers to pursue doctorates at institutions including Cambridge University, Durham University, Georgia State University, Oxford University, Stanford University, University of Edinburgh, University of Exeter, University of Oklahoma, University of St Andrews and University of Warwick.

Others have gone on to pursue successful careers in a variety of fields from accountancy to teaching, bringing with them the added prestige of a higher degree and the advanced analytical, communication, and research skills an MA offers.

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Postgraduate Scholarships

Are you a UK student and thinking about postgraduate study? We have a range of support available including our Postgraduate Student Support Scholarship, Dean’s Scholarship and Alumni Fee Scholarship.

Find out more and apply