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PhD degrees

The PhD is our principal research degree. If you study full time, it is a three-year programme, during which you will come to work at the highest level in the subject, with the aim of producing an extended thesis (of not more than 100,000 words) which will make a significant and lasting contribution to the field. 


PhD students are provided with a 'supervisory team', normally consisting of two members of staff who have expertise in the field of study. In practice, most students at this level work closely with one 'principal supervisor'. As part of the process of application, you should identify and contact the person you think might be suitable as your principal supervisor. (Consult our list of staff, their specialisms, and publications. Contact the Director of Postgraduate Research if you would like help with this process.) Your prospective supervisor will be able to help you develop a viable research proposal.

Preparation for doctoral research

If you intend to study for the PhD and do not already hold a Masters degree (or equivalent), you will normally be required to register for one of our Taught MA programmes, which are designed to function as research training degrees, and offer the best possible introduction to higher research in the Classics, and the research culture of our Department in particular.

Three PhD students, two men and a woman, sit at a table with an open laptop and books and papers spread around. In the foreground on the right, a student looks at a printed article with highlighting, while in the background the other two are reading a book

Funding Support for PhD research

The Department of Classics & Ancient History at Durham University invites applications for PhD studentships, through the AHRC-funded Northern Bridge Doctoral Training Partnership.

The Northern Bridge Doctoral Training Partnership runs an annual competition to select the best doctoral candidates and provide a comprehensive and attractive package of financial support over the duration of study. Successful candidates are also supported by an outstanding wealth of resources. For further information about both schemes and detailed guidance notes, visit the Northern Bridge website.

We welcome applications from outstanding candidates who can demonstrate evidence of academic excellence at both undergraduate and postgraduate level (or equivalent professional experience), as well as evidence of sufficient research skills to undertake the project.

There is no separate application process for this funding competition: on the application for the Durham PhD programme, applicants will be asked if they wish to be considered for funding.

Please visit our Application Pages for more information about the process of applying for a place on our PhD programme, as well as a link to the online application portal.