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How to Apply

Admissions Criteria for Research Programmes:

  • A II.1 or equivalent in your first degree
  • For PhD applicants, a Masters level degree in a relevant subject
  • Evidence of proficiency in English
  • Two academic references from people familiar with your work
  • A clear and credible research proposal of around 750 words.  You are strongly encouraged to discuss your research proposal with your prospective supervisor(s) before submitting your application.


Application Materials

You should apply online, using our Applications Portal. As well as completing the online application form, you will also be asked to upload the following supporting materials:

  • Transcript(s) of your qualifications
  • Your 750-word research proposal
  • A personal statement, outlining your reasons for wanting to pursue postgraduate research at Durham
  • A brief curriculum vitae, outlining academic and any other relevant experience

If you are applying for one of our funding competitions, please ensure that you indicate this in the relevant place on the application form; please also take careful note of the deadlines for funding competitions.

You should not upload references as part of your application.  Instead, supply the details of your referees so that we can contact them directly.  Please ensure that you have checked in advance that your referees are able to provide a reference, and have warned them of any relevant deadlines.

We may also ask to see a sample of your written work (but you should not send in such work unless we do).

Previous Qualifications

Since all postgraduate degrees are meant to build on your undergraduate work, we ask for a previous degree in a 'relevant' subject. Note that this need not be 'Classics' (so named). If your plan is to specialise in ancient history, literature, or philosophy, for example, it might be perfectly natural to apply with an undergraduate degree in History, or English, or Philosophy; or you might just have taken a substantial range of Classical options along the course of your previous studies.

English language

You must be fluent in spoken and written English. If English is not your first language, or the principal language of tuition in a previous degree, you should take a language test. Our preferred measure is the IELTS, in which we require an overall score of at least 7 (with at least 6.5 in all components). If you narrowly fall short of the required English as Foreign Language test grade, we may make you an offer conditional on attendance at and satisfactory completion of one of the language courses held at Durham over the Summer before you would be due to begin your studies.