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Ancient History MA

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This course offers you advanced study of Greek, Roman and near Eastern history. It is an intercollegiate course with a wide range of options taught at King's, UCL and Royal Holloway with close links to the Insitute of Classical Studies.

Leads to further research or careers in education, journalism, finance, politics and cultural sectors.

Key benefits

  • One of the world's largest and most distinguished departments of Classics.

  • Unrivalled location for the study of the ancient world thanks to London's unique range of specialist libraries, museums and galleries.

  • Extraordinarily wide choice of modules, drawing on the resources of the whole of the University of London.

  • King's graduates enjoy one of the best employment rates and starting salaries in the UK.  King's was ranked 6th in the UK for graduate employment (Times and Sunday Times Good Universities Guide 2016)

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Key information

Application status Open

Duration One year FT, two years PT, September to September.

Study mode Full-time, Part-time

Credit value UK 180/ECTS 90

Course intake 15-20.

Course leaders

Dr Daniel Orrells

Further details

Course contact for further information Postgraduate Admissions Team, Admissions Office tel: +44 (0) 20 7848 7000 fax: +44 (0) 20 7848 7200

Course contact form Postgraduate admissions

Awarding institution King's College London

Faculty Faculty of Arts & Humanities

DepartmentDepartment of Classics



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Course detail


The MA programme in Ancient History is organised on an intercollegiate basis, so that the programme offerings combine the expertise of staff in all three of the participating colleges - King's, UCL and Royal Holloway. It centres on the University's Institute of Classical Studies, which not only contains a world-class research library, but also hosts the richest programme of seminars, conferences, and occasional lectures for this subject area in the UK. 

The programme consists of a compulsory core module, Sources & Methods in Ancient History, two optional modules, and a dissertation. The first and last elements provide particularly concentrated training in research techniques and methodology. Modules are taught both with texts in the original languages, and with translated texts. Besides purely ancient historical topics, modules may also be taken from the syllabuses for the MAs in Classics, Classical Archaeology & Art, and Late Antique & Byzantine Studies. You may also be able to take appropriate modules from other MA programmes at King's. 

If you intend to pursue further research in ancient history, you will find particular value in the unique opportunities to acquire technical skills in the handling of documentary evidence provided by modules in Greek Papyrology, Greek & Roman Epigraphy, and Greek & Latin Palaeography. You may also take modules in Greek and Latin Languages for Research at beginners or intermediate level.


As well as the extensive library resources at King's, you will have access to the world-leading Classics library at the Institute of Classical Studies, as well as other University of London libraries.

Research seminars

In the Department of Classics we run a research seminar series (which MA students are encouraged to attend), where you will learn about the current research of our academic staff and PhD students. Further, the Department regularly hosts major research conferences with speakers from around the world. There are also University of London research seminars organized through the Institute of Classical Studies, for example in Literature, Classical Archaeology and Ancient History, where you will be able to listen to and meet leading scholars from around the world. There is also the Late Antique & Byzantine Studies seminar, which is organized by the Centre for Hellenic Studies.

Personal tutor

You will be assigned a personal tutor in the Department of Classics, who will advise you and help you decide which modules to take, and can answer any questions or concerns you may have whilst at King's.

Dissertation supervision

During your first term at King's you will need to decide on your MA dissertation subject, if you have not done so before you arrive. The dissertation can be related to work you are doing for a taught module, or it can be in a completely different area. On the basis of your chosen subject area you will be assigned a supervisor within the Department of Classics who will discuss the topic with you, and oversee your work on it.

Greek Play

Every year (since 1953), students in the Department of Classics have produced and performed a Greek play - the only production in the UK to be performed annually in the original Greek. Read more about the Greek Play (and its history) at King's:

Course purpose

This course offers the advanced study of the history of the Greek, Roman and Near Eastern worlds; it is intended either as a further year's study after a first degree or as training in the technical disciplines needed to undertake doctoral research in the field of ancient history.

Course format and assessment


If you are a full-time student, we will provide six to eight hours of lectures and seminars each week, and we will expect you to undertake 35 hours of independent study.

If you are a part-time student, we will provide two to six hours of lectures and seminars a week, and we will expect you to undertake 17.5 hours of independent study.

For your dissertation, we will provide five hours of supervision, and we will expect you to undertake 575 hours of independent study.



We will assess your modules through a combination of coursework, essays and examinations, depending on your module choices. Typically, we assess 20-credit modules through a 5,000-word essay or a 3-hour examination, and 40-credit modules through approximately 10,000 words of coursework or a combination of coursework and examination, but this may vary. The dissertation is a 12,000-word essay.



Year 1

Required Modules

•           Sources and Methods in Ancient History (40 Credits)

•           Dissertation (60 Credits)

If you are a part-time student, you will take Sources and Methods in Ancient History in your first year, along with 40 credits of optional modules. In your second year, you will take your dissertation module and a further 40 credits of optional modules.



Optional Modules



Choose two to four modules totalling 40 credits from a range of options offered by our Department, that may typically include:

  • Beginners' ancient Greek for research (40 Credits)
  • Intermediate ancient Greek for research (40 Credits)
  • Medieval Latin Literature (40 Credits)
  • Skills for Medievalists: Palaeography (20 Credits)
  •  Homer (40 Credits)
  • The Reception of Roman Comedy (20 Credits)
  • Homeric Presences in Greek Poetry and shorter prose since 1890 (20 Credits)
  • Modern Greek Poetry and the Epic Tradition (20 Credits)
  • C.P. Cavafy: the making of a modernist (20 Credits)
  • Early Modern Latin Poetry I (20 Credits)
  • Tacitus & Nero (40 Credits)
  • Latin Epigraphy (40 Credits)
  • Roman Britain (40 Credits)
  • Roman Egypt (40 Credits)
  • One God, One Sea: Byzantium & Islam, 600-800 (20 Credits)
  • Persepolis (20 Credits)
  • Greek Religion: Myth & Meaning (20 Credits)
  • Greek Religion: Culture & Cognition (20 Credits)
  • Classical Frontiers: Northern Black Sea in Antiquity (20 Credits)
  • The City of Rome (British School at Rome Annual Postgraduate Course) (40 Credits)
  • The Classical Art of the Body: Greek Sculpture and its Legacy (40 Credits)
  • The Art of Making: Craft Production from Classical Antiquity to Today (40 Credits)
  • Exhibiting Classical Antiquities (20 Credits)
  • Living in Byzantium I: Material Culture and Built Environment in Late Antiquity (20 Credits
  • Living in Byzantium II: Material Culture and Built Environment in the Middle Ages (20 Credits)

You can find a complete list of our optional modules at our department website.

You can also choose from the master’s modules offered by:

–          University College London Greek & Latin

–          University College London History

–          University College London Institute of Archaeology

–          Royal Holloway University London Classics

–          Royal Holloway University London History

You may also choose to take 20 credits from our Modern Language Centre, and

All subject to approvals.

We regularly review the list of modules we offer to make sure our programmes are as relevant and innovative as possible. Therefore some modules may change, and we recommend that you check here for the most up-to-date information:



Entry requirements & how to apply

Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements.

Minimum academic requirements:

2:1 BA degree with honours (or overseas equivalent) in Classics, Classical Studies, Ancient History, Classical Archaeology, History or a closely related subject. 

High Desirable:

It is highly desirable for candidates to have had experience of learning one or more relevant ancient languages. This may be as part of school or undergraduate education, or through a summer school. The department runs a range of summer language 

The Department also offers a Graduate Diploma in Classical Studies, which can act as a conversion course for those with degrees in other areas who want to go on to take the MA Ancient History.

Application procedure

Applications must be made online using King’s online application portal and a non-refundable application fee of £50 applies. Your application will be assessed by the Postgraduate Admissions Tutor, and by other academics as appropriate. We do not usually interview applicants, but we do encourage you to visit the department before applying, or after we have made you an offer. Alternatively we can arrange to talk to you by telephone or Skype. We aim to process all applications within four weeks although this may take longer in February and March, and over holiday periods.




Personal statement and supporting information

In your personal statement, please tell us briefly why you want to undertake the MA in Ancient History, and what you are hoping to do afterwards. As part of the selection process we pay attention to transcripts of previous academic performance and to academic references, but can process applications more quickly if you tell us something about your previous study and future plans.

Application closing date

We recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible.  Our first application deadline was the 31st March 2017.  Applications will remain open if places are available and programmes will be closed as soon as they are full.  For programmes with spaces remaining, no further applications will be accepted from non-EU (Overseas) nationals after 30th July 2017 or from UK/ EU nationals after 3rd September 2017.

Help and support

If you don't have a suitable qualification for direct entry to a UK university, or if English isn't your first language, our academic preparation courses can help you get ready for study in the UK.

Preparation courses

Fees and funding

  • Full time UK fees: £9,450 p.a. (2017/18)*
  • Full time overseas fees: £18,420 p.a. (2017/18)*
  • Part time UK fees: £4,725 p.a. (2017/18)*
  • Part time overseas fees: £9,210 p.a. (2017/18)*

Please note: Current regulations allow some students to pay UK tuition fees on the basis of their EU citizenship or residency. Until these eligibility criteria are changed, the EU tuition fee will remain the same as the UK tuition fee.

*These tuition fees may be subject to additional increases in subsequent years of study, in line with King’s terms and conditions.


When you receive an offer for this course you will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit to secure your place. The deposit will be credited towards your total fee payment.

The UK/EU deposit is £500.

The INTERNATIONAL deposit is £2,000 

  • If you receive an offer on or before 31st March 2017, payment is due by 30th April 2017.
  • If you receive an offer between 1st April 2017 and 30th June 2017, payment is due within one month of receiving the offer.
  • If you receive an offer between 1st July 2017 and 31st July 2017, payment is due within two weeks of receiving the offer.
  • If you receive an offer on or after 1st August 2017, payment is due within one week of receiving the offer.

If you are a current King’s student in receipt of the King's Living Bursary you are not required to pay a deposit to secure your place on the programme. Please note, this will not change the total fees payable for your chosen programme. 

Additional costs/expenses

In addition to the costs above, you can also expect to pay for: 

  • Books if you choose to buy your own copies 
  • Clothing for optional course related events and competitions 
  • Library fees and fines 
  • Personal photocopies 
  • Printing course handouts 
  • Society membership fees 
  • Stationery 
  • Graduation costs
  • Travel costs for travel around London and between campuses 

Please visit our web pages on fees and funding for more information.


Financial help and support

Visit the fees and funding webpages to find out more about bursaries, scholarships, grants, tuition fees, living expenses, student loans and other financial help available at King's.


Next steps

View our postgraduate guide

Learn more about postgraduate degree programmes at King's. Download or view our guide in PDF format.

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Page last modified on 16 May 2017.