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Ancient History MA

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Our Ancient History MA offers you the opportunity to study Greek, Roman and near-Eastern history at an advanced level. You’ll also learn and refine the techniques and skills you need to be able to analyse and interpret a variety of historical sources.

This is an intercollegiate course that draws on the strengths of King’s, UCL and Royal Holloway and the Institute of Classical Studies.

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


Key benefits

  • Study in one of the UK’s largest and oldest departments of Classics. Classics has been taught on the Strand for over 200 years.

  • 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 in the UK. King’s was ranked 4th in the UK for graduate employability (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2017).

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

Department Department of Classics



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Course detail


The Ancient History MA course is organised on an intercollegiate basis, so that we combine the expertise of staff in all three of the participating colleges – King’s, UCL and Royal Holloway.

The University’s Institute of Classical Studies is at the heart of this course. It not only maintains a world-class research library, but also hosts the richest programme of seminars, conferences and lectures for this subject area in the UK.

The course consists of a required module, Sources & Methods in Ancient History, two to four optional modules and a dissertation. The first and last of these will provide you with concentrated training in research techniques and methodology. You will also study texts in the original languages as well as in translation. Besides purely ancient historical topics, you may also take modules from our master’s courses in Classics, Classical Archaeology & Art, and Late Antique & Byzantine Studies.

You may also be able to take appropriate modules from other master’s courses at King’s. If you have ambitions to take your study of ancient history further, there are modules on this course that you will find especially valuable: Greek Papyrology, Greek & Roman Epigraphy, and Greek & Latin Palaeography. These will advance your technical skills in the handling of documentary evidence. You can also choose to take modules in Greek and Latin languages at beginners or intermediate level.

Research seminars
In the Department of Classics we run a research seminar series (which we encourage MA students to attend), where you will learn about the current research of our academic staff and PhD students. Our Department also regularly hosts major research conferences with speakers from around the world.

Personal tutor
We will assign you 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 in a taught module, or it can be in a completely different area. On the basis of your chosen subject area we will assign you a supervisor from 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: https://www.kcl.ac.uk/artshums/depts/classics/about/greek/index.aspx

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.

Typically, one credit equates to 10 hours of work.

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.

Regulating body
King’s College London is regulated by the Office for Students.



Year 1

Courses are divided into modules. You will normally take modules totalling 180 credits.
Required Modules

You are required to take:

• Sources & 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

In addition, you are required to take two to four modules totalling 80 credits from a range of options 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 & Shorter Prose since 1890 (20 credits)
• Modern Greek Poetry & the Epic Tradition (20 credits)
• CP 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 & Built Environment in Late Antiquity (20 credits)
• Living in Byzantium II: Material Culture & Built Environment in the Middle Ages (20 credits)

You can find a complete list of our optional modules at: www.kcl.ac.uk/artshums/depts/classics/modules/index.aspx

You can also choose from the MA modules offered by:

  • University College London Department of Greek & Latin
  • University College London Department of History
  • University College London Department of Institute of Archaeology
  • Royal Holloway University London Department of Classics
  • Royal Holloway University London Department of History

You may also choose to take 20 credits from our Modern Language Centre. All subject to approvals.

Part time students should plan to take 80 credits earned through one 40 credit compulsory module and 40 credits of optional modules in their first year and 100 credits earned through one 60 credit core dissertation and 40 credits of optional modules in their second year.

King’s College London reviews the modules offered on a regular basis to provide up-to-date, innovative and relevant programmes of study. Therefore, modules offered may change. We suggest you keep an eye on the course finder on our website for updates.

Entry requirements & how to apply

Ancient History MA Entry Requirements
Minimum requirements 2:1

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

In order to meet the academic entry requirements for this programme you should have a minimum 2:1 undergraduate degree with a final mark of at least 60% or above in the UK marking scheme. If you are still studying you should be achieving an average of at least 60% or above in the UK marking scheme. 

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.

International requirements    Visit our admissions webpages to view our International entry requirements.
English Language requirements Band C Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements.
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 apply.kcl.ac.uk and a non-refundable application fee of £60 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

You will be asked to submit the following documents in order for your application to be considered:

Personal Statement  Yes A personal statement of up to 4,000 characters (maximum 2 pages) is required. Please tell us briefly why you want to undertake the MA in Ancient History, and what you are hoping to do afterwards.
Previous Academic Study Yes A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing the subjects studied and marks obtained. If you have already completed your degree, copies of your official degree certificate will also be required. Applicants with academic documents issued in a language other than English, will need to submit both the original and official translation of their documents.
References Yes Two references are required with at least one academic. Professional references will be accepted if you have completed your qualifications over five years ago.
 Other Optional Applicants may wish to include a CV (Resume) or evidence of professional registration as part of their application


Application closing date

We recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible.  Our first application deadline is the 29 March 2019.  Applications will remain open if places are available and programmes will be closed as soon as they are full.

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 Home/EU fees: £9,990 per year (2019/20)
  • Full time overseas fees: £21,300 per year (2019/20)
  • Part time Home/EU fees: £4,995 per year (2019/20)
  • Part time overseas fees: £10,650 per year (2019/20)

Students starting their programme in 2019/20 who are eligible to pay EU fees will pay the same rate of tuition fees as UK students. This will apply for the duration of their programme, but may be subject to change by the UK Government for subsequent cohorts from 2020/21.

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 2019, payment is due by 27th April 2019.
  • If you receive an offer between 1st April 2019 and 30th June 2019, payment is due within one month of receiving the offer.
  • If you receive an offer between 1st July 2019 and 31st July 2019, payment is due within two weeks of receiving the offer.
  • If you receive an offer on or after 1st August 2019, 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 

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.

Career prospects

Our graduates are highly sought after, and they take the skills and knowledge they developed with us to excel in careers in teaching, journalism, cultural management or the financial sector. Others have continued their studies to further research.


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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