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Research overview

Enjoy the flexibility to follow your own research interests, supported by our expert staff. You may also choose to study for either a PhD or MPhil qualification.

Our friendly research community will encourage you to develop your skills and expand your thinking. This could be through interdisciplinary research, contributing to research seminars, or organising conferences.

We offer a diverse range of expertise, spanning from ancient literature and ancient history, to the visual culture of Greek and Roman antiquity and the reception of the ancient world. 

Recent student research has included areas such as Dionysian Triumph Sarcophagi, The Female Portrait Statues of Aphrodisias, and Constructions of the Spartan body.

You are also welcome to join the activities and events of our research centres:

Course content

PhD

The PhD in Classics is mainly made up of independent study, with supervision meetings spread throughout the year.

The PhD involves a minimum of two years full-time or four years part-time directed research within the University, although the usual period of study is three years full-time.

At the end of the course, you will produce a dissertation (up to 100,000 words) in your chosen area of research. You will also take a verbal examination called a viva voce, where you discuss your project in depth with an examination panel.

What is the thesis pending period?

All periods of registration are followed by a period of writing-up (called the Thesis-Pending Period) when tuition fees are not paid and students are writing up their thesis.

Annual review

All PhD students take part in annual review assessments to ensure that their project is progressing satisfactorily. An annual review usually consists of a writing sample and a written report.

For full-time students, the first year is probationary (first two years for part-time students), and the reviews for all three years of study involve a viva with an independent internal assessor.

MPhil

Studying for an MPhil degree involves a minimum of two years of full-time or four years of part-time directed study, at the end of which you produce a 60,000-word thesis on your chosen subject.

You may transfer to the PhD at the end of your course if your work is judged to be of suitable quality.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2021 entry.

QualificationPhD/MPhil
Undergraduate degree

2:1 (or international equivalent) in classics or a related subject (i.e. Archaeology or History) and a masters at Merit level or above

QualificationPhD/MPhil
IELTS7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)
English language requirements

As well as IELTS (listed above), we also accept other English language qualifications.

This includes TOEFL iBT, Pearson PTE, GCSE, IB and O level English.

English language support

If you need support to meet the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional course. Our Centre for English Language Education is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

For presessional English courses, you must take IELTS for UKVI to meet visa regulations.

If you successfully complete your presessional course to the required level, you can then progress to your degree course. This means that you won't need to retake IELTS or equivalent.

We recognise that applicants have a variety of experiences and follow different pathways to postgraduate study.

We treat all applicants with alternative qualifications on an individual basis. We may also consider relevant work experience.

If you are unsure whether your qualifications or work experience are relevant, contact us.

Applying

You will be required to provide a PhD proposal with your application, which will set out the structure of your project.

The basis of a good proposal is usually a set of questions, approaches, and objectives which clearly outline your proposed project and what you want to accomplish. The proposal should also clearly demonstrate how you are going to accomplish this.

A PhD proposal should be a minimum of 1000 words. There is no upward limit for proposals, although successful proposals are often not much longer than about 2000-3000 words. You should consider:

  • the methodologies that you will use in your project (as appropriate)
  • the necessary resources and facilities you will need to carry out your project

It is also helpful to include:

  • a summary of any further research experience, in addition to your academic qualifications.
    This could include work undertaken at undergraduate or masters level, or outside the educational system
  • the name of the supervisor who may supervise the project

Find out more about how to write a research proposal.

We encourage you to get in touch with a member of academic staff about your research proposal before submitting an application. They may be able to help you with your proposal and offer support to find funding opportunities in your area.

Details of research supervisors can be found on the department website.

Our step-by-step guide contains everything you need to know about applying for postgraduate research.

How to apply

Fees

QualificationPhD/MPhil
Home / UK£4,496 (estimate) per year
International£19,000 per year

UK fees are set in line with the national UKRI maximum fee limit. The figures shown above match the limit for 2020 entry. We expect fees for 2021 entry to be confirmed in February 2021.

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland starting your course in the 2021/22 academic year, you will pay international tuition fees.

This does not apply to Irish students, who will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for ‘home’ fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our Brexit information for future students.

Additional costs

Books

You'll be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to buy your own copies of core texts. The Blackwell's bookshop on campus offers a year-round price match against any of the main retailers (i.e. Amazon, Waterstones, WH Smith).

Funding

Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Programme

The Midlands4Cities programme provides funding, enhanced support, expert supervision and excellent networking opportunities for PhD candidates.

Apply to the M4C Doctoral Training programme

There are many ways to fund your research degree, from scholarships to government loans.

Our step-by-step guide contains everything you need to know about funding your postgraduate degree.

Research funding

Support

Regular supervision

You will have a team of at least two supervisors. Full-time students will meet with their supervisory team at least 10 times each year (six times for part-time students).

Your supervisors will help you to realise your research project and to guide you through your research. Many students will also attend conferences and publish papers in conjunction with their supervisors, to gain valuable experience and contacts in the academic community.

The Faculty of Arts Researcher Training Programme

All PhD students are enrolled in the Faculty of Arts Researcher Training Programme, which has been designed to meet the requirements of the AHRC for doctoral student training.

Your training will be individually designed around your own needs in consultation with your supervisor, and it can include formal workshops in essential skills (such as academic writing, IT and communication), work placements and public engagement activities.

Researcher Academy

The Researcher Academy is the network for researchers at the University of Nottingham. As a postgraduate researcher, you will have access to our members’ area, which includes online resources, training courses and award-winning postgraduate placements.

Student support

You will have access to a range of support services, including:

  • academic and disability support
  • childcare services
  • counselling service
  • faith support
  • financial support
  • visa and immigration advice
  • welfare support

Where you will learn

University of Nottingham Museum

A fascinating collection of archaeological artefacts from Nottinghamshire and the wider East Midlands. 

  • Explore original artefacts - from prehistoric hand-axes to Roman gaming pieces
  • Learn safe handling techniques 
  • Develop communication and interpretation skills through our volunteer scheme  

Careers

Whether you are considering a career in academia, industry or haven't yet decided, we’re here to support you every step of the way.

Expert staff will work with you to explore PhD career options and apply for vacancies, develop your interview skills and meet employers. You can book a one-to-one appointment, take an online course or attend a workshop.

This course will develop a range of transferable skills, including:

  • critical analysis
  • evaluating data
  • problem solving
  • communicating clearly and persuasively
  • combining disciplined study with creative responses

Our graduates are equipped to move into a wide range of careers, including:

  • academia
  • museums and heritage management
  • commercial archaeology
  • conservation and management
  • media and marketing
  • primary and secondary teaching
  • central and local government
This research programme will set you on a unique journey that crosses geographic, historical and cultural boundaries, from Britain to Europe, the Mediterranean and Asia. By exploring and interpreting the diversity of the ancient world, you will have the opportunity to broaden and challenge our knowledge of the past and reach a more nuanced understanding of the present.
Dr Tiziana D’Angelo, PG Admissions Tutor

Related courses

Research Excellence Framework

We are ranked 8th in the UK for research power (2014). The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the system used by UK higher education funding bodies to assess research quality in universities.

  • Classics at the University of Nottingham ranks joint 4th for world-leading research (REF 2014)
  • More than 97% of research at Nottingham is recognised internationally
  • More than 80% of our research is ranked in the highest categories as world-leading or internationally excellent
  • 16 of our 29 subject areas feature in the UK top 10 by research power

This content was last updated on 13 October 2020. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.