Durham University

Degree level: Postgraduate

Greece, Rome and the Near East (Taught)

There are other course options available which may have a different vacancy status or entry requirements – view the full list of options

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Course summary

This is a course geared towards preparing you for higher research into the interaction of the classical world with the Near East - partly through direct research training, and partly through modules taught by experts in their field, in small-group seminars. The relationship between the classical world and neighbouring civilisations is among the most important and most rapidly expanding areas of classical scholarship, and we have particular strength in this field: we offer tuition in Akkadian, and can draw on the resources of the Oriental Museum in Durham and the expertise pooled in the Centre for the Study of the Ancient Mediterranean and the Near East. The course lasts for one year full-time (two years part-time). *Course Structure * You will take modules to a total of 180 or 190 credits. The structure of the course is as follows:

  • Language module in an ancient or modern language relevant to research in the area of Classics or the study of the Mediterranean and Near East (20-40 credits)
  • Core module for Greece, Rome and the Near East (30 credits)
  • 15,000-word Dissertation (60 credits)
  • Optional modules (50-80 credits)
  • MA modules are 30 credits; you may substitute two undergraduate (20 credit) modules for one MA module. You may also take up to 40 credits of modules offered by other Departments (subject to approval).
Not all modules will be offered every year, and new modules (both optional and core) are added regularly.


Core modules: Language module in an ancient or modern language relevant to research in the area of Classics; Core module for Greece, Rome and the Near East (in 2018-19, options were Akkadian or The Queen of the Desert: Rise and Decline of Palmyra’s Civilization); Dissertation. Examples of optional modules: Optional modules are offered according to the current research interests of members of staff. In recent years, optional modules available in the Department have included: Akkadian; Ancient Philosophers on Origins; Animals in Graeco-Roman Antiquity; Aristotle’s Systems; Dreams in the Ancient World; Forms After Plato; Latin Love Elegy; Law and Literature in Ancient Greece and Rome; Greeks and the East; Monumental Architecture of the Roman East; Religious Life in The Roman Near East; The Classical Tradition: Art, Literature, Thought; The Queen of the Desert: Rise and Decline of Palmyra’s Civilization; The Roman Republic: Debates and Approaches.

Assessment method

The MA in Greece, Rome and the Near East is principally conceived as a research training course, which aims to build on the skills in independent learning acquired in the course of the student’s first degree and enable them to undertake fully independent research at a higher level. Contact time with tutors for taught modules is typically a total of 5 hours per week (rising to 7 for someone beginning Latin or ancient Greek at this level), with an emphasis on small group teaching, and a structure that maximises the value of this time, and best encourages and focuses the student’s own independent study and preparation. On average, around 2 hours a week of other relevant academic contact (research seminars, dissertation supervision) is also available. At the heart of the course is the Dissertation module, in which students write a 15,000 word dissertation of a research topic of their own devising. Core research training and support for students’ dissertation research is provided through the Dissertation seminars. These are weekly classes which in the first term introduce the range of research methods and resources available to someone working in the field of Classics, and over the year build the research skills needed for the dissertation. The classes comprise a mixture of lectures, student-led discussions and student presentations, and are tailored to the individual research interests of each cohort. In addition, students are matched with an individual Dissertation supervisor, who will be an expert in their field of interest, and from whom they will receive an additional five hours of individual dissertation supervision over the year. In addition to the Dissertation, students select three or four further optional modules dealing with particular specialised subjects. At least one of these must involve work with a relevant language (ancient or modern), and at least one must deal directly with research on interaction between the ancient Mediterranean and the ancient Near East. We offer tuition in Greek and Latin at all levels, including Beginners classes for those with no previous experience in the subject, and advanced Greek and Latin Text Seminars for those with degree-level knowledge. Other ancient languages on offer at Durham include Akkadian, Hebrew and Aramaic; modern languages include German, French and Italian (there are usually specialised reading skills courses in these languages, designed to meet the needs of postgraduates who wish to use them for research). All the optional modules offered at Durham are research-led, i.e. they will form part of the current research activity of the tutor taking the module. Numbers for each module are typically very small (often no more than five or six in a class). Typically, classes are two hours long and held fortnightly, and discussion is based on student presentations. (Modules for those beginning ancient Latin or Greek are typically more heavily subscribed, but their classes also meet more often: 3 hours per week.) In exceptional cases, students with a particular research training need which matches Departmental expertise but is not covered by the taught provision in our or other Departments in any given year may also make a proposal to take an Independent Research Topic in place of one taught MA module. For an IRT, students produce an independent piece of research with an individual member of staff (usually a 5000-word commentary or extended essay), receiving 5 hours of supervision. (Nb. There can be no overlap between the IRT and the Dissertation, and students must demonstrate on entry that they have the required expertise, and need, for project work in the relevant area).

Entry requirements

A 2.1 honours degree in a relevant subject or international equivalent. Since all postgraduate degrees are meant to build on your undergraduate work, we ask for a previous degree in a 'relevant' subject. For the MA in Greece, Rome and the Near East, you must have studied this field at the highest level of your undergraduate course.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

Republic of Ireland £13200 Year 1
EU £13200 Year 1
England £5940 Year 1
Northern Ireland £5940 Year 1
Scotland £5940 Year 1
Wales £5940 Year 1
Channel Islands £5940 Year 1
International £13200 Year 1

Additional fee information

No additional fees or cost information has been supplied for this course, please contact the provider directly.

Sponsorship information

Scholarships available for 2022 entry will be determined in September 2021. Over 60 scholarships are available, each year. Some scholarships are awarded to more than one person. For further information see the course listing.

Greece, Rome and the Near East at Durham University - UCAS