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Postgraduate courses

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For centuries scholars have been studying ancient Greece and Rome in Cambridge and today the main focus of that research is the University’s Classics Faculty building. With nearly three hundred undergraduates, over 90 postgraduates, 36 university teachers, and almost as many postdoctoral researchers, college teachers and retired colleagues, the Faculty is a centre of international importance in the field. There is a list of current Faculty members and their research interests for you to consult. You may also be interested in joining one of our research projects.

We offer two courses, a 9-month MPhil in Classics, and the 3-year PhD

  • The MPhil in Classics provides an intense programme of research training between October and June each year: students work closely with a supervisor in devising and pursuing a personally tailored programme of study. Central to the MPhil course are the weekly seminars in which participants  develop their research skills and present their ideas to an audience of fellow students in their own disciplines.
  • The PhD in Classics, leading to the submission of an 80,000 word thesis, has launched the careers of distinguished scholars teaching in Universities around the world (there are some examples on the Caucus pages), and many theses have become publications of major importance. Students have both a primary and a secondary supervisor, and annual reviews provide a structured opportunity for feedback on how the research is progressing; a designated series of classes provides support in the specialist skills essential for in-depth research. 

In addition, we welcome visiting graduate students and affiliated students, i.e. graduates of other universities who wish to study the final part of our undergraduate course.

As well as being the setting for lectures and seminars, the purpose-built Faculty building (extended in 2010) is the home of the Classical Faculty Library, an open-shelf collection of over 60,000 volumes with a computer resources room. With its 24-hour access for keyholders, and the graduate common room located nearby, the Library is the main workplace of many of our graduate students. Students can also use the University Library, which as a legal deposit library can acquire almost every book published in the UK and Ireland, and where the classical holdings complement those of the Faculty’s own Library. Upstairs in the Faculty, the Museum of Classical Archaeology contains one of the very few collections of casts of classical sculpture to survive from the 19th century, together with pottery and epigraphic ‘squeezes’, and we also have a Mycenaean epigraphy collection. The Fitzwilliam Museum, with which the Faculty works closely, has exceptional holdings of classical art and of ancient coins.

Each term, the Faculty hosts an unrivalled programme of research seminars across the various disciplines in Classics, with presentations made by academic staff in the Faculty, by scholars visiting from elsewhere in the UK and abroad, and by our own graduate students (see the current seminar list). Every year the Gray and Corbett public lectures are given by leading figures in the subject, and the Laurence and Craven seminars are annual research workshops on a range of classical themes. Students can attend undergraduate lectures in Classics and other Faculties, while the nearby Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities hosts an extensive interdisciplinary programme of seminars and workshops. Once a week, the Graduate Interdisciplinary Seminar gives MPhil and PhD students the opportunity to give papers in an informal graduate-only environment; and there are other opportunities for graduates to organise their own research events too. They are fully involved in the running of the Faculty through representation on the key committees, and often asked to undertake 'supervision' (small-group teaching) of undergraduates. The Faculty is in the fortunate position of having some funds available to support students’ travel abroad for research purposes or to attend conferences in their field.

You can also read what some of our recent graduates have to say by looking at some graduate profiles. Under the Current Students tab you can find graduate handbooks with more course details, and our statement of purpose about postgraduate training.

Beyond the Faculty, our graduates are also members of a College, which as well as providing pastoral support, a social focus and (in many cases) accommodation, also represents a intellectual community of scholars and students working across the range of subjects taught in the University, in the Sciences and Social Sciences and well as the Humanities: this enriches the intellectual experience of all.

We warmly welcome applications from well-qualified students keen to join this thriving international community and pursue graduate-level study in Classics – whether your interest is in Greek and Latin Literature, Philosophy, History, Art and Archaeology, Philology and Linguistics, or Interdisciplinary approaches to the ancient world. Our individual approaches to these subjects differ, but collectively our aim, and our passion, is to understand the ancient world better.

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New Discovery

Sep 20, 2016

Professor Jack Davis and Dr Sharon Stocker (Department of Classics, University of Cincinnati), ‘Sometimes All That Glitters Is Gold: The Tomb of the Griffin Warrior at Pylos’, 5 pm on Monday 10 October. To reserve your place please reply to pylos.lecture@classics.cam.ac.uk by Monday 3 October.

Temporary University Lectureships in Classics (Ancient History)

Aug 31, 2016

Applications are welcome for two temporary lectureships in Classics (Ancient History) from 01 January 2017. Please see the Jobs & Vacancies page for further information.

Vacancy - Research Associate (Archaeology)

Aug 30, 2016

Applications are sought for a Research Associate (Archaeology) from 01 November 2016. For more information and details on how to apply, please see the Jobs & Vacancies page.

Celebrating Cambridge Classics

Aug 19, 2016

Tim Whitmarsh, A. G. Leventis Professor of Greek Culture, will deliver his Inaugural Lecture, “Oedipus the Atheist”, on Friday 14 October at 5pm in the Little Hall, Sidgwick Site. This begins a weekend of Classics celebrations including the Greek Play and a Symposium on Greek Drama at Newnham College.

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