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Study for a PhD in Classics

Classics and Ancient History is proud to have been awarded a Bronze Award on the Gender Equality Charter Mark (GEM) trial run conducted by the Equality Challenge Unit.

Postgraduate research

Exeter has one of the largest and most successful departments of Classics and Ancient History in the country, making it an ideal place to undertake an MPhil/PhD in Classics and Ancient History. The department has over 20 members of staff and three research centres (Centre for Connectivity in the Roman World; Centre for Knowledge in Culture in the Ancient World and Beyond; Centre for Hellenistic and Romano-Greek Culture and Society).

Get to know a few of our current and former PhD students:

Classics at Exeter takes an interdisciplinary perspective and the department has close links to related fields including history, archaeology, philosophy, visual arts and linguistics. This unusually wide range means that there is very considerable scope for postgraduate supervision.

The department offers exceptionally broad expertise across the full range of the traditional fields of classics. There is a vigorous research culture, and the department is rated 6th in the UK for research power in Classics (REF 2014). Our excellent research enhances the experience of our students, and provides a stimulating environment for staff, postgraduates and undergraduate students alike.

Our academics are all active researchers who consistently attract funding from external sources including Leventis, Leverhulme, the Wellcome Trust and the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The department also holds an international conference at least once a year and hosts a wide range of research events, workshops and seminars.

Our wide range of expertise offers postgraduates the possibility of preparing for research degrees in one or more areas. We attach particular importance to the quality of research supervision and training in research methodology and to the integration of our postgraduates into the Department’s academic and research community. Scholars of international repute are frequent visitors.

Our research areas include;

  • Ancient and modern philosophy, especially ethics
  • Classical art and archaeology
  • Classics in the history of sexuality
  • Comparative philology and linguistics
  • Food in the ancient world
  • Greek and Roman epic, tragedy and comedy
  • Greek and Roman mythology, religion and magic
  • Greek and Roman social history, especially sexuality
  • Hellenistic history, especially the barbarian interface and the Greek culture of Asia Minor and dynastic studies
  • History of medicine in antiquity, especially Galen
  • Later Greek literature, including Lucian, Athenaeus, ecphrasis
  • Latin literature
  • Palaeography

Explore our research centres and research projects to find out more about our current research topics.

Visit our staff profiles for details on individual staff research interests and publications.

Our current PGRs

We're proud of the research carried out by our PhD students. There are currently around 30 PGRs in the Department, many of whom maintain an online personal profile detailing their research activities. Follow the links below to find out more about them and their research projects.

StudentResearch titleLead supervisor
Kathryn Adams The concept of fastidium in the Catullan corpus Professor Rebecca Langlands
Siwaree Attamana The Interaction between the Roman Empire and Southeast Asia from 1st century BC- 4th century AD Professor Martin Pitts
Nicholas Baker Athenian decision making during the 5th and 4th centuries BCE Professor Lynette Mitchell
Andrew Ballantine Graeco-Roman medicine and its long-lasting relationship with western natural philosophy Dr David Leith
Harry Bramhall Conflict resolution in the Hellenistic World Professor Lynette Mitchell
Rachael Bundy Philomela 'in mildness straining': an examination of how female poets utilised the Ovidian nightingale tradition, 1584-1800. Professor Rebecca Langlands
Katherine Carroll Mobility and long-distance communication in the Hellenistic world: diffusion of ideas and culture across boundaries Professor Elena Isayev
Cristina Crizbasan Moving communities and changing ceramics: The Impact of Batavian auxiliaries across the Roman Empire Professor Martin Pitts
Ryan Denson

The Depths Below: The Supernatural Lore of Sea Creatures in Antiquity

Professor Daniel Ogden
Philip Diaz-Lewis

Aristotelian philosophy and aesthetic objectivism

Dr Gabriele Galluzzo
Nicola Rose Ernst

Singled Out With Their Father’s Honours: The Sons of Constantine and Religious Politics (A.D. 337-361)

Professor Richard Flower
Maria Fragkaki

A study of the external relations of Crete during the Hellenistic era

Professor Daniel Ogden
Maria Gisella Giannone

Democracy and Democratic Language in Isocrates

Professor Lynette Mitchell
Alasdair Gilmour

The impact of Rome on European Iron Age Societies: A cross-societal study of changing pottery use using merged computer-generated typologies

Professor Martin Pitts
Karen Gregory

Mapping Mosaics in Fourth-Century Roman Britain: Regional Patterns and Elite Networks

Professor Martin Pitts
Julius Guthrie

Ruling their own way: A study of the self-representation, perception and influences on the ruling families of archaic and classical Greek Sicily

Professor Lynette Mitchell
Lisa Kranzer

Viktoria Preserving a ‘vanishing culture’ : Roman identity in fifth and sixth century Gaul

Professor Richard Flower
Joshua Littell

Christian Individual Involvement in the Roman Army: Reality and the Christian Ideal

Professor Richard Flower
Stuart MacAulay

The functions of animal metaphor in Seneca’s ‘Stoicism’

Dr Katharine Earnshaw
Luca Mazzini

Triggered Identities and Imperial Power? Macedonian label re/use by civic communities in Roman Lydia and Phrygia

Professor Elena Isayev
Clare McLoughlin Davis

Cutaneous Concerns: Skin Imperfections in Imperial Rome

Dr Daniel King
Liam Preston

Pain for Pleasure: Exploring Epicurean ethical ideas in the Literature of the Neronian period

Dr Katharine Earnshaw
Benjamin Pullan  A Commentary on the pseudo-Virgilian Aetna Dr Katharine Earnshaw
Jasmine Rendell

Motifs of air and water: A critical examination of volcanic mythology and rational thought in antiquity

Professor Daniel Ogden

Elizabeth-Anne Scarth

The ancient Roman art of mnemotechnics: A method for remembering and an ancient method of psychotherapy?

Dr Katharine Earnshaw
Charlotte Spence

Conceptions of the Divine and the Dead in Curse Tablets

Professor Daniel Ogden
Rowena Squires

Mesopotamia in the Greek imaginary

Dr Daniel King
Laura Stops

Roman Gates of the Western Empire: The Cultural Conception and Physical Manifestation of the Urban Boundary

Professor Barbara Borg

Siu Kau Gordon Tsang

A Preliminary Maritime Capability Assessment of an Iron Age Society, And Its Possible Political-Economic Background. Starting with the Durotriges Region

Professor Martin Pitts
Alice Van Den Bosch

The Female Martyr in Late Antiquity

Professor Richard Flower
Andrew Worley Expressing and Manipulating Public Opinion: the use of acclamations and other popular reactions in the Roman Empire Professor Richard Flower

Supervisors - all students have a primary and a secondary supervisor who provide regular, high quality advice, support and direction in their academic endeavours. You will work closely with your supervisors over three to four years (full time PhD) or six to seven (part-time PhD) to develop, investigate and write-up a project at the cutting edge of theological research.

Visit our staff profiles for more information about individual research interests or use the search box on the right of this page to find a supervisor.

Mentor - each student will also be assigned a mentor who will take on a pastoral role and mediate on any problems that arise during the period of study. Your mentor will keep in regular contact and will provide background stability and support.

Graduate School Office - the College of Humanities has a dedicated Graduate School Office that supports our postgraduate research students during their study with us. The Office promotes intellectual and social contact between research students in all our disciplines to foster a vibrant research community within the College.

Funding opportunities available to students on our research degree programmes in English and Film:*

AwardValueApplication deadlineDescription
University of Exeter Alumni Scholarship with the Global Commitment uplift 2020/21 20% reduction in the first year tuition fee There is no application for this award. You will be automatically considered. A tuition fee discount for all University of Exeter alumni who start a postgraduate degree with us in 2020/21
University of Exeter Class of 2020 Progression Award with the Global Commitment uplift 20% reduction in the first year tuition fee There is no application for this award. You will be automatically considered. A tuition fee discount for current University of Exeter students completing a full degree in 2020 and progressing directly to a standalone postgraduate programme with us in 2020/21
University of Exeter Global Commitment Scholarship 2020/21 £2,000 reduction in the first year tuition fee There is no application for this award. You will be automatically considered. A tuition fee discount for students starting a postgraduate taught Masters or research degree with us in 2020/21
Sanctuary Scholarship Full tuition fee waiver plus annual living cost grant Fri 21st May 2021 The Sanctuary Scholarship scheme enables individuals seeking asylum and refugees who are not able access student finance to study at the University of Exeter.
University of Exeter Alumni Scholarship 2021/22 10% reduction in the first year tuition fee There is no application for this award. You will be automatically considered. A tuition fee discount for University of Exeter alumni who start a postgraduate degree with us in 2021/22
University of Exeter Class of 2021 Progression Scholarship 10% reduction in the first year tuition fee There is no application for this award. You will be automatically considered. A tuition fee discount for current University of Exeter students completing a degree in 2021 and progressing directly to a standalone postgraduate programme with us in 2021/22
Fulbright Scholarships: Postgraduate Student Awards - 2021/22 competition Full tuition fee waiver for one year of Masters / PhD & living stipend Deadline passed
(Tue 13th Oct 2020)
Our UK Partnership award with Fulbright is available for Masters or Doctoral students who are USA or dual USA:UK citizens wishing to study at the University. The award takes the form of a tuition fee waiver for the first year of graduate study (either Masters or PhD) and a living stipend. We also accept scholars in receipt of Fulbright 'Open Awards' (also referred to as the All Disciplines Award).
*Please note that if you have submitted an application to one of our MPhil/PhD programmes you will not automatically be considered for funding. You must submit a separate funding application, including all required supporting documents, via the link provided in each award to be considered for that award.

The College of Humanities works closely with the University’s Career Zone to help you gain the skills, experience and expertise employers are looking for. There are a wide range of opportunities to enhance your employability, along with the support you need to make important career decisions.

We have our own Employability Officer who works to develop close links with employers and arranges careers events. 


Exeter School
Goodridge Ltd UK
Homerun Consulting
Met Office
National Museum Wales
Plymouth College

Stellenbosch University University of Exeter


Classics Teacher
Climate Change Communications Manager
English Foreign Language Teacher
Freelance Journalist
Production Supplier Analyst
Teacher in Ancient and Greek literature

*Employment destination information sourced from the DLHE surveys 2013/14 and 2012/13

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