Ancient History (MRes)

Ancient history

The MRes Ancient History offers students whose interests centre on the study of ancient history the opportunity to take a specialist research-intensive degree tailored to those interests and to pursue their own independent research to a further extent than in an MA.

Key Facts

Institution Code: T80
Course Length:
Full-time: 1-2 years, Part-time: 2-4 years. Location: Lampeter or Online

Scholarships and Bursaries

Faculty of Humanities and Performing Arts
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The MRes is a degree best suited to students with a proven penchant for independent research. The MRes includes 60 credits (3 modules) of taught modules, but the main focus of the degree is on a longer piece of individual research (30,000 words). Applicants are required to discuss their proposed research with the School before application, and the proposed research must be in one of the areas of supervision offered by the School of Classics.

The MRes in Ancient History begins with a specialist Research Methodology module introducing students to the multiple sources, materials, theories and methodologies for the study of ancient Greek and Roman civilisations. Students then have the opportunity to choose two modules according to their own interests in the ancient world, with the option to specialise in a particular aspect of ancient history, whether in chronological terms, such as Greek or Roman history, or in terms of themes, such as the ancient economy. The choice of taught modules gives students not only the opportunity to explore areas that they might not have had the opportunity to study before, but also to specialise in a specific aspect of the ancient world in preparation for the MRes dissertation.

The dissertation is the greater part of the MRes in Ancient History, as students have the opportunity to conceive and research a topic of their own design of greater length and depth than the MA dissertation.

This will enable those students with a greater preference for independent research, and perhaps with a clearer sense at the start of the programme of what they would like to base their research upon, to undertake in-depth research within a structured programme of study. It will also provide students with an excellent introductory pathway into further study at MPhil or PhD level.

Julius Caesar and his Times: A comprehensive study of the fascinating figure of C. Julius Caesar (100-44 BC), a Roman statesman, general, and intellectual, whose extraordinary achievements have prompted deep interest through the centuries, and not just among ancient historians.

Pagans, Jews, and Christians in Late Antiquity: One of the features that distinguish the medieval Byzantine Empire from the Roman Empire of Classical times is the pre-eminent position of Christianity. This module examines the process by which this change came about between the third and fifth centuries AD, a period of major religious upheaval.

History and Historians in the Ancient World: The module studies the historiography and historiographical tradition in the Greek and Roman worlds from the sixth century BC to the third century AD. The focus will be mainly on the evolution of history as a discipline and a tradition first in the Greek and in the Roman world.

Power and Culture in the Hellenistic East: This module focuses on dynastic issues and on the interaction between cities, native populations and rulers of the Hellenistic East (the former Persian Empire) from the death of Alexander the Great until the absorption of the Ptolemaic kingdom by Rome.

Ancient Medicine: Myth and Practice: ‘Scientific’ Greek and Roman medicine was based on a mixture of fixed ideas, misconceptions and (sometimes) enlightened thinking. Some people preferred to rely on divine aid or home-made remedies. The module looks at the main medical and pseudo-medical writers and at some of the specific health issues which they faced.

Women in ancient Myth and Society: This module examines central aspects of the roles of women in Greek and Roman myth and history. It explores the lives and stories of real and imaginary women, considering critically how the images of the imaginary ones influenced the portrayal of the real ones, and how the lives of real women influenced the portrayal of imaginary ones.

The MRes in Ancient History is designed to provide students with a penchant for independent research the opportunity to pursue research into a subject of their own choice. The subject of the dissertation is discussed and agreed in advance, and it is expected that the choice of taught modules will relate to the research subject chosen.

The main general areas of research supervision in the School are:

  • Greek and Roman epic
  • Latin poetry of the late Republican and Imperial periods
  • Literary uses of mythology
  • Greek and Roman Africa
  • Hellenistic Asia Minor and the Near East
  • Identity, ethnicity and ethnogenesis in the Roman empire
  • Roman religion
  • Ancient Economy, particularly of the Greek Classical period and of the Roman empire
  • Greek and Roman historiography
  • Sex and Gender in the ancient world
  • Health and healing in the ancient world
  • Graeco-Roman relations with India

The above are general subject areas. Please contact us to discuss your specific ideas and interests.

Providing our students with a range of learning opportunities and excellent teaching is the primary aim of the School of Classics. We employ innovative methods and approaches that enhance our students’ learning throughout their studies.

All our modules are taught by specialists and active researchers. The influence of our research on our teaching offers our students the opportunity to learn from the best in the subject and follow the latest scholarly trends and discoveries, whilst our independent study modules allow you to explore your passion in its entirety.

Our programme is designed to help learners both on campus and at a distance. Our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) is a live forum through which students and staff can interact, through which students are able better to revise and explore difficult topics and through which students are better able to access the electronic resources available in the virtual world.

Studying Ancient History with us here at Trinity Saint David means research-led teaching and research-active learning in an environment that allows for both full use of the virtual world and the personal approach of expert tuition.

An MRes degree in Ancient History involves a wide range of assessment methods. In addition to traditional essays, you will be assessed through bibliographic exercises, presentations – oral and powerpoint based, creation of abstracts, in-house conference papers, article reviews, creation of project plans and, of course, the dissertation. This variety of assessment helps develop skills in presenting material in clear, professional and a lucid manner, whether orally or in writing.

This breadth of assessment type creates variety in the student experience, allowing you to explore the subject in different ways, and also embeds within the Ancient History programme the specific employability skills desired, indeed required, by employers today.

The traditional requirement for entry onto a Level 7 programme is a 2.1 or 1st class undergraduate degree. In addition, the School encourages students with an equivalent and appropriate professional qualification or significant and relevant professional experience to apply.

Applicants are required to discuss their proposed research with the School before application, and the proposed research must be in one of the areas of supervision offered by the School of Classics.

Proficiency in English of candidates whose first language is not Welsh or English is normally evidenced by a minimum IELTS score (or equivalent) of 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in each component.

The programme provides a broad foundation for postgraduate work, by laying particular stress on the methodologies and research tools needed for independent advanced study, thus acting as training for students who intend to undertake an MPhil or PhD.

The course also provides a professional qualification for teachers or others seeking Continuing Professional Development.

Residential Study 

Students can study for any of our degrees residentially on the Lampeter campus. Classes take place between Monday and Friday during the teaching semesters. On average, a full-time student is expected to attend eight hours of classes every week. All non-linguistic classes are very small, usually not more than 5 students, while language class sizes depend on the level of study, hence beginners’ languages often attract some 15 students, while advanced languages have an average class-size of 5 students.

Distance Learning

All our degrees are available to distance learners, and indeed the greater part of our postgraduate cohort is comprised of distance learners. Every student has access to all module materials, including reading lists, on the Virtual Learning Environment (Moodle). All modules are taught by our lecturers, and are designed to be accessible and friendly to learning at a distance. Many of the modules are delivered in a blended fashion with use of video and audio presentations by the lecturers on each individual topic.

The assessment is on the student’s own subject of choice in relation to each module, always in consultation with the relevant tutor. Most modules are assessed by long essays, but some modules are assessed by alternative means, such as conference-style presentations. It is essential that distance learners have a good internet access, as well as use of computer facilities; the university offers all distance students individual support in accessing material from home. The Trinity Saint David Learning Resources Centre provides access to a variety of electronic academic material to distance learners, including more than 1000 Classics e-books, 70 Classics e-journals, and a number of specialised Classics e-resources.