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Studying at PhD level – University of Reading

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  • Studying at PhD level

    Benefit from extensive facilities and flexible options during your postgraduate research

Studying at PhD level

We offer flexible modes of study designed to fit with your needs. Our PhD is available for study on a full-time basis over 3-4 years and part-time over 4-6 years.

Modes of study

Both full-time and part-time variants are available for study in Reading, as well as PhD by Distance.

PhD by Distance students spend the majority of their time at another location and normally have a supervisor/mentor at that location. There must be an academic or financial rationale for this status to be granted and the University assesses each application on an individual basis.

Additionally, some of our PhD students are involved in interdisciplinary projects or projects with an external partner. In these cases they may be supported by a supervisor from outside the University, and interact with a wider range of staff.


As a PhD student in the Department of Classics you will have a range of resources and facilities available to you, including the Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology: this museum is housed within the Department and has a collection of international importance, ranging from Egyptian materials, through comprehensive coverage of ancient Greek ceramics, to important archival material relating to early twentieth-century excavations. It also provides online resources including a state-of-the-art database. You will also be able to use the departmental postgraduate common room in which you can work, socialise or hold events.

As a postgraduate research student at Reading you will have access to the Graduate School. At the heart of this is Old Whiteknights House, a dedicated facility that provides space for doctoral researchers to work and network with others. Old Whiteknights House is a beautiful Victorian building that has been carefully modernised to provide a range of excellent resources and amenities. It also houses a number of support staff who deal exclusively with doctoral research matters and administration at Reading.


Attendance at our weekly research seminar programme is a key element of your postgraduate training. We also offer training in ancient and modern language, where relevant to your research.

The Graduate School's Reading Researcher Development Programme (RRDP) offers a rich array of training sessions and workshops that have been especially designed to help you gain the additional skills that will enable you to carry out your research professionally and effectively. The RRDP is delivered primarily using the expertise of academic and specialist staff within the University and complements any subject-specific training that we provide. The RRDP includes training sessions on research methods, writing academic papers, getting published, public engagement and career planning.

In addition to the RRDP, doctoral researchers will also have the chance to access the following development opportunities:

  • Preparing to teach – A programme focused on the skills needed for teaching and learning activities.
  • Developing your potential as a leader – This leadership programme is jointly run with the triple accredited Henley Business School.
  • Academic English Programme – Supporting international students to develop their academic English skills with a range of classes and services.
  • PhD Plus – A scheme specifically for international doctoral researchers who are lecturers in their home country.


You will be assigned a supervisor within the Department of Classics who will meet with you regularly to provide support and guidance during your time here at the University. To ensure you get the most out of your experience studying at Reading, you will be invited to take part in the Staff/Student Committee for our Department and provide valuable feedback.

You will have also have access to the Doctoral Research Office. Located in the Graduate School, the Doctoral Research Office provides advice and support for current and prospective students. It is a key point of contact for any doctoral researchers who have questions relating to registration, student status, immigration, studentships, University policy and procedures.

Doctoral Research Community

You will join a vibrant, thriving doctoral community within the Department of Classics. You will become an integrated part of our scholarly community, and will be helped to settle in during the postgraduate welcome week events, which offers excellent opportunities to make many new friends and meet new people. You will be encouraged to participate in social evenings, seminars, conferences and events, as you expand your network both within your subject area and within the School of Humanities and the Graduate School.

In addition to offering training and support to doctoral researchers, the Graduate School co-ordinates a range of activities that bring students together from across the University. These include the annual Doctoral Research Conference, an event that showcases the variety and excellence of postgraduate research taking place at Reading. The conference features a number of competitions and presentations including the PhD researcher of the year award.

Another event that celebrates academic excellence is the Graduate School's annual public lecture – the Fairbrother Lecture – delivered by a current or recent postgraduate research student. This is a fantastic opportunity for a wider audience to hear about high quality doctoral research taking place at Reading.

Graduate School homepage regularly promotes the achievements and success of doctoral researchers through the Graduate School Bulletin.

Fees and funding

You can find out more about fees for University of Reading PhD programmes by clicking on the link below.

There are a variety of studentships available for PhD study in Classics. To find out more visit the University's Funding and Fees page.

If you intend to apply for a studentship it is essential that, before applying, you contact a prospective supervisor in advance and/or Professor Timothy Duff, the Department's Director of Postgraduate Research. Students with funding from other sources, or who will fund themselves in full or part, are also most welcome.

See also Funding Opportunities for research students.

International (non-EU) students

The University offers a number of Studentships for international applicants each year in addition to providing information about other potential funding opportunities available for international students.

International students are strongly encouraged to explore the funding opportunities offered from within their home country in order to maximise their chances of securing funding.

Alumni fee discounts

If you have already studied at the University of Reading you are entitled to receive a 10% discount on the Tuition Fees of the first year of your PhD (up to a maximum of £1,000).

Staying at Reading for postgraduate study.

English Language Support

The University's International Study and Language Institute can help you develop your academic English skills and offers a range of courses and programmes to suit your specific needs, if English is not your first language.

English Writing and Language Practice programme

This six-week programme has been specifically designed for postgraduate researchers. It is supplemented by one-to-one advisory sessions, helping you to apply what you have learned to your thesis writing.

Academic English Programme

The Academic English Programme (AEP) features courses aimed at building your confidence in spoken language situations, developing your accuracy in the English language and improving your writing skills.

Life at Reading

The University of Reading offers the peace and tranquillity of an award-winning parkland campus, just a short bus ride from a vibrant town centre. Our thriving community is made up of students from around the world, and our range of clubs and societies offer many opportunities to meet like-minded people.

How to apply and entry requirements

1. Check our entry requirements

To be accepted on our PhD programme, you will need a master's degree or equivalent.

If English is not your first language, you will also need an IELTS score of 7.0, or above, with at least 6.0 in each of the four sub-sections, or equivalent.

For more information on entry requirements, visit our Graduate School website.

2. Select a topic

You should first determine whether your proposed project is suitable for study at PhD level. The project must also be feasible within the resources and time frame available to you; it should also address a perceived 'gap' in the literature and, most importantly, be of interest to you.

If you do not have a chosen topic, we encourage you to get in touch to discuss your ideas further with a member of staff in the Classics Department.

3. Identify a Supervisor

To study at the University of Reading your proposed PhD should relate to the research interests of a member of staff in the Classics Department.

You should consult the list of academic staff to help you identify a possible supervisor, and make contact with that person via email. If you need any advice, please contact Professor Timothy Duff, the Department's Director of Postgraduate Research.

4. Make an application

Once you have identified a research area of interest with a potential supervisor, please apply using the PhD and professional doctorate online application programme. This allows you to complete the necessary information and attach copies of relevant documents, including the details of two appropriate referees. Proposals should be 1-2 A4 pages and relate to an area of expertise in the Department.

Although you will be working with a specific department or supervisor, all PhD applications have to be made centrally. We will acknowledge your application and then pass it on to the appropriate school or department.

Although most new students join the PhD programme in October, it is possible to start your studies at any point during the academic year.



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