In the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021, 95% of the University of Reading's research in Classics is rated of international standing (REF 2021, combining 4*, 3* and 2* submissions).
Study in a vibrant research hub
Benefit from our wide-ranging expertise
Our research and teaching strengths span wide-ranging aspects of ancient history, society, literature and art. We have particular expertise in:
- ancient religions
- late antiquity
- ancient traditions of historiography
- ancient material culture
- the development of classical collections
- the significance of antiquity in the modern age.
Our expertise in ancient languages includes papyrology, epigraphy and ancient linguistics, and we teach Latin, Ancient Greek, and Egyptian to complement your studies.
Access unique resources
During your studies, you'll have access to a variety of historical resources of international importance held by the Department of Classics.
These resources include the Ure Museum, which is based in the Department.
The wider University has two other on-site museums, as well as the Special Collections – a substantial collection of rare books, archives and manuscripts that we encourage students to explore during their studies.
Develop essential language skills
As you progress through the academic world of classics, a knowledge of ancient languages becomes increasingly essential. It also allows you to immerse yourself further in classical texts as you study them in their original form.
The study of Latin or Ancient Greek is a core component to our MA Classics and Ancient History. If you haven't studied these languages in the past, don't worry – we have classes for both beginners and advanced learners.
Master's in Classics and Ancient History graduate
High quality, research-led teaching
Our internationally acclaimed academic staff provide expert supervision and teaching on topics ranging from ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia to the study of antiquity in the modern age. They are active researchers at the forefront of their disciplines. Their research-led teaching will provide you with access to current thinking and ground-breaking research.
Their excellence in research has been recognised through a number of prestigious awards and fellowships. Examples of staff who have recently been awarded fellowships include:
- Dr Emma Aston – Margo Tytus Visiting Fellowship, University of Cincinnati (2021)
- Professor Ian Rutherford – Research Fellow, Käte Hamburger Kolleg, Bochum, Germany: "Dynamics in the History of Religions between Asia and Europe" (2018–19)
- Professor Katherine Harloe – British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship (2018–19): "Winckelmann's Love Letters"
- Professor Rachel Mairs – British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship (2018–19): "Teach Yourself Arabic: Foreigners Learning Colloquial Arabic, 1850–1945"
- Professor Annalisa Marzano – Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship (2017–2019): "'Grafting Glory': New Plants, the Economy and Elite Identity in Ancient Rome"
- Dr Arietta Papaconstantinou – Gerda Henkel Foundation Research Scholarship (2015-2016): "Credit, Debt, and the Transformation of Rural Society in Egypt and Palestine from Constantine to the Abbasids'; ERC Award (2013 ff.): 'The Cult of Saints: a Christendom-wide Study of its Origin, Spread and Development"
- Professor Amy Smith – Visiting Fellow, Humanities Research Centre, Australian National University (2017): "Encountering strangers in Classical Athenian Art"
Our excellence in teaching and learning has been recognised through various awards, from both the Reading University Students' Union (RUSU) and external organisations.
- Jackie Baines was awarded the 2017 RUSU Teaching Excellence Award.
- Dr Emma Aston won the 2015 RUSU Teaching Excellence Award.
Embarking on master's study in the Department of Classics equips you with skills and attitudes that are highly valuable to employers.
As you progress through the course, you'll develop strong transferable skills such as critical thinking, adaptability, independence, and the ability to understand people and situations across different cultures. You'll hone your analytical and communication skills in lively, interactive seminars and through independent study.
Our graduates have gone on to successful careers in:
- heritage and museums
- libraries and archives
- the government and civil service
- digital marketing and advertising
- public relations and media.
They have also gone on to undertake a PhD in Classics, and some have started their own businesses.
Our graduates work at organisations that include:
- Burns & Wilcox
- San Luis Obispo County History Center
- Canterbury Christchurch University
- Secretariat of Cyprus, Presidency of the EU
- Duke University, USA
- Spire Healthcare
- Taylor & Francis Group
- University of Manchester
- Nordea Bank
- Oxford University Press
- various schools.
Our staff and students have amazing stories of dedication and discovery to share. Find out how your story could have a new chapter at Reading.
How you'll study
Develop your knowledge through lively seminars and workshops, and attend weekly research seminars delivered by leading scholars from all branches of the discipline.
We want to make classics and ancient history accessible to all. That's why we offer a number of programmes in schools, engage with the public at the Ure Museum and run free online activities and courses.