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Our outstanding reputation for research

As a PhD student in our Department, you will be part of a stimulating research environment. Our researchers work on world-leading projects that have real impact.

95% of our research is of international standing (Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021), combining 4*, 3* and 2* submissions – Classics.)

Learn more about our research

students carrying out field work in Pompeii

Our huge breadth of expertise

Our strengths in established approaches to the ancient world are coupled with expertise spanning Egyptian and Anatolian studies, early Islam, ancient linguistics, epigraphy, the reception of antiquity in the modern world, and more.

Learn more about our areas of expertise

Our research community

As a PhD student, you’ll join our community of supportive and highly productive researchers, meeting like-minded students.

You can run your own work-in-progress seminars and participate in our weekly research seminars, as well as annual conferences that draw scholars from around the world.

Find out more about life in the Department

Our unique resources

The Department of Classics holds a variety of historical resources of international importance, which you'll have access to during your studies.

These resources include our Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology, which is based in the Department.

The wider University has two other on-site museums, as well as Special Collections – a substantial collection of rare books, archives and manuscripts that we encourage students to explore during their studies.

We also have strong links with the Centre for Hellenic Studies, Department of Archaeology, Graduate Centre for Medieval Studies, British School at Athens, and British School at Rome.

I had a wholly positive and extremely enjoyable experience of studying for my PhD in the Department of Classics. I received outstanding supervision and found the Department more widely an immensely supportive place in which to work. The staff are dynamic and inspiring, and the research facilities are excellent. I would recommend Reading to anyone wanting to study for a PhD in Classics.

Lucy Fletcher

PhD in Classics graduate

Supervisors at the forefront of classics research

Our academics are acknowledged experts at the forefront of their disciplines and passionate about conveying their expertise. They offer postgraduate research supervision across the full spectrum of ancient history, Greek and Latin language and linguistics, literature, archaeology, epigraphy, art and culture.

Here are some examples of our academics and the research they are working on.

  • In her study of late antiquity Dr Christa Gray pays close attention to the linguistic, social and archaeological contexts of ancient texts. An expert in the lives of saints, she is pursuing narratology. Christa is now developing an international late antique and medieval hagiography network with James Corke-Webster (University College London) and would welcome PhD students interested in hagiography, narratology and late antique prose more generally.
  • Professor Annalisa Marzano's most recent research project – on the ideology and economy of Roman arboriculture and the multilevel links between plants and politics – developed from her interest in Roman gardens. She welcomes prospective PhD projects on any aspects of the Roman economy, especially as it relates to agricultural production, human-natural environment interaction, trade, and production processes.
  • Professor Katherine Harloe is an expert on the history of classical scholarship and the reception of Greek and Roman antiquity in European transnational contexts, from the eighteenth century to the present, and on queer classics. While researching her forthcoming book on Winckelmann's love letters she supervised student work uncovering Berkshire's queer history. She is happy to supervise PhD projects on these and other aspects of classical reception as well as classical Greek literature, especially epic.


Learn more about our academics and their areas of expertise

classics student and supervisor partaking in a one on one meeting

How we support you

You'll receive support from our Department as well as the Doctoral and Researcher College, which is the University of Reading's hub for all doctoral activity. 


Life in the Department

Join a supportive, dynamic research community. Our doctoral students present their work at international conferences and organise their own seminars, workshops and social events.


Professor Barbara Goff's story

If we turn to classics to see how the ancient world handled the types of issues that still preoccupy us today, there is much that can be learned.

Professor Barbara Goff

Co-Head of the Department of Classics