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Postgraduate research

Watch our films about undertaking postgraduate research in the department, what we are looking for in a potential PhD candidate, and the kind of careers our postgraduates go into. 

Our postgraduate research students share their experiences of studying at Royal Holloway - click below to find out more.

Ruth Macdonald 



Fabrizio Biglino



Carolyn Bowyer



Postgraduate Research is a central element of the activities of the Classics Department. We have an international postgraduate community of nearly 50 MPhil/PhD students altogether, working on an extraordinarily wide range of topics in Greek and Latin, ancient history and archaeology, philosophy, rhetoric and the reception of ancient literature.

The Department itself provides a friendly environment in which to work and to meet other researchers, in the Founder's Building at the heart of the Egham campus. The  depart-ment's research seminar meets on Wednesday lunchtimes during term. At the PhD presentations day each autumn, those who have completed one year of research give presentations of their work, while a series of Postgraduate Summer Colloquia includes career-oriented sessions, dry runs for papers that will later be given at conferences, and a showcase for the work of those who are about to complete their PhDs. Our Research Centres (the Centre for Oratory and Rhetoric and the Centre for the Reception of Greece and Rome) provide specialised seminars and involve postgraduate students fully in their programmes of events.

Our postgraduates are also part of the wider University of London research culture, especially through the Institute of Classical Studies in Senate House with its unrivalled library facilities and seminar programme. Other research facilities in London include the British Library and the Warburg Institute for the study of the Classical Tradition, as well as opportunities for collaboration and exchange of ideas with classicists in the other London University departments at UCL, KCL, and Birkbeck. Further afield, our postgraduates take part in many national and international conferences. Royal Holloway students have recently taken key roles in the organisation of AMPAL (the Annual Meeting of Postgraduates in Ancient Literature) and AMPRAW (... Reception of the Classical World) and have given papers at conferences in (among other places) the Netherlands, Hungary, Greece and South Africa. For further information on what our students are doing, see the information for current students

The department has an excellent record in placing its PhD graduates in academic roles. Our alumni include:

  • Professor Mike Edwards, former Director of the Institute of Classical Studies and now Professor of Classics at Roehampton University
  • Dr. Eleni Volonaki, Lecturer at the University of the Peloponnese, Kalamata
  • Dr. Kathryn Tempest, Senior Lecturer in Classics at Roehampton University
  • Dr. Lisa Hau, Lecturer in Classics at Glasgow University
  • Dr. Rosie Wyles, Lecturer in Classics at King's College London
  • Dr. Eduardo Boechat, Lecturer in Classics at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro

Other destinations for our postgraduate researchers in Classics include teaching, museums, the commercial and legal worlds, or the arts and entertainments. Our part-time and mature students come from a variety of professional backgrounds including the financial sector, university administration, the legal profession, the Civil Service, the armed forces, and the fashion industry.

Career advice, both academic and non-academic, is freely available in College and sessions on career development are regularly included in our Postgraduate Research Colloquia series.

All staff in our department are experienced and enthusiastic supervisors of postgraduate research, and the breadth of our specialisms ensures that every research topic can be amply and enthusiastically catered for. 

Greek history is covered by Lene Rubinstein and Christos Kremmydas, Greek literature and its reception by Ahuvia Kahane, Nick Lowe and Richard Hawley, Roman history by Richard Alston and Boris Rankov, Latin literature by Jonathan Powell, Efi Spentzou and Liz Gloyn, ancient philosophy by Anne Sheppard, and archaeology by Jari Pakkanen and Zena Kamash with some help from our retired professor of Roman archaeology, Amanda Claridge.

We have special clusters of expertise in Rhetoric, Greek Law, Reception (see the Centre for the Reception of Greece and Rome website), sociological approaches to culture and society, narrative, critical theory, and the ancient theatre. We are very proud of our highly talented students, and warmly encourage all enquiries from graduates in every walk of life.

Those intending to study for the PhD in the Department are able to apply for Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) studentships and for College studentships through a single process. The AHRC studentships (stipend and fee waiver) are offered through the TECHNE Doctoral Training Partnership (techne.ac.uk) which is led by Royal Holloway and comprises six other universities in London and the South East and 13 partner organisations (including the Barbican, Natural History Museum, Museum of London, BFI and Science Museum). Approximately £380,000 is available for postgraduate studentships across the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. The Department is also able to recommend students for College studentships.

TECHNE scholarships

Application Portal

Prospective doctoral students are warmly invited to contact either a prospective supervisor OR Richard Alston, Director of Graduate Studies in the Department  to talk informally about your research proposal and find out what supervision is available. Proposals for projects to be supervised jointly with another department or with another TECHNE institution are welcome. The Department is very happy to provide guidance on the formulation of research proposals and TECHNE applications and in order to take advantage of this, you are strongly advised to contact us as early as possible.

Enquiries from prospective doctoral applicants are welcome at any time of year. Those wishing to apply to TECHNE will need to have their applications completed by 7th February 2016 at the very latest and are very strongly advised to submit completed applications at least 2 weeks before that date to allow processes to function. 

Applicants from outside the UK

Please note that students from European Union countries are eligible to apply to TECHNE. For EU students, an AHRC award covers fees only, but may be made up to a full stipend plus fee waiver at the College's discretion. Overseas students (i.e. from outside the EU) cannot apply to TECHNE but may be nominated by their Department for an overseas scholarship.

We also offer postgraduate research programmes in:

For more information contact Professor Richard Alston (course director).


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