MSt & MPhil in Late Antique and Byzantine Studies

The MSt in Late Antique and Byzantine Studies takes place over one-year and has been devised as a multi-purpose introduction to the Roman world in Late Antiquity, to Byzantium, the medieval successor of the East Roman Empire, and to neighbouring peoples and their cultures. It is a nine-month taught programme that can be taken as a free-standing degree, or as the first step towards doctoral research.

The MPhil programme follows the same principles however, it takes place over a two-year period.

Students have the option of selecting a focus of study dependent on their knowledge of languages or on their primary interests in the field. Two basic pathways lead into each field of study, and graduate students are expected, in consultation with their supervisor or the programme convenor, to choose between them at the beginning of the course.

  • Language training: This is the standard option for those new to this field of specialist study and offers intensive training in any one of the following ancient and medieval languages and their literatures: Greek, Latin, Slavonic, Armenian, Syriac, Coptic, Arabic.
  • Training in auxiliary disciplines and engagement with an advanced option: This option is designed for those who already have considerable competence in their chosen language and whose principal interests lie in history, art and archaeology, or religion.

Course Content

The programme comprises the following elements

Please note: for the MPhil programme two core papers will be chosen to take place over the two-years.

A core paper on History, Art and Archaeology, or History and Byzantine Literature during the first two terms of the academic year (comprising two sets of weekly classes), examined on the basis of two 5,000-word essays on topics of their choosing (subject to the approval of their supervisor), submitted at the end of the summer term (Trinity Term).

  • History, Art and Archaeology: Late Antiquity
  • History, Art and Archaeology: Byzantium
  • History and Literature: Late Antiquity
  • History and Literature: Byzantium

Please note: for the MPhil programme three advanced options will be chosen to take place over the two-years.

Two advanced options courses are selected by the students, and may include topics in ancient and medieval languages and literatures, the auxiliary disciplines of papyrology, epigraphy, palaeography, numismatics, sigillography (usually studies in pairs), or artefact studies, or advanced study in the literature, history and religion of the area.

There are no detailed descriptions for these papers, as much of the teaching will be tailored to the individual training needs and interests of students on the programme. The programme convenor and a candidate's individual supervisor will agree with the student a suitable programme of work at the start of the academic year.


MSt in Late Antique and Byzantine Studies

A dissertation of not more than 15,000 words on a topic of the student's choice, submitted in August. Students will begin to formulate and plan their dissertation in conjunction with their supervisors from the beginning of the course.

MPhil in Late Antique and Byzantine Studies

A thesis of not more than 30,000 words, written during the second year on a subject approved by the student's supervisor.

Find out more

MSt Handbook (2017)

MPhil Handbook (2017)

See more information on the History Faculty Website:


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MSt Admissions Pages

MPhil Admissions Pages