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About the Department of Classics and Ancient History

Our Durham Department of Classics & Ancient History is a large and successful department. We consistently rank as one of the top Classics and Ancient History Departments in the UK for research and teaching, and came 6th in the 2024 QS World University Rankings.

Our degrees offer both academic rigour and an outstanding student experience. We are regularly among the top Classics departments in the UK for graduate employability. In 2019 we were awarded an Advance HE Athena Swan Bronze Award. This marks our ongoing commitment to equality, diversity, and inclusiveness. We are proud that our Department is highly international, forward-looking, and in many ways genuinely diverse in its makeup and outlook.

Find out more about our department
4th
4th The Complete University Guide 2025
4th in the UK for overall research quality in REF 2021
6th in the World
6th in the World in the 2024 QS World University Rankings by Subject
5th in the Guardian University Guide 2024

Study with us

We offer undergraduate students three Single Honours programmes - Classics, Classical Civilisation, and Ancient History - and two Joint Honours programmes with the Departments of History and Archaeology.

As a centre of world-class research, we have a strong commitment to postgraduate provision for MA and PhD students in all areas of Classics & Ancient History

Undergraduate Study

Our undergraduate programmes offer students a very wide range of modules, designed to emphasise the unity as well as the exciting variety of Greek and Roman antiquity.
Female Classics professor and students looking at books

Postgraduate study

We welcome applications to the Taught MA programme, or applications for research MAs and PhDs in any of the (many) research specialities represented in the Department.


 

Student satisfaction

Our Department recorded an outstanding 90.7% overall student satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2021.

We are distinctive in our commitment to training in the Classical languages. Our language modules develop the skills of those with previous experience, and enable students with no prior training to take up Latin and Greek at all levels.
Find out more about our undergraduate courses
Four students sit at a table in a library with an open laptop, looking at each other and laughing

 

Our research

  • Explore our research centres

    Our research centres bring together scholars across the university working on classical reception, the ancient Mediterranean and Near East, ancient and medieval philosophy, and ancient languages and writing systems.

    Outdoor shot of Classics and Ancient History building
  • Impact case studies

    Discover the impact our research is making

    Museum display board reading

Explore our research centres

Our research centres bring together scholars across the university working on classical reception, the ancient Mediterranean and Near East, ancient and medieval philosophy, and ancient languages and writing systems.

Outdoor shot of Classics and Ancient History building

Impact case studies

Discover the impact our research is making

Museum display board reading
  • Research environment

    In the REF2021 evaluation of research quality, our Department was ranked joint fourth in the UK. Find out more about our departmental research environment

  • Research areas

    Explore selected areas of research within the Department, from Latin poetry to digital humanities

    Programming code and matrix image

Research environment

In the REF2021 evaluation of research quality, our Department was ranked joint fourth in the UK. Find out more about our departmental research environment

Research areas

Explore selected areas of research within the Department, from Latin poetry to digital humanities

Programming code and matrix image
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Watch our most recent research video

Dr Mara Nicosia talks about her research into Syriac rhetoric in "Antony of Tagrit: a detective story"

More research videos
Members of staff from Department of Classics and Ancient History

Our staff

Our academic staff specialise in a broad range of artistic, historical, literary, linguistic, cultural, and philosophical aspects of the Graeco-Roman world. We have further expertise in the wider Ancient Mediterranean and Near East.

Find out more

Explore our department

  • Alumni

    Find out about our alumni benefits, and keep in touch!

    Group photo of the Classics Society at Hadrian's Wall
  • Facilities

    Find out about our departmental library and computer rooms

    Classics students leaning at shelf of Classics library reading a book

Alumni

Find out about our alumni benefits, and keep in touch!

Group photo of the Classics Society at Hadrian's Wall

Facilities

Find out about our departmental library and computer rooms

Classics students leaning at shelf of Classics library reading a book

EDI initiatives

Find out about our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion initiatives

Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace

Postgraduate funding

Find out about PhD funding opportunities

Two students talking in the library with laptops

What's new?

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  • Landmark Syriac Studies conference brings international research excellence to UK

    A landmark conference about Syriac Studies brought more than 70 researchers from 20 countries to Durham last month. The event was a hub for academic collaboration and knowledge sharing. It was also a formative experience for early-career scholars. Here, the organisers reflect on the key highlights of the conference and why there has recently been a major revival of academic interest in Syriac Studies.
    A group photo taken at the Syriac Studies in the UK conference
  • New Durham Prize in Classical Reception 2024 Announced

    The Durham University Department of Classics & Ancient History, together with the Durham Centre for Classical Reception, invites submissions for its first annual international prize for a doctoral thesis in Classical Reception Studies, broadly defined.
    Renaissance artwork of a roman reception
  • Professor Edith Hall wins the Classical Association Prize

    We are delighted that Professor Edith Hall from our Department of Classics and Ancient History has been awarded the prestigious Classical Association Prize in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the promotion of Classics in the UK.
    Edith Hall CA prize
  • The Underworld and Halloween

    George Alexander Gazis is Assistant Professor in Greek Literature in the Department of Classics and Ancient History. He is interested in the function of mortality and the afterlife in the Homeric Epics and early Lyric. On Halloween we explore how these ancient understandings resonate with the festivities which now take place on 31st October.
    Odysseus and the Underworld
  • Successes in 2023 Rankings for Durham Classics & Ancient History

    Durham's Classics & Ancient History is pleased to announce its successes in 2023 rankings. Our department ranked overall 2nd best in the UK in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, 3rd best in the Complete University Guide, and 4th best in the Guardian University Guide. We are proud of the education and support we provide to our students.
    A groups of students chatting on benches outside the library
  • Professor Edith Hall and Professor Andy Wood named new British Academy Fellows

    We are delighted that Professor Edith Hall from our Department of Classics and Ancient History and Professor Andy Wood from Department of History have become new Fellows of The British Academy.
    British academy fellows 2022
  • Advance HE Athena Swan Bronze Award for Durham Classics

    We are delighted to announce that the Department of Classics and Ancient History has been awarded an Advance HE Athena Swan Bronze Award.
    Plaque outside the Classics and Ancient History building

New Durham Prize in Classical Reception 2024 Announced

The Durham University Department of Classics & Ancient History, together with the Durham Centre for Classical Reception, invites submissions for its first annual international prize for a doctoral thesis in Classical Reception Studies, broadly defined.
Renaissance artwork of a roman reception

Professor Edith Hall wins the Classical Association Prize

We are delighted that Professor Edith Hall from our Department of Classics and Ancient History has been awarded the prestigious Classical Association Prize in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the promotion of Classics in the UK.
Edith Hall CA prize

The Underworld and Halloween

George Alexander Gazis is Assistant Professor in Greek Literature in the Department of Classics and Ancient History. He is interested in the function of mortality and the afterlife in the Homeric Epics and early Lyric. On Halloween we explore how these ancient understandings resonate with the festivities which now take place on 31st October.
Odysseus and the Underworld

Successes in 2023 Rankings for Durham Classics & Ancient History

Durham's Classics & Ancient History is pleased to announce its successes in 2023 rankings. Our department ranked overall 2nd best in the UK in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, 3rd best in the Complete University Guide, and 4th best in the Guardian University Guide. We are proud of the education and support we provide to our students.
A groups of students chatting on benches outside the library

Professor Edith Hall and Professor Andy Wood named new British Academy Fellows

We are delighted that Professor Edith Hall from our Department of Classics and Ancient History and Professor Andy Wood from Department of History have become new Fellows of The British Academy.
British academy fellows 2022

Advance HE Athena Swan Bronze Award for Durham Classics

We are delighted to announce that the Department of Classics and Ancient History has been awarded an Advance HE Athena Swan Bronze Award.
Plaque outside the Classics and Ancient History building

Two Durham researchers elected to Academia Europaea

We’re celebrating the news that two of our leading academics have been elected members of Academia Europaea in recognition of their subject-leading achievements.
Professors Arlene Holmes-Henderson and Harriet Bulkeley

QS World University Rankings by Subject 2024

We are ranked 6th in the prestigious QS World University Rankings by Subject 2024. 
Photograph of a smiling student in a library with text
  • Transformative Humanities framework launched

    Durham University's Transformative Humanities launched yesterday and gathered more than 130 researchers, colleagues, students, and partners from across the region and beyond to celebrate this new interdisciplinary framework.
    Transformative Humanities launch news banner
  • New Durham Prize in Classical Reception 2024 Announced

    The Durham University Department of Classics & Ancient History, together with the Durham Centre for Classical Reception, invites submissions for its first annual international prize for a doctoral thesis in Classical Reception Studies, broadly defined.
    Renaissance artwork of a roman reception
  • PhD Studentships in Classics & Ancient History at Durham University

    The Department of Classics & Ancient History at Durham invites applications from UK and international applicants for PhD studentships through the AHRC-funded Northern Bridge Doctoral Training Partnership.
    Three PhD students, two men and a woman, sit at a table with an open laptop and books and papers spread around. In the foreground on the right, a student looks at a printed article with highlighting, while in the background the other two are reading a book

New Durham Prize in Classical Reception 2024 Announced

The Durham University Department of Classics & Ancient History, together with the Durham Centre for Classical Reception, invites submissions for its first annual international prize for a doctoral thesis in Classical Reception Studies, broadly defined.
Renaissance artwork of a roman reception

PhD Studentships in Classics & Ancient History at Durham University

The Department of Classics & Ancient History at Durham invites applications from UK and international applicants for PhD studentships through the AHRC-funded Northern Bridge Doctoral Training Partnership.
Three PhD students, two men and a woman, sit at a table with an open laptop and books and papers spread around. In the foreground on the right, a student looks at a printed article with highlighting, while in the background the other two are reading a book
  • Classics Teacher Training returns to Durham!

    After several decades, teacher training in Classics is now available once again at Durham thanks to a partnership between the School of Education and the Department of Classics and Ancient History.
    School of Education Building

Student blogs and social media

Explore our Durham University Classics Society blog, packed full of interesting classical and classically-inspired articles.

Highlights

Entrances to Ancient Literature

Francesca Chaplin takes a look at gates and doors in five pieces of ancient literature, from epic to elegy and from the devastating to the comical.
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Penshaw Monument: Durham’s very own Greek temple, and why it’s worth a visit

James Hua pays a visit to the North-East's own Greek temple
The Penshaw monument: a 19th-century recreation of a Greek temple

Get in touch

To find out more about our department and courses, contact us using the information below.

Department of Classics and Ancient History

38 North Bailey
Durham
DH1 3EU

+44 (0)191 3343170

Questions about studying here?

Check out our list of FAQs or submit an enquiry form.

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Order your personalised prospectus and College guide here.