Department of Greek & Latin


PhD programme structure

0.    Regulations and Procedures

All MPhil/PhD students are governed by UCL regulations and procedures as set out in the Academic Manual.

1.    The First Year

  • 1.1 Registration

All students are initially registered for an MPhil and are transferred to full PhD status on satisfactory completion of the upgrade procedure, which is explained below.
There is an Induction Programme in the first week of term for new students: there is an additional orientation programme for international students.

  • 1.2 Supervisory Arrangements

Each student is assigned a First and Second supervisor. The exact division of responsibility between the two supervisors is a matter for negotiation. The First Supervisor will have specialist knowledge of the general area of research, and will meet regularly with the student; the Second Supervisor may be in a different Department, if that is useful: s/he will be available for consultation, and will read all chapters and give general advice.

In the first year students:
a) Work with the supervisors to establish the research project which will be the basis for the dissertation (see §1.4 below)
b) Take courses in the Skills Development Programme in the UCL Doctoral School. These include: reading in foreign languages (particularly French and German), bibliographic skills, using databases, writing and presentation skills, and many more. Research training is also offered by the London Arts and Humanities Partnership.
c) Attend seminars in the Department, and at the Institute of Classical Studies (see §5 below).

  • 1.3 Research Log

All new research students entering UCL are required by the College Graduate School to maintain an online Research Log.

All students are required to fill in the Research Log at regular intervals: their Supervisors and the Graduate Tutor have access to the Log and will check that this is done.
The Log provides a flexible framework for recording details related to the student's research programme, including supervisory meetings and activities concerning the development of academic and key skills. The Log is designed to help students
a) to assess their progress
b) to plan the next stage of their research
c) to chart evidence of the development of specific and generic research skills (all courses taken in the UCL Skills Development Programme are logged)

  • 1.4 Defining a topic

In normal circumstances research students have taken a relevant MA degree and are already experienced in devising an original and manageable topic, and, with supervisory advice, completing successfully a research dissertation.  The first step towards defining an MPhil/PhD topic is taken on the application form to the Department. Students receive initial advice from potential supervisors regarding its viability and originality. They subsequently modify, revise and refine the research topic, gradually identifying the contents and direction of each chapter, as well as the overall thrust and argument of the thesis. 

2.    The Second Year

In the second year students:
a) Work with supervisors in preparation for the Upgrade procedure (see below)
b) Are encouraged to teach for the Department, under supervision, in order to acquire teaching skills useful for an academic career
c) Continue to take courses in the Skills Development Programme (see above)
d) Are encouraged to attend national and international conference in their field of study (UCL provides funding for this); they often help in the organisation of conferences in the Department.
e) Attend seminars in the Department, and at the Institute of Classical Studies (see below).

  • 2.1 Upgrade Procedure

The upgrade to PhD normally occurs in the second year, for full-time students (in the third or fourth year for part-time students). For the upgrade, students are asked to provide written evidence of their research progress, consisting of a draft chapter of approximately 10,000 words, a draft outline of the proposed dissertation and a bibliography. They are then invited to discuss their research with a panel of members of staff. See the UCL upgrade guidelines for full information.

  • 2.2 Study abroad

The department has a range of exchange links across Europe through the Erasmus scheme, and an exchange scheme with Yale University. These are available to postgraduate research students.

3.    The Third Year

In the third year students are busy working with supervisors on the final stages of their research project.
They are encouraged to attend seminars and conferences in their field in London and elsewhere: these are an important part of research training. The Classical Association annual general meeting is particularly important in this respect. In and after the second year students  may wish to offer a seminar paper at one of these events. UCL offers funding to PhD students to attend conferences, and for other necessary research purposes.

4.    The Fourth Year: Completing Research Status

After three years of full-time enrolment (six years part-time), students are entitled to an addition period of registration at UCL without payment of further fees: this is known as Completing Research Status (CRS), and lasts for one year (two years part-time). The thesis must be submitted by the end of the Completing Research period.

  • 4.1 Completing the thesis

It is very important to complete your PhD thesis within the allotted time. Extensions will only be granted in exceptional circumstances (illness, etc.).
About six months before completion of the thesis, students should submit the examination entry form. This requires discussion with the student's supervisor(s).

  • 4.2 The PhD Exam

The PhD dissertation is examined in a viva voce examination with two Examiners. At least one examiner must be external to UCL: in practice both examiners are usually external to UCL (one is often from another College of the University of London). The Examiners can recommend one of the following options:
a) that the dissertation is passed and the candidate is awarded the degree of PhD
b) that the dissertation is passed subject to minor corrections
c) that the dissertation be referred for major corrections or rewriting, and is resubmitted within 18 months: a second viva voce exam may be required by the Examiners
d) that the dissertation is awarded the degree of MPhil; or that no award is made.

5.    Seminars and Conferences

The Department hosts seminars and lectures throughout the year. As researchers, students should make every effort to attend these. All Departmental conferences are free to PhD students in the Department of Greek and Latin.

  • 5.1 Departmental research seminars

Students present their work to the Department (all staff and research students): this takes place in a friendly and informal atmosphere, and is designed to foster presentation skills.

  • 5.2 The Institute of Classical Studies

All students enrolled in the PhD programme at UCL are members of the Institute of Classical Studies of the University of London.
The Institute of Classical Studies runs one of the richest programmes of research in the field of Classics in the world. Students are strongly encouraged to attend the seminars in their field.