MA applications - FAQs
Q: What MA programmes are offered by the Department of Greek and Latin?
A: The Department offers the Intercollegiate MA in Classics, and an MA in the Reception of the Classical World. Students in either MA programme may take courses in the other if they wish. The Intercollegiate MA in Ancient History is administered by the UCL History Department.
Q: Do I need Greek and Latin at advanced level to start at MA?
A: To start the MA in Classics you must have either Greek or Latin at advanced (typically BA) level.
You do not need Greek or Latin language to start the MA in the Reception of the Classical World. Greek and Latin are of course an advantage, and you may start (or continue) them in a dedicated MA language class as part of your MA programme.
Q: What are the academic requirements for admission to the MA?
A: For UK students we ask for a good 2:1 degree or higher in a relevant subject, and an equivalent level from students from universities outside the UK. This translates into a minimum GPA of 3.5 for North American students, and 7.5/10 for Greek students. In the case of mature students there is a good deal of flexibility in admissions (see below).
Q: What are the English language requirements for foreign students?
A: The UCL requirement in English for non-native speakers is an IELTS score at ‘good’ level or recognised equivalent. (Students who have an undergraduate degree from a university in the English-speaking world are exempt from this requirement.)
Q: Is it possible to take Latin and Greek language as part of the MA ?
A: Yes, dedicated MA courses in both languages are run every year, at both Beginner and Intermediate levels.
Q: How does the MA programme work?
A: The MA runs for almost a full year, from the beginning of October until the middle of the following September.
Students take taught courses to the value of 120 credits (each course carries 40 or 20 credits) and write a dissertation of approximately 12,000 words. The courses run during the two University teaching terms (October – December and January – March): each term lasts eleven weeks, with a Reading week in the middle. The deadline for coursework is typically the 1st of June. Most of the work on the dissertation takes place after coursework has been submitted (i.e. from June to September).
Q: How does the part-time MA programme work?
A: Many students take the MA part-time over two years. This is the only viable option for students who need to work while doing the MA.
Part-time students typically take two courses in the first year, and one course plus the dissertation in the second year. Note that normal course-work deadlines apply for all courses (i.e. course-work has to be submitted by the 1st of June in each year).
Q: How much class time does an MA course entail?
A: A typical MA course is taught in one two-hour seminar per week. A normal load will therefore involve six hours of class time per week. Beginners’ language classes may run for three hours per week.
Q: How is the MA taught?
A: MA courses are taught in small seminars or classes, rarely exceeding a dozen participants. MA students are expected to prepare for class each week, typically by reading preparatory material and texts in the original Greek or Latin. In almost all MA courses (apart from Beginners’ and Intermediate language classes) students are expected to give one or more presentations during the course of the year.
Q: Are any classes taught at night?
A: No, classes are almost never scheduled to run after normal office hours. Birkbeck College offers both BA and MA programmes with night classes.
Q: Can I take courses at KCL and RHUL?
A: Students in the Intercollegiate MA in Classics can take courses at any of the three Colleges. Supervision of dissertations, however, is normally conducted at the student’s own College.
Students in the MA in the Reception of the Classical World are allowed to import any MA course from the Intercollegiate MA, subject to permission from the programme director.
Q: Are MA courses ever combined with BA courses?
A: A small number of courses are mixed MA/BA courses. However, instructors must provide MA students with at least 50% of their class hours in a dedicated MA class. MA students may not take more than two courses which make use of BA teaching.
Q: Can MA students take BA courses?
A: No, not unless they are flagged as mixed MA/BA courses. However, MA students may sit in on BA courses with the permission of the relevant instructor.
Q: How flexible are the various MA programmes at UCL?
All MA programmes are extremely flexible, allowing students to tailor their programmes of study to their specific interests. MA students may import courses both from related MA tracks (Classics, Ancient History, Art and Archaeology, and the Reception of the Classical world), and also from other MA programmes in UCL or the University of London (where appropriate).
Q: What is the course-work load in the MA?
A: Almost all MA courses require written course-work to be submitted (exceptions include beginners’ language courses, which may be assessed by means of an exam). A typical load for an MA course would be two essays or projects of 5000 words each (or three shorter pieces, max. 10,000 words): it is therefore perfectly normal for an MA student to have six or more pieces of work to submit by the June 1st deadline. Many courses specify that the first piece of work should be submitted by the end of the first term, and the second piece of work by the end of the second term.
Q: Do MA students have access to course instructors outside of class hours?
A: All instructors have at least two hours a week when they are in their offices and available to see students without appointment (‘Office Hours’). It is also possible to make an appointment to see a member of teaching staff.
Q: What libraries do MA students have access to?
A: MA students have access to all UCL libraries (holdings in Classics, Ancient History, Comparative Philology and Archaeology are excellent), the library of the Institute of Classical Studies, the library of the University of London in Senate House, and the British Library. In addition, access is generally granted to the libraries of almost all relevant Colleges and Institutes of the University of London.
Q: Do many foreign students take the MA at UCL?
A: Every year a large number of foreign students joins the MA programme: students come from across the European Union, North America, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere. Historically we have had a consistent number of students from Greece, Italy and Cyprus.
Q: Do many mature students take the MA at UCL?
A: Yes, there is always a sizeable minority of students who have not come immediately out of a BA programme; many join us considerably later in life. We welcome applications from people of all ages; admissions criteria are of course more flexible for mature applicants.
Q: Is there a deadline for applications to the MA?
The deadline for applications is the first Friday in August each year. Most applications arrive between January and May: it is important to apply early if you would like accommodation from UCL.
Q: If an MA course is running this year, can I be sure that it will run next year?
There is some variation from year to year, although MA courses in core subjects are of course run regularly. In general this year’s course catalogue will give a good idea of the nature and range of courses on offer in a typical year. Courses for the next academic year are generally posted online in spring; times are not generally fixed until shortly before the term starts.
Please note that due to the very high number of courses on offer it is impossible to avoid some clashes in the timetabling of MA courses.
Q: Is funding available for the MA?
There is very little funding available for the MA. Our funding pages contain further information.
Q: Do students often progress from the MA to PhD research?
A: The MA is an ideal springboard for a PhD programme. Every year a handful of students go on to start PhD research; acceptance into the PhD programme at UCL depends on performance in the MA (especially the dissertation).
MA in Classical Art & Archaeology
An MA in this area is now administered by the Institute of
Archaeology. Applications for admission should be directed to the Institute of Archaeology: please address enquiries to Dr Jeremy Tanner.