Postgraduate Study in Classics
- Topics of postgraduate research (past and present)
- The Guide for Higher Degree Students
You can continue your research interests with us by enrolling in a Higher Degree by Research (HDR) - either a Master's (normally of 2 years' duration) or a PhD (normally of 3 years' duration).
The basic prerequisite for higher degree research is a good Honours result - a First Class or IIA Class result. Check with the Faculty for the formal prerequisites and procedures for enrolment. But whether you are interested in higher research into classical archaeology, ancient history, ancient cultural studies or literature, you will need at least basic knowledge of either Latin and/or Ancient Greek, as well as a reading knowledge of some modern European languages, such as French, German and Italian. For some historical and literary research, more advanced language skills may be required.
In addition to having prepared yourself by gaining the necessary languages, it is also in your interest to ensure that you enrol in a university department whose research strengths at least roughly match your own proposed area of interest. Visit our staff's Research page, and also individual staff pages, to see our research interests in more detail. We have supervised or are currently supervising research degrees in the broad areas of :
- Latin literature and language
- Roman Imperial history, especially of Late Antiquity
- Greek philosophical thought, including the history of science and medicine
- Roman history
- Roman archaeology, especially of the eastern provinces
Examples of research topics of recently-successful doctoral candidates include:
- Images of Crucifixion in Late Antiquity (PhD 2001)
- Anti-Intellectualism in Classical Athens (PhD 2003)
- Relating to the Supernatural: A Case Study of Fourth Century Syria and Palestine (PhD 2004)
- The Relationship Between Sound and Context in Latin Poetry (PhD 2005)
- The Nature of the Villa Suburbana in Latium and Campania (PhD 2005)
- Illyrian Policy of Rome in the Late Republic and Early Roman Empire (PhD 2006)
- The Portrayal and Role of Anger in the Res Gestae of Ammianus Marcellinus (PhD 2008)
|Recent HDR Students||Area of Research||Supervisors|
|Daniel Hill||Aeschylus' Agamemnon (2012 MPhil)||Dr Jacqueline Clarke|
|Maria Ioannou||Ancient Cyprus - Island of Contrast (2013 MA)
||Dr Margaret O'Hea|
||Topographical and Cartographical Elements in Church Mosaics of the Eastern Mediterranean (2010 MA)||Dr Margaret O'Hea|
NB: What follows is calibrated for full-time students. If you are part-time, the milestones listed below will take longer, twice as long probably, to reach. This guide can be read in conjunction with the Adelaide University Postgraduate Students' Association website.
The first tasks to be undertaken once candidature has started are to
- attend the University’s Induction, for all starting higher degree research students
- attend and complete the Core Component of the Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty Structured Programme and
- complete a Research Proposal, 3000-5000 words in length.
In addition, there is a short meeting with the Centre’s Postgraduate Co-ordinator. If you are an international student, you will need to attend the Integrated Bridging Programme. For students starting at the beginning of the year, events take place in February, in the first week of Orientation Week.
It is recommended that you fill out and hand to your supervisors at an early meeting an Expectations of Supervision form, so that you can come to a mutual understanding as to how your supervision should be conducted. You will be given this by the Postgraduate Co-ordinator.
If you believe a work not in the Barr Smith library is essential for your research, you may order it on Inter-Library Loan after discussing it with a supervisor. You will be allocated a 4 digit PIN by the School Office so that you can use one of the photocopiers.
You will receive notification of the time and place of this from the Adelaide Graduate Centre. The AGC administers all higher degree candidatures and is the source of almost all information that you need to fulfil the requirements of a higher degree.
There you can find various documents and forms setting out the university’s policies and procedures, and what is required for a Master's or PhD thesis.
This involves 4x2 hour sessions held during first semester at fortnightly intervals. If you start mid-year, there will be 3x2 hour sessions in second semester. Attendance at these sessions, which are about preparing you for a research degree, are compulsory, and you cannot progress without completing this programme and yes, filling out another form.
This is a tool for getting you to focus on just what it is you are trying to do and to think about how you will do it. In some ways, it is like a draft of your thesis introduction. It needs to be approved by the Centre’s Postgraduate Co-ordinator and is then submitted for approval to the university Higher Degrees Committee. You may need to present an oral summary of it (perhaps lasting 20 minutes and therefore half or two thirds of your written proposal) to some staff and fellow postgraduates and to take into account any feedback you receive.
In your Research Proposal you need to address 3 main questions:
- What am I doing? (This may involve stating not just the main question you are seeking the answer, but important subsidiary ones)
- Why am I doing it?
- How will I do it? that is, what is your methodology?
Part of answering the first two questions involves a literature review, which helps indicate the current state of the problem you are dealing with. This means that you should list a preliminary bibliography. You should also include a provisional contents page, outlining your chapters.
You could also ask your supervisor to let you look at copies of previous theses in your area.
Along with the Research Proposal, you will need to submit a Minimum Discipline Resources form, which will be given to you at an early meeting with the Postgraduate Co-ordinator. If you are a full time student, aim to complete the Research Proposal within 6 months of commencing study.
If you started at the beginning of the year, you will need to complete an annual review by 31st October (If you started at or around mid-year, you will need to complete this review the following April. Remote students also have an April review). The forms will be sent to you in mid-September and you will need to record what progress you have made and what you intend to do in the next 12 months. Your supervisors will add their comments and sign in the appropriate sections and then you will need to see the Postgraduate Co-ordinator for his/her signature, before you sign it yourself and get it to the Graduate Centre.
Twelve months into candidature
This period has essentially been a probationary period and you need to undergo a major review of progress to confirm your candidature. The forms and checklist of minimum requirements for confirmation of candidature can be found at the Graduate Centre.
The supervisors, Postgraduate Co-ordinator and Head of Discipline/Centre/School will need to certify that the probationary period has been successfully completed.
Second year of candidature
Before this second year half completed, aim to get at least one post-introduction chapter to your supervisors completed. At some time in the year, you should make at least one 20-minute seminar or conference presentation. There will be another October review and once again, supervisors and students will summarise progress made in the last 12 months and outline goals to be met in the next 12.
Third year of candidature
This may be the last year of your candidature, if all has gone well. Being a part-time candidate or taking longer than expected to gather information away from Adelaide or some other difficulty may have delayed you and may require a fourth year of study. (Note, however, if your are holding a scholarship or postgraduate award, funding may only last for 3 years, unless you can make a case for being funded for an additional period. This is possible but don’t assume it will be a simple matter.) However, you will still need to make another presentation to an appropriate audience on you work and complete the annual October review which may, if you have reached that stage, include plans for and the date for submitting the thesis. Before you start on the final draft of your thesis, consult the Faculty’s thesis presentation guide (see under 'Information and Resources'). You do not have to follow it slavishly, but it contains some useful advice that will help you to present your thesis in the best way. Before you submit, you must complete a Notification of Intention to Submit form at least 3 months before submission. Supervisors must also certify that the thesis is properly presented and worthy to be examined. This certificate must accompany the thesis when submitted. See the Graduate Centre's website for forms.
Examiners should take no longer than 4 weeks after they have received it to examine your thesis but sometimes delays are unavoidable.
Some further points
- If you are a Remote Student or have to spend a long period outside Adelaide, you should keep in regular contact with at least one of your supervisors, say, once a month.
- Full-time Master's students should try to complete in 2 years, and so, the above milestones will need to be compressed into a shorter period.
- If you need to change your supervisory arrangements, including suspending your research by taking leave of absence, you should contact your Principal Supervisor or the Postgraduate Co-ordinator. See the Graduate Centre's website.
- If you need to undertake research related travel away from Adelaide, you should fill out the appropriate form. To be eligible for coverage under the corporate travel policy, you must fill out a Study Leave form available from either the University Contact Centre or the Adelaide Graduate Centre, have it authorised by your Discipline and return it to the Adelaide Graduate Centre. On this form you must complete your travel details, including associated holidays or private travel. Note the need to fill out a return form for any kind of absence.
- If you need to change your address and contact details, please do so through Access Adelaide.
- If you have been allocated a computer and are having a problem with your machine, ring ITS on the internal phone, 33000.
For some practical and encouraging advice on how to go about producing your thesis and not feeling overwhelmed about the amount of work to be done and by the difficulty of keeping your thesis under control, see Joy McEntee’s Milestones in the English PhD, or How to Get Your PhD Sometime Before You Retire, on the English discipline’s website.