Research course

The Ancient Body

Open University · Department of Classical Studies

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Entry requirements

BA with a minimum grade of 2:1 (or equivalent), MA

Months of entry


Course content

The Classical Studies discipline is a centre for studying the ancient world through the theme of ‘the body’. We interpret this theme in a highly interdisciplinary way, bringing together the approaches of archaeology, anthropology, medical humanities, ancient history and classical studies to find ways of using material culture and written evidence alongside each other.

We regard the body as a way of addressing what we see as a central question for any historical discipline: is the past just like us, and therefore transparent, or entirely other, and therefore unknowable? Where the body is concerned, the fact that we share so many fundamental everyday experiences with the people of the past may blind us to the difficulties of interpreting their writings, ideas and objects. Yet studying how people thought about, treated, manipulated, modified, represented and disposed of their bodies provides a window into ancient societies.

If you would like to join us as a full- or part-time research student, please contact us for an informal preliminary discussion (details below). A well-thought-out research proposal which sets out specific research questions, your strategies for addressing them and how your research will contribute something new to the field, will enhance your chances of admission.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PhD
    part time
    72 months
    • Distance learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    36 months
    • Distance learningis available for this qualification
  • MPhil
    full time
    15 months
    • Distance learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    24 months
    • Distance learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

+44 (0)1908 653247