Classical Studies

Staff in the Classical Studies discipline at The Open University have expertise in a wide range of subjects and themes from the Greek and Roman world, including: archaeology, art and sculpture; epic, lyric poetry, tragedy and comedy; historiography and philosophy; popular culture and social history; reception studies; spatial classics and digital humanities. Our main research areas include:

  • ancient and modern reception of classical antiquity
  • digital and spatial classics
  • Greek and Latin texts
  • Greek and Roman material culture
  • the ancient body
  • ancient material religion.

The research areas overlap in important respects and this informs debate and collaboration across themes as well as providing opportunities for exchange with researchers in other subject areas. We encourage applications for research that is based in any of these areas, particularly projects that work across areas. Applicants should normally hold, or be expecting to obtain, a bachelors degree with at least first or upper-second class honours or equivalent qualification, and an MA or research experience or recent publications.

Research has been recognised by funding grants or fellowship awards from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the British Academy, the Leverhulme Trust, JISC, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the Alexander S. Onassis Foundation, TOPOI: the Formation and Transformation of Space and Knowledge in Ancient Civilizations, and Google. Staff members also have leading roles in internationally funded projects such as the Linkage project in Australia (Classics and Theatre), the European Network of Research in Greek Drama, the Classical Reception Studies Network and EuGeStA (Gender Studies in Antiquity).

The UK’s Research Excellence Framework (REF) (2021) results showed the outstanding contributions by classical studies staff in national and international research, including impact of research, and we aim to ensure that all our research students have the chance to benefit from and contribute to international debates in their field.

Key facts

  • Current fully funded studentships include the Open-Oxford-Cambridge AHRC studentships.
  • Part-time research students are fully integrated into the Classical Studies research environment, including regular research days and opportunities to attend conferences and present papers.
  • The discipline is home to the Baron Thyssen Centre for the Study of Ancient Material Religion, bringing together scholars from the OU and beyond to investigate material aspects of religion in the Greek and Roman worlds.
  • The discipline hosts the Classical Reception Studies Network, an international collaboration of researchers working on classical reception. 
  • The discipline hosts a suite of digital webmapping resources for exploring the cultural geography of Herodotus’s Histories (the Hestia project), including a visualisation platform for reading texts and maps alongside each other, which can be adapted for use with any other classical author.

    It is also a major hub for the Pelagios project, which, by linking online resources about ancient places (from both academic projects and major cultural heritage organisations), is transforming how the ancient world can be studied.


Most of our full-time research students are based at our Milton Keynes campus; for details of residence requirements for different modes of study see Full-time study and Part-time study.


Research students have access to the OU library with its extensive collections of digital journals and books, as well as being able to become members of a research library close to their location through the SCONUL Access scheme. Our Research students in classical studies are also encouraged to join the Hellenic or Roman Societies. These societies have a joint library based at the Institute of Classical Studies in London. This is an internationally leading research library. Student membership of either of the societies provides borrowing rights (including postal borrowing).



Find your research topic

Explore specific areas of research, current and prospective projects, entry requirements, fees and funding, available supervisors, how to apply and contact details for advice.

Ancient and modern receptions of antiquity

Ancient material religion

Digital and spatial classics

Greek and Latin texts

Greek and Roman material culture

Pedagogy of classic teaching

The ancient body and the senses


Related topics

Consider linked topics from other research areas.

Early modern Britain and Europe

Historical musicology

History of books and reading


I chose the Open University for the flexibility afforded by researching part-time and here, at the end of six years of PhD research, I whole-heartedly recommend it. I have been supported and challenged all the way by my excellent supervisors, supplied with the resources for distance learning and found inspiration through the PhD Teaching scheme and in membership of the Baron Thyssen Centre for the Study of Ancient Material Religion.

Adam ParkerPhD Student, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences