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Undertaking doctoral research allows you to develop in-depth knowledge, while making a meaningful contribution to your chosen field.

With guidance from our expert supervisors, you'll carry out extensive independent research culminating in a thesis of up to 100,000 words. Broadly speaking the areas covered by the Institute’s expertise are ancient literature and cultural history, intellectual history, reception studies and the classical tradition, and digital classics.

This degree presents the opportunity to gain expertise in your area of interest while also honing a range of transferable skills. On completing this course, you'll be well prepared for specialist career paths both within academia and beyond.

Subject Areas and Supervision

The Institute of Classical Studies will be pleased to accept applications for doctoral research supervision in the following areas:

Digital classics including:

  • Digital editing of inscriptions, papyri or manuscripts
  • Digital approaches to prosopography, onomastics or geography
  • Impact of digital methodologies on classical scholarship or teaching

under the supervision of Dr Gabriel Bodard.

  • History of Classical scholarship
  • Reception of Greek and Roman antiquity from the 18th to the 20th centuries
  • Greek and Roman literature
  • History of political thought
  • Gender and race in classics/classical reception

under the supervision of Professor Katherine Harloe.


  • Early Greek historiography, esp. Herodotus
  • Greek religion
  • Greek interactions with foreign peoples
  • The history of scholarship from the 19th to the 20th centuries

under the supervision of Professor Thomas Harrison (Associate Fellow of the ICS).

It is possible to arrange co-supervision with particular experts in the Colleges of the University of London, and, on occasion, with experts from institutions outside the University of London (for example, the British Library, the British Museum or other higher education institutions). In cases where it is more appropriate for MPhil/PhD students to be registered at a College of the University, the Institute is happy to offer informal advice.

Before submitting an application you are advised to contact a member of the ICS academic staff who has interests in your proposed field of study to discuss your proposal. A list of academic staff and their interests can be found here.

Contact the Institute

Key Information

The Institute of Classical Studies

The Institute of Classical Studies (ICS) is a national and international research centre for the study of the languages, literature, history, art, archaeology, and philosophy of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds.

With its world-class library the ICS provides an important academic focus for postgraduates and scholars from universities throughout the world in association with the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies and the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies. ICS also serves as the meeting place of the main Classics organisations in the UK.

The School of Advanced Study

The School of Advanced Study at the University of London brings together eight internationally renowned research institutes to form the UK's national centre for the support of researchers and the promotion of research in the humanities.

Course structure

Full-time study for the PhD degree entails three or a maximum of four years' independent research, culminating in the writing of a thesis of not more than 100,000 words. Part-time students complete the same programme in five, or a maximum of six years.

After submission of the thesis, you will attend an oral examination conducted by an internal examiner, from the University of London, and an external examiner, normally from another British university.

There is no formal coursework, but you will be expected to participate in a weekly seminar on Work in Progress and to present a paper every year from their second year onwards. In your first year you are required to attend a weekly class on Techniques of Scholarship. You are also encouraged to participate in the regular seminars held at the Institute during the academic year.

Opportunities and facilities

The Institute of Classical Studies with its world-class library provides an important academic focus for postgraduates from universities in the UK and abroad, who are studying all aspects of the ancient world.

Postgraduates are encouraged to attend the Institute’s broad range of research seminars and guest lectures, which provide an excellent opportunity to hear and discuss papers by leading scholars from the UK and abroad, as well as to meet others interested in a particular field of study.

The Institute is also committed to an expanding programme of research training on aspects of Classical antiquity and related disciplines. The regular series of Postgraduate Work-in-Progress seminars attracts participants from throughout the UK; student-organised conferences also play an increasingly important role in the Institute’s events programme.

More broadly, the School of Advanced Study itself offers excellent resources for inter-disciplinary research by bringing together eight internationally renowned research institutes that support the promotion of research in the humanities.

The School of Advanced Study is also home to Senate House Library, the central library for the University of London. The art deco building, which the School and Senate House Library are part of, is a literary landmark in the heart of Bloomsbury, located next to the British Museum. The Library occupies the fourth to the nineteenth floors of the building,  with a range of historic library reading rooms and collections.

Much like the Institute itself, the School offers a broad range of events, seminars and conferences that we encourage our research students to engage with.

Our research students can also take advantage of a varied and challenging research training programme, with general research skills training and research methodologies courses provided through the School and subject-specific training provided within the institutes.

How to apply

Before submitting an application you are advised to contact a member of the academic staff who has interests in your proposed field of study to discuss your proposal. You can find contact details and areas of expertise from our academic staff here.

Before agreeing to accept you, the School will require you to submit a research proposal, so it is worthwhile having this drafted ahead of a formal application. Guidelines on drafting your research proposal.

Candidates will normally receive an initial response to their application within 28 working days. Those who have been formally interviewed will normally be informed within one week as to whether they are to be offered a place.

Note: in accordance with regulations research students will be registered for the MPhil degree in the first instance. Upgrading to PhD will be considered in the second year for full-time students and in the third or fourth year for part-time students.


Dr Gabriel Bodard

Reader in Digital Classics, Insitute of Classical Studies

Email | Research Profile


Gabriel would be interested in supervising doctoral projects on:

  • Digital editing (especially historical texts such as inscriptions, papyri, manuscripts)
  • XML, TEI, EpiDoc, and digital publishing
  • The impact of digital humanities on scholarship (especially in Classics)
  • Digital prosopography, onomastics and geography
  • Interdisciplinary approaches to objects and the texts written on them
  • Linked open data and ancient or historical sources
  • Digital approaches to teaching, especially language teaching 


Gabriel Bodard is Reader in Digital Classics at the ICS since September 2015. He has been the organizer of the Digital Classicist seminar since 2006, and teaches classes and workshops on digital methods for classicists and archaeologists as well as summer schools on digital encoding for ancient epigraphy and papyrology internationally.

Before joining the ICS, he worked for fourteen years in digital humanities at King's College London, specialising in digital epigraphy and collaborating on several major corpora of inscriptions (Aphrodisias, Tripolitania, Cyrenaica, Northern Black Sea) and Papyri ( He is a co-author of the EpiDoc Guidelines for XML encoding of ancient documents and the principal investigator of the Standards for Networking Ancient Prosopographies

Prof Katherine Harloe

Director, Insitute of Classical Studies


    Topics: Katherine would be interested in supervising projects in classical reception studies and the classical tradition, history of political thought, queer classics and classics in the contemporary world


    Katherine joined the Institute as the new Director in October 2021 from the University of Reading, where she was Professor of Classics and Intellectual History. She is an interdisciplinary classicist whose research spans the history of classical scholarship, the reception of Greek and Roman antiquity in European culture from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries, the history of political thought and gender history. She is known particularly for her work on the eighteenth-century scholar Johann Joachim Winckelmann, the so-called 'father' of classical archaeology, and has also published on authors ranging from Sappho, Thucydides and Pausanias to Hannah Arendt and Walter Pater.

    The School of Advanced Study is a unique environment in which to study the humanities.  The School strives to reflect the latest developments in thinking across the humanities disciplines it supports and to ensure that its programmes reflect this.   We are also aware that the needs of our students are constantly changing.  With that in mind, the School continually reviews the its programmes and, as part of that process, reserves the right to alter or discontinue them. 

    We assure you that we carry out these exercises at no detriment to any enrolled students. Students enrolled on any programme that we discontinue will be able to complete that programme within a reasonable timeframe and with all the necessary resources at their disposal. The School will communicate any anticipated changes with students as early as possible.