University of Malta

M.A. (By Research)
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 Master of Arts (by research) in Classics and in Archaeology

At present, the Department of Classics and Archaeology offers one Master of Arts course in the study areas of Classics and Archaeology. The degree of Master of Arts can be obtained after successful completion of a programme of study carried out mainly by research over a period of three semesters of full-time study or the equivalent in part-time study. This entails the successful completion of study-units to the value of 10ECTS and the submission of an individual dissertation of approximately 50,000 words valued at 80ECTS (ARC5099, CLA5099). The study-units consist of a compulsory course on research methods (ATS5201 – 5 ECTS) taught in the first semester of every year. The rest of the study-units for a value of 5 ECTS can be taught or involve directed study (e.g. ARC5113, CLA5113) and should be related to the topic to be researched and/or allow the student to acquire skills required for carrying out the research. The study-unit/s is/are to be chosen by the student after consulting the supervisor. The approval of the Head of Department is required.

What is the nature of a dissertation for a Master of Arts?
A dissertation presented for a Master of Arts in Archaeology is an exercise in independent research that normally makes significant use of primary sources. These sources may be of various kinds, including material culture, excavation reports, printed sources, archival documents, literary texts or other visual materials, and interviews. Students often need to do some background secondary reading to show how the dissertation relates to a particular question or theme and to possible interpretations of it. Normally a dissertation focuses on a specialised topic, but it may also deal with questions of methodology, or with the historiography of a specific problem, provided that the focus is on how sources are used and interpreted. In a dissertation, a student is expected to show skills like evaluation, critique, and application of evidence/data to support arguments and points of view. Moreover, satisfactory literary presentation and observance of the standard conventions of style and referencing are required.

A dissertation presented for a Master of Arts in Classics normally involves either the writing about any topic in field of Classics, being Philology, Literature, Philosophy, Mythology, History, Archaeology, Art and Classical Scholarship; or the edition and/or translation, with introduction, notes and commentary, of published or unpublished material, printed or in manuscript form, of a Latin or Greek text. Prior to embarking on any topic, students, preferably in their undergraduate level, would do well to work on the Année Philologique series at the Reference Section of the University Library to check and note what has so far been published in their area of research. Students will eventually have to procure the material to be read, possibly also by on-line correspondence, or by studying in specialised Classical Libraries in Rome or London for a few weeks.

How do I apply?

Applications are to be submitted online ( in June/July for the October intake and in January for the February intake, against a fee. Late and very late applications can also be submitted in August and September for the October intake. 

Applicants interested in pursuing the degree of Master of Arts (by research) in the Department of Classics and Archaeology should in the first instance discuss a suitable research topic with a member of staff of the Department. Since applications come out at a time when members of staff are busy with final examinations, engaged in fieldwork, or, as in the case of late applications, are normally on vacation, it is important that students plan their applications properly and well in advance of deadlines. A research proposal has to be drafted on a form (download by clicking here) in close consultation with a member of staff who has shown an interest in providing supervision. It is recommended that some degree of background reading is carried out when writing the research proposal.  A copy of this research proposal should be sent to Secretary of the Department of Classics and Archaeology (Ms Louisa Borg).

Application forms and research proposals are discussed at a meeting of the Department of Classics and Archaeology where the feasibility of the research topic is considered and supervisory staff identified. The last chance for an application to be considered, it has to reach the Department for its September meeting. Once vetted by the Department, the application forms and research proposals are forwarded to the MA Committee of the Faculty of Arts. The Committee makes its own recommendations to the Board of the Faculty of Arts which are then submitted to the University Senate. Students are strongly advised to ask the Secretary of the Department of Classics and Archaeology when departmental meetings are scheduled to take place. The schedule of the meetings of the MA Committee is available from Ms Charlotte Cucciardi Fava.  

Application forms which do not include a research proposal drawn according to the departmental template will not be considered.

Which regulations govern the MA (by research)?
The degree of Master of Arts is governed by the General Regulations for Postgraduate Awards 2008 and by the Bye-Laws of 2009 in terms of the General Regulations for University Postgraduate Awards, 2008 for the Degree of Master of Arts under the auspices of the Faculty of Arts.

Prospective applicants are also advised to read the document Principles of Procedure on the Supervision of Masters’ Dissertation and Doctoral Theses


Department of Classics and Archaeology
9th November 2016

Last Updated: 9 November 2016

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