Master of Arts in Ancient Culture, Religion and Ethnicity (MA)
Our students explore the civilizations of the ancient Mediterranean and the Near East. Our programs, which can be individually tailored to fit specific interests, foster interdisciplinary study and help students develop relevant skill sets for future study and employment.
The MA in Ancient Culture, Religion and Ethnicity is suitable for students with an interdisciplinary background in the humanities, with an undergraduate degree that included significant coursework in our areas of specialization. It is also suitable for those who wish to undertake more advanced coursework, including ancient language training, in preparation for a doctoral program in Classics, Classical or Near Eastern Archaeology, or Religious Studies.
What makes the program unique?
The department offers students a unique opportunity to engage in a broad range of coursework and learning opportunities and to pursue interdisciplinary research on the material culture, religious beliefs, languages and histories of the ancient Mediterranean and Near East. We are a small but engaged department and are able to provide students with programs tailored to individual interests. Students will have frequent interaction with faculty and the academic community.
Meet a UBC representative
Virtual Office Hourswebinar
Date: Thursday, 05 September 2019
Time: 14:00 to 15:00
Join us for a short presentation on the application and admissions process, academic requirements, and general overview of graduate studies at UBC, followed by Q&A with Grad Studies staff and graduate student ambassadors. Ask questions in advance when you register. Please note that Virtual Office Hours is not program-specific, and we will not be able to provide answers to questions that involve specific personal information.
Great Grad School Applicationswebinar
Date: Tuesday, 10 September 2019
Time: 09:00 to 10:00
Learn about the application process, and general academic and admissions requirements. Develop a timeline for meeting deadlines, scheduling language tests, getting your documents ready, and reaching out to letter writers and supervisors. As well, join us on a virtual tour of the UBC Grad Studies website to point out important resources.
September Q&A with UBC Graduate Student Ambassadorswebinar
Date: Wednesday, 11 September 2019
Time: 10:00 to 11:00
Join our Graduate Student Ambassadors who will be available to answer questions about their experiences at UBC, including topics such as accommodation, moving to a new city/province/country and settling in, making friends, being an international student, and more. This session is open to participants interested in different programs across all faculties at UBC. Please note that we will not be able to provide answers to questions regarding application or admissions policies or any that involve specific personal information.
• Kalavasos and Maroni Built Environments Project (KAMBE). Faculty: Kevin Fisher.
• The Apulum Roman Villas Project. Faculty: Matthew McCarty.
• Excavations at Bestansur, Iraqi Kurdistan. Faculty: Lisa Cooper.
• From Stone to Screen, a graduate student-led initiative to digitize the Department’s squeeze collection and other artefacts. There are still opportunities for new students to work with the collections. Contact: Lisa Cooper.
• SFU/UBC Digital Salon, a research community for digital humanities. Faculty: Siobhán McElduff.
• Computational Research on the Ancient Near East (CRANE). Faculty: Kevin Fisher.
• Ancient Commentator Series. Faculty: Michael Griffin.
We have faculty focusing on aspects of gender, law, economy, politics, urbanism, performance, ethnicity, and social status in ancient Near Eastern, Greek, and Roman civilization. Many of our faculty are interested in historiography, receptions of the ancient world, and digital approaches to the past. Our research strengths in Religious Studies include Hebrew Bible studies, Jewish studies, and early Christian history and literature. In archaeology, our faculty specialize in the material culture of Greater Mesopotamia, the Bronze Age Mediterranean, Palestine, Sicily, and the Roman Empire. In Classical Studies, our strengths include Greek and Roman culture, Greek philosophy, Greek and Latin literature (especially drama and poetry), and Greek mythology.
Additionally, our faculty have expertise in a large range of ancient languages and we are offer rigorous training in Ancient Greek, Latin, Biblical Hebrew, and Classical Arabic as well as introductory courses in Akkadian, Middle Egyptian, and Coptic.
Our students have access to work space in the Graduate Reading Room with exclusive access to a library of ancient texts and seminal scholarship relating to Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies and a computer lab for research and teaching equipped with eight powerful desktop PC computers with dual monitors and a variety of software packages (including ArcGIS, Adobe Creative Suite and Agisoft Photoscan) as well as a 3D printer.
TOEFL (ibT) Overall Score Requirement
IELTS Overall Score Requirement
Supervisor commitment required prior to application?
Deadline to submit online application. No changes can be made to the application after submission.Transcript Deadline
Deadline to upload scans of official transcripts through the applicant portal in support of a submitted application. Information for accessing the applicant portal will be provided after submitting an online application for admission.Referee Deadline
Deadline for the referees identified in the application for admission to submit references. See Letters of Reference for more information.
September 2020 Intake
Application Open Date05 September 2019
We aim to support all of our graduate students, with the vast majority receiving funding. Well qualified PhD applicants (with a completed MA) receive approximately $25,000 per year over four years (including scholarships, teaching assistantships and research assistantships; contingent upon academic performance). Students who are successful in major external competitions may receive over $40,000 per year. Typical support for MA students is around $16,000 per year for two years (contingent upon academic performance). In addition, the Department provides support for student travel and research abroad.
Tuition / Program Costs
|Fees||Canadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / Diplomat||International|
|Installments per year||3||3|
|Tuition per installment||$1,665.26||$2,925.58|
|Tuition per year|
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
|Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible)||$3,200.00 (-)|
|Other Fees and Costs|
|Student Fees (yearly)||$930.14 (approx.)|
|Costs of living (yearly)||starting at $16,884.10 (check cost calculator)|
All fees for the year are subject to adjustment and UBC reserves the right to change any fees without notice at any time, including tuition and student fees. Tuition fees are reviewed annually by the UBC Board of Governors. In recent years, tuition increases have been 2% for continuing domestic students and between 2% and 5% for continuing international students. New students may see higher increases in tuition. Admitted students who defer their admission are subject to the potentially higher tuition fees for incoming students effective at the later program start date. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.
Completion Rates & Times
This list shows faculty members with full supervisory privileges who are affiliated with this program. It is not a comprehensive list of all potential supervisors as faculty from other programs or faculty members without full supervisory privileges can request approvals to supervise graduate students in this program.
Bablitz, Leanne (Roman history, Roman law, Roman courtrooms, , Roman social history and law, Roman topography, Roman legal procedure)
Cooper, Elisabeth (Archaeology of greater Mesopotamia)
Cousland, Robert (classical Greek mythology, Jewish-Hellenistic litereature, Greek mythology and religion, religion and comporary music, film and literature)
De Angelis, Franco (Ancient Greek world history, environment, urbanism, developmnet of societies, colonization, economics, ancient literature)
Fisher, Kevin (Archeological Data Analysis, Archeological Excavation Methods and Techniques, Dynamics of Social Transformations, Urban Spaces and Urbanity, Social Life / Societal Life, Near Eastern archaeology, Mediterranean archaeology, built environments, architecture, urbanism, digital archaeology, social interaction, power)
Gardner, Gregg (Judaism, Rabbinic Literature, Rabbinic Judaism, Mishnah, Talmud, Jewish Studies, Jewish Law, Jewish Ethics, Charity, Jewish Ethics, Archaeology of Israel, Archaeology and Hebrew Bible, Archaeology of Jerusalemn )
Griffin, Michael (Greek philosophy, Ancient philosophy, Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, Proclus, Neoplatonism, Ancient logic )
Keddie, George Anthony (Religion, Ethnicity, and Economy in the Roman East; Apocalypticism in Judaism and Christianity; Jewish and Christian Material Culture and Epigraphy; Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha; Archaeology of Roman Palestine; Urban Contexts of Christian Origins; Classical Ethiopic (Ge'ez) Language and Literature; Theory and Method for Religious Studies and Social History)
Marshall, Christopher Warren (Literary or Artistic Works Analysis, Performance and Theatrical Productions)
McCarty, Matthew (archaeology and art of the Roman Empire and Iron Age Europe/North Africa; ancient religion and ritual practice; interplays between texts, practices, and objects; imperialism, colonialism, and identity in the ancient world; interdisciplinary, cross-cultural, comparative (especially comparison with Qin/Han China), and theoretical approaches; historiography of archaeology)
McElduff, Siobhan (Literary or Artistic Work Analysis, Philosophy, History and Comparative Studies, Popular Cultures Produced and Broadcasted by Media, Translation History (pre-modern), Translation and gesture, Cheap literature and classical reception, Book history (18th, 19th centuries), Ballads)
Milstein, Sara (Religious Contexts, Literary or Artistic Works Analysis, History of Major Eras, Great Civilisations or Geographical Corpuses, Hebrew Bible and Near Eastern Studies, literary history of the Bible, Near Eastern scribal culture, Mesopotamian literature, biblical and cuneiform law)
Schneider, Thomas (Egyptian history and phonoly)
Yoon, Florence (heralds and the representation of the absent; anonymity and naming, particularly in Greek Tragedy; props and silent characters in Greek drama)