Master of Arts in Ancient Culture, Religion and Ethnicity (MA)
The Department of Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies offers a unique interdisciplinary Master's program that allows students to develop a customized program specializing in any topic within the scope of the ancient Mediterranean and Near East from the Bronze Age to Late Antiquity through the completion of coursework and a thesis. Students choose from a broad range of coursework in the archaeology and material culture, religion and mythology, literature and ancient languages, and history and cultures of the ancient Mediterranean and Near East. In the second year of the program, students write a thesis under the supervision of a faculty member. The degree balances research with fieldwork to best prepare students for a career in archaeology.
The program is suitable students with a broad 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 MA in Ancient Culture, Religion and Ethnicity takes full advantage of the unique blend of disciplines in our Department and offers students the opportunity to engage in a broad range of coursework and to pursue interdisciplinary research on the material culture, religious beliefs, languages and histories of the ancient Mediterranean and Near East. We have sixteen full-time faculty specializing in the archaeology of the Bronze Age Eastern Mediterranean, Mesopotamia, Greek material culture, and the Roman provinces; in Hebrew Bible Studies, Jewish Studies, Christian origins, and New Testament Studies; in Greek literature and philosophy, Latin literature and translation, Greek and Roman history, Roman law, Greek and Roman theatre, and Greek mythology. Our faculty are all interdisciplinary researchers whose work regularly engages with other disciplines. There are also archaeological fieldwork opportunities for graduate students across Europe and the Mediterranean, including in Romania, Cyprus, and Israel.
The M.A. program requires 24 credits of coursework and the writing of an MA thesis worth 6 credits (CNRS 549). The 24 credits of coursework must include CNRS 500, and 18 must be numbered 500 or higher. The remaining 6 credits may, at the discretion of the program, be at the 300- or 400-level.
Contact the program
Meet a Representative
Finding and reaching out to prospective supervisors and refereesDate: Tuesday, 26 October 2021
Time: 17:00 to 18:00
For many research-based graduate programs you’ll need to find and secure a supervisor before submitting your application. In this webinar we take a close look at how to search for a supervisor and once you have found them how to reach out. We’ll also discuss the importance of having good references as part of your application and how to identify and approach referees.
This session will cover:
- How to find a supervisor using UBC’s supervisor database.
- What to consider when looking for a supervisor.
- Who makes a great referee?
- Advice on reaching out to referees
Who is this webinar for?
This webinar is for anyone who needs to secure a supervisor as part of the graduate program application to UBC. You can check if your program of interest requires this step by looking at the program’s admission information and requirements on the program page. Find your program at grad.ubc.ca/prospective-students/graduate-degree-programs
Admission Information & Requirements
1) Check Eligibility
Minimum Academic Requirements
The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies establishes the minimum admission requirements common to all applicants, usually a minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% at UBC). The graduate program that you are applying to may have additional requirements. Please review the specific requirements for applicants with credentials from institutions in:
Each program may set higher academic minimum requirements. Please review the program website carefully to understand the program requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitive process.
English Language Test
Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application.
Minimum requirements for the two most common English language proficiency tests to apply to this program are listed below:
TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language - internet-based
Overall score requirement: 100
IELTS: International English Language Testing System
Overall score requirement: 7.0
Other Test Scores
Some programs require additional test scores such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Test (GMAT). The requirements for this program are:
The GRE is not required.
Prior degree, course and other requirements
It is highly recommended that students have completed the equivalent of two years' of study in one of Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew, or Latin prior to commencing the program.
2) Meet Deadlines
September 2022 Intake
Application Open Date05 September 2021
September 2023 Intake
Application Open Date05 September 2022
3) Prepare Application
All applicants have to submit transcripts from all past post-secondary study. Document submission requirements depend on whether your institution of study is within Canada or outside of Canada.
Letters of Reference
A minimum of three references are required for application to graduate programs at UBC. References should be requested from individuals who are prepared to provide a report on your academic ability and qualifications.
Statement of Interest
Many programs require a statement of interest, sometimes called a "statement of intent", "description of research interests" or something similar.
Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.
Instructions regarding supervisor contact for Master of Arts in Ancient Culture, Religion and Ethnicity (MA)
Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.
4) Apply Online
All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.
- 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.
MA students complete coursework and a thesis. Students may also participate in summer field schools for credit. Students with deficiencies in ancient language study also complete undergraduate courses in Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew, Latin, and/or ancient Near Eastern languages (Akkadian, Coptic, Middle Egyptian). Students must demonstrate proficiency in one of French, German, Italian, or Spanish, usually through a translation exam or additional coursework.
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.
Tuition & Financial Support
|Fees||Canadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / Diplomat||International|
|Installments per year||3||3|
|Tuition per installment||$1,732.53||$3,043.77|
|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)||$1,052.34 (approx.)|
|Costs of living (yearly)||starting at $17,126.20 (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.
Applicants to UBC have access to a variety of funding options, including merit-based (i.e. based on your academic performance) and need-based (i.e. based on your financial situation) opportunities.
Program Funding Packages
All of our Master's students are funded. A typical minimum funding package for MA students is around $18,000 (domestic) or $21,000 per year for 20 months from a combination of Teaching Assistantships and fellowships. Most students receive additional funding from external scholarship competitions and Research Assistantship opportunities in the department, with the most successful students receiving over $30,000 per year. In addition, the Department provides support for student travel and research abroad.
Scholarships & awards (merit-based funding)
All applicants are encouraged to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund their graduate education. The database lists merit-based scholarships and awards and allows for filtering by various criteria, such as domestic vs. international or degree level.
Teaching Assistantships (GTA)
Graduate programs may have Teaching Assistantships available for registered full-time graduate students. Full teaching assistantships involve 12 hours work per week in preparation, lecturing, or laboratory instruction although many graduate programs offer partial TA appointments at less than 12 hours per week. Teaching assistantship rates are set by collective bargaining between the University and the Teaching Assistants' Union.
Research Assistantships (GRA)
Many professors are able to provide Research Assistantships (GRA) from their research grants to support full-time graduate students studying under their direction. The duties usually constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is a form of financial support for a period of graduate study and is, therefore, not covered by a collective agreement. Unlike other forms of fellowship support for graduate students, the amount of a GRA is neither fixed nor subject to a university-wide formula. The stipend amounts vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded. Some research projects also require targeted research assistance and thus hire graduate students on an hourly basis.
Financial aid (need-based funding)
Canadian and US applicants may qualify for governmental loans to finance their studies. Please review eligibility and types of loans.
All students may be able to access private sector or bank loans.
Foreign government scholarships
Many foreign governments provide support to their citizens in pursuing education abroad. International applicants should check the various governmental resources in their home country, such as the Department of Education, for available scholarships.
Working while studying
The possibility to pursue work to supplement income may depend on the demands the program has on students. It should be carefully weighed if work leads to prolonged program durations or whether work placements can be meaningfully embedded into a program.
Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals
Canadian residents with RRSP accounts may be able to use the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) which allows students to withdraw amounts from their registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to finance full-time training or education for themselves or their partner.
Please review Filing taxes in Canada on the student services website for more information.
Applicants have access to the cost calculator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.
Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats
These statistics show data for the Master of Arts in Ancient Culture, Religion and Ethnicity (MA). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.
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)
Daniels, Megan (Classical religion; Archaeology of Greece and the broader eastern Mediterranean; Late Bronze Age to Hellenistic Period; Ancient religion, sanctuaries, votive objects; Cross-cultural interaction; Ancient economies and trade; Divine kingship; Digital/data science approaches to the ancient world, particularly ancient religion; Migration and mobility across Eurasia; Phoenician culture; Ceramic analysis)
de Angelis, Franco (Ancient Greek world history, environment, urbanism, developmnet of societies, colonization, economics, ancient literature)
Fisher, Kevin (Classical Greek and Ancient Rome history; Classical archaeology; Classical linguistics; Religion and religious studies; Archeological Data Analysis; Archeological Excavation Methods and Techniques; architecture; built environments; digital archaeology; Dynamics of Social Transformations; Mediterranean archaeology; Near Eastern archaeology; power; Social Life / Societal Life; social interaction; Urban Spaces and Urbanity; urbanism)
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 )
Huemoeller, Katharine (Classical Greek and Ancient Rome history; Classical archaeology; Classical linguistics; Religion and religious studies; Ancient law (in theory and in practice); Documentary texts; gender and sexuality; Non-urban life in antiquity; Roman social history; Slavery (ancient and comparative))
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 (Cinema studies; Classical Greek and Ancient Rome history; Classical archaeology; Classical linguistics; Film, television and digital media; Religion and religious studies; 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 (Classical Greek and Ancient Rome history; Classical archaeology; Classical linguistics; Religion and religious studies; biblical and cuneiform law; Hebrew Bible and Near Eastern Studies; History of Major Eras, Great Civilisations or Geographical Corpuses; literary history of the Bible; Literary or Artistic Works Analysis; Mesopotamian literature; Near Eastern scribal culture; Religious Contexts)
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)
The focus of Ancient Culture, Religion and Ethnicity is on the history, literature, archaeology and religious traditions of the ancient Mediterranean. Research strengths include:
- Mediterranean and Near Eastern Archaeology,
- Hebrew Bible Studies,
- Early Christianity and Judaism,
- Languages and Literature of Greece, Rome and the Near East,
- Reception Studies,
- Digital Humanities, and
- Cultural History.