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Postgraduate student perspectives

Ian Fielding

British Academy Post-doctoral Fellow, Oxford University

Ian Fielding

After graduating from Warwick in 2005 with a BA in Classical Civilisation, I chose to remain in the Department of Classics and Ancient History to continue my studies at postgraduate level. When I completed my MA by Research in 2006, I was lucky enough to be awarded a fully-funded doctoral studentship at Warwick, and went on to submit my PhD thesis in 2010. With its commitment to excellence and innovation in research, in addition to its wide range of specialisms, the Department has provided a very beneficial environment for me to pursue my interests through postgraduate study. As part of the dynamic intellectual community at Warwick, I have been able to further my appreciation of classical texts, as well as the influence they have exercised in other periods of history and their impact on culture today.

[Editorial update: Following his PhD Ian was a Teaching Fellow in our Department and now holds a British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Oxford University.]

Rebecca Taylor

Current PhD candidate

Rebecca Taylor

Having completed my degree I was encouraged to undertake postgraduate study and really felt that Warwick had given me the skills and the enthusiasm to do so.

From Warwick I went to Swansea for my Master's year where I felt fully prepared to take on a taught Master's and to continue my research into ancient natural science. Having attained a distinction in my Master's I returned to Warwick where once again the Classics department accommodated my chosen and current PhD topic on ancient meteorology and medicine in the 5th and 4th Century BC.

Now as a PhD candidate, the Classics department has really helped me through the transition from taught courses to a purely research-based course. I feel that Warwick has also provided me with every possible opportunity to advance my academic career. Not only have I been offered invaluable advice regarding funding and research, I have been funded through extra language classes and offered teaching experience within the Classics department.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Warwick not only because of the countless opportunities available but also because of the friendly and supportive atmosphere which I found in every part of the university.

Elspeth Levitt

MA in Ancient Visual and Material Culture, 2005/06

Elspeth Levitt

During the final year of my undergraduate degree in Ancient History and Classical Archaeology at Warwick, I realised that not only did I not want to leave the university I had grown to love, but also there was still so much of the classical world I wished to explore.

The art and architecture of the ancient world had always been my favourite element of the classical world, so when the MA in Ancient Visual and Material Culture was introduced I jumped at the opportunity to learn more about the great monuments and artistic achievements of ancient Greece and Rome.

Having been accepted onto the MA I chose to study the optional modules of Ancient Numismatics, The Art of the Ancient World, Latin Language and Literature, in addition to the compulsory Approaching Ancient Visual and Material Culture module and the dissertation (Greek Temple Sculpture).

I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about ancient art at a more intensive level. Despite being challenging at times, it was a different experience to my undergraduate degree, and I feel has equipped me to face challenges in the work place, enhancing skills obtained at an undergraduate level. I am now hoping to enter a career in teaching.

Ian Repath

Lecturer in Classics
Swansea University

Ian Repath

Having done my undergraduate degree at Oxford, I came to Warwick to undertake postgraduate research in ancient Greek fiction for a PhD. Although Warwick is a very different sort of university, and the modern environment couldn't have formed a greater contrast with the medieval town of Oxford, I immediately felt at home, not least because everyone in the department of Classics and Ancient History was so friendly. In fact, I was made to feel more like a member of staff than a student!

I was attracted to Warwick by a number of factors, including funding opportunities, the resources available for postgraduate students, the wealth of relevant expertise and experience among the department's staff, and the research rating of the department. Postgraduates also make up a large proportion of the population of Warwick students (c. 40%), and this meant that although I was working on my own project, I didn't feel isolated; in fact, I met a very large range of people working on all subjects from all over the globe, and in particular learned a great deal from others working in departments such as English and Philosophy. With such a large number of postgraduates, Warwick is very serious about ensuring that its students have the relevant skills-training for their discipline so that they complete their studies successfully and are equipped for their careers, whether in academia or not. Since I wanted to pursue an academic career, I also felt it was important to gain some teaching experience while doing my PhD before applying for jobs, and the department enabled me to do this by allocating me some Latin and Greek classes and seminar teaching.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Warwick, made some lasting friendships, and was well looked after. It is certainly a good place to be a postgraduate student, and has concentrations of research interest which are very appealing to those who want to carry on with Classics beyond an undergraduate degree.

[Ian Repath is now Lecturer in Classics at Swansea University. His principal research interests are Greek and Latin prose fiction, and literary aspects of Plato. He is a founding member of KYKNOS, the Swansea, Lampeter, and Exeter Centre for Research in Ancient Narrative Literatures.]