World-Leading St Andrews Scholarship in Classics and Late Antique History
The University of St Andrews is pleased to offer a full scholarship funded by St Leonard’s Postgraduate College, to support an exceptional student undertaking doctoral research in the following project:
Remembering the Dead on the Edge of Empire: Epitaphs and Social Change in Late Antique Italy (300-600 CE)
This project will examine the transformations of north Italian society between 300 and 600 CE, analysing key developments in the relationship between memory, identity, and social power. Focusing on funerary inscriptions as part of the strategies for social promotion used by inhabitants of Italian cities - including both migrant and ‘indigenous’ groups - it will examine their contribution to the redefinition of the communities in which they lived. The resulting thesis will provide an original picture of late antique Italy, giving voice to new and often neglected social groups and identities. It will also focus directly on a relatively neglected, yet crucially important, set of Late Antique data - inscribed epitaphs. Scholars have recently paid great attention to funerary rites as a means of establishing social standing within a community. Our proposed project goes one step further, focusing on how this activity continued beyond death and burial – through the medium of inscribing words on stone. In doing this, it will represent an innovative and ground-breaking study in late antique studies, whether in terms of its interdisciplinary methodology, approach, and results.
Late antiquity was a period of profound transformations, as imperial structures of power crumbled, Christianity redefined traditional cultural values, and social hierarchies were redrawn. North Italian society was particularly marked by these developments, as Roman emperors and 'Barbarian' kings established their courts in the region, fostering social and cultural changes that gave the area North of Rome a specific identity. This project will challenge existing frameworks through an analysis of this area's rich but still neglected corpus of funerary inscriptions, placing our understanding of late antique history on a much firmer and sophisticated base. Christian epigraphists consider this material in terms of its religious aspects, overlooking its potential for historical studies. Epitaphs recorded the name and standing of a variety of agents across a wide social and economic spectrum; being commissioned by the living, they affirmed social and cultural identities, publicising different views of the social world. They provide information about social structures, gender relations, and personal identities. They thus constitute a crucial source of information for the social history of a world otherwise only accessible through the writings of a narrow group of men. In spite of being relatively overlooked, late antique epitaphs are readily available to scholars, being published in epigraphic collections like Inscriptiones Christianae Italiae and the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum.
This project will require establishing a corpus of inscriptions that will serve as basis for the research and identifying potential case-studies such as well documented cities like Aquileia or provinces like Tuscia et Umbria, for which there is a wealth of comparative material. Quantitative analysis will help to identify the trends that defined the period, and the qualitative and stylistic examination of these texts will be used to assess the forms of personal display adopted by different agents in affirming their ambitions, identities, and standing in late antique society. Focus on case studies will not only make this study feasible, but will also allow the incorporation of archaeological evidence (including field trips), providing a more comprehensive and complex picture of local life, including migrant populations. Probing the chronological and geographical edge of the later Roman empire, sitting at the crossroads between history, archaeology, and Christian epigraphy, this project will thus provide a crucial reconsideration of social and economic developments which shaped the very construction of Europe and the modern world.
Domicile for fee status
Level of study
Postgraduate Research (Doctoral)
Year of entry
2020-2021 academic year; applicants should be able to start their degree in September 2020. In exceptional circumstances, candidates may be allowed to start their degree at any of the approved entry points during the 2020-2021 academic year.
School of Classics and School of History
Applicants must not already (i) hold a doctoral degree; or (ii) be matriculated for a doctoral degree at the University of St Andrews or another institution.
What does it cover?
Duration of award
Up to 3.5 years. The successful candidate will be expected to have completed the doctorate degree by the end of the award term. The award term excludes the continuation period and any extension periods.
Value of award
The award covers full tuition fees for the award term as well as an annual stipend payable at the standard UK Research council rate (the 2019-2020 annual rate is £15,009).
Tuition or maintenance award
Tuition and maintenance.
About St Andrews
Doctoral Research at St Andrews
As a doctoral student at the University of St Andrews you will be part of a growing, vibrant, and intellectually stimulating postgraduate community. St Andrews is one of the leading research-intensive universities in the world and offers a postgraduate experience of remarkable richness.
St Leonard’s Postgraduate College is at the heart of the postgraduate community of St Andrews. The College supports all postgraduates and aims to provide opportunities for postgraduates to come together, socially and intellectually, and make new connections.
St Leonard’s Postgraduate College works closely with the Postgraduate Society which is one of the most active societies within the Students’ Association. All doctoral students are automatically welcomed into the Postgraduate Society when they join the University.
In addition to the research training that doctoral students complete in their home School, doctoral students at St Andrews have access to GRADskills – a free, comprehensive training programme to support their academic, professional, and personal development.
How to apply
- Apply for admission as a doctoral student. Please see the advice on applying for research degree programmes.
- After submitting the research application form in step 1, you will receive an email with a direct link to the Scholarships and Funding catalogue, where you can apply for the World-Leading St Andrews Scholarship.
- Enter the catalogue by following the link in the email and clicking View the scholarships and funding catalogue to apply.
- Select 2020/1 as the Academic Year and click Refresh list.
- Locate World-Leading St Andrews Doctoral Scholarships in the list of scholarships (using the filter box if necessary), click Apply and complete the application form.
- You can also use the catalogue to search and apply for other scholarships for which you are eligible.
As part of the scholarship application you will be required to upload a personal statement. This should serve as a cover letter for the research project application as a whole, and should include an outline of your suitability for the project and why the project interests you. Please include how you meet any specified project criteria, which can be found in the "Eligibility" and "Project Description" sections above.
Please contact email@example.com with any enquiries about the scholarship application process.
When do applications open?
Scholarship application deadline
16 January 2020
When should I apply for the scholarship?
Apply for the scholarship as soon as possible after you have applied for admission.
When will I hear if my application has been successful?
The outcome of your scholarship application will be available on "View my applications" in Scholarships and Funding by late January/early February 2020.