St Andrews and Sapienza joint PhD in Classics 2020-2021 entry

The Sapienza University of Rome and the University of St Andrews have established an agreement to allow PhD candidates to undertake research leading to the award of a joint doctoral degree in Classics.

The aim of the joint PhD is to train high-profile researchers, benefitting from the diversity of expertise, methodology and culture of two highly-ranked Classics departments. 

Course type

Joint doctoral degree in Classics

Course dates

The joint PhD student for this entry will begin the PhD between September 2020 and May 2021.

Course duration

The PhD consists of three years of full-time study. Extensions are only allowed in exceptional circumstances and with the agreement of the relevant authorities at each institution.

Each student is expected to spend 18 months in each institution and will normally spend the first 18 months at the institution to which they applied (Sapienza 2020-2021).

Entry requirements

Applicants for the PhD must have a minimum of a good 2.1 Masters degree in Classics, equivalent to a second-level degree (laurea magistrale, laurea specialistica or diploma di laurea).

Applicants must also meet the English language requirements. If a student requires an English language certificate, this must be gained before the start of the PhD.

International students

Depending on your nationality, you may require a visa to study in the UK and Italy:

Tuition fees

There is only one place on this programme, and the successful applicant will receive the scholarship. The scholarship covers full tuition fees and a maintenance allowance. Applicants should state that they wish to apply for the joint PhD and scholarship at the start of their written exam at Sapienza. There are no places on the joint PhD for self-funding applicants or for those in receipt of other scholarships.   

One scholarship per year may be available at up to €19,800 per year (or the sterling equivalent) for three years. There will be no increase in stipend during the mobility periods at either St Andrews or Sapienza. While studying at St Andrews and Sapienza, applicants in receipt of the scholarship will have fees covered by the scholarship.

Application deadline

Applications for the 2020-2021 joint PhD will be accepted from April to June 2019 on the Sapienza Classics website. The relevant deadlines for applications will be published by Sapienza closer to the time, under the programme “Doctorate in Philology and Ancient History.”

Application requirements

For the joint PhD starting in 2020-2021, you will need to submit an application for the Doctorate in Philology and Ancient History at Sapienza. You will need to take an oral and written exam at Sapienza University in Rome. To apply for the Sapienza-St Andrews joint PhD in Classics, you must state this at the beginning of your written exam.

There is one place available per year for the Sapienza-St Andrews joint degree, and the scholarship is connected to this place.

Course information

The Sapienza University of Rome and the University of St Andrews are pleased to offer a joint programme leading to the award of a joint doctoral degree in Classics. The thesis and research must be in the area of Classical languages and literature. 

Programme structure

Candidates will normally begin the joint the degree at the institution to which they apply: this will be Sapienza for the student starting in 2020-2021.

Students will spend three years in total as a resident student at both St Andrews and Sapienza (18 months at each institution). Students will divide their time into study blocks in order to facilitate access to the resources, human and otherwise, that will maximise their research opportunities.

The agreement provides students with access to one supervisor at each institution throughout the duration of their degree. Students are expected to engage with both supervisors from start to finish, and to meet regularly with all parties, either in person or using virtual methods such as video call.

Students are encouraged to take part in doctoral training, undergraduate teaching and research seminars at both universities.

Classics at Sapienza

The Department of Classics at Sapienza offers excellent teaching and supervision. Sapienza was ranked the best university for classics and ancient history in the QS World University Rankings 2019.

The Department has its own peer-reviewed journals, a wide range of specialised laboratories and extensive library collections of around 150,000 books and journals.

The Department organises a large number of events and coordinates archaeological projects in Europe, Africa and the Near and Far East. 

Sapienza University of Rome was founded in 1303 and is one of the largest European universities. Sapienza is home to several archaeological museums, including:

  • Museum of the Origins
  • Museum of Classical Art
  • Museum of Etruscan and Italian Antiquities
  • Museum of the Near East, Egypt and Mediterranean.

Classics at St Andrews

St Andrews is one of the leading centres for Classics in Britain. The School works across the full range of Greek and Latin literature, ancient history, ancient philosophy, and art and archaeology. 

Classics at St Andrews was ranked second equal for research in the UK Research Excellence Framework 2014. The School has a busy programme of conferences, workshops and visiting speakers. Postgraduates and staff share ongoing research in friendly and supportive seminars.

The School of Classics has a strong social identity and a vibrant research environment. The School of Classics has four research centres:

Supervision and examinations


Both universities will ensure that the supervisors for students carry out the duties normally expected of them in their own institution. The supervisors from each institution will hold an actual or virtual meeting with you at least once per year.

The progression of research candidates will follow normal procedures as per the local rules of the institution in which the student is registered at the time.

Thesis and examinations

There will be one doctoral examination conducted according to the regulations at Sapienza. The examination will be a viva voce (viva) and will be conducted in English at Sapienza. The joint PhD committee will appoint two external examiners for the viva. Full details will be provided in the individual candidate agreement.

The thesis will be written in English and, where appropriate, will contain a substantial synopsis written in another language. Summaries of the thesis will be written and distributed according to the regulations of each institution.

Visit St Andrews

If you are interested in studying at St Andrews, join us at a visiting day to explore the town, find out about our courses and meet current students.

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Virtual events

Join our Admissions team for one of our upcoming virtual events. During these events, you can find out more about studying at St Andrews and what it will do for your future.



The School of Classics at St Andrews is housed in Swallowgate, an attractive building which overlooks the sea and is close to the University Library. It has its own class library and computer facilities. The School endeavours to provide desk space to as many research students as possible, mostly within Swallowgate. Research students have a dedicated 24-hour office space within the School. 

University accommodation at St Andrews is also available for postgraduate students, provided all necessary application deadlines are met.

The Department of Classics at Sapienza University of Rome is located on the main Sapienza campus in the north east of Rome. It is close to the main university library, the Department of Classics museums, and the National Central Library of Rome.

The Hello Help Desk at Sapienza can advise students on finding accommodation in Rome and accessing university services.


St Andrews and Sapienza will award a joint degree with the title of Doctor of Philosophy/Dottorato di Ricerca in Filologia e Storia del Mondo Antico if the appropriate standards are met in the thesis presented and in the examination.

Students can choose to graduate at one ceremony at either St Andrews or Rome and will be awarded a single joint certificate.

The certificate will clearly state that the degree was jointly supervised and will carry the crest of both institutions. 


Students shall be entitled to the same rights and privileges as other students enrolled at the host institution. 

At St Andrews these include:

At Sapienza these include:

Contact information

For questions, contact Giuseppe Pezzini (, director of the Joint PhD Committee.

School of Classics at St Andrews
Butts Wynd
St Andrews
KY16 9AL

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2020

School of Classics website

Dipartimento di Scienze dell’Antichità
Sapienza Università di Roma
Facoltà di Lettere e Filosofia
Piazzale Aldo Moro 5
00185 Roma

Phone: 0039 06/49913604

Sapienza website


Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our Admissions policy.

The student will be registered at both institutions according to the terms and regulations specific to each of them. Registration will be administered by Registry at St Andrews and by the relevant PhD Programme at Sapienza. Personal details of the student will be shared between both institutions to facilitate registration but shall otherwise be maintained confidential in accordance with data protection laws. 

For day-to-day functions, the local rules of the institution in which the student is resident at the time will apply. 

Curriculum development

As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online. (PDF, 72 KB).

Tuition fees

The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online. (PDF, 84 KB).