Coptic studies

Coptic studies

Coptology is the study of Coptic - the last phase of the Egyptian language -  and the literature, culture and religion of Egypt in the first millennium CE. Study of Coptic is crucial to a full understanding of the Egyptian language, Egypt forms a vital part of the early Christian world, and thousands of papyri from Roman and Late Antique Egypt document the history of the ancient world in a way not possible in other parts of the Roman empire. For these reasons, Coptic studies is both an important aspect of Egyptian, Early Christianity, and Roman studies, and a significant subject in its own right.

Macquarie University is the ideal environment for Coptic Studies. The unique placing of First Millennium Egypt at the intersection of many fields is mirrored by the university's strengths in Egyptology, Late Antiquity, Greek papyrology, and Early Christian Studies. All these areas are represented in the teaching, research, and outreach programs of the Department of Ancient History and the Ancient Cultures Research Centre at Macquarie.

At the centre of teaching and research in Coptic Studies here at Macquarie is the great age of Egyptian Christianity, with several units in Coptic language from beginning to advanced Coptic and thematic units on history, art and archaeology, and monasticism. Research projects examine the rise and development of monasticism Egypt, scribal practice in Coptic papyri, and the publication of monastic texts from Macquarie excavations in Western Thebes.

At Macquarie, Coptic Studies may be studied in a Bachelor of Ancient History or Bachelor of Arts, or in the Graduate Certificate of Ancient History (which can articulate into the Master of Ancient History degree). Training in these programs can lead to the Master of Research, which is a pathway to the PhD program. All Coptic studies units can be completed entirely online by students in Australia and overseas.

Units offered in Coptic Studies at Macqaurie:


UnitWhen offered
AHIS268 Coptic A Session 2 every year
AHIS268 Coptic B Session 1 every year
AHIS368 Coptic C Session 2 every year
AHIS261 Egypt in the First Millennium CE Every second year (next in Session 2 2019)


UnitWhen offered
AHPG855 Coptic Art and Archaeology Every second year (next in Session 1 2019)
AHIS857 Monasticism in Egypt Every second year (next in 2020)

These units can be done as part of three degrees:

Undergraduate bachelor degrees

AHIS 261, 268-269, and AHIS 368 can be taken as part of a Bachelor of Arts, or within the Bachelor of Ancient History.

Graduate Certificate of Ancient History

In this 4 unit degree, students may do two undergraduate units (such as AHIS268 and AHIS 269), plus two postgraduate units (such as AHPG 855 and 857). This degree thus can provide an excellent focussed introduction to Coptic history and language.

Within the Graduate Certificate of Ancient History, undergraduate units are done under the codes AHIS600 and AHIS 601: students enrol in these units, and then pick the undergraduate unit they wish to do under that code.

Master of Ancient History

In this postgraduate degree, students may do AHPG 855 and 857, along with other units on other periods of Egyptian history, and early Christianity.

St Cyrils Coptic Orthodox Theological College and Sydney College of Divinity students

Students undertaking degrees at St Cyrils Coptic Orthodox Theological College and Sydney College of Divinity may take Coptic Studies units at Macquarie and have them credited to their St Cyrils / SCD degree. To do this, students should follow the following steps:

Postgraduate students

  • Enrol in Graduate Certificate of Ancient History
    • Information on the degree may be found here, where there is information on how to apply for the degree
    • Applications for study in Session 1 2019 close in early February 2019: Check the UAC Website for further information.
  • Once you are accepted into the degree, enrol in AHIS600 Ancient Languages Foundation in Session1 and AHIS601 Ancient Historical Studies: Foundation in session 2
  • Inform the convenor of the degree, Dr Danijel Dzino by email ( that you wish to take AHIS 268 Coptic A in AHIS600 and/or AHIS 269 Coptic B within AHIS601
  • If you wish, you may also enrol in AHPG855 Coptic Art and Archaeology or AHPG857 Monasticism in Egypt, depending on which is offered that year.

Undergraduate students

Students wishing to take undergraduate Coptic studies units should enrol in them via the non-award program. Applications for Session 1 2019 close on 8 February 2019. Further information may be found here.

Content owner: Department of Ancient History Last updated: 17 Apr 2019 11:55am

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