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Image: Felucca sailing on the River Nile

Short courses

We run a number of non-credit bearing courses in Egyptology to enable you to study specific aspects of ancient Egypt online.

Our courses are open to students worldwide, as all course material is delivered over the internet.

You will learn from Egyptologist Dr Joyce Tyldesley, studying through a combination of written learning modules, independent research, group discussions, quizzes and recorded lectures.

Each course includes an introductory unit useful to those new to the study of ancient Egypt, as well as an introduction to the online learning environment and help with study skills. This preliminary information is made available to registered students two weeks before the formal course starts.

You will learn using Egyptian collections at the Manchester Museum via digital images. In addition, you will have access to electronic journals and other resources at the John Rylands Library.

Our courses

We run the following courses twice a year, starting in May and October.

Speech of the Gods 1: Beginners Middle Egyptian

The Ancient Egyptian civilisation flourished in the Nile Valley for more than 3,000 years.

Much of our understanding of this great culture comes from its writings; from the monumental inscriptions that the Egyptians dedicated to their gods, their kings and their ancestors, and from the literary and moralistic tales that they left their descendants.

This script, dubbed hieroglyphikos – Sacred Engravings – by the ancient Greeks, was known to the Egyptians as medu-netjer, Speech of the Gods. After the fall of Pharaonic Egypt, the knowledge of how to read hieroglyphs was lost for more than 1,400 years until the script was deciphered by the French scholar Jean Francois Champollion in 1822.

This course aims to enable students to read basic formulaic inscriptions which they might encounter in a museum setting (such as the Offering Formula). As it is at a beginner's level, it assumes no prior knowledge of hieroglyphs or any other ancient script or language on the part of the students.


  • Week 1: Divine Speech
  • Week 2: From Horapollo to Champollion
  • Week 3: Structure of the Script
  • Week 4: Prepositions
  • Week 5: Titles, epithets and nouns
  • Week 6: The Offering Formula

Speech of the Gods 2: Intermediate Middle Egyptian

This course builds on the lessons drawn from Beginners Middle Egyptian and therefore presumes an intermediate level of knowledge on the part of the participants.

The aim of the course is to enable students to read basic sentences from Middle Egyptian literary texts which have, in some cases, been simplified by the course tutor for ease of reading.


  • Week 1: Suffix and dependent pronouns
  • Week 2: The basic past tense
  • Week 3: The present tense
  • Week 4: Negation and auxiliaries
  • Week 5: Adjectives
  • Week 6: The infinitive

Speech of the Gods 3: Advanced Middle Egyptian

This course will function as a direct continuation of Intermediate Middle Egyptian and presumes that the students have at least this skill level.

The aim of the course is to prepare the students to read a longer portion of a private Middle Egyptian literary text, the Story of Sinuhe.


  • Week 1: The future tense
  • Week 2: The Appeal to the Living
  • Week 3: The relative form and participles
  • Week 4: The stative
  • Week 5: The Story of Sinuhe: Précis
  • Week 6: The Story of Sinuhe: Reading

Queens of Ancient Egypt

This course aims to explore the developing role of the queen of Egypt from Predynastic times until the death of Cleopatra VII in 30 BC.

Taking a chronological approach, with an emphasis on the queens of the New Kingdom, it draws upon a combination of archaeological and textual evidence to tell a fascinating story.


  • Week 1: The Royal Women of Ancient Egypt
  • Week 2: Pyramid Queens: queens of the Old and Middle Kingdoms
  • Week 3: Fighting Queens: queens of the 17th and Earlier 18th Dynasty
  • Week 4: Sun Queens: the royal women of Amarna
  • Week 5: Queens and God's Wives
  • Week 6: Ptolemaic Queens

Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt

This course aims to use a combination of dynastic and Classical art, archaeology, literature and mythology to explore the nature of some of Egypt's better known gods and goddesses.


  • Week 1: Atum and the creation of the world
  • Week 2: The sun god Re
  • Week 3: Hathor, the Golden One
  • Week 4: Osiris, King of the Dead
  • Week 5: Horus and Seth
  • Week 6: Isis


On 4 November 1922, Howard Carter discovered a flight of steps leading down to the long-lost tomb of the little-known 18th Dynasty king, Tutankhamen. The tomb was virtually intact and Tutankhamen's mummified body still lay inside, surrounded by grave goods.

This was by no means the first royal mummy to be discovered, nor the most important, yet Tutankhamen quickly became a celebrity and Egyptology acquired a popular appeal that was reflected beyond the academic world in fashion, architecture and fiction.

Meanwhile in Egypt, an increasingly independent country struggling to enter the modern world, the discovery raised questions about colonialism and the ownership of Egypt's past.

Almost a century after the great discovery, Tutankhamen is undoubtedly ancient Egypt's most famous king.

But what do we actually know about Tutankhamen, king of Egypt, his family and his relatively brief reign? This short course explores the life and times of Tutankhamen, drawing upon a combination of archaeological, textual and biomedical evidence to reconstruct a fascinating and still developing story.


  • Week 1: Tutankhamen in context: the late 18th Dynasty
  • Week 2: The Discovery of Tutankhamen's Tomb
  • Week 3: Tutankhamen's Grave Goods
  • Week 4: Finding a Family for Tutankhamen
  • Week 5: The Life and Death of an Egyptian King
  • Week 6: Egyptian Curses: Ancient and Modern


Course structure

Each course consists of six learning modules, released weekly for six weeks. Although these six learning modules are released on a weekly basis, they do not have to be completed within that week, as the course remains open for four weeks after the release of the last module to allow time for late completion and further discussion.

Students who complete all six specified activities and contribute regularly to the course discussion boards will receive a Certificate of Completion.

Each learning module is estimated to take between four and six hours to complete (between 24 and 36 hours for the whole short course).

Fees and how to apply

The fee is £270 per short course. You can pay either online with a debit or credit card through the University e-store, or by personal or building society cheque (UK students only). Contact for more information about paying by cheque.

Please ensure you meet our computer requirements and that you read the terms and conditions (PDF) before completing the registration form.

Before applying, please refer to The University's Privacy Notice for prospective students, applicants and offer-holders so that you are aware of how your data will be processed:


You can start each short course at two points in the academic year, 15 October (register by 30 September) and 15 May (register by 30 April).

Please note that places on the courses are limited, so you are advised to complete the registration form as early as possible to avoid disappointment.