Student written off after failing his ALevels starts PhD at Leicester

Written off at 18 after failing his A-levels, Richard Evans has just embarked on a PhD course at Leicester. The 26-year-old puts his turn around in fortunes down to the support he has received while studying for a BA in Ancient History & Archaeology.

Having failed his A-levels, Richard was told to forget about going to university. He decided to take an Access course at his local college in Peterborough and achieved a high distinction – paving the way to apply for a place at university.

Richard graduated with spectacular results in BA Ancient History & Archaeology which included achieving a mark for his final dissertation that was equal to the highest ever awarded in the department. This achievement was despite having been diagnosed with dyslexia in his second year at Leicester.

Following his success at Leicester, he then went on to take his Master's in Ancient History at Edinburgh. Richard has just secured, against fierce competition, full funding from the M3C (Midlands Three Cities) consortium, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, for a PhD which sees him return to our University.

Professor Graham Shipley, of the School of Archaeology and Ancient History, who supported Richard through his BA and is first supervisor for his PhD, said: “Richard showed immense promise from year one, when he was always on top of the work and reading round his subjects to a greater degree than almost any student I've taught.

“Students could learn a lot from Richard's drive and reflective learning strategy, and from his never being shy about approaching any member of staff to test his ideas on them. Clearly he has overcome huge hurdles before and during university, and has shown great courage and determination.”

Richard’s PhD is on violence against non-combatants in civil war – terrorism and genocide in the ancient world. He will be looking at significant events happening alongside major wars recorded in Greek history and aims to ‘expose what historians have ignored’. 

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