You will experience a wide variety of teaching methods in the Durham department. For most modules, lectures provide the essential core of information and analysis which you will need as the basis for your own reading and study. The lectures for some first-year modules will be given by several different teachers, so that you experience a variety of ideas and approaches. Lectures will usually be supplemented by seminars in which you will engage in smaller-group discussion and exploration of topics which you have been asked to prepare in advance; and by essay tutorials, which provide an opportunity to discuss with the tutor and a group of other students material which you have researched and written up as an essay. Language classes will take different forms depending on the level of study, but they will always involve a high degree of student participation, to enable you to understand how the language works and to acquire the vocabulary and skills necessary for you to read Greek and Latin texts for yourselves. Whatever kind of teaching you receive, the objective will be to encourage your own independent study and thinking for yourself. You will be able to put the results into practice in researching and writing up an 8,000-word dissertation in your final year, which is a standard requirement of all our degree programmes.
Each year of study is assessed separately, with the second and third years contributing to your final degree classification. The first year is a preliminary year which, once successfully completed, has no effect on your final result. If you feel more suited to one of our other programmes after completing the common first year, it will be easy for you to make the change. Individual modules will have their own different forms of assessment, depending on the subject-matter: most will involve a combination of written examination and assessed coursework, though the proportions will vary, and some modules (predominantly the language-based ones) will be assessed by examination alone.