We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Department of Classics and Ancient History

Ancient History

Ancient History (V110)

If you are primarily interested in the history of the Greeks and Romans, this is the programme to choose. The first year shares with our other programmes the two core modules entitled Remembering Athens and Monuments and Memory in the Age of Augustus, which will introduce you to classical Athens and early imperial Rome. This will prepare you for a wide range of more specifically historical modules about politics and society in the ancient world available in your second and third years: at least half your programme in these years will concentrate on historical topics, and in your final year you will write a dissertation on a subject of your choice.

Here are the official regulations for Ancient History.

V110 Ancient History BA

Degree BA
Year of Entry 2016
Mode of study Full Time
Duration 3 years
Location Durham City
Typical offers A Level: AAA

Please also check Requirements and Admissions .
Alternative qualifications
Department(s) Website
Telephone +44 (0) 191 334 1670
Download Download as a PDF


Year 1

In the first year, all students take two interdisciplinary modules that serve to give everyone grounding in the central periods of Greek and Roman culture:

  • Remembering Athens
  • Monuments and Memory in the Age of Augustus.

Other previous first-year optional modules included:

  • Beginners’ Latin and Greek
  • Intermediate Latin and Greek for those with an A-level or equivalent
  • Greek Art and Architecture
  • Early Greek Philosophy
  • The Craft of the Ancient Historian
  • Living in the Classical World.

Year 2

Many of the modules in the second year are broad surveys, for example of a historical period or a literary genre.

Students of Latin and Greek may carry on to a higher level in the second year, where the level depends on whether they took Beginners’ language in the first year or came in with an A-level.

Historical offerings have previously included:

  • Archaic Greece
  • Athens, Sparta and the Greek World
  • History of The Hellenistic Age
  • Crisis of The Roman Republic
  • Emperors and Dynasties.

Cultural surveys have previously included:

  • The Ancient Novel
  • Traditions of Epic
  • Greek Literature and The Near East
  • Interpreting Greek Tragedy Today
  • Creation and Cosmology
  • Being Human: Classical Perspectives
  • The Literary and Political Culture of The Roman Republic.

Year 3 (Year 4 if undertaking a Year Abroad)

All students write a Dissertation in the third year. You choose a topic at the end of your second year in consultation with an adviser, with whom you will meet regularly for guidance throughout year three. Students of Latin and Greek will proceed to the next level, with the texts becoming more difficult or fragmentary. Most other modules in the third year cover specific topics that arise out of the research interests of the members of staff.

Historical modules have previously included:

  • Law and Society in Classical Athens
  • Roman Syria
  • Writing Alexander
  • The World of Greek Rituals and Greeks and Persians.

Cultural topics have previously included:

  • The Gods in Greek Literature
  • Ancient Literary Criticism
  • Love and Sex in Ancient Poetry
  • Knowledge and Doubt in Hellenistic Philosophy.
N.B. For this course the study of ancient languages is not required, though it is permitted as an option; and each year at least half of your modules must be on historical topics.

Study Abroad

Classics and Ancient History

Single Honours courses include an optional European Studies element as part of the ERASMUS scheme, whereby students may spend the third year of a four-year course studying at a European university. We currently have ERASMUS exchange links with universities in Belgium (Liege), France (Bordeaux), Germany (Tubingen, Munich), Greece (Athens), Italy (Bologna, Rome, Milan, Vercelli), the Netherlands (Free University, Amsterdam, Groningen), Spain (Seville) and Switzerland (Fribourg), with further to come. Students interested in studying abroad should apply to transfer to the European Studies course after their first year of study.

The BA Ancient History will give you an average of 8 hours of timetabled tuition every week over the course of the programme (which is at the upper end of the standard defined by CUCD, the national subject body for Classics).

The aim of the programme is to make help you become an independent learner and researcher in the field of Ancient History. In order to do this, it progresses from a greater number of contact hours, designed to promote and support your own study (in your first year, you can expect to receive 9 hours of contact with lecturers each week), to a greater intensity of contact in more specialised areas as you gain in independence and experience. (In your second and third years, you can expect, respectively, 8 and 7 hours of contact in smaller groups and one-to-one supervision.)

The contact time is made up of weekly lectures, delivered by experts who are active in research in the relevant fields, supported by at least six smaller-group seminars or tutorials per module, designed to give you the opportunity to explore the material covered in lectures in more depth, and to receive detailed feedback on formative assignments.

First-year modules focus on ensuring that your have a bedrock of knowledge and skills across a number of sub-disciplines which you share with all other students in the Department. Two core modules,Remembering Athens and Monuments and Memory, include seminars with a special emphasis on research skills. Other modules start to introduce more specialised foundations in the study of ancient history, as well as allowing scope for the study of ancient literature, language, and philosophy.

In the second and third years topics are increasingly offered from current research interests of lecturers; lecture and seminar / tutorial sizes become progressively smaller; more scope for interaction with staff is built in.

The final-year dissertation gives you your richest opportunity to exercise your skills in independent learning and research. You receive two hours of collective and individual support in choosing a topic at the end of your second year; and three hours of one-to-one supervisory support with an expert in the field through the writing of the dissertation in your final year.

Every module coordinator is available for consultation by students about particular issues, and advertises office hours when their presence can be guaranteed. You will be allocated an academic adviser, with whom you will discuss your module choices within the context of your interests and aims (academic and personal). You will meet with your adviser at least three times a year; but the adviser is available for consultation throughout the year.

You are encouraged to attend the Department’s two research seminar series, which are scheduled at times when you would be available to attend. In addition, the student-run Classics Society regularly organises guest speakers – often attracting very high-profile scholars from outside Durham.

Finally, you will have the opportunity to attend events and workshops focussed on your future career, organised in collaboration with alumni of the Department and the Careers, Employability, and Enterprise Centre.

Subject requirements, level and grade

In addition to satisfying the University’s general entry requirements, please note:

  • We welcome applications from those with other qualifications equivalent to our standard entry requirements and from mature students with non-standard qualifications or who may have had a break in their study. For more information or contact our Admissions Selectors
  • Classical subjects are not essential for any of our courses
  • We will be reviewing our entry requirements for 2016 entry in the summer of 2015 and will publish finalised entry requirements for 2016 entry before 1 September 2015
  • We do not include General Studies or Critical Thinking as part of our offer
  • We are pleased to consider applications for deferred entry.

How to apply

English Language requirements

Please check requirements for your subject and level of study

Information relevant to your country


Full Time Fees

EU Student £9,000.00
Home Student £9,000.00
Island Student £9,000.00
International non-EU Student £16,500.00

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and funding