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Department of Classics and Ancient History


Classics (Q801)

This is the programme to choose if you want to make one or both of the classical languages the central feature of your studies. Up to two-thirds (and a minimum of one-third) of your programme in each year will be devoted to learning Greek and/or Latin to enable you to read and enjoy classical texts in the original languages.

The programme has been designed in two levels, to accommodate both those who have already studied the languages at school and those who enter as beginners, and you can focus your attention on both Latin and Greek. Depending on how much of your programme you are devoting to the language(s), you will also have the opportunity to broaden your experience of the ancient world with a wide choice of modules embracing the literature, history and philosophy of the Greeks and Romans.

Here are the official regulations for Classics.

Q801 Classics BA Undergraduate  2017



UCAS code Q801
Degree BA
Mode of study Full Time
Duration 3 years
Location Durham City
Typical Offers A-Level
International Baccalaureate
Please also check Requirements and Admissions.
Alternative qualifications

Department(s) Website
Telephone +44 (0)191 334 1670
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Course Summary

Course Summary


The core of the Classics course is language, although how much language is studied and at what level depends upon the individual student. The course is perfect for those entering with A-levels in Greek and/or Latin, but it is also available to those who have never studied an ancient language before. We offer modules in both Latin and Greek, in both prose and verse, at every level.

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 first-year optional modules have previously 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.

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
  • Alexandria
  • 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
  • Living in the Classical World
  • 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
  • Hellenistic Poetry: Theory and Practice
  • Historiography, Propaganda and the Persian Wars
  • Love and Sex in Ancient Poetry
  • Knowledge and Doubt in Hellenistic Philosophy.

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.

Course Detail

Course Detail

To find out more about the modules available to students studying at Durham University in 2016 please click here.

Please note: Current modules are indicative. Information for future academic years may change, for example, due to developments in the relevant academic field, or in light of student feedback.

Learning and Teaching

Course Learning and Teaching

Classics will give you an average of 9 hours of timetabled tuition every week over the course of the programme – a figure at the upper end of the standard defined by CUCD, the national subject body for Classics. It is slightly higher than the figure for our other Single Honours programmes, reflecting the enhanced level of support required for the study of the ancient languages, which lies at the heart of this programme.

The aim of the programme is to make help you become an independent learner and researcher in the field of Classics Studies. In order to do this, it progresses from a greater numberof contact hours, designed to promote and support your own study (in your first and second years, 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 final year, you can expect 7 hours of contact in smaller groups and one-to-one supervision.)

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. As well as the languages (which are taught in two classes per week for each single module), you will take two core modules, Remembering Athens and Monuments and Memory, which include seminars with a special emphasis on research skills. Other modules start to introduce more specialised foundations in the study of ancient history, literature, 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 between students and 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 should 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

Requirements and Admissions

Admissions Process

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 contact our Admissions Selectors
  • Classical subjects are not essential for any of our courses, but for the Classics (Q801), we look for evidence of linguistic ability
  • For Ancient, Medieval and Modern History (V101) we require Grade A in History at A-level
  • We will be reviewing our entry requirements for 2017 entry in the summer of 2016 and will publish finalised entry requirements for 2017 entry before 1 September 2016
  • We do not include General Studies or Critical Thinking as part of our offer
  • We are pleased to consider applications for deferred entry.
  • If you are an international student who does not meet the requirements for direct entry to this degree, you may be eligible to take an International Foundation Year pathway programme at the Durham University International Study Centre.

English Language requirements

Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

How to apply

Information relevant to your country

Fees and Funding

Fees and Funding

Full Time Fees

EU Student £9,250.00 per year
Home Student £9,250.00 per year
Island Student £9,250.00 per year
International non-EU Student £17,400.00 per year

Note: Fees are subject to review and change in-line with inflation.

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and funding 

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