Ancient History BA


Fact file - 2017 entry

UCAS code:V110
Qualification:BA Hons
Type and duration:3 year UG
Qualification name:Ancient History
UCAS code
UCAS code
Ancient History | BA Hons
3 years full-time (available part-time)
A level offer
AAB-ABB (or BCC via a foundation year)
Required subjects
No more than one fine art or performance subject
IB score
Course location
University Park Campus 
Course places


This course examines the political, social, economic and cultural history of ancient Greece and Rome, looking not just at facts and events, but what lies behind them.
Read full overview

This course examines the political, social, economic and cultural history of ancient Greece and Rome. It does not merely handle facts and events, but what lies behind them and what makes them significant and exciting: progress and decline, labour and leisure, revolution and reconciliation, and much more. No previous knowledge of Greek or Latin is required and, except in designated language modules, all texts are read in translation. The study of either Greek or Latin is optional.

Year one

You will study two core survey modules which give you an integrated introduction to the history and culture of Greece and Rome and their reception, along with three modules going into more depth on methods, sources and approaches in the areas of history, literature and art - each building up skills in different types of assessment. You are warmly encouraged to begin or continue Latin or Greek, or you can choose modules from another department.

Year two

Your second year involves both core and optional modules. All students take Extended Source Study and Studying Classical Scholarship, to prepare you for third-year dissertation work. These involve detailed investigation of an ancient source and an important piece of modern scholarship. In each case students can choose between five case-studies. Classics and Popular Culture explores the reception of the ancient world in modern popular media, while the Independent Second-Year Project provides an opportunity to choose nearly any aspect of antiquity to research, and any non-essay format in which to communicate it. Option modules cover a changing selection of topics in Greek and Roman history, while there is the opportunity to continue or start learning Greek or Latin.

Year three

You will develop and pursue your own interests through a 10,000-word dissertation on any area of ancient history, and take a special subject module which involves in-depth study of a particular topic in seminars. Optional modules, or language work, complete the year.


Entry requirements

A levels: AAB-ABB

This course may also be accessed via a foundation year for which the entry requirements are BCC at A level, find out more here.

English language requirements 

IELTS 7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

Students who require extra support to meet the English language requirements for their academic course can attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education (CELE) to prepare for their future studies. Students who pass at the required level can progress directly to their academic programme without needing to retake IELTS. Please visit the CELE webpages for more information.

Alternative qualifications 

We recognise that potential students have a wealth of different experiences and follow a variety of pathways into higher education, so we treat applicants with alternative qualifications (besides A-levels and the International Baccalaureate) as individuals, and accept students with a range of less conventional qualifications including:

  • Access to HE Diploma
  • Advanced Diploma
  • BTEC Extended Diploma

This list is not exhaustive, and we consider applicants with other qualifications on an individual basis. The entry requirements for alternative qualifications can be quite specific; for example you may need to take certain modules and achieve a specified grade in those modules. Please contact us to discuss the transferability of your qualification.

For more information, please see the alternative qualifications page.


Flexible admissions policy

In recognition of our applicants’ varied experience and educational pathways, The University of Nottingham employs a flexible admissions policy. We may make some applicants an offer lower than advertised, depending on their personal and educational circumstances. Please see the University’s admissions policies and procedures for more information.  


Typical Year One Modules


Studying the Greek World

This wide-ranging module introduces you to the history, literature and art of the Greek World from 1600BC-31BC, from the Bronze Age to a point when Greece had become part of the Roman  Empire; no prior knowledge of the Greek world is required. You will consider major chapters of Greece’s history, such as the Mycenean Period, the Dark Ages, and the rise of the city-state in  the Archaic period. You will also explore developments in Greek literary and artistic culture and as consider aspects of the reception of ancient Greece in modern western culture. For this  module you will have one 2-hour lecture each week over the course of 10 weeks. 


Studying the Roman World

This module introduces you to the history, literature and art of the Roman world from the beginnings of the city of Rome to the fall of the Roman Empire in the West. You will examine many  important aspects of Rome’s history such as the Roman Republic, the rise of the empire, the establishment of the Principate, and the fall of Rome. At the same time you will explore developments in  Roman literary and artistic culture, and consider aspects of the reception of ancient Rome in modern western culture. In addition, you will examine the relationship of the Roman world to the  Greek world which complements the Autumn semester module ‘Studying the Greek World'. For this module you will have one 2-hour lecture each week. 


Interpreting Ancient History

This module considers some of the important historical issues from major periods of Greek and Roman history with an emphasis on the methodological questions raised from ancient source materials and modern debates on those issues. On completion of this module you will understand the kinds of evidence on which ancient historians rely, as well as appreciating how contemporary preoccupations can influence the perspectives of modern practitioners of the discipline and generate debate between them. For this module you will have eight 1-hour seminars over the year and two 1-hour lectures each week.


Interpreting Ancient Literature

Ancient literature from Homer to late antiquity is studied in this module by focusing on a representative theme. Recent themes have been 'Perfomance and Persuasian' and 'Love and War'; Issues treated have included: the relationship of literature and society, oral culture, performance, genre, gender, religion and literature, and analysis of style. This is a required module for ancient historians since familiarity with how to handle ancient texts is essential for a proper appreciation of Greek and Roman history. For this module you will have eight 1-hour seminars over the year and two 1-hour lectures each week.


Interpreting Ancient Art

In this module you will explore Greek and Roman art with the aim of gaining a broad overview of visual material from classical antiquity, by concentrating on a cross-section of the most famous objects and monuments of Greek and Roman culture. You will be introduced to temple-sculpture, statues, wall-paintings, buildings and coins, from 6th Century BC Greek sculptures to the 4th Century AD arch of Constantine in Rome. Material for this module is organised by theme and medium rather than in chronological order, starting with topography, sculpture and vase painting. This is a required module for ancient historians since familiarity with ancient artistic evidence is essential for a proper appreciation of Greek and Roman history. For this module you will have two 1-hour lectures each week and five 2-hour seminars over the course of your first year.


Typical Year Two Modules


Extended Source Study

This module is designed to develop your skills of research, analysis and written presentation as preparation for your third year dissertation. You will write a 5,000 word essay  chosen from a range of topics, each focusing on a single piece of ancient source material. You will be provided with a topic for investigation, starter bibliography and tips on how to  approach the question. The questions will suggest a range of possible approaches from evaluation of historical source material to exploration of literary effects, relationships with other material,  discussion of context or reception. For this module you will have a mixture of lectures and four 2-hour seminars over a period of 10 weeks.

Studying Classical Scholarship

This module focuses on the history and development of the scholarship on ancient Greece and Rome and on specific theories, approaches and methods used by modern scholarship. The aim is to sharpen your engagement with and understanding of scholarship, and to give a deeper appreciation of the ways the ancient world has been appropriated. Studying the history of scholarship in its socio-political context will show you how the questions we ask depend on the situations we live in; it will also allow you to judge the merits  and limitations of scholarly approaches and will develop your skills of research and analysis, as preparation for your 3rd-year dissertation. You will have a combination of lectures and four 2-hour seminars each week. As with the Extended Source Study, you will choose a work-sheet relating to an area of the ancient world which particularly interests you; the module is assessed by an oral presentation and a 4500-word essay.



Classics and Popular Culture
This module explores the reception of ancient Greek and Roman culture in modern popular media such as films, theatre, novels, museums, architecture, children's literature and comics, and sets out to reach an understanding of how these receptions influence the way Greek and Roman culture is approached, used, and questioned. Lectures may focus on any of the following: classical education from the 19th century to the present, the influences of the Classics on the production and content of modern literature, the establishment of museums, use and abuse of the Classics in political and philosophical debate, their role on the theatre stage as well as in film and other visual media (television, computer, games, comics, pop music). Lectures are interspersed with weekly events based around a film, documentary, guest speaker or theatrical performances, and seminars to allow focused group discussion of those events. For this module you will have a mixture of lectures, workshops, and 2-hour seminars spread across the year.


Sparta dominates much of archaic and classical Greek history, and has figured prominently in the thought and imagination of other western societies from antiquity to the present. This module will study the historical development of Sparta (in both domestic and external affairs) from the seventh to fourth centuries B.C. It will engage with the central issues that arise in historical study of Sparta: the problematic nature of our evidence; the Spartan social, political and military system; her subordinate populations; relations between Spartans and others both at home and abroad; and the forces behind Sparta's rise and fall as a great power. For this 20-credit module you will have 6 hours of lectures and one 2-hour seminar each fortnight across a ten-week semester; assessment is by a combination of coursework essay and exam.
Independent Second Year Project
This module is your opportunity to expand your knowledge of the Classical world in an area which interests you, and to experiment with a method of communicating that knowledge which is different from the usual assessment practices of essay-writing, exam-writing and seminar -presentation. You might undertake research that leads to (for example) the construction of a database, or to the reconstruction of some ancient Greco-Roman artefact. You might acquire experience of a communication method which could be of use to you in a future career, e.g. by constructing a teaching plan, writing in a journalistic style, planning a museum exhibit. You might choose to experiment with a different medium of communication, e.g. a video or a website. A supporting portfolio documenting your research forms part of the assessment, alongside the project itself. For this module you will have a combination of lectures, seminars, computing training and workshops.

Magic and Divination in the Roman World

This module examines the various ways in which magic featured in Roman life, law and literature. It aims to introduce students to the wide range of literary and material evidence for magic both within the city of Rome itself, and in the provinces. Students will explore the changing attitudes and definitions of magic over time in Rome, and will focus on specific themes and case-studies including cursing and healing, necromancy, and the witch in Latin literature. For this 10-credit module you will have 3 hours of lectures and one 1-hour seminar each fortnight across a ten-week semester, with assessment through a coursework essay.


The Roman Empire in the East

The history and culture of the eastern Mediterranean world during the Roman Empire form the subject of this module. You will explore the events of the period, the 'mechanics' of Roman imperialism (conquest, organisation, administration), and the social, economic, religious, and cultural interaction between the Romans and eastern indigenous peoples. You will grapple with the nature and problems of a variety of sources - literary texts, epigraphic material, archaeological data, and visual evidence - and will consider the extent to which the surviving picture of the eastern empire and its neighbours was constructed by Rome or by the eastern peoples themselves. Modern theoretical approaches, such as those on cultural identity and imperialism, will be used and scrutinised. For this 20-credit module you will have 6 hours of lectures and one 2-hour seminar each fortnight across a ten-week semester; assessment is by a combination of coursework essay and exam.


Typical Year Three Modules


In this module you will be able to carry out an in-depth investigation of a chosen area, to be agreed with your supervisor in advance. You will use the skills that your degree has equipped you with thus far to plan, research and complete a 10,000-word essay. There will be a mix of contact to achieve this including one-to-one tutorials with a supervisor, workshops and lectures.

Encounters with the Supernatural: Religion, Magic and the Greeks

This year-long Special Subject module involves 3 hours of seminars per week, and investigates the different ways in which ancient Greek men and women interacted with a wide variety of supernatural entities, including gods, heroes, nymphs and the dead. You’ll start by exploring the range of supernatural entities and ways in which relations with the supernatural structured daily life for ancient Greek men and women. You will then investigate key modes of interaction with the supernatural, as well as thinking about how ideas about and approaches to the supernatural varied over time and place. The module is assessed through a combination of coursework essays, formal presentation and exam.



The year-long Special Subject module involves 3 hours of seminars per week, and provides an opportunity for intensive study of one of the most influential figures in Roman history. The module examines the ways in which, after his victory in the civil wars, Augustus established his rule over the Roman world on a secure and generally acceptable basis. Attention is paid to the ancient sources (studied in translation): these include not only historical and literary texts, but inscriptions, coins, art and architecture. This module covers not only political aspects of the theme but also Augustus' impact on society, religion, culture, and ideology. It is assessed through a combination of coursework essays, formal presentation and exam.


Women in the Greek World

This module studies the roles of women in Greek society, myth, religion and literature, especially in the fifth and fourth centuries BC, paying special attention to the diversity of laws and customs across the Greek world, to the ideologies that validated women's subordination, and to gender issues in the writings of both male and female authors. For this 20-credit module you will have 6 hours of lectures and one 2-hour seminar each fortnight across a ten-week semester; assessment is by a combination of coursework essay and exam.


Imperial Biography

This module considers the genre of literature known as Imperial Biography: that is, biographies written about the Roman Emperors. In particular, it will focus on Suetonius' Lives of the Caesars and the anonymous text known as the Historia Augusta. The module will not only look at the limitations of the genre as a whole in relation to its structure and sources, but it will also look at major themes within the lives and key case studies of specific examples - ranging from physiognomics and appearance, to gender and sexuality, omens and portents, religion and philosophy, administration and empire-building, birth and death scenes and so on–, all in relation to specific emperors such as Augustus, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Vespasian, Domitian, Hadrian, Marcus Aurelius, Commodus and Elagabalus. For this 10-credit module you will have 3 hours of lectures and one 1-hour seminar each fortnight across a ten-week semester.



The emperor Constantine (306-337) had a significant impact on the Roman Empire and on European history in the longer term, above all through his support for Christianity, but also through his foundation of the city of Constantinople. This module aims to place his reign in its wider context - the turmoil experienced by the Roman Empire during the third century, the recovery of stability under Diocletian and the Tetrarchy, the emergence of the Christian church as a significant feature of the empire's religious landscape, and the new military challenges which the empire faced in the form of Persia and northern barbarian groups – and to assess Constantine’s policies on a range of fronts: religious, military and social. This semester-long 10-credit module involves one 1-hour lecture each week and a fortnightly 1-hour seminar, and is assessed by an exam.


The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. The above list is a sample of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.



Your transferable skills will include oral and written communication skills, the ability to plan a research project, to construct a logical argument, and to synthesise and evaluate information and opinions. If you have elected to study Greek and Latin, you will have the analytic skills to understand the grammar of foreign languages, and experience of translating between cultures.

Average starting salary 

In 2014, 90% of first-degree graduates in the Department of Classics who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £16,929 with the highest being £26,000.*
* Known destinations of full-time home and EU graduates, 2013/14.


Careers Support and Advice

Studying for a degree at The University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take. Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further, by assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements, and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our Careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.  


Fees and funding

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £2,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International/EU students

The University of Nottingham provides information and advice on financing your degree and managing your finances as an international student. The International Office offers a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees.


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This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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