Classical Civilisation BA


Fact file - 2017 entry

UCAS code:Q820
Qualification:BA Hons
Type and duration:3 year UG
Qualification name:Classical Civilisation
UCAS code
UCAS code
Classical Civilisation | 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 literature, culture and society of classical Greece and Rome. You will also be able to study political and social structures, art and visual culture, thought, religion and social life.
Read full overview

This course examines the literature, culture and society of classical Greece and Rome. You will also be able to study political and social structures, art and visual culture, thought, religion and social life. No prior knowledge of Greek or Latin or classical civilisation is required and, except in designated language courses, 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 a wide range of optional modules. All students planning a third-year dissertation need to take Extended Source Study, where you choose between five ancient sources for detailed investigation through seminars, an oral presentation, and a 5000-word essay. Other popular modules include Studying Classical Scholarship, which has a similar format to Extended Source Study but focuses on engaging with recent scholarly trends in the discipline, Classics and Popular Culture, and the Independent Second-Year Project, which provides an opportunity to research nearly any aspect of antiquity and design a non-essay format in which to communicate your results. Further option modules change each year, and cover topics in Greek and Roman art, literature, history and culture. Finally, there is the opportunity to start or continue learning Ancient Greek or Latin.

Year three

You will develop and pursue your own interests by choosing at least two of the following: a 10,000-word dissertation on any area of classical civilisation, one of a range of special subjects which are taught in seminars across the whole year, or language work. Further optional modules 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 details 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 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 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 media rather than in chronological order, starting with topography, sculpture and vase painting. For this module you will have two 1-hour lectures each week and five 2-hour seminars over the course of your first year. 


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 have a more detailed knowledge of these important historical issues and clearly 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 ‘Performance and Persuasion’ 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.  For this module you will have eight 1-hour seminars over the year and two 1-hour lectures each week.


Beginners' Greek 1
In this module you will be provided with an introduction to the grammar and vocabulary of classical Greek; no previous knowledge is assumed. Emphasis is placed on acquiring the ability to read Greek; the course is intensive and takes you to a high level of knowledge in a short period of time. Language learning requires regular and frequent reinforcement which can be hard work but is very rewarding. For this module you will have four 1-hr classes every week, enabling you to keep working steadily over the course of 10 weeks.

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. 


Classics and Popular Culture

This module explores the reception of ancient Greek and Roman culture in modern popular media such as films, novels, museums, architecture, children’s literature and comics with the aim of understanding 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 focussed group discussion of those events. For this module you will have two 2-hour sessions a week, comprising 15 lectures and workshops and five seminars. 


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 two-hour seminars. As with the Extended Source Study, you will choose a work-sheet from an area of Classics that particularly interests you.


Independent Second-Year Project

This module is your opportunity to expand your knowledge of the Classical world in an area that 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.


Jason and the Argonauts

A cross-medium, cross-genre, cross-cultural perspective on one important myth: Jason and Medea, the quest for the golden fleece, the journey of the first ship, Greek civilisation meets Colchian barbarism. The myth that pre-dates Homer and brings together the famous fathers of Homeric heroes (Peleus, Telamon); the gathering of the marvellous, the semi-divine and the ultra-heroic. A quest that replaces war with love. For this module the central text will be the Argonautica of Apollonius but a wide range of texts, images and films, Greek, Roman and beyond will be part of the module. Themes include: the Greeks and the other; civilisation and colonisation; Jason and Medea; gender and sexuality; the nature of heroism; monsters, marvels and magic. For this 20-credit semester-long module, you will have two 1-hour lectures each week and one 2-hour seminar each fortnight.


Greek Comedy

In this module you will consider the structures and techniques of Athenian Old and New Comedy and how they reflected and influenced the society of their respective periods. Particular attention is paid to the problems of reconstructing the performance from a bare script (often, in the case of New Comedy, a script with considerable gaps). A representative selection of Aristophanes’ and Menander’s plays is studied in translation. For this 20-credit semester-long module you will have two 1-hour lectures every week and one 2-hour seminar every fortnight.


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. This semester-long 10-credit module has one 1-hour lecture per week and one 1-hour seminar every two weeks, and is assessed by an exam.



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.


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 supervisor, workshops and lectures.


Encounters with the Supernatural: Religion, Magic and the Greeks

This year-long Special Subject module 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. You’ll have three hours of seminars weekly. The module is assessed through a combination of coursework essays, formal presentation and exam.


Visual Mythology

Mythological images dominate the Greek and Roman world. As media conveying myths they transmit adventurous and exotic narratives and broadcast religious ideologies; they can become devices of self-representation, of power and hierarchies, and of personal reflection. You will trace the workings of mythological images and explore how they are appropriated and emulated in the different areas of Greek and Roman life, and concentrate on what makes up the specific quality of an image in comparison to a text. In the first semester you will pay attention to individual artistic genres such as vase-painting, wall painting, and mosaics. In the second semester, you’ll focus on a set of myths and the ways in which they are handled across a variety of periods and genres. In this year-long module you will have one 2-hour class and one 1-hour class every week. The module is a special subject, which means it is discussion-led and based on a member of staff's research.


Masculinity and Citizenship in Greece and Rome

In this full-year Special Subject you’ll use literary and historical material to explore the idea of what it is to be a man and an accepted citizen in ancient Greece and Rome. The module explores how good citizens should behave and what they were expected to look like. You’ll also explore how they represented this citizenship to the rest of the world and how that changed over time. Incorporating elements of gender studies, topics to be covered include homoeroticism and Athenian identity, dress and cultural identity, sexual invective, citizenship and empire, Roman representation in the provinces and women, politics and patronage. You’ll have three hours of seminars weekly. The module is assessed through a combination of coursework essays, formal presentation and exam.



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 day. This module will study the historical development of Sparta (in both domestic and external affairs) from the seventh to early fourth centuries B.C. In doing so, it will also engage with the central issues that arise in historical study of Sparta: the peculiarly 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; the forces behind Sparta's rise and fall as a great power; and the development of the 'Spartan mirage' both in antiquity and in modern times. This semester-long 20-credit module involves one 2-hour lecture every week and one 2-hour seminar every other week, and is assessed by a combination of coursework essay and exam.


Greek Tragedy: The Myth of Orestes on Stage in the 5th Century BC

This 10-credit semester-long module is designed to serve as an introduction to Greek Tragedy in translation, through the examination of one myth in detail: that of the house of Orestes. The course will focus on Aeschylus’ Oresteia, Sophocles’ Electra, Euripides’ Electra and Orestes. These texts contain a number of themes that are typical of tragedy as a whole: inherited guilt, ritual pollution, revenge, kin-killing and the pursuit of suppliants. Furthermore, the course will aim to set tragedy within its broader context, looking at two major areas. The first is the literary context of tragedy; how tragedy was informed by other poetic genres and, in particular, the development of the mythic tradition. Secondly, the module will consider the broader political, social and religious context of Greek tragedy. You will have three hours of lectures and a one-hour seminar every fortnight.




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.



You will have a broad familiarity with the history, art, literature and culture of Classical Greece and Rome and in-depth knowledge of your chosen areas of interest. Your transferable skills will include the ability to communicate effectively orally and in writing, to plan a research project, to construct a logical argument and to think and study independently, and to think and learn independently, and to synthesis 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 and career progression

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.  

The University of Nottingham is the best university in the UK for graduate employment, according to the 2017 The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide.



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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