Course overview

Build your understanding of classical antiquity and its modern reception, while discovering a range of approaches for studying the Greek and Roman worlds.

Depending on your research interests, you can choose to specialise in the area you enjoy most, from classical literature, ancient history, and visual culture of classical antiquity.

Optional language modules let you further tailor your studies, learning Latin or ancient Greek at beginner, intermediate or advanced level. This route through the course is strongly recommended for those considering a research degree.

Our staff offer expertise in:

  • Ancient history
  • Classical literature
  • Greek and Roman art and archaeology
  • Classical reception

You are also very welcome to join the activities and events held by our specialist research centres.

Hear from our staff

"We are a department that’s small enough for everyone to know each other, but also big enough for there to be a vibrant community of students and scholars, and we do produce excellent research, as shown by our REF returns."

- Edmund Stewart, Assistant Professor in Ancient Greek History

Read more from Edmund, including top tips for those considering a Classics MA.

Why choose this course?

Ranked 6th

in the UK for 'research power'

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Learn from experts

specialising in ancient history, classical literature, and classical art and archaeology

Get involved

On-site museum

gain practical experience in our on-campus museum

Course content

Our modules further your understanding of the ancient world and provide the skills you need for advanced study in classics.

The course is made up of 180 credits. 140 credits are devoted to 'core' modules, and the remaining 40 credits to a range of 'optional' modules.

All classes take place during weekdays. 


Classics modules

All students take two core modules, as well as doing a dissertation.

'Myth, Society and Religion' and 'Telling Stories' will enhance your knowledge of the subject by focussing on a specific topic (myth, religion or narrative) that has wide implications across the whole discipline.

The dissertation enables you to independently develop a research question and programme of research. Part-time students complete the dissertation module in their second year.

Myth, Society and Religion

What was the role of religion in ancient Greece and Rome? What do we know about their gods and myths? Are myths simply entertaining stories, or do they serve other purposes? What could these be?

We explore a range of primary sources for studying myth and religion in ancient Greek and Roman societies, with particular emphases on their religious and social significance.

As well as investigating sources in detail, you will explore the following:

  • different approaches to analysing myth and religion
  • how the Greeks and Romans understood their myths and religion
  • the role of religion and the gods in ancient societies
  • a range of modern theories and scholarship on ancient religion

You will focus on literary, visual or historical aspects of myth (according to your own interests), while examining how these different narrative forms may overlap and interact. By the end of the module, you will have gained valuable interdisciplinary research skills.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Telling Stories

Discover how the stories we tell shape the things that we think.

On this module we’ll explore literary, historical and visual narratives and their workings. We will also look at constructions of history, society and culture - both Greek and Roman, ancient and modern.

Topics that might be covered, include:

  • plot in ancient novels
  • narratology
  • rhetoric
  • historiography
  • narrative art
  • ekphrasis
  • silence
  • literary self-positioning
  • dealing with fragmentary sources

This module is worth 20 credits.

Dissertation in Classical Antiquity

You will select, research and write a 12,000-15,000-word dissertation on a topic of your choice. This must be in the field of Classics and Ancient History.

The Course Director and module convenor can offer support and guidance when choosing your research topic.

Recent dissertation titles include:

  • Narratives of Fear in the Early Roman Republic
  • Arsinoe II and the Hellenistic Ruler Cult in Ptolemaic Egypt
  • A Study on the Theme of Revenge in Ovid's Metamorphoses
  • The Representation of Sparta in Assassin's Creed: Odyssey
  • Crossing the Boundaries: Reflections of Gender Anxieties in Roman Domestic Art
  • Horns and Hunting: An Analysis of Iconographic Motifs from the Bronze Age Aegean

This module is worth 60 credits.

Faculty-wide modules

These two modules build your interdisciplinary skills.

Arts in Society

This module helps postgraduate students recognise the range of careers and opportunities that an Arts and Humanities MA/MRes can provide.

It highlights the skills and abilities present within these programmes and provides examples of the successful application of these skills. Students will explore how subjects within the arts can be ‘applied disciplines’ that serve to be impactful in wider society through research and engagement.

Through ‘live brief’ assessments, students work in groups, utilising their Arts and Humanities skill sets, to present and produce a consultancy report for a range of organisations, including SMEs/Third-sector.

Mastering the Arts

This module introduces you to the wide range of interdisciplinary research happening in the Faculty of Arts. We invite you to ‘think outside the box’ in relation to your own research, while learning key research techniques and methods. The module aims to:

  • introduce the ideas, practices, complexities, and opportunities of interdisciplinary research in the arts
  • enable you to practice critical self-reflexivity about the conventions and expectations of your own disciplines in relation to those of others
  • train you in core research skills necessary for graduate-level study
  • develop your confidence in communicating research findings to non-specialist audiences

You will build on your existing research skills gained from your university career to date. Furthermore, you will develop a more nuanced understanding of your own research practice, inspiring you to explore different approaches questions. In addition, you will develop an understanding of professional practice in areas such as:

  • academic publishing
  • knowledge exchange
  • dissertation planning and writing
  • professional communication

This module is worth 20 credits.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Thursday 27 July 2023.

Special topic

The 'Special Topic in Classics' allow you to study in detail an annually changing list of specific subjects on classical literature and ancient history (ranging from the Athenian Empire to Roman Imperial Biography).

You will take up to two 20-credit 'Special Topic' modules, depending on your interest in learning Latin or Greek.

Special Topic in Classics

The Special Topic is an advanced module where you will:

  • acquire detailed knowledge and understanding of the subject
  • gain close familiarity with relevant ancient sources and material evidence, and engage critically with them
  • gain close familiarity with modern scholarship and approaches to the subject, and engage critically with them

The topic will be based on a module from our undergraduate third year programme. You will attend the same lectures as an introduction to the subject but will have an MA specific seminar group. The focus and assessment will be at an appropriately advanced MA level.

You may take up to two 'Special Topic' modules. They are worth 20 credits each.

Language modules

You can choose to study Latin or Greek at beginners', intermediate or advanced level. These 20-credit modules provide key skills necessary for the advanced study of ancient texts.

You will usually take two modules in the same language in both the autumn and spring semesters. Alternatively, you can study a language just in the autumn and take a Special Topic in the spring.

Beginners' Latin or Greek: 1

This module is for complete beginners. However, it is also suitable if you have already done some study of Latin or Classical Greek (up to GCSE level).

You may find it reassuring that, unlike modern language study, there is no speaking and listening element. The main focus will be on reading text.

This module offers an introduction to the grammar and vocabulary of your chosen language. You will be supported to analyse and understand basic sentences and to translate short passages.

This module is worth 20 credits.

"I see learning ancient languages like a puzzle, and I think that helps with problem solving. I have better initiative now, because I know how something fits in Latin and Greek and that can transfer to the everyday." - Chloë Choong

Beginners' Latin or Greek: 2

This module continues from ‘Beginners’ Latin or Greek 1’.

You will:

  • Continue to study the structure of your chosen language, including all the major grammatical features
  • Develop your reading skills until you can read almost unadapted passages from Latin or Classical Greek texts

This module is worth 20 credits.

Intermediate Latin or Greek: 1 and 2

At intermediate level, you will thoroughly consolidate the vocabulary and grammar of your chosen language and begin the detailed linguistic and literary study of an unadapted Latin or Greek text.

In Latin, you will typically read a text such as Cicero’s Pro Archia, or a book of Virgil or Ovid.

In Greek, the text might be a complete speech by Lysias or selections from a longer text such as the Odyssey or a Greek tragedy.

The assessment for these modules emphasises comprehension and analysis of grammatical structures over memorisation and translation.

Each module is worth 20 credits.

Advanced Latin or Greek: 1 and 2

You will study prose and verse texts in your chosen language.

The modules may involve in-depth study of a single text, or may cover a group of texts representative of an author, genre, period, or theme. They will combine literary and linguistic discussion with consideration of the historical and social background.

The texts covered change each year. In Latin, recent modules have focused on the following topics:

  • Flavian personal poetry (Martial and Statius)
  • The emperor Claudius (Suetonius and Tacitus)
  • The Cupid and Psyche story from Apuleius’ novel Metamorphoses
  • Ethnicity and Empire in Latin Epic (Virgil and Silius Italicus)
  • The Power of Love (Ovid and Propertius)

In Greek, recent topics have covered:

  • Tragedy (Sophocles’ Antigone)
  • Selections from Homer’s Iliad
  • Longus’ novel Daphnis and Chloe
  • Plutarch’s Life of Antony
  • Paradoxography (a portfolio of texts exploring the weird and marvellous)

Each module is worth 20 credits.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Thursday 27 July 2023.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Workshops

You are taught in small seminar groups, so there is plenty of opportunity for discussion of ideas and development of our students as researchers.


You will be allocated a personal tutor, who will monitor your academic progress, provide feedback on your work, help with module choices, and assist with pastoral support if needed.

You are also assigned a dissertation supervisor, at the start of the spring semester, who will provide one-to-one supervision of your dissertation.

How you will be assessed

  • Examinations
  • Coursework
  • Presentation
  • Dissertation

We use a wide range of assessment types focusing on students' academic and personal development. Most modules are assessed by written work of varying lengths, corresponding with the content and weighting of the module. Language modules are usually assessed by written examination.

Your course tutors provide detailed comments on assignments. 

During the summer, you will complete a dissertation. This is a major piece of independent research, and you will be allocated a supervisor who is a specialist in your chosen area.

Your dissertation supervisor will provide advice and guidance to help you select your area of study, and offer close supervision and support as you complete your research.

Contact time and study hours

You will typically have 11 hours of face-to-face timetabled contact a week. Your tutors will also be available during office hours to discuss your work, address any issues, and help you develop your understanding.

Study hours

One credit is approximately 10 hours of student work, so a 20-credit module will be around 200 hours of work. On average, you will spend around 10 hours per module per week on independent study. 

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2024 entry.

Undergraduate degree2:1 (or international equivalent) in classics, ancient or modern history, archaeology, art history, classical civilisation, Latin, Greek, or English


Our step-by-step guide covers everything you need to know about applying.

How to apply


Qualification MA
Home / UK £9,250
International £22,600

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) .

These fees are for full-time study. If you are studying part-time, you will be charged a proportion of this fee each year (subject to inflation).

Additional costs

All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.


You'll be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to buy your own copies of core texts. The Blackwell's bookshop on campus offers a year-round price match against any of the main retailers (i.e. Amazon, Waterstones, WH Smith). 


There are many ways to fund your postgraduate course, from scholarships to government loans.

We also offer a range of international masters scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.

Check our guide to find out more about funding your postgraduate degree.

Postgraduate funding


We offer individual careers support for all postgraduate students.

Expert staff can help you research career options and job vacancies, build your CV or résumé, develop your interview skills and meet employers.

Each year 1,100 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.

International students who complete an eligible degree programme in the UK on a student visa can apply to stay and work in the UK after their course under the Graduate immigration route. Eligible courses at the University of Nottingham include bachelors, masters and research degrees, and PGCE courses.

Graduate destinations

This course will develop a range of transferable skills, including:

  • critical analysis and interpretation of evidence
  • developing an idea and building an argument
  • communicating clearly and persuasively

As a result, our graduates move into a wide range of careers. These include:

  • PhD research
  • heritage, museums and archives
  • marketing, publishing and PR
  • teaching
  • central and local government

Career progression

30% of postgraduates from the School of Classics and Archaeology secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £22,427.*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2019/20 data published in 2022. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on data from graduates who completed a full-time postgraduate degree with home fee status and are working full-time within the UK.

Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates
" The Classical world did not end with antiquity, but inspired artists and thinkers over the centuries. This programme will allow you to explore many exciting aspects of the Classical past, from language and literature to politics, religion, philosophy, art and architecture, and will help you appreciate how and why it continues to shape the world we live in today. "
Tiziana D'Angelo, Postgraduate Admissions Tutor

Related courses

This content was last updated on Thursday 27 July 2023. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur given the interval between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.