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Ancient History BA

UCAS code
V110
Year of entry
2018
Course length
3 years full time
Department
Classics »

If you are fascinated by the ancient civilisations of Greece and Rome and keen to develop transferable skills such as critical analysis then this course is for you.

Taught by a variety of internationally recognised experts, Ancient History offers the opportunity to study the history of Greece and Rome in the Classical period (600 BCE to 700 CE). Over three years you will delve into the politics, events and developments underpinning our understanding of many aspects of historical societies and, indeed, our own culture. You will explore themes, key periods and problems in Greek and Roman history, such as the emergence (and fall) of democracy and the rise, decline and fall of Empires.

You will build skills and knowledge from day one. In year two, the experience of historical periods will be deepened and widened and you will develop skills in research and concentrate on your individual interests, which will culminate in specialist studies and individual research projects in year three. As you build knowledge and understanding of a formative and fascinating period of world history, you will have the opportunity to study in other areas of the curriculum, notably: archaeology, literature, philosophy and language.

There is also the possibility of spending a year abroad, experiencing the profound effect these classical cultures have had on history, culture and politics.

As a student of Ancient History you will be part of our Classics Department, where the quality of research that informs our teaching and a friendly, individual approach which shapes the way we guide our students combine to create an unbeaten academic experience.

  • A centre for excellence in both teaching and research, 98% of our research is recognized as world-leading, internationally excellent or internationally recognized (REF 2014).
  • Top in the UK for overall student satisfaction, scoring 100% in The National Student Survey of 2015.
  • A thriving Classics Society that contributes to the friendly and sociable atmosphere of our department.
  • A vibrant, stimulating environment in which to learn, producing graduates with an outstanding record for employment or further study. 

Core modules

Year 1

Greek History and the City State

In this module you will develop an understanding of the Greek World in the Classical Period. You will look at the key events in Greek History from 580 to 323 BC and place these in their historical context. You will consider historical problems and critically examine information and accounts set out in the Greek sources as well as in the works of modern historians. You will analyse a range of sources materials, including inscription, historiography and oratory, and develop an awareness of potential bias in these.

Key Themes in Roman History

In this module you will develop an understanding of the development of Roman politics and society over the extended period of Roman history, from early Rome through to the emergence of the Medieval World. You will look at the chronology and development of Rome, examining key themes in the interpretation of particular periods of Roman history, including the rise and fall of the Republic and the Imperial Monarchy. You will consider the difficulties and methological issues in the interpretation of Roman Historiography and analyse a variety of theoretical approaches used by historians.

Studying Classical Antiquity

Year 2

The Rise and Fall of the Roman Republic
Rome and its Empire from Augustus to Commodus
Greek History to 404 BC
Greek History 404 to 322 BC
Greek Historiography
Historiography of the Roman World
Projects

Year 3

Dissertation

Optional modules

In addition to these mandatory course units there are a number of optional course units available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course units that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

Year 1

Optional language modules include:

Intermediate Greek
Greek Language and Reading
Intermediate Latin
Latin Language and Reading

Optional introductory modules include:

Introduction to Greek Literature

In this module you will develop an understanding of the framework of Greek literary history from Homer to Heliodorus. You will look at the chronology of major authors and works, and how they fit into larger patterns in the development of Greek culture and political history. You will examine ancient literary texts in translation, considering issues in key genres including epic, lyric, drama, oratory, philosophical writing, historiography, Hellenistic poetry, and the Greek novel.

Roman Literature of the Republic

In this module you will develop an understanding of the history of Roman literature from its beginnings until the end of the Republic. You will look at the work of the major Republican Roman authors Plautus and Terence, Lucretius, Catullus and Cicero. You will consider the issues in the earlier history of Roman literature, including the relationship with Greek models and the question of Roman originality, literature and politics, the use of literature for scientific or philosophical exposition, and the development of narrative style ant attitudes to the Roman Republican past.

Roman Literature of the Empire

In this module you will develop an understanding of the history of Roman literature in the early imperial period. You will look at the work of five authors selected from the Julio-Claudian period, considering the ways in which Roman literature responded to the new political conditions established by the Principate. You will develop your skills in interpretation, analysis and argument as applied both to detailed study of texts (in translation) and to more general issues.

Introduction to Ancient Philosophy

In this module you will develop an understanding of ancient philosophical ideas and the ways in which philosophical arguments are presented and analysed. You will look at the thought and significance of the principal ancient philosophers, from the Presocratics to Aristotle, and examine sample texts such as Plato's 'Laches' and the treatment of the virtue of courage in Aristotle, 'Nicomachean Ethics' 3.6-9.

Individual and Community

In this module you will develop an understanding of how classical Greek and Roman societies developed the concept and role of the individual as part of the wider community. You will look at Greek and Roman education, and how that encouraged the formation of ideal behaviour and identity. You will consider the role of rhetoric, and how competition was encouraged within these societies though literary and dramatic contests, sport, military life, and religion. You will examine how these ideas reflect the role of the individual in the community of the cosmos, and the place in society of 'others', including the lower classes, women, children, the elderly, and slaves.

Introduction to Greek Archaeology
Introduction to Roman Archaeology

Year 2

Optional language-testing author modules, involving the study of Greek and Latin texts in the original language, include:

Aspects of Modern Greek Language and Culture
Hellenistic Epic - Apollonius of Rhodes
Imperial Greek Poetry - Epic and Epigram
Homer (In Greek)
The Tragedy of Euripides
Greek Dramatic Texts 2, Comedy
Herodotus
Plato (In Greek)
Imperial Greek Literature
Greek Erotic Poetry (In Greek)
Horace
Lucretius and Virgil
Latin Love Elegy
Roman Satire
Latin Epic
Latin Historiography
Catullus and Horace
Latin Letters

Optional modules in Classical Literature, requiring no knowledge of Greek or Latin, include:

Homer (In Translation)
Greek Drama (In Translation)
Cinema and Classics

Optional modules in Ancient History, requiring no knowledge of Greek or Latin, include:

Gender in Classical Antiquity
Greek Law and Lawcourts
Augustus - Propaganda and Power

Optional modules in Philosophy, requiring no knowledge of Greek or Latin, include:

Body and Soul in Ancient Philosophy
The Good Life in Ancient Philosophy

Optional modules in Classical Art and Archaeology, requiring no knowledge of Greek or Latin, include:

The Built Environment in Classical Antiquity
Greek and Roman Art in Context
Understanding Pompeii and Herculaneum 
Perspectives on Roman Britain

Year 3

Optional modules in Classical Literature, requiring no knowledge of Greek or Latin, include:

Cinema and Classics
Roman Oratory
Ancient Literary Criticism
Roman Drama (In Translation)
Greek Lyric, Eros and Social Order
Nature and the Supernatural in Latin Literature
Greek Literature Under the Roman Empire
Studying Ancient Myth
Culture and Identity from Nero to Hadrian
The Roman Novel

Optional modules in Ancient History, requiring no knowledge of Greek or Latin, include:

Gender in Classical Antiquity
Greek Law and Lawcourts
Augustus - Propaganda and Power
The Roman Republic - A Social and Economic History
Alexander the Great
The City from Augustus to Charlemagne - The Rise and Fall of Civilisation

Optional modules in Philosophy, requiring no knowledge of Greek or Latin, include:

Body and Soul in Ancient Philosophy
The Good Life in Ancient Philosophy

Optional modules in Classical Art and Archaeology, requiring no knowledge of Greek or Latin, include:

Understanding Pompeii and Herculaneum
Perspectives on Roman Britain
City of Rome
The City of Athens
The Archaeology of the Roman Near East

The course has a modular structure, whereby students take 12 course units or modules at the rate of four whole units per year. At least 7.5 modules of Ancient History must be taken over the three years of the degree, three modules at year 2 level, and three at year 3 level.

You will be taught through a mixture of lectures, seminars and tutorials, depending on the subjects studied. Much of your work will be outside class: reading in the library or via e-learning resources (we have a comprehensive e-learning facility, Moodle). You will also be preparing for seminars and lectures, working on essays and undertaking group projects and wide-ranging but guided independent study.

In your final year we provide ongoing support for your dissertation work, which usually includes:

  • Lectures and practical sessions on Dissertation Research Methods e.g. planning your topics, carrying out research, using specialist resources, finding information in print and online, and managing your search results and references. These sessions are run in conjunction with the Library Service and are generally also open to second year students
  • Short departmental writing ‘surgeries’, in which academic staff offer general writing support if you experiencing problems and/or those who have specific queries 

Assessment takes place by a flexible combination of essays, projects, examinations, and tests, various methods being employed depending on the nature of the course unit and the intended learning outcomes. In the third-year, students complete a guided and extended piece of independent research, a 10,000 word dissertation, on a historical subject.

Study time

Proportions of study time will vary depending on modules taken, but typically:

Year 1

You will spend 15% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 85% in guided independent study.

Year 2

You will spend 15% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 85% in guided independent study.

Year 3

You will spend 13% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 87% in guided independent study.

Assessment

Proportions of assessment types will vary depending on modules taken, but typically:

Year 1

Written exams account for 80% of the total assessment for this year of study, and 20% will be assessed through coursework.

Year 2

Written exams account for 87% of the total assessment for this year of study, and 13% will be assessed through coursework.

Year 3

Written exams account for 40% of the total assessment for this year of study, 9% will be assessed through practical exams and 51% will be assessed through coursework.

Typical offers

Typical offers
A-levels

 ABB-BBB

How we assess your application:  predicted grades lower than our typical offers are considered.  Read more about what we look for here.

  • Where an applicant is taking the EPQ alongside A-levels, the EPQ will be taken into consideration and result in lower A-level grades being required.
  • Socio-economic factors which may have impacted an applicant’s education will be taken into consideration and alternative offers may be made to these applicants.
Required/preferred subjects  We require at least five GCSE passes at grades A* to C, or 9 - 4 including English and Mathematics.
Other UK Qualifications
International Baccalaureate 5,5,5 at Higher level with 32 points overall  
BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction, Distinction, Distinction in a relevant subject
BTEC National Extended Diploma Distinction, Distinction in a relevant subject plus an A-level grade B  
BTEC National Extended Certificate Distinction in a relevant subject plus A-levels grades B,B
Welsh Baccalaureate Requirements are as for A-levels where one non-subject-specified A-level can be replaced by the same grade in the Welsh Baccalaureate - Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate
Scottish Advanced Highers ABB-BBB
Scottish Highers AABBB 
Irish Leaving Certificate H2, H2, H3, H3, H3 at Higher Level   
Access to Higher Education Diploma Pass in a relevant subject with at least 15 level 3 credits at Distinction and the remaining level 3 credits at Merit. Please note that the Access to Higher Education Diploma will only be acceptable if the applicant has had a considerable break from education

Other UK qualifications

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International and EU entry requirements

Please select your country from the drop-down list below

English language
requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall with 7.0 in writing and a minimum of 5.5 in each remaining subscore

For equivalencies please see here

For more information about entry requirements for your country please visit our International pages. For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, we offer an International Foundation Year, run by Study Group at the Royal Holloway International Study Centre. Upon successful completion, students can progress on to selected undergraduate degree programmes at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Our degree programmes not only promote academic achievement but also the means to hone the life-skills necessary to excel, post-graduation.

Studying Ancient History requires research, assessment, reasoning, organization and self-management often on your own or as part of a team. So, by choosing to study this intellectually demanding discipline you will develop a broad range of skills which are highly prized by employers, including:

  • the ability to communicate views and present arguments clearly and coherently
  • the ability to critically digest, analyse and summarise content
  • time management and the discipline to meet deadlines
  • organisation and research skills
  • problem-solving skills and capability

Being able to understand and process complex issues, to critically evaluate resources and construct coherent arguments both verbally and in writing is why many Royal Holloway classicists become employed in law, marketing, publishing, the media, government and finance. Employers like Channel 4, multinational law firm SJ Berwin, The Guildhall (City of London), accountancy firm KPMG, the Natural History Museum, Customs and Immigration, London Advertising, Broadstone Pensions and Investments and the Armed Forces have all recently recruited Royal Holloway alumni from the Department of Classics.

Home and EU students tuition fee per year*: £9,250

International students tuition fee per year**: £16,500

Other essential costs***: There are no single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course

How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options, including loans, grants, scholarships and bursaries.

*Tuition fees for UK and EU nationals starting a degree in the academic year 2017/18 will be £9,250 for that year, and is shown for reference purposes only. The tuition fee for UK and EU undergraduates starting their degrees in 2018 is controlled by Government regulations, and details are not yet known. The UK Government has also announced that EU students starting an undergraduate degree in 2018/19 will pay the same level of fee as a UK student for the duration of their degree.

**Fees for international students may increase year-on-year in line with the rate of inflation. The policy at Royal Holloway is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information see fees and funding and our terms and conditions.

These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.

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