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Classical Studies BA

Please note that information shown below may be subject to change.

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

If you are captivated by classical literature and philosophy and are keen to understand more about ancient history and classical archaeology, Classical Studies is an ideal degree course for you.

Classical Studies is a flexible degree that offers a great deal of choice in subjects related to the ancient world. It’s ideal for those of you who want to immerse themselves in lots of aspects of ancient Greece and Rome – its literature, history, philosophy and archaeology – even its languages; Greek and Latin can be studied at whatever level you’re at and for one, two or three years.

There is also the possibility of spending a year abroad, experiencing how classical society has had a lasting impact on history, culture and politics.

As a student of Classical Studies 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

Studing Classical Antiquity

In this module you will be provided with essential skills necessary for academic study at university, thus 'bridging the gap' from school/college-level study. You will be taught by a team of experienced academic staff, and each session will focus on a specific study skill (e.g. making the most of lectures/seminars, avoiding plagiarism, etc). You will also be shown how different academic disciplines combine to give a fuller picture of classical culture. Through the module, you will build your self-confidence as a student, and will be made aware of the transferable employability skills you will gain from your degree programme.

Year 2


In this module, you will complete two assigned projects, one in each term, related to two of your other Year 2 taught modules. Such projects may take the form of an essay, commentary or other appropriate written task, but may also include production of web resources or dramatic or artefactual reconstructions. 

Year 3

Extended Essay

The Extended Essay is a unit of independent study under the supervision of an expert member of staff. You will be required to write between 8,000 and 10,000 words. 

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

Greek Literature

Roman Literature of the Republic

Roman Literature of the Empire

Individual and Community

Greek History and the City State

Key Themes in Roman History

Introduction to Greek Archaeology

Introduction to Roman Archaeology

Beginners' Greek

Intermediate Greek

Greek Language and Reading

Beginners' Latin

Intermediate Latin

Latin Language and Reading

Intensive Greek

Intensive Latin

Greek Historiography

Latin Love Elegy

Greek Prose Composition

Greek Verse Composition

Latin Prose Composition

Latin Verse Composition

Introduction to Ancient Philosophy

Year 2

The Built Environment in Classical Antiquity

Pompeii and Herculaneum

Special Topics in Classical Studies and Ancient History

Gender in Classical Antiquity

Greek History to 322 BC

Greek Law and Lawcourts

Augustus - Propaganda and Power

The Roman Republic - A Social and Economic History

The Rise of the Roman Empire - An Economic and Social History

Life and Death in the Ancient Greek World

Homer (in Translation)

Virgil (in Translation)

Ovid’s Metamorphoses - Art and Power in Augustan Rome

Perspectives on Roman Britain

Virgil’s Aeneid - The Empire in the Literary Imagination

Body and Soul in Ancient Philosophy 1

The Good Life in Ancient Philosophy

Aspects of Modern Greek Language and Culture

Hellenistic Epic - Apollonius of Rhodes

Imperial Greek Poetry - Epic and Epigram

Catullus and Horace

The Rise and Fall of the Roman Republic

The Roman Empire from Augustus to Commodus

The Later Roman Empire

Year 3

Greek Erotic Poetry

Hadrian's Wall

Archaeology of Athens and Attica

Roman Oratory

Gender in Classical Antiquity

Alexander the Great

Greek Law and Lawcourts

Roman Army

The City from Augustus to Charlemagne

Religion and the Ancient Greeks

Greek Lyric, Eros and Social Order

Nature and the Supernatural in Latin Literature

Studying Ancient Myth

Adventures in Greek Theatre with Iphigenia

Ancient Greek Emotions

Tacitus - the Making of History

Perspectives on Roman Britain

The Philosophy of Aristotle

Body and Soul in Ancient Philosophy 2

The Good Life in Ancient Philosophy 2

Stoics, Epicureans and Sceptics

Philosophy under the Roman Empire

Further Aspects of Modern Greek Language and Culture

Christians and Pagans from Constantine to Augustine, 306 to 430 AD

The course has a modular structure, whereby students take 12 course units at the rate of four whole units per year. The second year project unit and the third year dissertation are compulsory but all other course units are elective, thereby offering great flexibility and choice.

You will be taught through a mixture of lectures, seminars and individual tutorials, depending on the subjects studied. Outside classes, you will undertake group projects and wide-ranging but guided independent study, including completing language exercises and reading prescribed and open material. Private study and preparation are essential parts of every course, and you will have access to many online resources and the University’s comprehensive e-learning facility, Moodle. When you start with us, you are assigned a Personal Tutor to support you academically and personally.

In your final year the Classics department provides 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 combination of ongoing language tests, written assignments for non-linguistic course units and end of year exams. Your final year dissertation will also count towards your degree award.

Study time

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

Year 1

You will spend 16% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 84% in guided independent study.

Year 2

You will spend 11% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 89% in guided independent study.

Year 3

You will spend 11% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 89% in guided independent study.


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

Year 1

Written exams account for 75% of the total assessment for this year of study, and 25% will be assessed through coursework.

Year 2

Written exams account for 64% of the total assessment for this year of study, and 36% will be assessed through coursework.

Year 3

Written exams account for 59% of the total assessment for this year of study, and 41% will be assessed through coursework.

Typical offers

Typical offers

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*-C or 9-4 including English and Mathematics. 

Other UK Qualifications
International Baccalaureate 5,5,5 at Higher Level with a minimum of 32 points overall  
BTEC National Extended Diploma Distinction, Distinction, Distinction in a relevant subject area  
Distinction, Distinction in a relevant subject plus an A Level Grade B.  
BTEC National Extended Certificate Distinction in a relevant subject plus A Level 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 with at least 24 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

Please select your UK qualification from the drop-down list below

Please select a qualification

Please select a qualification

International and EU entry requirements

Please select your country from the drop-down list below

English language
 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 Classics involves analysing the cultural, social and political context of the ancient world. 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.

*The tuition fee for UK and EU undergraduates is controlled by Government regulations, and for students starting a degree in the academic year 2018/19 will be £9,250 for that year, and is shown for reference purposes only. The tuition fee for UK and EU undergraduates has not yet been confirmed for students starting a degree in the academic year 2019/20.

**Fees for international students starting a degree at Royal Holloway in the academic year 2019/20 have not yet been set, and those for 2018/19 are shown for reference purposes only. 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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