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Classics BA

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

This course is perfect if you have a knowledge and love of either Latin or Greek and want to add that second ancient language to your repertoire, while learning more about the classical world through the study of texts in the original as well as artefacts, ideas and past-deeds.

Enrol on BA Classics at Royal Holloway and you will spend at least half your time studying Latin and Greek, reading texts in the original words of the author. The remainder of your time will be spent understanding the minds, hearts and actions of the ancient Romans and Greeks through the study of ancient philosophy, history, classical archaeology as well as Latin and Greek literature in translation.

As a Classicist 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

All modules are optional

Year 2

All modules are optional

Year 3

All modules are optional

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Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff.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

Individual and Community

Greek History and the City State

In this introductory module you will examine Greek history, society, and institutions from the 6th to the late 4th century BC, with particular attention being paid to the problems and methods of reconstructing the past from ancient sources, and the development of the city-state as a form of political organization.

Key Themes in Roman History

This module covers the full chronological range of Roman historiography from the Republic to the Empire to establish certain broad characteristics of periods. You will be taught to understand the relationship between particular events and the development and maintenance of social and political forms.

Introduction to Greek Archaeology

Introduction to Roman Archaeology

Introduction to Ancient Philosophy

Year 2

The Built Environment in Classical Antiquity

Pompeii and Herculaneum

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

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 (in Greek)

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

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

Philosophy Under the Roman Empire

Further Aspects of Modern Greek Language and Culture

Christians and Pagans from Constantine to Augustine (AD 306 to 430)

The course has a modular structure, whereby students take 12 course units at the rate of four whole units per year. Two units per year must be either Latin and Greek language units or units studying Latin and/or Greek literature in the original language. The remaining units are elective, thereby offering 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 are experiencing problems and/or if you 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.

Study time

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

Year 1

You will spend 17% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 83% in guided independent study.

Year 2

You will spend 17% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 83% in guided independent study.

Year 3

You will spend 14% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 86% in guided independent study.


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

Year 1

Written exams account for 90% of the total assessment for this year of study, and 10% will be assessed through coursework.

Year 2

Written exams account for 90% of the total assessment for this year of study, and 10% will be assessed through coursework.

Year 3

Written exams account for 60% of the total assessment for this year of study, and 40% 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

Required subjects: 

  • Latin or Greek A level grade B or grade A GCSE or grade 7 if not taken to A level and at least five GCSEs at grade A*-C or 9 - 4 including English and Mathematics.
Other UK Qualifications
International Baccalaureate 5,5,5 at Higher Level including 5 at Standard Level Latin or Greek with a minimum of 32 points overall    
BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction, Distinction, Distinction in a related subject PLUS GCSE grade A or 7 in Greek or Latin, or AS/A-level in Greek or Latin grade B   
BTEC National Extended Diploma Distinction, Distinction in a related subject and A-Level grade B PLUS GCSE grade A or 7 in Greek or Latin, or AS/A-level in Greek or Latin grade B 
BTEC National Extended Certificate Distinction and A-Levels grades B,B PLUS GCSE grade A or 7 in Greek or Latin, or AS/A-Level in Greek or Latin grade 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  including B in Greek or Latin   
Scottish Highers

AABBB including B in Greek or Latin 

Irish Leaving Certificate H2, H2, H3, H3, H3 at Higher Level including H3 in either Greek or Latin at Higher Level   
Access to Higher Education Diploma Pass with at least 15 level 3 credits at Distinction and  the remaining level 3 credits at Merit in a relevant subject area, PLUS GCSE grade A or 7 in Greek or Latin, or AS/A-Level  in Greek or Latin grade B. 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.

*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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