Studying a Joint Honours degree in Classical Studies and Comparative Literature and Culture allows you to examine both ancient and modern culture through a variety of texts and media, all taught using their modern English translations.
If you are captivated by classical literature and philosophy and are keen to understand more about ancient history and classical archaeology, Classical Studies is ideal.
Classical Studies offers a great deal of choice in subjects related to the ancient world, immersing you 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.
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.
Comparative Literature and Culture (CLC) offers you the opportunity to study global literature as well as to explore film, philosophy and visual arts. CLC combines a fascinating breadth of material with a focus on contexts – places, periods, and genres – to explore how key cultural shifts transform how we see, represent, and make sense of our changing world. CLC at Royal Holloway is a unique and intellectually stimulating degree which will develop you as a culturally-aware, creative and adaptable thinker.
We’ve developed this degree so that you can tailor it to suit your own evolving interests, choosing from our exceptionally wide range of fascinating options, ranging across continents and centuries, from antiquity to the present day, novels and poetry to philosophy, cinema and art. We will read, watch, and compare from Ancient Greece to contemporary New York, from Cuba to Korea, from epics to crime fiction, and from tragedy to the avant-garde. CLC enables you to study texts originally written in many languages, all translated into in English.
Our flexible degree programmes enable you to apply to take a Placement Year, which can be spent studying abroad, working or carrying out voluntary work. You can even do all three if you want to (minimum of three months each)! To recognise the importance of this additional skills development and university experience, your Placement Year will be formally recognised on your degree certificate and will contribute to your overall result. Please note conditions may apply if your degree already includes an integrated year out, please contact the Careers & Employability Service for more information. Find out more
- Optional language modules in Greek or Latin.
- Analyse the cultural, social and political contexts of the ancient world.
- Gain global cultural awareness and an internationally prestigious degree.
- Become a creative, flexible and critical thinker.
- Shape your programme according to your own interests.
Core ModulesYear 1
- Reading Texts: Criticism for Comparative Literature
- Tales of the City: Introduction to Thematic Analysis
- Histories of Representation
- Critical and Comparative Approaches
- International Film 2: Readings and Representations
- Gender and Clothing in 20th-Century Literature and Culture
- A Special Theme in the Novel: Transgressions
- Visual Arts II: Genre and Movements
- Deviance, Defiance and Disorder in Early Modern Spanish and French Literature
- From Aestheticism to the Avant-Garde
- The Gothic Mode in Spanish and English Fiction
- Trends in Contemporary Theory
- Transnationalism, Diaspora and Globalisation in Contemporary Film
- Postcolonial Literatures
- Humans and Other Animals in Twenty-First Century Fiction and Thought
There are a number of optional course modules available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course modules that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new modules may be offered or existing modules 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
In this module you will develop an understanding of Ancient Greek grammar and syntax and learn elementary vocabulary. You will acquire basic aptitude in reading Ancient Greek text (mostly adapted, with some possible original unadapted basic texts) and consider the relationship between Ancient Greek language and ancient Greek literature and culture.
In this module you will further your understanding of Greek grammar and syntax. You will look at Greek prose and/or verse texts, in unadapted original Greek, and learn how to accurately translate passages at sight.
In this module you will develop an understanding of a wide range of texts in ancient Greek. You will look at set texts in both prose and verse for translation, and complete grammar and syntax consolidation exercises. You will consider the literary and linguistic features of advanced Greek texts and examine features of grammar, syntax and style.
- Beginner's Latin
- Intermediate Latin
In this module you will develop an understanding of classical Latin and how to interpret Latin texts. You will study two set texts in Latin, one prose and one verse, focussing on translation, context and understanding of grammar. You will gain practice in unprepared translation of texts of similar genres to the prepared texts and will consider selected topics in Latin grammar and syntax.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In this module you will develop an understanding of how different classical disciplines interrelate. You will focus on specific academic skills such as avoiding plagiarism, approaching and evaluating a range of ancient evidence, using library and other resources, critically evaluating modern scholarship and theoretical approaches, and relating academic study to employability.
- Introduction to Greek Archaeology
- Introduction to Roman Archaeology
In this module you will develop an understanding of how questions of social change, social mobility, success and failure, ambition and honour, oppression and alienation have been portrayed in key French literary texts. You will look at a number of key authors, considering the broad historical and cultural context of their writing. You will also examine the meaning and implications of key terms in the literary-historical tradition, such as romanticism, realism, and existentialism.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the medium of film as a means of both conveying and constructing history. You will look at the relationship between film and history, notably the representation of key historical moments in French history such as war. You will consider how national identity is created and sustained through the visual representation of history, exploring technique of textual analusis and personal judgement to critically examine a range of cinematic texts and genres including narrative fiction, documentary and propaganda.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the complexity and richness of the visual image. You will look at the relationship between word and image in a variety of contexts and media, critically examining primary and secondary material using techniques of textual analysis and personal judgement.
- Passion and Betrayal on the Spanish Stage
- Culture and Identity in Latin America
- Comparative Hispanic Culture
- Heritage of Dante
- Fascist Italy
- German History and Culture
- Introduction to German Studies
In this module you will develop an understanding of the key tenets of film theory and learn to apply these to a selection of important pre- and post-war European and international films. You will look at aspects of film style, genre and national and international contexts.You will consider canonical works from a century of cinema history by filmmakers such as Joseph von Sternberg, Alfred Hitchcock and Pedro Almodovar, and examine significant examples of technique and style.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the early phase of film history between 1895 and the early 1930s. You will look at the invention of motion pictures through to the establishment of sound cinema. You will consider a cross-section of American and European films made during this phase, when film-making was largely national but the absence of the spoken word gave film a truly cosmopolitan dimension, with directors, actors and technical personnel moving freely across national boundaries. You will examine the development of film as art, with its links to the Avant-garde, and cinema as an entertainment industry in which genre (horror and crime films) helped to drive innovation.
- Visual Arts 1: Artists and their Materials
- Intensive Greek
- Aspects of Modern Greek Language and Culture
- Intensive Latin
- Hellenistic Epic: Apollonius of Rhodes
- Imperial Greek Poetry: Epic & Epigram
- Homer (in Greek)
- The Tragedy of Euripides
- Greek Dramatic Texts II (Comedy)
- Plato (in Greek)
- Imperial Greek Literature
- Greek Historiography (in Greek)
- Greek Erotic Poetry in Greek
- Lucretius and Virgil
- Latin Love Elegy
- Roman Satire
- Latin Epic
- Latin Historiography
- Catullus and Horace
- Latin Letters
- Homer (In Translation)
- Greek Drama (In Translation)
- Cinema and Classics
- Ovid’s Metamorphoses: Art and Power in Augustan Rome
- Virgil’s Aeneid : the Empire in the Literary Imagination
- Gender in Classical Antiquity
- Greek Law and Lawcourts
- Greek History to 322 BC
- Greek Historiography
- Augustus: Propaganda and Power
- The Roman Republic: A Social and Economic History
- The Rise of the Roman Empire: An Economic and Social history
- Historiography of the Roman World
- Body and Soul in Ancient Philosophy
- The Good Life in Ancient Philosophy
- The Built Environment in Classical Antiquity
- Greek and Roman Art in Context
- Understanding Pompeii and Herculaneum
- Perspectives on Roman Britai
- Second Year Projects
- Writing Romance and Desire
- Cinema in France
- Death, Desire, Decline: Thomas Mann and Franz Kafka
- Representations of Childhood and Youth in Modern German Culture
- Constructing Identity in Contemporary Spanish Film
- 20th-Century Mexican Visual Arts and Film
- Rebels, Revolution & Representation in Latin America
- Postwar Italian Cinema: the Auteur Tradition
- Art and Literature in Renaissance Florence
- Italian Crime Fiction
- Further Aspects of Modern Greek Language and Culture
- 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
- Gender in Classical Antiquity
- Greek Law and Lawcourts
- The Roman Republic: A Social and Economic History
- The Rise of the Roman Empire: An Economic and Social history
- Alexander the Great
- The City from Augustus to Charlemagne: The Rise and Fall of Civilisation
- Body and Soul in Ancient Philosophy
- Research-based Dissertation
- Visual Arts Dissertation
- Text and Image in France: from Cubism to the Present
- Ethics and Violence: Murder, Suicide and Genocide in Literature and Film
- Villains and Villainy in Early Modern French Theatre
- Dark Tales: E.T.A. Hoffmann and German Romanticism
- Narrative and Identity: The German Novel from the 18th to the 21st Century
- National Socialism and the Third Reich in German Film and Visual Culture from 1933 to the Present
- Contemporary Mexican Cinema
- Devotion, Deceit, Desire: Literature of the Spanish Golden Age
- Horror Cinema in the Hispanic World
- Dante: Divine Comedy 2
- Shooting History: Dictatorship, Terror and Crime in Italian Film
- The Postmodern in Italian Literature: Pioneers, Practitioners and Critics
Teaching & assessment
The course has a flexible structure, whereby students take twelve course units at the rate of four per year, including both core courses to develop your critical skills, and optional course units.
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 is by a mixture of coursework and end-of-year examination in varying proportions, depending on the course units you choose to take.
A Levels: ABB-BBB
- At least five GCSEs at grade A*-C or 9-4 including English and Mathematics.
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.
Other UK and Ireland Qualifications
International & EU requirements
English language requirements
All teaching at Royal Holloway (apart from some language courses) is in English. You will therefore need to have good enough written and spoken English to cope with your studies right from the start.
The scores we require
- IELTS: 6.5 overall. Writing 7.0. No other subscore lower than 5.5.
- Pearson Test of English: 61 overall. Writing 69. No other subscore lower than 51.
- Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE): ISE III.
- Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) grade C.
For more information about country-specific entry requirements for your country please visit here.
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, you may progress on to selected undergraduate degree programmes at Royal Holloway, University of London.
Your future career
Our degree courses 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.
Fees & funding
Home and EU students tuition fee per year*: £9,250
International students tuition fee per year**: £17,300
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, scholarships and bursaries. UK students who have already taken out a tuition fee loan for undergraduate study should check their eligibility for additional funding directly with the relevant awards body.
*The tuition fee for UK undergraduates is controlled by Government regulations. For students starting a degree in the academic year 2020/21, the fee will be £9,250 for that year. The Government has also confirmed that EU nationals starting a degree in 2020/21 will pay the same fee as UK students for the duration of their course.
**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.