Course options

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Course summary

The core of the Classics course is language, although how much language is studied and at what level, depends on you. The course is equally suitable for students who have A levels (or equivalent) in Greek and/or Latin and for those who have never studied an ancient language before. As such, we offer modules in both Latin and Greek, in both prose and verse, at every level appropriate to your experience or your particular interests. The course also put these languages into context by exploring the culture of these ancient civilisations. In your first year, you will gain a grounding in the central periods of Greek and Roman culture. In your second year you will then study how the genre of epic developed in Greek and Roman antiquity and beyond. In your final year you will bring together your studies and write a dissertation in your chosen area of interest. This will be supported by continuing language study and a choice of further learning which you can tailor to your own studies. Year 1 You’ll take two interdisciplinary modules that will give you grounding in the central periods of Greek and Roman culture: Introduction to the Greek World Monuments and Memory in the Age of Augustus. You’ll also take courses in Greek and/or Latin language, at the appropriate level. Year 2 You’ll take a module to study representative examples of Greek and Roman epic; you’ll be introduced to a wide range of approaches to the study of epic including its role as a device for memorialisation and explore the ways in which the genre developed in Greek and Roman antiquity and beyond: Traditions of Epic. Study of Latin and/or Greek continues in the second year. Many of the other modules in the second year are broad surveys, for example of a historical period or a literary genre. Literary, philosophical and cultural topics have previously included: Greek Literature and The Near East Interpreting Greek Tragedy Today Creation and Cosmology Ancient Political Thought and Action Stoicism Dialogues with Antiquity Classical Receptions and Contemporary Cultures Theatre and Spectacle in Ancient Rome Year 3 (Year 4 if undertaking a Year Abroad) You’ll write a Dissertation on a topic chosen at the end of your second year in consultation with an adviser, with who you’ll meet regularly for guidance throughout Year 3. Your study of Latin and/or Greek will proceed to the next level, with the texts becoming more difficult or fragmentary. Most other modules in the third year cover specific topics that arise out of the research interests of the members of staff. Literary, philosophical and cultural topics have previously included: The Literature and Language of Ancient Babylon Comedy and Tragedy, Laughter and Sorrow Hellenistic Poetry: Theory and Practice Roman Law and Latin Literature Love and Sex in Ancient Poetry Technologies of Knowledge in Antiquity Knowledge and Doubt in Hellenistic Philosophy Study Abroad This course includes an optional European Studies element, where you may spend the third year of a four-year course studying at a European university (for further details please see our website). Students interested in studying abroad apply to transfer to the European Studies course after their first year of study. We also participate in the University-wide overseas exchange programme, which offers the opportunity to spend your second year studying at one of our partner universities in North America or Australasia. We review course structures and core content every year and will publish finalised core requirements for 2023 entry from September 2022. Please note the list of optional modules available in any year vary depending on available teaching staff. The lists above provide an example of the type of modules which may be offered. For more information on this course, please see our website.


Year 1 Core modules: Introduction to the Greek World examines ancient Greek history, society and thought, by focusing on how the classical Athenians engaged with their past. It will introduce you to the central themes, topics and terminology in the study of Archaic and Classical Greece, and equip you to use the basic intellectual resources available to assist that study. Monuments and Memory in the Age of Augustus gives you an introduction to Roman history and culture and Latin literature, which will also serve as a basis for your further study in these areas. You will investigate a central, transitional epoch in the history of ancient Rome, from an interdisciplinary perspective. Beginners or Intermediate Greek and/or Latin language modules, at the appropriate level based on your previous experience. Examples of optional modules: Early Greek Philosophy Language, Translation, Interpretation The Craft of the Ancient Historian Lives of Objects – Greek and Roman Antiquity. Year 2 Core modules: Traditions of Epic enables you to study representative examples of Greek and Roman epic, including its role as a device for recording and remembering lives and events, and you will explore the ways in which the genre developed, in ancient Greece and Rome and beyond. Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced modules in Greek and/or Latin language. Examples of optional modules: Interpreting Greek Tragedy Today Ancient Political Thought and Action Emperors and Dynasties Alexandria Classical Receptions and Contemporary Cultures Dialogues with Antiquity Living in the Classical World The City of Athens Crisis of the Roman Republic. Year 3 (Year 4 if taking a placement or year abroad) Core modules: Dissertation. The dissertation is a significant piece of work in which you research and analyse a topic in depth and write your findings and conclusions. Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced or Higher Greek and/or Latin language modules. Examples of optional modules: Greeks and Persians (c. 560-336 BC) The Later Roman Empire The Origins of Civilisation Comedy and Tragedy, Laughter and Sorrow Lives and Afterlives of The Greek and Roman Poets Sing Me, O Muse The History of Writing in the Ancient Mediterranean.

Assessment method

We use various types of assessment, designed to test the different skills you have gained through your studies: essays, commentaries, translations and (in some modules) presentations or projects. In your final year, you will write a dissertation of up to 12,000 words on a subject of your choice, giving you the opportunity to demonstrate your skills in independent learning and research and your ability to bring together areas of learning from across the entire course.

How to apply

This course has limited vacancies, and is no longer accepting applications from some students. See the list below for where you normally live, to check if you’re eligible to apply.






Northern Ireland

Republic of Ireland

Application codes

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Institution code:
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Durham City
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Points of entry

The following entry points are available for this course:

  • Year 1

Entry requirements

Qualification requirements

Our contextual offer for this programme is A level BBB (or equivalent). To find out if you’re eligible, please visit: Classical subjects are not essential for any of our courses, but we do we look for evidence of linguistic ability.

Please click the following link to find out more about qualification requirements for this course

English language requirements

Durham University welcomes applications from all students irrespective of background. We encourage the recruitment of academically well-qualified and highly motivated students, who are non-native speakers of English, whose full potential can be realised with a limited amount of English Language training either prior to entry or through pre-sessional and/or in-sessional courses. It is the normal expectation that candidates for admission should be able to demonstrate satisfactory English proficiency before the start of a programme of study, whether via the submission of an appropriate English language qualification or by attendance on an appropriate pre-sessional course. Acceptable evidence and levels required can be viewed by following the link provided.

English language requirements

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Fees and funding

Tuition fees

Republic of Ireland £9250 Year 1
Channel Islands £9250 Year 1
EU £25500 Year 1
England £9250 Year 1
Northern Ireland £9250 Year 1
Scotland £9250 Year 1
Wales £9250 Year 1
International £25500 Year 1

Additional fee information

The tuition fees for 2024/25 academic year have not yet been finalised, they will be displayed here once approved.
Classics at Durham University - UCAS