Durham University

Ancient History Durham University Degree level: Undergraduate


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Course summary

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This course focuses on the political, social and cultural history of the Greek and Roman world, and their interactions with neighbouring societies. In your first year, you study core topics in Greek and Roman history, as well as a module focusing on ancient historical writing. These courses prepare you for a wide range of more specifically historical modules about politics and society in the ancient world available in your second and third years. The course includes the option of beginning to learn Greek or Latin language (or continuing, if you have studied the languages already).

Year 1
In the first year, you take an introductory module on ancient historiography: The Craft of the Ancient Historian

You will also take two interdisciplinary modules that serve to give you grounding in the central periods of Greek and Roman culture:
Remembering Athens
Monuments and Memory in the Age of Augustus

Other previous first-year optional modules included:
Beginners’ Latin and Greek
Intermediate Latin and Greek (if you have an A level or equivalent)
Greek Art and Architecture
Early Greek Philosophy
Socrates and the Socratics

Year 2
Historical modules in the second year offer deeper and broader surveys of political and social history from the Greek and Roman worlds. You will take at least three ancient history modules in your second year.

In addition, you can choose from a range of modules exploring literary, philosophical and cultural topics. If you choose to study Latin or Greek you may continue these courses in your second year. It is also possible to begin the study of Latin or Greek in the second year.

Historical offerings have previously included:
Athens, Sparta and the Greek World
The Hellenistic World
Crisis of The Roman Republic
Emperors and Dynasties.

Literary, cultural & philosophical topics have previously included:
Traditions of Epic
Greek Literature and The Near East
Interpreting Greek Tragedy Today
Creation and Cosmology
Ancient Political Thought & Action
Dialogues with Antiquity
Classical Receptions & Contemporary Cultures
Theatre & Spectacle in Ancient Rome
Myths of Transformation in Ovid’s Metamorphoses

Year 3 (Year 4 if taking a Year Abroad)
You will write a Dissertation in your third year. You will choose a topic at the end of your second year in consultation with an adviser, with who you will meet regularly for guidance throughout year three.

Third-year modules typically cover specific topics that arise out of the research interests of our members of staff. At least two of your third-year modules must focus on ancient historical subjects; you can also choose from modules which explore cultural, literary and philosophical themes. If you study Latin and Greek you can proceed to the next level, with the texts becoming more difficult or fragmentary.

Historical modules have previously included:
Greeks & Persians
Roman Syria
Writing Alexander
The Life & Times of Cicero
Urbs Roma
The Later Roman Empire

Literary, Philosophical & Cultural topics have previously included:
The Literature & Language of Ancient Babylon
Comedy & Tragedy, Laughter & Sorrow
Hellenistic Poetry: Theory and Practice
Roman Law & Latin Literature
Love and Sex in Ancient Poetry
Technologies of Knowledge in Antiquity
Knowledge and Doubt in Hellenistic Philosophy.
Classical Victorians

For this course the study of ancient languages is not required, though it is permitted as an option; and each year at least half of your modules must be on historical topics.

We review course structures and core content (in light of e.g. external and student feedback) every year, and will publish finalised core requirements for 2020 entry from September 2019.

For more information on this course, please see our website.

Course details


For more information on the content of this course, including module details, please see our website.

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



Application deadlines

If your application is completed by the following date, it’s guaranteed to be considered:

15 January

*If you apply after this deadline, universities or colleges don’t have to consider your application if they’ve filled their spaces, so the sooner you apply, the better!

Application codes

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Points of entry

The following entry points are available for this course:

  • Year 1

Entry requirements

Qualification requirements

Qualification Offer Further information
UCAS Tariff Not accepted
A level AAA Specific subjects excluded for entry:
General Studies and Critical Thinking.

Applicants taking Science A-levels that include a practical component will be required to take and pass this as a condition of entry. This refers only to English A Levels.
Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma (first teaching from September 2016) DDD
Access to HE Diploma D: 30 credits
M: 15 credits
We require 60 credits with a minimum of 45 credits at level 3 (or equivalent). Applicants may be required to meet additional subject-specific requirements for particular courses at Durham.
Scottish Higher AAAAB We will normally make offers based on Advanced Highers. If an applicant has not been able to take 3 Advanced Highers, offers may be made with a combination of Advanced Highers and Highers, or on a number of Highers.
Cambridge International Pre-U Certificate - Principal D3, D3, D3
Extended Project Not accepted
International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme 37 points 18 points (6, 6, 6) in Higher Level subjects
Leaving Certificate - Higher Level (Ireland) (first awarded in 2017) H2, H2, H2, H2, H2
Scottish Advanced Higher AAA
Welsh Baccalaureate - Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate (first teaching September 2015) Not accepted

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

EU £9,250 Year 1
International £20,500 Year 1
England £9,250 Year 1
Northern Ireland £9,250 Year 1
Scotland £9,250 Year 1
Wales £9,250 Year 1

Additional fee information

No additional fees or cost information has been supplied for this course, please contact the provider directly.

Provider information

Visit our website

Durham University
The Palatine Centre
Stockton Road

Course contact details

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Recruitment and Admissions Office

0191 334 1000