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Guide to studying Classics & Ancient History

A degree in Classics & Ancient History will introduce you to the past cultures, languages and literatures of some of the most important civilisations in world history.



  1. What's Classics & Ancient History?

  2. Why study Classics & Ancient History?

  3. What jobs can you get as a Classics & Ancient History graduate?

  4. What do graduates do and earn?
  5. What qualifications do you need?

  6. What degrees can you study?

  7. How will you be assessed?

  8. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

What's Classics & Ancient History?

Classics & Ancient History covers a broad range of subjects, including the drama of Euripides; the poetry of Homer and Virgil; the histories of the Athenian and Persian empires; and the art and archaeology of the Roman Empire.

Ancient Greece and Rome have had a profound influence on the cultures that inhabited the Mediterranean basin next to and after them. So the study of Classics & Ancient History will give you a better understanding of how the world became what it is today.

Studying Greek or Latin can form an important component of a degree in Classics & Ancient History, but it's also possible to study a range of subjects within the area without taking a language at all.

Similar courses for Classics & Ancient History include: 

  • Classical Greek Studies
  • Latin Studies
  • History by Period
  • Classical Studies

Why study Classics & Ancient History?

The ancient worlds of Greece and Rome set into motion many societal practises and values which still exist in today’s social climate. This includes effective sewage systems, straight roads and even democracy.

Many of the universities that teach Classics & Ancient History offer more than just the study of Greece and Rome. Everything from the Near East, India, Ancient America and Egypt are available as module units, which helps to provide a more comprehensive view of the ancient world.

The course won't confine you to a narrow path of career choices. You'll gain transferable skills such as the ability to analyse and solve problems, interpret information critically, and present clear and persuasive arguments; skills that are central to many professions.

The very foundations of so many modern concepts lie in these cultures, but what makes it more thrilling and beautiful are those concepts which are now alien to us, like the religious systems, the slavery, the unashamed debauchery.

I have a thirst for knowledge, and so what better project to fill my time than a field where so much is translucent and still up for debate.
Will, University of Bristol

Temple of Poseidon at Sounio in Attica

What jobs can you get as a Classics & Ancient History graduate?

Many classicists become teachers, museum curators, heritage professionals, archivists or librarians.

Others seek a career in the legal profession, communications and marketing, civil service, charitable sectors, journalism, publishing or with non-governmental Organisations (NGOs).

What do graduates do and earn?

In the infographic below, the first table shows what graduates of Classics & Ancient History have gone on to do in the months after their graduation.

The second table shows the average salaries of undergraduate Classics & Ancient History students entering employment. The three skill levels – high, medium and low – reflect the UK's Standard Occupational Classification's major groups 1–3, 4–6 and 7–9 respectively.

Source: HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey 2017/18

What qualifications do you need?

Usually, no specific subjects are specified for entry, although some universities will ask for Latin or Greek.

It may be useful to have studied History, a classics subject, an essay-based subject or a modern language.

Grades and other requirements vary depending on the university you apply to and the programme you want to study.

What degrees can you study?

You'll typically be able to study Classics & Ancient History as a stand-alone degree programme.

Some universities offer specialised programmes in Greek or Latin, or a classical studies degree that allows you to combine various aspects of the study of the ancient world.

Alternatively, you may choose to undertake a joint degree in Classics & Ancient History and another subject, such as History, Philosophy, English Language or Linguistics, or a modern language such as Italian or French. Most universities offer BA (Hons) and MA (Hons) qualifications.

How will you be assessed?

You’ll learn through lectures, tutorials and independent study. Assessment is likely to include written exams and coursework, but may also involve group work, oral presentations, performances or special projects.

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

A range of postgraduate opportunities in this subject area are available in the UK and beyond. You could take either a taught or research master's course in Classics or Ancient History, or a postgraduate degree in a more specialised area, such as classical art, ancient archaeology or classical reception studies.

There are plenty of opportunities to pursue further specialised study at PhD level.

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