MA Classics and Ancient History

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
The Study of the Ancient World

Course unit fact file
Unit code CAHE60510
Credit rating 30
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Full year
Offered by Classics, Ancient History, Archaeology & Egyptology
Available as a free choice unit? No


In the first semester, members of staff (sometimes including research fellows, research students and visiting academics) take it in turns to give a fairly hands-on, interactive introduction to their particular area of expertise, covering between them a range of fields in classics and ancient history, from reception, intertextuality and writing and using commentaries to pots, epigraphy, papyrology and numismatics.

In the second semester, the MA students themselves take it in turns, two each week, to present papers on a subject of their own choosing (which may but need not relate to their planned thesis-topic). A properly written-up version of this seminar-presentation is submitted three weeks later. The oral and written versions each count for 50% of the overall mark (training on presentations and their assessment is provided)



CLAH60510 is restricted to students on Classics and Ancient History programmes (please check your programme structures for further details).


1. To introduce students to the advanced study of Classics and Ancient History

2. To provide them with a first experience, in a supportive environment, of being a postgraduate member of an academic audience

3. To provide the opportunity to learn, by both example and direct experience, how to give a research presentation to such an audience

4. To give students a sense of the range of intellectual activity encompassed by research in the subject

5. To provide students with at least a nodding acquaintance with a range of technical research skills in the area, and with the opportunity to develop further those that are of particular relevance


Learning outcomes



Knowledge and understanding


On successful completion of the course-unit, students should have acquired the following (not all of these objectives are subject to formal assessment):

1. The ability to give a formal presentation, with appropriate supporting material, on a topic where they have some degree of specialist knowledge

2. The ability to convey something of the excitement and value of that knowledge to a wider audience of non-specialist Classicists

3. The ability to contribute to discussion of academic topics both close to their own subject-area and more broadly across the range of ancient material

4. The basis for wider knowledge, and a spirit of enquiry, within the subject as a whole 

Intellectual skills

  • The ability to assimilate and summarise large quantities of evidence, and to engage critically and analytically with this evidence;
  • The ability (as needed) to engage closely with specific skills in ancillary disciplines of classical study, such as epigraphy
  • The ability to construct an argument in written and oral form; 

Practical skills

  • The ability to work co-operatively in small groups, and to engage in critical discussion and debate.
  • (as needed each week) the ability to carry out practical exercises appropriate to the week’s study topic (e.g. decipher an inscription and carry out research on it)

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • enhanced abilities to engage in critical discussion and debate and independent research.
  • improved analytical and observational abilities


Employability skills

The course involves a large number of important employment skills, most notably an ability to analyse and examine complex information, an ability to synthesise an argument in a cogent form, the ability to retrieve information from complex sources and present it in a compelling and cogent fashion.

Assessment methods

Essay (Sem 2) 3000 words 50%

Presentation (Semester 2. NB the presentation takes place before the essay, and written and oral feedback is provided in a timely fashion so that the essay on the same topic can be written up in the light of the feedback)

50% (=25% assessment by peers plus 25% assessment by academic staff).

Two written tasks (Sem 1 -  1000 words - a book or research seminar review & a task associated with one of the weekly topic-based seminars)



Feedback methods

Feedback method Formative or Summative

Written feedback Formative and summative

Class discussion and oral feedback formative

Recommended reading

Weekly preparatory reading will be provided for each seminar. However, every student should ensure that s/he has read (in translation) Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey and Vergil’s Aeneid.


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Seminars 44
Independent study hours
Independent study 256

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Maria-Ruth Morello Unit coordinator

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