MA Classics and Ancient History

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Social Studies of Ancient Egypt

Course unit fact file
Unit code CAHE66111
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


Overview: This 15-credit module is a compulsory part of the part-time online masters in Egyptian Archaeology and will be taught during the first semester of the first year. The module aims to equip the students with a fundamental knowledge of ancient Egyptian history, society and culture. Through eleven lectures and eleven seminar discussions on the Blackboard™ discussion boards the module will present a series of social and cultural aspects of Pharaonic civilisation. The module will focus on equipping the students to engage critically with primary data (archaeological, textual and iconographic) and highlight the specific range of biases and issues in the Egyptian source material.



1. explore how the society and culture of ancient Egypt developed from the Predynastic Period (c. 3500 BCE) to the Roman Period.

2. introduce students to the relevant sources – textual, iconographic, archaeological – which are used to study Egyptian history and society.

3. teach the students to critically engage with primary source material in various forms.

4. develop the ability of students to express themselves in writing and producing cogent historical research.

5. provide the students a basic grounding in the main issues in the study of ancient Egyptian daily life, society and socio-economic environment.


Teaching and learning methods

One weekly lecture recorded by members of staff.  

A weekly seminar topic provided on the Blackboard™ discussion boards. These seminar topics are designed to stimulate debate between the students. A member of staff will monitor and guide the discussion. 


Knowledge and understanding

Demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the society and culture of ancient Egypt.

Demonstrate an understanding of the relevant source material, its strengths and limitations.

Intellectual skills

Display an ability to construct cogent academic arguments in a written form.

Show an ability to critically evaluate and analyse historical data.

Practical skills

Demonstrate knowledge of the structuring of academic arguments in a written format.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Display the ability to conduct research independently.

Demonstrate the ability to assimilate large amounts of data in various formats.

Assessment methods

Discussion Board      0%

Essay      60%

Public Faced Article       40%

Feedback methods

Discussion Board - Formative

Essay - Summative

Article - Summative

Recommended reading

Bietak, M. 1996. Avaris, the Capital of the Hyksos: Recent Excavations at Tell el-Dab’a. British Museum Press: London.

Davies, W. V. (ed.) 1991. Egypt and Africa: Nubia from Prehistory to Islam. British Museum Press: London.

Dodson, A. and D. Hilton. 2004. The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt. Thames & Hudson: London

Grajetzki, W. 2006. The Middle Kingdom of Ancient Egypt: History, Archaeology and Society. Duckworth: London.

Hornung, E. 1999. History of Ancient Egypt: An Introduction. Cornell University Press: Ithaca.

Kemp, B. J. 1989. Ancient Egypt: Anatomy of a Civilisation. Routledge: London

Shaw, I (ed). 2003. The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt. Oxford University Press: Oxford.

Trigger, B. G. 1983. Ancient Egypt: A Social History. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.

Ucko, P. and T. Champion. 2016. The Wisdom of Egypt: Changing Visions through the Ages. Routledge: New York.

Van de Mieroop, M. 2011. A History of Ancient Egypt. Wiley-Blackwell: Malden.

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 150

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Nicky Nielsen Unit coordinator

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