MA Medieval and Early Modern Studies / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Intensive Latin 1

Course unit fact file
Unit code CAHE70171
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


This course is designed for students with no previous knowledge of Latin. Those who have studied Latin up to and including GCSE (or equivalent), however, may take it as beginners; those who have AS Level (or equivalent) in Latin should audit this course and enrol in CAHE 70182 Intensive Latin 2  for credit. Those with A-level Latin should take CAHE70111 Advanced Latin 1. 


Pre-requisite units

None but this course may not be taken for credit by candidates who have already achieved a qualification in Latin which is higher than GCSE (or equivalent).

Co-requisite units

None however students on the MA in Classics & Ancient History are expected to register in addition for CAHE70182 (Intensive Latin 2).



To introduce students to the basic elements of the Latin language.

Teaching and learning methods

  • 2 x 1 hour lectures per week; 

  • 2 x 1 hour seminars per week; 

  • 1 dedicated consultation hour per week; 

  • Blackboard: course material, handouts and other supporting materials.  

Lectures introduce new grammatical material which will then be further explained and reinforced in the highly interactive seminars. 


Formal written homework is set each week and individually marked. This is a crucial part of the teaching and learning process. 


Also on Blackboard is a self-training programme, which consists of a large bank of quizzes, graded by level, on vocabulary, morphology, and syntax. Students are expected to make extensive use of these materials, in order to help them to learn the large amount of new material that they will meet during the course. The programme gives immediate feedback, including scores, correct answers, and, in the case of more complex questions, explanations. 

Knowledge and understanding

By the end of this course students will have developed the following abilities:

  • knowledge and understanding of the basic workings of a highly-inflected language, Classical Latin;
  •  mastery of (roughly half of) the basic Latin forms and constructions (accidence and syntax), together with a vocabulary of several hundred words, and a developing ability to use them both actively and passively;
  • the ability to read a simple Latin text, seen or unseen, with fluency and accuracy;
  • basic familiarity with Latin epigraphy

Intellectual skills

By the end of this course students will have developed the following abilities:

  •  subject-specific skills, including an incipient ability to read, understand, translate and write Latin;
  • an insight into the nature of the differences between English and Classical Latin.

Practical skills

See specific skills listed below, plus

  • an incipient ability to read simple Latin instructions


Transferable skills and personal qualities

By the end of this course students will have:

  • an increased awareness of the structures and resources of the English language;
  • a developed ability to analyse and to describe linguistic forms and structures;
  • an increased knowledge and understanding of Latin-derived English vocabulary.

Employability skills

The course supports the development of a large number of important employment skills, most notably the ability to understand, commit to memory, and successfully deploy the elements of a complex communication system. Conscientious study of an ancient language enhances understanding of English grammatical structures and broadens vocabulary, thereby enhancing the ability to communicate clearly, concisely and eloquently. Students of ancient languages also learn how to extract key elements from complex information and to identify, make sense of, and solve associated problems.

Assessment methods

Mid-term Test (a mixture of timed Blackboard tests and a shorter translation paper) 40%
Exam 60%


Feedback methods

  • Weekly feedback on formative homework exercises;
  • Written feedback on formative and summative assessment (see above); all feedback is designed to contribute formatively towards improvement in subsequent assignments.
  • Automated feedback through online quizzes
  • Additional one-to-one feedback (during the consultation hour or by making an appointment).

Recommended reading

Perhaps the best preliminary reading would be any good introduction to English grammar, such as Bas Aarts, Oxford Modern English Grammar (2011). If you can find it (there are two copies in the library), you would benefit from Norma Goldman and Ladislas Szymanski, English Grammar for Students of Latin: the study guide for those learning Latin. Second edition, 2000. There are also older copies of the first edition.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 22
Seminars 22
Independent study hours
Independent study 106

Additional notes

  • 22 x one-hour lectures
  • 22 x one-hour seminars
  • 3 hours summative assessment
  • TOTAL scheduled contact time = 47 hours

In addition, there are 11 dedicated consultation hours, together with extensively asynchronous online interaction. Detailed suggestions for the management of independent study time are given in the course handbook.


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