Study options in Classics

Zeus in the vatican

Teaching in Classics takes two major directions: the study of the ancient world through the medium of original languages, Latin and Greek; and the study of the history, literature, and art of the ancient world through examination of original texts (translated), ancient artefacts and visual images.

Follow the link in the box below to find out about the courses we offer.

Need advice about courses?

Contact the Coordinator of Undergraduate Studies Dr Gary Morrison.

A BA(Hons) year follows completion of the BA degree and is in many ways the culmination of a course of study. It provides an opportunity for students to fulfil their academic potential in the field of their choice. It is indispensable for students considering further postgraduate academic work and can also bring career benefits in non-academic areas. Many employers find it attractive and, in some professions, a postgraduate degree translates directly into higher salaries and prospects.

An Honours year is both challenging and rewarding. Students work closely with both academic staff and each other. If you are considering Honours in Classics, feel free to approach any member of staff. 


Students are normally required to have a Major in Classics with an average of B+ or above in 60 points of Classics at 300-level. If you have questions about your eligibility, contact Dr Victor Parker.


All students enrol in two compulsory courses: CLAS460 Approaches to Classics, and CLAS480 Honours Research Essay. They also select two other courses from CLAS401-452.

The elective courses and the research essay allow students to focus on their particular area of interest. Students with an interest in ancient history can choose at least one course in ancient history and select an historical topic for the research essay; students with language competency might select CLAS401 Prescribed Texts in Greek and/or Latin and a literary course in addition to selecting a language-based topic for their research essay.

For their research essay students have the option of working with items from the James Logie Memorial Collection or, possibly, on a Digital Humanities project or on objects from the Canterbury Museum.

Graduate profile

  • Solid knowledge of historical and cultural issues related to the Graeco-Roman world
  • Identification of key issues relating to the study of the Graeco-Roman world.
  • Ability to choose relevant approaches and secondary sources that may help resolve these problems.
  • Contextualisation of primary sources relevant to the issues under observation.
  • Critical evaluation of information encoded in primary sources including style, vocabulary and genre.
  • Evaluation of potential/drawbacks inherent in approaches specific to the discipline (philology, ancient literary theory, ancient historiography, archaeology) and in the application of modern theories (sociological, archaeological, cultural and historical).
  • Clear formulation of problems in addressing specific issues.
  • Formulation and evaluation of one’s own approach and claims.
  • Keen ability to draw information from the internet and evaluate its quality.
  • Self-confident and articulate approach to the presentation of issues and possible resolutions.

Lifelong learning and transferable skills

  • Research skills: the ability to locate information pertaining to a research question or problem, read it, comprehend it, and interpret its relevance for the issue under study.
  • Observation skills: the ability to identify and interpret information from non-verbal or non-literary sources.
  • Critical and analytical skills: the ability to analyse and evaluate data and other information in terms of quality, content and relevance to the research question or problem.
  • Synthetic skills: the ability to recombine important information from a range of sources in order to answer the research question or solve the problem.
  • Writing skills: the ability to communicate research findings in clear, grammatically correct prose suitable for the intended audience.
  • Time-management skills: working to a strict deadline and word limit.

The Master of Arts in Classics comprises two parts:

  • Part I is the same as for BA (Honours) in Classics
  • Part II is a thesis (CLAS690)


The prerequisites for entry to Part I of the MA in Classics are the same as for Honours (see above).

To enrol in Part II students must have completed Part I and will be expected to have achieved a B+ average or better over the four courses, or have a BA (Honours) in Ancient History (known as Classical History before 1998) with at least Second Class Honours Division I. In the latter case, students will need to have completed:

  • either CLAS231 or 235 with a mark of B+ or above and CLAS143 or 144 and 145
  • or CLAS241 or 245 with a mark of B+ or above and CLAS131 or 134 and 135
  • or either CLAS331 or 335 or 341 or 345 with a mark of B+ or above

Students who do not meet these requirements may need to undertake a qualifying year.

For regulations concerning minimum and maximum periods of enrolment and other degree regulations, see the general provisions for the degree of Master of Arts (MA) listed in the University Calendar.

Anyone interested in our MA programme should contact Dr Patrick O'Sullivan.

Prospective PhD candidates and students who need advice about their eligibility for enrolment should contact Dr Patrick O'Sullivan


Admission to PhD study requires at least BA (Honours) in Classics or Ancient History. Candidates must be well-versed in ancient languages and have a reading knowledge of at least one modern language (such as German or French).

In certain circumstances, individuals whose academic work to date has been in a related subject area (for example, in Art History), may be considered for enrolment in the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

For regulations concerning minimum and maximum periods of enrolment and other degree regulations, see the general provisions for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) listed in the University Calendar.

Anyone interested in the possibility of enrolling, or who is uncertain about his or her eligibility for enrolment, should consult Dr Patrick O'Sullivan.

Several scholarships are available exclusively to students of Classics at UC:

  • Alabaster Scholarships. This undergraduate scholarship is awarded on the basis of an exam and essay on a classical topic. Value $2,250. Contact the Scholarships Office. Closing date 1 October.
  • L G Pocock Prize in Classics. Value $300. Submissions should be made to Dr Victor Parker, to whom all queries should be directed,

See the Scholarships webpage for general postgraduate awards and funding opportunities.

Entry requirements

Though work in classical studies at school is a fine preparation for Classics at UC, there are no prerequisites for study at first-year level.

The 100-level Greek and Latin courses are beginners' courses, so some students with previous experience of studying these languages may proceed directly to 200-level Greek and Latin.

More information

See the Course Information website for more details about studying Classics.

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