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Classics study options

01 November 2023

You can combine studies in Latin and/or Greek with studying non-language papers as part of your overall course load. Check out Classics study options at UC.


Studies in Latin and/or Greek can be combined with the study of non-language papers as part of a student’s overall course load. You can study the ancient world through the medium of the two ancient languages, and/or examine the literature, philosophy, religion, history and art of the ancient world through translations of the original texts and through material culture. Courses in Latin and Greek are offered from Beginners’ to Advanced levels; knowledge of one or both ancient languages will greatly enhance students' understanding of all aspects of the Greco-Roman world.

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

Need advice about courses?

Contact the Classics Undergraduate Coordinator.

The Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Course

The BA (Hons) year follows completion of the three-year BA degree and is in many ways the culmination of a course of study. 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.

A BA (Hons) year is both challenging and rewarding. Students will be working closely in a stimulating environment with both academic staff and each other.



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, please contact the Head of Classics.



All students enrol in either CLAS 460 Approaches to Classical Studies or ARTS401 Arts Research and Scholarship: Introduction to Theories and Methods (depending on what is offered) and CLAS 480 BA (Hons) Essay. In addition they will enrol in two other courses selected from CLAS 401-452.

Students may substitute up to two papers from other Honours programmes with the approval of the Heads of Departments of both programmes. If ARTS401 is taken this counts as one of the possible two non-Classics papers.

Students who are doing an Honours degree in another subject may, with the approval of the relevant programme coordinators, undertake a paper from the Classics range as part of their Honours degree.


BA (Hons) Research Essay (CLAS 480)

A key component of the BA (Hons) year is the completion of a 10,000 word thesis or research essay on a topic of the student’s choice (made in conjunction with their supervisor) in addition to three other papers.

Students should think of a topic or general area that interests them and identify a staff member who would be most suitable as a supervisor - i.e. someone likely to bring out the best in their work. Prospective supervisors should give advice on how viable the chosen topic is. Topics should be settled by the end of March in the year of enrolment, after consultation with the staff member involved in supervision.

While the topic should be manageable within the confines of a 10,000 word thesis, it is, of course, possible to combine various areas of the ancient world: e.g. you might wish to look at aspects of art and myth, literary influences on historical writings, philosophy and poetry, gender in literature or art, etc. Students will also have the option of working with items from the James Logie Memorial Collection (now housed in the Teece Museum) 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.

Students can choose to study a Coursework based Master of Arts or a Research based Master of Arts (Thesis).

The Master of Arts (180pt) in Classics consists of four 400 level papers, which must include ARTS401, and which may include internship opportunities. Students will also complete an independent research project in the form of CLAS660, a 60 point MA Dissertation.

Pre-requisites: Entry requirements are the same as for the BA (Hons) in Classics. This means that there are no language prerequisites for this degree. Students do need to be aware that without languages (at least CLAS234 or CLASS244) and the approval of the Head of Department it will not be possible to advance to PhD study.

The Master of Arts (Thesis) degree in Classics consists of two parts:

Part I is the same as for a BA (Hons.) in Classics; Part II is a thesis (CLAS 690).

Pre-requisites: The prerequisites for entry to Part I of the M.A. in Classics are the same as for a BA (Hons) in Classics.

To enrol in Part II students must have completed Part I (a BA (Hons) in Classics) and will be expected to have achieved a B average or better over the four courses. Students will also need to have completed courses in Ancient Greek and/or Latin. Specifically, students will need to have completed either CLAS234 or CLAS244; or have the approval of the Classics Head of Department.

Anyone interested in the possibility of enrolling in the MA or the MA (Thesis), or who are uncertain about their eligibility for enrolment, should contact the Classics Head of Department, or the Arts Student Advisors.


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.

If you're interested in enrolling, or uncertain about your eligibility for enrolment, please contact the Classics Postgraduate Coordinator.

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

  • Alabaster Scholarship. This undergraduate scholarship is awarded on the basis of an exam and essay on a classical topic. Value $2,250. Closing date 1 October.
  • L G Pocock Prize in Classics. Value $300. Submissions should be made to the Classics Head of Department.

Visit the Scholarships webpages to see all available undergraduate and postgraduate awards and funding opportunities.

Handbooks and guidelines

Classics writing guide

Download (application/pdf, 218 KB)

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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