Birkbeck, University of London

Course Introduction

This Master’s degree in classical civilisation is a unique, interdisciplinary programme that offers graduates of subjects other than classics the opportunity to study the classical world at postgraduate level without prior knowledge or study of Latin or Greek. You can focus on multiple aspects of ancient Greek and Roman archaeology, history and culture from the archaic period through the classical era to late antiquity, including literary and material evidence. A particular focus of the programme is contemporary debate about the reception and interpretation of classical history and culture, particularly the meanings that have been attached to the classical past, including archaeological objects, architectural remains and literary works.

The course starts with a broad introduction to postgraduate study of the classical world, with sessions proceeding in broadly chronological order from the archaic Mediterranean to the early Christian empire. Themes considered will include politics and culture, religion, sex and sexuality, the writing of history, and the reception of classical culture in the modern world. You will also have the opportunity to study Greek or Latin from beginners’ to advanced level, while a wide range of option modules allow you to explore and expand your interests more fully. You will receive training in research methods and techniques that will give you the confidence and skills to research and write a dissertation on a subject of particular interest to you.

Course Modules

The structure of the degree is similar to that of our MA Classics.

The programme consists of a 22'week core course that introduces approaches to different kinds of ancient evidence and major modern debates about it. There is a particular focus in this course on ancient history, ancient literature, classical archaeology and reception.

You also choose 2 special subjects from available option modules. You may take 1 language course as one of your option modules. A dissertation is due at the end of September of your final year of study.

Part'time students take 1 option module and write the dissertation in the second year.

You may also take Greek or Latin at beginners', intermediate or advanced level.

Option modules are offered on a 2'year rolling cycle and the list below shows modules taught in recent years.

Not all modules are available each year. View the full timetable for the year.

Core module:

Introduction to Classical Culture .

Indicative option modules:

Archaeological Architecture;

Athens: Material Culture Approaches to the Classical City;

From temples to museums: post'classical encounters with classical antiquities;

Money and Empire c. 300'c. 800;

The City of Rome: Ancient to Medieval;

The Edge of Empire: The Archaeology of Roman Frontiers;

The Greeks and the sea;

The Medieval Mediterranean;

The Past in the Present: Classical Archaeology in the Modern World;

The politics of culture in Neronian Rome .

Language modules:

Advanced Greek;

Advanced Latin;

Beginners Greek;

Beginners' Latin;

Intermediate Greek;

Intermediate Latin .

Start Date:


Duration & Attendance Qualification Tuition fees Fee type
1 year
Full Time
MA £8,175 Home Fees
1 year
Full Time
MA £14,850 Overseas Fees
2 years
Part Time
MA £4,075 Home Fees
2 years
Part Time
MA £7,425 Overseas Fees

Qualifications required:

  • A good degree in an arts subject. No previous knowledge of Greek or Latin is required.
  • We will also normally consider social science and science graduates, and applicants with other qualifications.
  • We also offer a 1-year Graduate Certificate in History, which can be used as a conversion course if you want to study at postgraduate level, but have a degree in a significantly different discipline. If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English: IELTS Academic Test score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.