Ancient History (BA)

Entry year

2017 2018

This course aims to promote critical understanding of the political, social and economic and cultural structures of Greek and Roman societies, and their significant achievements.

The BA in Ancient History is concerned with the Graeco-Roman world from the Aegean Bronze Age to the fall of the Roman Empire in the west and its survival in the east as the Byzantine Empire.  It aims to develop students’ knowledge and critical understanding of the political, social, economic and cultural structures of Greek and Roman societies. These were significantly different from modern industrialised societies, but have exercised a profound and continuous influence on the subsequent development of European and many other peoples and cultures.

Ancient History offers a balance between modules covering specific historical periods and those that examine broad social and cultural topics, such as warfare, gender, religion, art, medicine and science.

The degree is designed to cultivate the skills of the historian, namely, the ability to assess evidence critically, to evaluate different interpretations of the evidence, to construct arguments on the basis of evidence, and to express opinions cogently in speech and in writing.

Distinctive features

Ancient History at Cardiff University offers a balance between modules covering specific historical periods and thematic modules that examine broad social and cultural topics, such as warfare, gender, religion, art, medicine and science.  It provides the training necessary for students who wish to study Ancient History at postgraduate level, and a valuable range of intellectual and transferable skills for students who enter other professions.

Key facts

UCAS CodeV110
Next intakeSeptember 2017
Duration3 years
ModeFull time
Typical places availableThe School of History, Archaeology and Religion typically has 320 places available.
Typical applications receivedThe School of History, Archaeology and Religion typically receives 1800 applications.
Admissions tutor(s)

Entry requirements

Typical A level offerABB-BBB. Three A-levels. We do not include General Studies or Critical Thinking in our offers. Note: Normally no offers are made on a point basis.
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerAAB-ABB from the Welsh Bacc and two A levels including History or Ancient History.
Typical International Baccalaureate offer32 points, including scores of 5/4 at Higher Level.
Alternative qualificationsAlternative qualifications may be accepted. For further information on entry requirements, see the School of History, Archaeology & Religion admissions criteria pages.
English Language requirementsIf you are an overseas applicant and your first language is not English, please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our accepted qualifications.
Other requirementsApplications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome.

BA Ancient History is a three-year degree programme comprising of core modules, which provide essential skills and training, and a wide variety of optional modules that allow you to tailor your degree to meet your interests. You will study modules totalling 120 credits each year.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2017/18 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2017.

Year one

The first year provides you with a focused introduction to the study of Greek and Roman history at University which fosters your critical and analytical skills through close engagement with the ancient sources and modern interpretations.

You take four 20-credit Ancient History modules and may take 40 credits in another Humanities subject to make 120 credits over the year.

Year two

In Year two, you will take two 20-credit core modules plus 80 credits of optional modules.

You may be able to take one or two modules from another Academic School, selected from the University’s Free Standing Module Collection.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Aegean Bronze Age: Emergence to CollapseHS238720 credits
Art and Archaeology of Classical GreeceHS238920 credits
Introduction to Spatial Techniques and TechnologiesHS241810 credits
Geographic Information Systems for Archaeologists and Ancient HistoriansHS241910 credits
Heritage CommunicationHS242820 credits
Reading Latin 2HS332220 credits
Reading Greek 2HS332420 credits
Roman Imperial History, 31BC- AD138HS333520 credits
Facing Crisis: the Graeco-Roman World in Transition, 138-284CEHS333620 credits
The Later Roman Empire, AD284-480HS333720 credits
Tyrants, Kings and Democrats: the Rise of Classical GreeceHS337420 credits
Greek and Roman MedicineHS337620 credits
Assyria: Life and Thought in Ancient MesopotamiaHS337920 credits
Athens in the Fourth Century BCHS338020 credits
Drama in Context: Ancient Greek Theatre, Politics and SocietyHS338120 credits
Hollywood?s Ancient World: Creating the Past in American Cinema, 1915-1965HS338220 credits
The World of CleopatraHS338320 credits
Rebelling Against Rome: Local Identity and Resistance across the Roman EmpireHS338420 credits
Religion in Rome and ItalyHS338520 credits
Reading Latin 1HS342120 credits
Reading Greek IHS342320 credits
Latin Historical TextsHS342420 credits
Latin Historical TextsHS342520 credits
Greek Historical TextsHS342620 credits
Greek Historical TextsHS342720 credits
Death and Burial in the Roman WorldHS430820 credits
Independent 2nd Year StudyHS433420 credits
Greek WarfareHS436620 credits
Life in Ancient RomeHS437020 credits
Study Abroad Semester 1HS500160 credits
Study Abroad Semester 2HS500260 credits
Module titleModule codeCredits

Year three

In Year three, all students write a dissertation on a topic of their choice (40 credits) and take 80 credits of optional modules.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Researching the Ancient World: Final Year DissertationHS433540 credits
The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

How will I be taught?

The School enables you to develop in a high-quality learning environment, supported by a student-orientated approach to the acquisition of knowledge and skills. Teaching is delivered through a mixture of lectures, seminars, classes, practical workshops, field trips, and individual tutorials. You will also undertake independent study and research, under the guidance of a supervisor.

Lectures provide an overview of the key concepts and frameworks for a topic, equipping students to carry out independent research for the seminars and to develop their own ideas.

Seminars provide an opportunity for students to explore the ideas outlined in the lecture in a small group environment. Seminars would usually consist of about 15 students and the seminar leader (a member of the teaching team). Seminars may take various formats, including plenary group discussion, small group work and student-led presentations. Seminars offer a rewarding opportunity to engage critically with the key ideas and reading of a topic, and to explore areas of particular interest with an expert in the field. It is vital that students prepare for seminars (undertaking any set reading, developing independent critical thought) in order to gain the maximum benefit from the sessions.

Lectures and seminars enable students to develop communication and analytical skills, and to develop critical thinking in a supportive environment.

How will I be supported?

As well as having regular feedback from your personal tutor, you will have a reading week each semester for guided study and a chance to catch up on assessed work, reading and revision. These weeks are also used by staff to visit students on their year abroad.

You will have access through the Learning Central website to relevant multimedia material, presentations, lecture handouts, bibliographies, further links, electronic exercises and discussion circles.

The University offers a range of services including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service, and excellent libraries and resource centres.


We’ll provide you with frequent feedback on your work. This comes in a variety of formats including oral feedback during tutorials, personalised feedback on written work, feedback lectures, generic written feedback and feedback on tutorial performance.

Coursework will be marked by your module tutor and your tutor will give you written feedback on your work. You will be given general feedback in relation to examinations following the May/June examination period and you will be able to discuss your overall performance with your personal tutor as part of the monitored student self-assessment scheme.

How will I be assessed?

Modules are assessed by various methods, including coursework essays, written reports, source criticisms, examinations, class tests, and oral presentations. The format of the assessed work for the second-year Independent Study is chosen by you; possible formats include an extended essay, a piece of creative writing, sample pages from a book or magazine, a teachers’ pack, a film, or a reconstruction drawing or model. All students write a final-year dissertation of up to 10,000 words.

Coursework and examinations are used not only for assessment purposes but also as a means of developing your capacity to gather, organise, evaluate and deploy relevant information and ideas from a variety of sources in reasoned arguments

What skills will I practise and develop?

Students will acquire and develop a range of essential transferable and discipline-specific skills, including:

  • intellectual skills - such as critical thinking, reasoning, assimilating and summarising complex information and ideas, analysing and evaluating evidence, critiquing interpretations or arguments, coping with uncertain or incomplete data, constructing arguments based on evidence, and presenting them effectively in writing and in debate;

  • employability skills - such as effective communication through written reports and oral presentations, contributing to group discussions, working independently and in teams, using IT resources effectively, and time management;

  • enterprise skills - such as creativity (practised especially in the Independent Study project), problem-solving, initiative, and independent thinking;

  • research skills - (developed especially in the Independent Study and Dissertation): defining a project, formulating research questions, locating relevant information, and presenting the results in an oral presentation and an extended written report;

  • discipline-specific skills - analysing historical problems, locating and using appropriate evidence and bibliographic resources, handling literary and archaeological material, analysing images, reading inscriptions, papyri and coins, and understanding the scholarly conventions used in relation to these types of evidence;

  • language skills - the programme offers an option for students to study Latin and Greek at beginners’ and intermediate level, and to read texts in the original languages.

In 2013/14, 92% of the School’s graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduation.

We organise interactive workshops with the Careers Service to help students identify their skills and attributes. History graduates find work in a wide range of related and non-related professional employment. Some choose to undertake postgraduate study at Cardiff or elsewhere, and some have become internationally reputed historians.

We believe in giving our graduates the best opportunities to find employment. We organise interactive workshops with the Careers Service to help students identify their skills and attributes and have our own, in-School Workplace Placements and employability officer. Some of our graduates enter professions which make direct use of their academic expertise. The majority however compete very successfully in a wide range of other fields.


  • Historian
  • Lecturer
  • Curator

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2017/18)

Tuition feeDepositNotes

Visit our tuition fee pages for the latest information.

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Students from outside the EU (2017/18)

Tuition feeDepositNotes

Tuition fees for international students are fixed for the majority of three year undergraduate courses. This means the price you pay in year one will be the same in years two and three. Some courses are exempt, including four and five year programmes. Visit our tuition fee pages for the latest information.

The school has a dedicated Work Placements Officer who supports students with work experience opportunities both in and out of term time.

Trips to museums.

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