Skip to content

Ancient History (BA)

Entry year


Explore ancient civilizations over two millennia in a degree stretching far beyond Ancient Greece and Rome from the Bronze Age to the rise of Islam (c. 1500 BCE to CE 800).

Book an Open Day

Ancient History

Course overview

Our degree develops knowledge and critical understanding of the political, social, economic and cultural structures of these ancient Near Eastern and Mediterranean societies.

Unusual in the UK, our programme also allows you to discover Mesopotamia, the Levant and Egypt, Persia and the Byzantine Empire.

For us, social and cultural topics are just as important as historical period. You’ll encounter fascinating themes with contemporary relevance, from warfare, gender, religion, art and literature to medicine and science. Particularly popular is the reception of antiquity in film and popular culture.

Our degree is designed to help you cultivate the skills of the historian. You’ll master assessing a range of evidence and evaluating varying and sometimes conflicting interpretations to construct your own robust and coherent argument. You will practice expressing your new findings in ever innovative written forms as well as verbally within a nurturing environment.

Distinctive features

Our degree offers a balance between modules covering specific historical periods (such as ancient Persia, Rome or Greece) and thematic modules that examine broad social and cultural topics (from warfare, gender, religion and art, to medicine and science).

It provides a valuable range of intellectual and transferable skills to enter a wide range of professions, and the training necessary to progress to postgraduate level.

Spans civilizations from the earliest Mediterranean and Near East to the Byzantine Empire, including Greece and Rome.

UCAS codeV110
Next intakeSeptember 2020
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.

Dedicated to the understanding of past societies through the interpretation of ancient evidence, we explore literary, epigraphic and archaeological material, to bring you closer to this fascinating subject.

Entry requirements

BBC - BCC. Please note, General Studies and Critical Thinking will not be accepted.   

Extended Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard A level offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.

The Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.

DMM in Humanties or Social Science. Any other BTEC subject if combined with an A-Level (excluding General Studies and Critical Thinking).

Achieve the IB Diploma with 655 in 3 HL subjects.

Alternative qualifications may be accepted. For further information on entry requirements, see the School of History, Archaeology & Religion admissions criteria pages.

GCSE

Grade C or grade 4 in GCSE English Language.

IELTS (academic)

At least 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each sub-score.

TOEFL iBT

At least 90 with minimum scores of 17 for writing, 17 for listening, 18 for reading and 20 for speaking.

PTE Academic

62 with a minimum of 51 in all communicative skills.

Trinity ISE II/III

II: at least two Distinctions and two Merits.
III: at least a Pass in all components.

Other accepted qualifications

Please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our other accepted language qualifications.

GCSE English Language Grade C or 4, IGCSE English First Language grade C, IGCSE English as a Second Language grade C 

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2020/21)

Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.

Students from outside the EU (2020/21)

Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.

Additional costs

Accommodation

We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.

Course structure

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 2020/21 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2020.

Year one

You take at least four 20-credit Ancient History modules of your yearly total of 120 credits. Your remaining 40 credits can be taken from within the School.

In a year giving you a thorough grounding in the subject, you will acquire a focused introduction to the study of Ancient History. Your critical and analytical skills will be fostered through close engagement with the ancient sources and modern interpretations.

Year two

You study two 20-credit core modules plus optional modules equating to 80 credits to make your yearly total of 120 credits.

At this point in your degree you have a wide range of choice to explore topics and themes of particular interest.

Year three

You choose from a wide range of optional modules (totalling 80 credits) and write a dissertation on a topic of your choice (40 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.

Learning and assessment

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.

Year 1

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

19%

Guided independent study

82%

Placements

0%

Year 2

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

19%

Guided independent study

81%

Placements

0%

Year 3

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

11%

Guided independent study

89%

Placements

0%

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.

Feedback

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

Assessment methods (2017/18 data)

Year 1

Written exams

33%

Practical exams

3%

Coursework

63%

Year 2

Written exams

29%

Practical exams

3%

Coursework

67%

Year 3

Written exams

33%

Practical exams

7%

Coursework

60%

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.

Careers and placements

Career prospects

Our graduates progress into a wide range of careers using the skills gained throughout their degrees. Some choose to pursue professions making direct use of their discipline expertise, whilst others enter the public or private sectors, from teaching to graduate-track management.

96% of the School’s 2016/17 graduates reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduation (Destination of Leavers from Higher Education Survey).

Taking the Class of 2017 as our most recent example, graduates from the School have gone on to roles in teaching, the civil service, the military, banking and insurance, and the charity sector, with employers ranging from the National Museum Wales and Oxford Archaeology East, to County Council authorities and schools.

During your degree you can take full advantage of the wide range of opportunities provided by the Careers Service, enhanced by the School’s Workplace Partnerships Officer.

Jobs

  • Historian
  • Lecturer
  • Curator

Placements

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

Fieldwork

Trips to museums.

icon-academic

Next Undergraduate Open Day

Saturday 26 October

icon-international

International

icon-contact

Get in touch

icon-pen

How to apply