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Ancient History (BA)

Why study this course

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Study with passion

Explore your interests with subjects spanning Greek art to Persian history and reading ancient text.

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Dissertation with a difference

Explore a topic that sparks your curiosity; enhance multiple skills with a presentation and written element.

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Learn from experts

Benefit from the teaching and support  of research-active staff.

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Interactive careers workshops

Hone your career skills and gain valuable insights into roles and sectors fit for you.

Dedicated to the understanding of past societies through the interpretation of ancient evidence, our BA in Ancient History is an exciting degree that explores key literary, visual, epigraphic and archaeological material. Unusual in the UK, our programme allows you to discover the Near East, Persia and the Byzantine Empire, as well as the Greek and Roman worlds.

Designed for students with no prior study of the ancient world, but also catering for those who do have some prior knowledge, our multi-faceted programme will develop your knowledge and critical understanding of these fascinating ancient societies, examining their political, social, economic and cultural structures, as well as building the skills that you need to succeed at university level and beyond.

For us, social and cultural topics are just as important as political history. You will encounter fascinating themes with contemporary relevance, such as warfare, gender and sexuality, religion, medicine, art and literature, and you will discover how antiquity continues to inspire the modern world.

You will assess the range of evidence available for the study of the ancient world and learn to evaluate varying and sometimes conflicting interpretations of the past, in order to construct your own robust and coherent arguments. You will practise communicating your ideas to different audiences in a variety of different media and formats. At the end of your degree, you will design and carry out an individual research project on a subject of your choice.

This programme is also available with a year of study abroad, extending your degree to a four-year programme, with your third year spent at a partner institution outside the UK.

Subject area: History and ancient history

Entry requirements

We accept a combination of A-levels and other qualifications, as well as equivalent international qualifications subject to entry requirements. Typical offers are as follows:

A level

ABB-BBB

Extended/International Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ/IPQ 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.


We carefully consider your contextual data (the circumstances in which you've been studying) upon application. Where a grade range is advertised this reflects our typical standard and contextual offers. Eligible students will be given an offer at the lower end of the advertised grade range. Where there is no grade range advertised you will usually receive additional points in the selection process. Learn about eligible courses and how contextual data is applied.

International Baccalaureate

32-31 overall or 665 in 3 HL subjects. 

Baccalaureate Wales

From September 2023, there will be a new qualification called the Advanced Skills Baccalaureate Wales (level 3). This qualification will replace the Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate (Welsh Baccalaureate). The qualification will continue to be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.

Other qualifications from inside the UK

BTEC

DDM in a BTEC Extended Diploma in Humanities or Social Science subjects. We will consider BTECs in alternative subjects alongside other academic qualifications and any relevant work or volunteer experience.

 

T level

Acceptance of T Levels for this programme will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the Academic School. Consideration will be given to the T Level grade/subject and grades/subjects achieved at GCSE/Level 2.

Qualifications from outside the UK

See our qualification equivalences guide

Additional entry requirements

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 subskill.

TOEFL iBT

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

PTE Academic

At least 62 overall with a minimum of 59 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.

You must have or be working towards:
- English language or Welsh language at GCSE grade C/4 or an equivalent (such as A-levels). If you require a Student visa, you must ensure your language qualification complies with UKVI requirements.

We do not accept Critical Thinking, General Studies, Citizenship Studies, or other similar equivalent subjects.
We will accept a combination of BTEC subjects, A-levels, and other qualifications, subject to the course specific grade and subject requirements.

You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course.

If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • access to computers or devices that can store images
  • use of internet and communication tools/devices
  • curfews
  • freedom of movement, including the ability to travel to outside of the UK or to undertake a placement/studies outside of Cardiff University
  • contact with people related to Cardiff University.

Please see our admissions policies for more information about the application process.

Tuition fees for 2023 entry

Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on your fee status. Your fee status could be home, island or overseas.

Learn how we decide your fee status

Fees for home status

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £9,000 None
Year two £9,000 None
Year three £9,000 None

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, your tuition fees for 2023/24 be in line with the overseas fees for international students, unless you qualify for home fee status. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.

Fees for island status

Learn more about the undergraduate fees for students from the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

Fees for overseas status

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £20,450 None
Year two £20,450 None
Year three £20,450 None

Learn more about our tuition fees

Financial support

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.

Additional costs

You should be prepared to invest in some key texts and to cover the costs of basic printing and photocopying for your own use. You may also want to buy copies of other books, either because they are particularly important for your modules or because you find them particularly interesting.

Accommodation

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

Living costs

We're based in one of the UK's most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.

Course structure

The BA in Ancient History is a three-year programme, consisting of 120 credits per year. You will study six 20-credit modules in each of your first two years, and in your final year you will take four 20-credit modules and a 40-credit dissertation on a topic of your choice.

Across the programme the core modules provide you with key skills and knowledge, while the optional modules allow you to tailor your degree to suit your particular interests.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2023/2024 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2023.

Year one

In year 1, you will study 80 credits of core modules and 40 credits of optional modules. Through the core modules, you will acquire a broad knowledge of the history of the ancient world from 1000 BC to AD 680, and the evidence available for studying it. The core modules also provide you with essential academic skills for study at university level.

The optional modules allow you the opportunity to develop your skills and knowledge in diverse but connected areas, such as archaeology, religion, medieval history, reception, and ancient languages.

The year 1 modules provide you with the skills and knowledge that you need to progress to year 2, and which you will continue to develop across the degree. Your knowledge of the history of the ancient world will become deeper and more specialised, your skills in handling evidence and conducting research will be enhanced, and so will your presentation skills.

Year two

In year 2, you will take 40 credits of core modules and 80 credits of optional modules. One core module focuses on the history of ancient history itself and current debates within and about the subject. The other core module is an individual project on a subject of your own choosing, which you will present in a creative and enterprising way and thus develop your research and employability skills.

You will also choose 4 20-credit optional modules from a range of periods and themes, allowing you to pursue your particular interests. One of these must be a period module; this will ensure that you begin to develop more specialist knowledge in a key period, as well as developing your skills further in handling a range of evidence and engaging in modern debates. You may also learn Latin or ancient Greek (maximum 40 credits; not Latin and Greek at the same time), or take a work placement module to help you achieve your career aspirations.

Year 2 will enable you to engage more deeply with themes, periods, historical debates and scholarship, and to gain experience in interpreting a wider range of diverse and complex evidence.

Year three

In year 3, you will take the core 40-credit dissertation and 80 credits of optional modules. In the dissertation you will build on your year 2 individual project and the skills and expertise developed in the other core and optional modules to design and conduct a research project on a subject of your own choosing, supervised by a member of the academic staff.

The 4 optional modules are chosen from a broad range of thematic and period modules which allow you to specialise in subjects taught by staff who are actively involved in researching them. You may also take a module designed to develop your skills in public engagement and outreach.

Year 3 marks the culmination of the skills and knowledge developed across the degree. You will enhance further your critical and analytical skills and develop your research and problem-solving skills.

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

The School of History, Archaeology and Religion enables you to develop in a high-quality learning environment, supported by a student-orientated approach to the acquisition of knowledge and skills.

We employ a range of teaching methods including lectures, seminars, active problem-solving classes, practicals, field trips, and one-to-one tutorials. You will also undertake independent study and research, with guidance from tutors or on a self-directed basis.

Lectures provide an overview of the key concepts and frameworks for a topic, equipping you to carry out independent research and develop your own ideas for the seminars, active classes and assessments. These materials may be delivered to you face-to-face or provided in electronic form so that you can study them at your own pace and convenience.

Seminars and active problem-solving classes provide a dynamic environment in which you can explore the ideas and debates outlined in lectures. These sessions usually consist of a group of students and the group leader (a member of the teaching team). They may take various forms, including plenary group discussion, small group work and student-led presentations. They offer a rewarding opportunity to debate and engage critically with key ideas and reading, and to explore areas of particular interest with an expert in the field.

In studying for a Humanities degree, you will engage in self-directed study, making use of libraries, physical and digital archives and collections of evidence. You will be supported in this and learn to become a confident independent student during the course of your degree.

How will I be supported?

You will be supported by a number of different staff, some focussing on academic performance in a particular area and some looking at your learning and progress more holistically.

You will be allocated a personal tutor, who will guide you for the duration of your studies. You will meet with your personal tutor regularly to reflect on your progress and development across your studies. Your personal tutor can also guide you towards appropriate support if you are experiencing difficulties or require specific information about your time at Cardiff University.

Additional module-specific support is provided by seminar tutors, lecturers and/or module convenors. Support for projects and dissertations is provided by an academic supervisor who will meet with you regularly.

All modules make use of the Cardiff University Virtual Learning Environment, through which you’ll be able to access all course materials, such as lecture recordings, handouts, details of all assessments, assessment criteria and links to digital resources including library materials available in electronic format.

Our undergraduate Education Support Team provides academic and student support and is there to provide information and guidance in response to any queries you may have.

Beyond the School, the University offers a range of services, including Student Futures to help you with your career planning, support services and events to help you manage your emotional, mental and physical health, support with financial issues, and support for students with disabilities.

How will I be assessed?

You will encounter a range of different assessments during your study, including essays, source analysis exercises, exams, presentations, and creative projects, along with other assessments that will enable you to demonstrate flexibility and familiarity with digital platforms such as blogs, vlogs and social media, and writing in different formats for both specialist and non-specialist audiences. Some of our assessments allow you to work collaboratively.

In all cases, our assessments are designed to support you in developing your ideas, skills and competencies. They encourage you to be innovative and creative, to find new ways to address problems or ask questions, to collaborate in solving problems and presenting findings, and to present evidence-based arguments. The skills developed and assessed throughout the programme prepare you for entry into a range of graduate careers.

You will receive individual feedback on all assessed work to help you improve performance in future assessments, and you will have the opportunity to discuss this feedback with the tutors. In addition, you will do various practice exercises such as presentations and essay or project plans, and formative feedback is provided in classes and tutorials to help you improve your learning and understanding before you complete your summative assessments.

What skills will I practise and develop?

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme describe what you will be able to do as a result of your study at Cardiff University. They will help you to understand what is expected of you. 

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme can be found below:

Knowledge & Understanding:   

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to:

KU1: Critically analyse a broad range of ancient political, social and cultural history

KU2: Critically analyse and evaluate a wide range of primary source material, including literary, documentary, epigraphic, visual and archaeological evidence

KU3: Critically evaluate and employ a range of approaches and methods for the study of ancient history

KU4: Critically evaluate and critique different modern interpretations of the past

KU5: Critically analyse debates concerning the place of ancient history in contemporary society and politics

Intellectual Skills:           

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to:

IS1: Identify and critically analyse patterns of historical change and locate detailed examination of particular themes, episodes and events within them

IS2: Critically evaluate historical debates and locate them in the development of the discipline

IS3: Define complex historical problems and questions, and identify appropriate methods and evidence to address them

IS4: Formulate and justify independent arguments and conclusions based on critical analysis of incomplete evidence

Professional Practical Skills:      

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to:

PS1: Use a range of information resources and databases to locate primary source material

PS2: Engage in historical research to locate and select appropriate modern scholarship

PS3: Design, carry out and present a substantial piece of independent research

Transferable/Key Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to:

TS1: Solve complex problems by using knowledge and skills to tackle familiar and unfamiliar problems

TS2: Employ critical thinking and reasoning to analyse and evaluate evidence and ideas

TS3: Assimilate and synthesise complex information and ideas

TS4: Communicate complex information and arguments to a variety of audiences and in a variety of formats, both written and oral

TS5: Utilise a range of employability and enterprise skills, such as creativity, initiative, organisation, time management, independent and team working, and the use of information technology

Careers and placements

Career prospects

Our degree equips you with important skills that employers value, from collaborative working and communicating with a wide range of audiences to critical thinking and finding new ways to address problems. Training and careers events are delivered in and out of the curriculum, with a focus on developing skills while in university and articulating those skills successfully in future applications. We work closely with Student Futures, who not only deliver training and workshops, but also offer a wealth of placement opportunities. Beyond your formal studies we run programmes that provide you with opportunities to engage with local schools and communities or work with local heritage organisations to develop your own skills and profile whilst allowing you to make a difference.

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 graduate-level management to teaching. Recent graduates from the school have gone on to roles in museums, archaeology, the heritage sector, teaching and education, the media, civil service, the military, banking and insurance, the law, human resources and the charity sector, with employers ranging from the Museum Wales to local authorities and schools.

Graduate careers

  • Historian
  • Lecturer
  • Curator

Placements

We ensure that placements can be incorporated into your learning. We offer opportunities for placements in Year Two on a module which focuses on translating the skills you gain through your degree into the workplace. In Year Three we offer you the opportunity to take a module through which you can develop your enterprise skills, and which equips you with the skills to communicate and collaborate with external organisations. Staff also have close links with a range of local heritage and other organisations, which offer placement opportunities both in and outside semesters.

Through our links with Student Futures you can source placements and on-campus internships, from 35 hours part-time placements to fit in around your studies to paid summer placements. In addition, Go Wales provides additional support to help you gain work experience.

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HESA Data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2021. The Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from its data. Data is from the latest Graduate Outcomes Survey 2019/20, published by HESA in June 2022.