Ancient History (MA)

Ancient history

The Ancient History (MA) offers students whose interests centre on the study of ancient history the opportunity to take a specialist higher degree tailored to those interests. 

If you wish to expand your knowledge of the history of Ancient Greek and Roman societies at a postgraduate level, then Ancient History (MA) is for you. The Ancient History scheme allows you to study a wide range of modules covering not only fascinating figures like Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar, but also basic aspects of everyday life, such as warfare and the economy.

Key Facts

Institution Code: T80
Course Length:
Full-time: 2 years
Part-time: 4 years
Location: Lampeter or Online

Scholarships and Bursaries

Faculty of Humanities and Performing Arts
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The Ancient History (MA) offers students whose interests centre on the study of ancient history the opportunity to take a specialist higher degree tailored to those interests. Students will take a balance of modules in both Greek and Roman history, and may focus on one or other of the two societies in their dissertation module. The Greek modules cover the archaic, classical and Hellenistic periods while there are three primary foci for the study of Roman history: the Republican period; the Imperial Roman West; and, the Roman East, including Egypt and India.

  • Theory and Methodology for the Study of Classics: The purpose of the Theory and Methodology for the Study of Classics module is to equip students for postgraduate study, and to give them a firm grounding in the general study and research skills that are necessary for successful study at postgraduate level. Furthermore, the study of the classical world involves a diverse and sometimes contradictory set of theoretical and practical approaches. This module aims to introduce students to these approaches and aid them in negotiating the various arguments, uses and problems associated with each. 
  • Writing History in the Ancient World: The module studies the historiography and historiographical tradition in the Greek and Roman worlds from the sixth century BC to the third century AD. The focus will be mainly on the evolution of history as a discipline and a tradition first in the Greek and in the Roman world. The module will concentrate on the main extant and fragmentary historians of the period aiming at analyzing and discussing the main characteristics of their method and works. 
  • Power and Culture in the Hellenistic East: This module will focus on dynastic issues and on the interaction between cities, native populations and rulers of the Hellenistic East (the former Persian Empire) from the death of Alexander the Great until the absorption of the Ptolemaic kingdom by Rome. It uses both Greek and native source material (where the latter is available) to analyze the character of these varied interactions and their impacts on both sides. The history of the Hellenistic kingdoms, in the specific context of international relations with the populations dominated by the Hellenistic rulers, is one of both alienation and assimilation, of bigotry and acceptance, of rebellion and co-operation. The course examines both the positive and negative aspects of that interaction between cultures, examining both culture clash and, ultimately, the benefits that mutual intercourse may have brought to both sides.
  • Life in the Eastern Desert of Egypt: The module will primarily look at Ptolemaic and Roman attempts to exploit the natural resources, but also examine some instances of this from earlier historical periods.
  • Religious Life in the Roman Empire: This module provides an in-depth insight into the religious developments that can be found across the diverse regions of the Roman empire between the 2nd century B.C. and the 4th century A.D. It is the aim to analyse how Roman imperialism and the intensifying contacts across the empire affected people’s religious understandings, making people re-think their own, ‘native’ cult, reinvigorating existing cults, introducing and adapting new, alien cults.
  • Stories, Histories and Ticket-Sales: Greeks and Romans on the silver Screen: The module examines the reception of classical antiquity in film and television in the 20th and 21st centuries.  The representation and description of classical mythology and history on film and television has a major impact on our understanding and view of the ancient world in a non-scholarly environment. However, producers of films and television shows relating to the classical world do not aim towards education of the public in classics or ancient history but, like the rest of the entertainment industry, aim toward entertainment and profit.
  • Myth in Greek and Roman Epic : This module examines the use and function of myth in epic across a period of some twelve centuries, and provides students with a detailed study of the epic genre. The module allows students to explore the origins of myth, its links with folktale, its place in story-telling and the oral tradition. By investigating the types of myths chosen in epics, their reformulation and depiction, this module also allows students to gain a greater understanding of the function and use of myth in epic, of the literary concerns of individual epics and of the purpose, structure and development of the epic genre in antiquity.

Providing our students with a range of learning opportunities and excellent teaching is the primary aim of the School of Classics. We employ innovative methods and approaches that enhance our students’ learning throughout their studies.

All our modules are taught by specialists and active researchers. The influence of our research on our teaching offers our students the opportunity to learn from the best in the subject and follow the latest scholarly trends and discoveries.

Our programme is designed to help learners both on campus and at a distance. Our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) is a live forum through which students and staff can interact, through which students are better able to revise and explore difficult topics and through which students are better able to access the electronic resources available in the virtual world.

Studying Ancient History with us here at University of Wales Trinity Saint David means research-led teaching and research-active learning in an environment that allows for both full use of the virtual world and the personal approach of expert tuition.

An MA degree in Ancient History involves a wide range of assessment methods. In addition to traditional essays, you will be assessed through bibliographic exercises, presentations – oral and PowerPoint based, creation of abstracts, in-house conference papers, article reviews, creation of project plans and, of course, the dissertation. This variety of assessment helps develop skills in presenting material in clear, professional and a lucid manner, whether orally or in writing.

The assessment is on the student’s own subject of choice in relation to each module, always in consultation with the relevant tutor. Most modules are assessed by long essays, but some modules are assessed by alternative means, such as conference-style presentations.

The traditional requirement for entry onto a Level 7 programme is a 2.1 or 1st class undergraduate degree. In addition, we encourage students with an equivalent and appropriate professional qualification or significant and relevant professional experience to apply. Entry to the PG Diploma or the PG Certificate is a BA degree. 

The programme provides a broad foundation for postgraduate work, by laying particular emphasis on the methodologies and research tools needed for independent advanced study, thus acting as training for students who intend to undertake an MPhil or PhD.

The course also provides a professional qualification for teachers or others seeking Continuing Professional Development.

Residential Study

Students can study for any of our degrees residentially on the Lampeter campus. Classes take place between Monday and Friday during the teaching semesters. On average, a full-time student is expected to attend eight hours of classes every week. All non-linguistic classes are very small, usually not more than five students, while language class sizes depend on the level of study, hence beginners’ languages often attract some 15 students, while advanced languages have an average class-size of five students.

Distance Learning

All our degrees are available to distance learners, and indeed the greater part of our postgraduate cohort comprises distance learners. Every student has access to all module materials, including reading lists, on the Virtual Learning Environment (Moodle). All modules are taught by our lecturers, and are designed to be accessible and friendly to learning at a distance. Many of the modules are delivered in a blended fashion with use of video and audio presentations by the lecturers on each individual topic.

It is essential that distance learners have a good internet access, as well as use of computer facilities; the University offers all distance students individual support in accessing material from home. The University of Wales Trinity Saint David Learning Resources Centre provides access to a variety of electronic academic material to distance learners, including more than 1,000 Classics e-books, 70 Classics e-journals, and a number of specialised Classics e-resources.