Undergraduate study - 2021 entry

Degree Programme Specification 2018/2019

MA Honours in Classics and English Language

To give you an idea of what to expect from this programme, we publish the latest available information. This information is created when new programmes are established and is only updated periodically as programmes are formally reviewed. It is therefore only accurate on the date of last revision.
Awarding institution: The University of Edinburgh
Teaching institution: The University of Edinburgh
Programme accredited by: n/a
Final award: MA Honours
Programme title: Classics and English Language
UCAS code: QQ83
Relevant QAA subject benchmarking group(s): QAA Benchmark Statement – Classics, English Language
Postholder with overall responsibility for QA: SHCA Quality Director
Date of production/revision: May 2012

External summary

The MA in Classics and English Language combines the study of one of the classical languages with linguistic inquiry of English. This combined programme offers a wide range of courses available in the Schools of History, Classics and Archaeology and of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences. It aims to develop serious academic interest in and specialist knowledge of Greek or Latin language and literature, and of linguistics and linguistic theory, or more particularly the English language, both historically and currently. The programme thus affords an opportunity to investigate linguistic structures in both a dead and a living language.

Educational aims of programme

The programme aims:

  • to develop linguistic skills in Greek or Latin, leading to growing fluency, accuracy of comprehension and sensitivity to linguistic nuance;
  • to develop an understanding of linguistic theoretical concepts and methods, with particular reference to the study of  Greek, Latin and/or English;
  • to develop detailed knowledge, understanding and critical appreciation of Greek or Latin literature, through reading of a range of representative texts in the various literary genres in the original, and through study of relevant modern secondary literature;
  • to develop knowledge of all aspects of the linguistic history and structure of English, where that option is chosen;
  • to provide a solid methodological foundation for further research in the field of Classics, English language or Linguistics, or for further study and research in the Arts and Humanities;
  • to enable students to teach (after professional training) ancient Greek or Latin language and literature at all study levels;
  • to develop the general critical, analytical and communicative skills which prepare students for vocational training, for a wide variety of employment opportunities, and for continued life-long learning.

Programme outcomes: Knowledge and understanding

Graduates from the MA in Classics and  English Language will possess and demonstrate:

  • a good knowledge of either ancient Greek or Latin grammar, vocabulary and syntax, and its similarities to and differences from the syntax, grammar and vocabulary of the English language;
  • an acquaintance with the major genres of ancient Greek or Latin literature and with the linguistic and literary conventions of these genres;
  • an understanding and critical appreciation of how the thoughts, beliefs, ideas and concepts of ancient and modern writers are expressed through language;
  • a sensitivity of a range of different styles in the use of language;
  • an awareness of historical and social concepts pertaining to the use of language in the ancient and the modern world;
  • an understanding of the similarities and differences in the linguistic structures of Greek or Latin and English;
  • an understanding both of the modern preconceptions with which students approach classical antiquity and of the various traditions of classical scholarship.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in research and enquiry

Graduates from the MA in Classics and English Language will possess and demonstrate:

  • an ability to apply linguistic and philological knowledge in the close reading and interpretation of both ancient and modern texts.
  • an ability to analyse philological and linguistic problems, compare and evaluate different views and formulate independent and well-argued hypotheses.
  • an ability to analyse and comment on the thoughts, beliefs, ideas and concepts of ancient and modern authors with due consideration of the linguistic structures employed by them and of pertinent secondary literature.
  • an ability to comment on the major genres of ancient Greek or Latin literature and on the linguistic and literary conventions of these genres as well as on a range of different styles in prose and verse.
  • an ability to think creatively and imaginatively about ancient and modern language structures in the setting and pursuit of own research agendas.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in personal and intellectual autonomy

Graduates from the MA in Classics and English Language will possess and demonstrate:

  • an ability to appreciate linguistic, literary and cultural difference in the use (and users) of Greek  or Latin, and English.
  • an ability to analyse and explain, on the example of one of the classical languages and English how language influences modes of expression and thought.
  • an ability to compare different literary styles and linguistic structures in a dead and a living language.
  • an ability to reflect on modern language use through comparison with the ancient Greek and/or Roman use of language.
  • an ability to gather and evaluate complex and variegated data, and to organise this into complex and lengthy arguments of either (or both) a linguistic or philological nature.
  • an ability to exercise informed critical judgement regarding the study of ancient Greek or Latin as well as ancient Greek or Latin literature.
  • an ability to reflect on the influence of the classical languages on the development of modern languages.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in communication

Graduates from the MA in Classics and English Language will possess and demonstrate

  • an ability to make effective use of oral, written and visual means to critique, negotiate, create and communicate understanding.
  • an ability to marshal argument lucidly, coherently and concisely, be it in writing or in speaking.
  • an ability to think on their feet when presented with unexpected and/or unusual linguistic problems, questions or topics and to propose remedies and answers in a clear and persuasive manner.
  • an ability to present one’s views in collaboration with others, both in group discussion and in joint presentations.
  • an ability to present lucidly the results of investigation to specialists and non-specialists alike, orally or in written form.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in personal effectiveness

Graduates from the MA in Classics and English Language will possess and demonstrate

  • an ability to work independently and investigate purposefully.
  • an ability to approach intellectual challenges with academic rigour and mental agility.
  • an ability to think under pressure when addressing often difficult questions.
  • an ability to manage and meet firm deadlines and to organise their own learning and workload to that effect.
  • an ability to contribute to wider debates and issues on the basis of their knowledge and understanding of the ancient world that shows a high level of social responsibility.
  • an ability to collaborate effectively with others, including peers and academic seniors such as tutors and lecturers, capitalising on diversities of thinking, experience and skills in ways that value personal difference.

Programme outcomes: Technical/practical skills

Graduates from the MA in Classics and English Language will possess and demonstrate

  • a command of bibliographical and library research skills, as well as a range of skills in reading and textual analysis.
  • an ability to employ a range of electronic resources and presentation aids, and means of electronic communication (e.g. electronic databases, powerpoint, wikis, etc.).

Programme structure and features

The section presents the structure of the programme in relation to the University’s Curriculum Framework.

Modes of study: the standard mode of study for the MA in Classics and English Language is full-time.

Programme-specific entry, typical programme structure and progression requirements:
  • The programmes are open to total beginners in both languages as well as to students who have already attained some knowledge of either or both of the classical languages
  • Both first-year Greek and Latin are taught in two different streams to take account of the students’ previous linguistic attainment. In Year 1, absolute beginners in Greek take Greek 1a (1st semester) and Greek 1b (2nd semester); and absolute beginners in Latin take Latin 1a (1st semester) and Latin 1b (2nd semester). Those who already have a secure knowledge of either or both the classical languages take Greek 1c (1st semester) and Greek 1d (2nd semester), and/or Latin 1c (1st semester) and Latin 1d (2nd semester) respectively. [Students in 1c and 1d read the same texts and attend classes with those in 2a and 2b (see below), but have separate and different tutorials and examinations.]
  • In Year 1 ‘Linguistics and English Language 1’ is taken.  In Year 2 ‘English language 2’ is taken on the Classics and English Language programme.
  • In Year 2, both streams converge to Greek 2a (1st semester) and Greek 2b (2nd semester), and to Latin 2a (1st semester) and Latin 2b (2nd semester). A pass at 40% is required in the first-year courses to progress to the second-year courses. And a pass at 50% (at first attempt) is required in second-year to progress to Honours in Classics and English Language. In addition to their courses in ancient Greek and Latin, students are required to take in both Year 1 and Year 2, a further 40 credits of their choice.
  • At Honours level, students are required to take in each of the two Honours years 120 credits.  In Year 4, 40 credits must come from the Dissertation (either Classics or the Dissertation in Language Sciences).
  • Assessment in the MA in Classics and English Language typically involves a combination of coursework and examinations. Full information on the programme and course specific learning outcomes and assessment practices are laid out clearly in the Classics Sub-Honours Handbook, the Classics Honours Handbook, and in specific course booklets available for each course of this programme.

SQCF credit points: courses at 1st and 2nd year level are at SQCF credit level 8; courses at Honours level are at SQCF credit level 10.

Exit awards: the MA in Classics and English Language (Honours) is the typical exit award for the programme after a normal study period of four years. Students who fail to progress into Honours or who experience difficulties with the completion of their Honours programme might be able to move to a General BA in the CAHSS subject to a number of conditions as laid out from time to time by CAHSS.

Teaching and learning methods and strategies

Teaching and Learning strategies employed at the University of Edinburgh consist of a variety of different methods appropriate to the programme aims. The graduate attributes listed above are met through a teaching and learning framework (detailed below) which is appropriate to the level and content of the course.

Specific activities will vary with course options taken, but may include:

In Year 1 (for core courses)

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials

In Year 2 (for core courses)

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials

In Year 3

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Seminars
  • Language Laboratories

In Year 4

  • Research Project
  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Seminars
  • Language Laboratories

Teaching and learning workload

You will learn through a mixture of scheduled teaching and independent study. Some programmes also offer work placements.

At Edinburgh we use a range of teaching and learning methods including lectures, tutorials, practical laboratory sessions, technical workshops and studio critiques.

The typical workload for a student on this programme is outlined in the table below, however the actual time you spend on each type of activity will depend on what courses you choose to study.

The typical workload for a student on this programme for each year of study
Start yearTime in scheduled teaching (%)Time in independant study (%)Time on placement (%)
Year 127730
Year 229710
Year 316840
Year 48920

Assessment methods and strategies

Courses can be assessed by a diverse range of methods and often takes the form of formative work which provides the student with on-going feedback as well as summative assessment which is submitted for credit.

Various assessment methods are used dependent on course options taken, but may include:

In Year 1

  • Essays
  • Written Examinations
  • Class tests
  • Coursework

In Year 2

  • Essays
  • Written Examinations
  • Class tests
  • Coursework
  • Tutorial participation
  • Group Project

In Year 3

  • Essays
  • Written Examinations
  • Class tests
  • Coursework
  • Project
  • Language Laboratory reports

In Year 4

  • Dissertation
  • Essays
  • Written Examinations
  • Class tests
  • Coursework
  • Project
  • Language Laboratory reports

Assessment method balance

You will be assessed through a variety of methods. These might include written or practical exams or coursework such as essays, projects, group work or presentations.

The typical assessment methods for a student on this programme are outlined below, however the balance between written exams, practical exams and coursework will vary depending on what courses you choose to study.

The typical assessment methods for a student on this programme for each year of study
Start yearAssessment by written exams (%)Assessment by practical exams (%)Assessment by coursework (%)
Year 160040
Year 253245
Year 366034
Year 438953

Career opportunities

Classics graduates often progress to further study or careers in academia, teaching and museum work. Previous graduates have also gone on to work in law, accountancy, finance, IT, publishing or the Civil Service.

Other items

Students on all the Classics degrees can do a non-compulsory year abroad in their third year, through ERASMUS or International Exchange.