Undergraduate study - 2020 entry

Degree Programme Specification 2019/2020

Ancient History and Classical Archaeology

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:
Final award: MA Honours
Programme title: Ancient History and Classical Archaeology
UCAS code: VV14
Relevant QAA subject benchmarking group(s):

QAA Benchmark Statement – Classics and Ancient History, Archaeology, History of Art

Postholder with overall responsibility for QA: HCA Quality Director
Date of production/revision:

May 2012, April 2019

External summary

The study of the history and material culture of the classical civilisations is at the core of the MA in Ancient History and Classical Archaeology. The programme involves the development of a range of disciplinary skills used by historians, archaeologists and art historians. It requires the careful interpretation of scanty and complex written and material evidence to understand peoples who are chronologically remote but highly significant for the modern world. In addition to the study of the Greek and Roman civilisations from the Bronze Age to Late Antiquity, the programme offers the opportunity to study other ancient peoples and civilisations (such as the Etruscans and other peoples in Italy, the Persians and the Carthaginians). Students are required to contextualise Graeco-Roman society within its full geographical context, and to analyse and evaluate a wide range of texts (historical and other, including inscriptions), works of art, artefacts (such as pots and coins), archaeological sites and other material evidence. Active engagement with this range of evidence, whether through fieldwork or museum visits, will constitute a key component of the programme.The MA in Ancient History and Classical Archaeology challenges students to confront the sometimes rather different pictures of the classical world given by the different bodies of evidence – textual and material – and is thus both intellectually demanding and intrinsically interesting.

Educational aims of programme

  • to develop students’ knowledge and understanding of the history and material culture of the classical civilisations;
  • to enable the student to identify and analyse for this purpose a variety of different forms of evidence (literary, archaeological, art historical, epigraphic and documentary);
  • to provide the intellectual tools with which to apply such evidence to the investigation, understanding and critical evaluation of the social, economic and political structures of classical societies across a range of geographical regions and chronological periods;
  • to provide a solid methodological foundation for further research in ancient history and classical archaeology, or for entry into the archaeological profession or museum work, or for further study and research in the Arts and Humanities;
  • 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 Ancient History and Classical Archaeology will possess and demonstrate

  • an understanding of other cultures and ways of critically engaging with them
  • an understanding of the different value of various bodies of evidence for the study of different problems and topics
  • an understanding of a range of viewpoints on problems of interpretation and evaluation of the past
  • an understanding of (esp.) economic, legal, social, cultural, ethical, and political responsibilities and issues surrounding the study of the past and its applications
  • Knowledge of the methods used by ancient historians and Classical archaeologists
  • Understanding of the techniques used for dating artefacts and works of art
  • Understanding of the role played by art and material objects in Classical societies
  • Knowledge and understanding of the use of visual iconography in expressing and shaping policy and opinion in the Classical world
  • an understanding of the role of the past and its study in the shaping of class, ethnic, gender, national and other identities with current, sometimes sensitive relevance

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

Graduates from the MA in Ancient History and Classical Archaeology will possess and demonstrate

  • an ability to draw valid conclusions about the Graeco-Roman past from a range of historical and archaeological sources
  • an ability to place the Graeco-Roman past into its geographical setting
  • an ability to identify, define and analyse historical problems through the collection and interpretation of a wide range of primary sources pertaining to the study of ancient history
  • an ability to identify and analyse artefacts and works of art (visual analysis)
  • an ability to exercise critical judgement in the evaluation of the opinions and arguments of other ancient historians and classical archaeologists/art historians
  • an ability to think creatively and imaginatively in order to solve difficult historical and archaeological problems with often limited evidence
  • an ability to formulate own questions of the historical past, and to search for, evaluate and successfully employ ancient evidence and/or modern theories in answering these questions

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

Graduates from the MA in Ancient History and Classical Archaeology will possess and demonstrate

  • an ability to organise complex and lengthy arguments and to present well-reasoned conclusions
  • an ability to seek out source material independently and to employ that material in the analysis of problems and the answering of questions arising from the study of the ancient world
  • an ability to formulate an own opinion on the basis of the ancient evidence that is new or different to the views expressed by others
  • an ability to test, modify and strengthen one’s own views through collaboration and debate with peers and seniors
  • confidence in one’s ability to assess visual evidence and to draw conclusions from it
  • an ability to analyse how national, cultural, social or political assumptions and viewpoints can influence the study of the ancient world and the roles and places of the different elements that made up the ancient world
  • an ability to reflect on the role of the ancient world in the making of the modern world

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in communication

Graduates from the MA in Ancient History and Classical Archaeology 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 arguments 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 evidence, questions or topics and to propose remedies and answers in a clear and persuasive manner in the time given
  • 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 Ancient History and Classical Archaeology 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 Ancient History and Classical Archaeology will possess and demonstrate

  • a command of bibliographical and library research skills, as well as a range of skills in reading, textual and visual 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.)
  • Experience of a range of archaeological fieldwork techniques and/or museum-based skills.

Programme structure and features

  • Entry: entry to the MA in Ancient History and Classical Archaeology follows the standard entry requirements as set by CAHSS.
  • Modes of study: the standard mode of study for the MA in Ancient History and Classical Archaeology is full-time.
  • Programme-specific entry, typical programme structure and progression requirements:
  • The programme is open to students with or without prior knowledge of ancient history and archaeology.
  • At first-year level, all students are required to successfully complete (at 40% or above) four 20-credit Classics courses that provide an introduction to the study of the ancient world (‘The Roman World 1a’; ‘The Roman World 1b’; ‘The Greek World 1a’; ‘The Greek World 1b’); students are moreover required to take a further 40 credits of their choice.
  • At second-year level, students are required to complete successfully (at 50% or above at first attempt) two 20-credit courses specific to the study of ancient history (‘Ancient History 2a’; ‘Ancient History 2b’) and two 20 credit courses specific to the study of classical archaeology (‘Classical Art 2A’ and ‘Classical Archaeology 2B’); and 40 further 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 be from the Dissertation. In both Years 3 and 4, at least 40 credits must come from the study of ancient history, and 40 from the study of classical archaeology.
  • Assessment in the MA in Ancient History and Classical Archaeology 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.
  • The range of possibilities in Years 1 and 2 enables sideways movement into and out of this particular programme as the student's preferences and aptitudes emerge, and it provides different contexts and insights which are valuable for more advanced study of Ancient History and Classical Archaeology.
  • 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 Ancient History and Classical Archaeology (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.

Teaching and Learning Activities

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

In Year 1 (core courses)

Lectures

Tutorials

In Year 2 (core courses)

Lectures

Tutorials

Field visits

In Year 3

Lectures

Seminars

Workshops

Projects

In Year 4

Lectures

Seminars

Workshops

Research Project

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

Coursework Exercises

Written Examinations

In Year 2

Tutorial logbook

Slide tests

Analytical review

Essays

Written Examinations

In Year 3

Essays

Logbook/Seminar work

Seminar Presentation

Project

Group Exercise

Written Examinations

In Year 4

Dissertation

Essays

Logbook/Seminar work

Seminar Presentation

Group Exercise

Written Examinations

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

Classical Archaeology practical work requirement: during the summer vacation of their first year of study all students registered for a single or joint honours degree in Classical Archaeology normally undertake a project involving fieldwork and/or museum work, which can include visits, excavations, and surveys.