Undergraduate study - 2020 entry

Degree Programme Specification 2019/2020

MA Honours in Classical Archaeology and Latin

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:
Programme title: MA Honours
UCAS code: Classical Archaeology and Latin
Relevant QAA subject benchmarking group(s): QAA Benchmark Statement – Classics and Ancient History, Archaeology
Postholder with overall responsibility for QA: HCA Quality Director
Date of production/revision: May 2012, April 2019

External summary

The study of the literature, languages and material culture of the classical civilisations (Greece and Rome) requires the development of a wide range of disciplinary skills: the acquisition of language skills to a high standard, literary analysis and criticism and the understanding of society through its literature, and the intellectual and visual skills used by archaeologists and art historians. The MA in Classical Archaeology and Latin combines the study of the language and literature of Rome with study of the works of art and material culture produced by the same societies, placed within a broad geographical context and with regard to a wide range of different contexts (e.g. political, military, religious, philosophical, social etc.).  Study of this complex evidence, both written and material, is used to develop an understanding of societies and people who are chronologically remote but highly significant for the modern world, and as a result it is both intellectually demanding and intrinsically interesting.

Educational aims of programme

The programme aims:

  • to develop students’ knowledge and understanding of the literature and material culture of the classical civilisations;
  • to develop linguistic skills in Latin, leading to growing fluency, accuracy of comprehension and sensitivity to linguistic nuance;
  • to develop detailed knowledge, understanding and critical appreciation of Latin literature;
  • to enable the student to identify and analyse a variety of different forms of evidence, in particular literary, archaeological, and art historical;
  • to provide the intellectual tools with which to apply such evidence to the investigation, understanding and critical evaluation of classical societies across a range of geographical regions and chronological periods;
  • to provide a solid methodological and cognitive foundation for further research in classical archaeology and Latin literature, 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 Classical Archaeology and Latin will possess and demonstrate:

  • a sound grasp of Latin grammar and vocabulary.
  • a good knowledge of Latin syntax and its similarities to and differences from the syntax of the English language.
  • an acquaintance with the major genres of Latin literature and with the linguistic and literary conventions of these genres.
  • a sensitivity to a range of different styles in prose and verse.
  • an understanding and critical appreciation of the thoughts, beliefs, ideas and concepts of classical authors and their social, political and historical contexts.
  • an understanding of ideas and patterns of thought current in the Graeco-Roman world expressed both in literature and in the visual arts and an awareness of their historical and social contexts.
  • an understanding of the role played by art and material objects in Classical societies.
  • a knowledge of the major styles and subject matter of Greek or Roman art.
  • knowledge and understanding of the use of visual iconography in expressing and shaping policy and opinion in the Greek and/or Roman world.
  • knowledge of the methods used by  Classical archaeologists and art historians.
  • understanding of the techniques used for dating artefacts and works of art.
  • 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 Classical Archaeology and Latin will possess and demonstrate:

  • an ability to apply linguistic and philological knowledge in the close reading and interpretation of Latin 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 authors with due consideration of their social, political and historical contexts and of pertinent secondary literature.
  • an ability to comment on the major genres of 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 draw valid conclusions about the Graeco-Roman past from a range of  archaeological sources.
  • 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 classical scholars.
  • an ability to think creatively and imaginatively about the nature of Greek/Roman society using literary and material evidence.
  • an ability to formulate own questions of Greek/Roman society 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 Classical Archaeology and Latin will possess and demonstrate:

  • an ability to analyse and explain, using Latin as an example, how language influences modes of expression and thought.
  • an ability to compare different literary styles and linguistic choices through the study of a range of Latin authors and texts.
  • an ability to exercise informed critical judgement regarding the study of Latin language and literature and Classical art and archaeology.
  • an ability to reflect on the influence of classical literature and Graeco-Roman culture on the development of modern literatures and cultures.
  • an ability to organise complex data and lengthy arguments and to present well-reasoned conclusions.
  • an ability to formulate and express own opinions on the basis of the ancient evidence.
  • an ability to test, modify and strengthen one’s own views through collaboration and debate with peers and seniors.
  • an ability to analyse and 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 Classical Archaeology and Latin 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 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 Classical Archaeology and Latin 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 Classical Archaeology and Latin 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.).
  • Experience of a range of archaeological fieldwork techniques and/or museum-based skills.

Programme structure and features

This 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 Classical Archaeology and Latin is full-time.

Programme-specific entry, typical programme structure and progression requirements:
  • The programme is open to students with or without prior knowledge of archaeology or Latin.
  • First-year Latin is taught in two different streams to take account of the students’ previous linguistic attainment: absolute beginners take Latin 1a (1st semester) and Latin 1b (2nd semester), while those who already have a secure knowledge of the language take Latin 1c (1st semester) and Latin 1d (2nd semester). [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 second year, both streams converge to Latin 2a (1st semester) and Latin 2b (2nd semester).
  • At first-year level, all students are required to successfully complete (at 40% or above) two out of 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 classical archaeology (‘Classical Art 2A’ and ‘Classical Archaeology 2B’), and Latin 2a and Latin 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 3, 20 credits must be from Latin language (A), and in Year 4, 40 credits must be from the Dissertation and 20 credits from Latin language (B). In Year 3, at least 40 credits must come from the study of classical archaeology, and another 20 credits from the study of Latin. In Year 4, 40 credits must come from the study of classical archaeology, and another 20 from the study of Latin.
  • Assessment in the MA in Classical Archaeology and Latin 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 Classics and History.

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 Classical Archaeology and Latin (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 (for core courses)

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Language work

In Year 2 (for core courses)

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Language work

In Year 3

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Unseen language translation
  • Oral Discussion
  • Seminars
  • Workshops
  • Projects

In Year 4

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Unseen language translation
  • Oral Discussion
  • 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

  • Coursework
  • Class tests
  • Essays
  • Written Examinations

In Year 2

  • Coursework
  • Tutorial logbook
  • Essays
  • Written Examinations

In Year 3

  • Essays
  • Written Examinations
  • Coursework
  • Logbook/Seminar work
  • Group Exercise

In Year 4

  • Dissertation
  • Essays
  • Written Examinations
  • Coursework
  • Continuous Assessment
  • Logbook/Seminar work
  • Group Exercise

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.