Undergraduate study - 2021 entry

Degree Programme Specification 2019/2020

MA Honours in Latin Studies

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: Latin Studies
UCAS code: Q600
Relevant QAA subject benchmarking group(s): QAA Benchmark Statement - Classics and Ancient History
Postholder with overall responsibility for QA: SHCA Quality Director
Date of production/revision: May 2012

External summary

Latin was the language of the most powerful and durable empire of the classical world and remained the principal language of scholarship, record and much literature for more than a thousand years thereafter. The Romans produced a rich and influential literature and transmitted many key concepts to Western culture.

The study of Latin is not only a valuable pursuit in itself but also informs our views of the world in which we live. The MA in Latin Studies combines both linguistic and philological work as well as the study of a civilisation that utilised this language in a wide range of different contexts (e.g. political, religious, philosophical, etc.) and in different societal niches, i.e. by individuals from different social levels, emphasising the need to appreciate social status and equality in the context of personal and other diversity.

In addition to the study of many significant classical authors and texts, students are moreover afforded the opportunity to read and analysis the writings of late antique authors or epigraphic Latin. To acquire a sound grammatical understanding of the Latin language, a good knowledge of its vocabulary and the different uses of the Latin language by different authors as well as an appreciation of the relationship between Roman society and its language and literature are, thus, the central aims of this programme.

Educational aims of programme

The programme aims

  • to develop students’ knowledge of the Latin language, leading to growing fluency, accuracy of comprehension and sensitivity to linguistic nuance
  • to develop students’ understanding and critical appreciation of a wide range of Latin literature, with due attention to its literary, historical and cultural context
  • to extend students' study of Latin literature beyond the normal classical limits into the post- classical period
  • to enable students to embark on further study and research in the fields of Latin language and literature (classical and post-classical)
  • to enable students to teach (after professional training) Latin language and literature at all study levels
  • to provide a solid methodological foundation for further research in Latin studies, 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 Latin Studies 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 of a range of different styles in prose and verse
  • an understanding and critical appreciation of the thoughts, beliefs, ideas and concepts of Latin authors (literary, historiographic, philosophic, rhetorical, didactic, etc.) in their social, political and historical contexts
  • an understanding of ideas and patterns of thought current in the Roman world
  • an awareness of historical and social concepts pertaining to the use of the Latin language, and of continuities with and differences from the classical period in the late Roman and/or early Medieval period
  • 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 Latin Studies 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 think creatively and imaginatively about the Latin language and Latin literature 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 Latin Studies will possess and demonstrate

  • an ability to appreciate linguistic, literary and cultural difference in the use (and users) of Latin
  • an ability to analyse and explain, on the example of Latin, 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 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 the Latin language and Latin literature
  • an ability to reflect on own language use through comparison with the Roman use of the Latin language
  • an ability to reflect on the influence of the Latin language on the development of modern languages
  • an ability to reflect on the influence of Latin literature and Roman culture on the development of modern literatures and cultures

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in communication

Graduates from the MA in Latin Studies 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 Latin Studies 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 Latin Studies 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

a) Modes of study: the standard mode of study for the MA in Latin Studies is full-time.

b) Programme-specific entry, typical programme structure and progression requirements:

  • The programme is open to total beginners in the Latin language as well as to students who have already attained some knowledge of 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) in Year 1, while those who already have a secure knowledge of the language take Latin 1c (1st semester) and Latin 1d (2nd semester) in Year 1. [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).
  • In addition to their courses in Latin, students are required to take in both Year 1 and Year 2, a further 80 credits: in Year 1, 40 of the 80 credits are recommended to come from 'The Roman World 1A: The Rise of Rome' and 'The Roman World 1B: The Roman Empire', or 'Greek 1A' and 'Greek 1B', or 'Greek 1C' and 'Greek 1D''; in Year 2, all of the 80 further credits are subject to student choice.  Course(s) in second year must follow on from courses already passed in first year in the sense defined in the College Regulations.
  • A pass at 40% is required in the first-year courses in Latin to progress to the second-year courses. And a pass at 50% (at first attempt) in the second-year courses in Latin is required to progress to Honours in Latin Studies.
  • 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 at least 40 credits from Honours courses in Latin. In Year 4, 40 credits must come from ‘Latin language B’, a further 40 credits from Honours courses in Latin, and 40 credits from the Dissertation.
  • Assessment in the MA in Latin Studies 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.

c) 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.

d) Exit awards: the MA in Latin Studies (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

In Year 2 (for core courses)

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials

In Year 3

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Groupwork
  • Museum visits

In Year 4

  • Research Project
  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Seminars
  • Groupwork
  • Museum visits

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 126740
Year 222780
Year 314860
Year 411890

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 (for core courses)

  • Essays
  • Coursework
  • Class tests
  • Written Examinations

In Year 2 (for core courses)

  • Essays
  • Coursework
  • Class tests
  • Written Examinations

In Year 3

  • Essays
  • Written Examinations
  • Seminar Presentations/Assignments
  • Class tests
  • Group Exercise

In Year 4

  • Dissertation
  • Essays
  • Written Examinations
  • Seminar Presentations/Assignments
  • Class tests
  • Group Exercise

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 159041
Year 260040
Year 357043
Year 443255

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.