By combining Ancient History (75% of your course) with Philosophy (25%) you'll have the opportunity to study the history of Greece and Rome in the Classical period as the major element of your degree alongside ancient and modern philosophy. With roots of the subject anchored in the ancient world, Philosophy makes an ideal partner for classical subjects.
Taught by a variety of internationally recognised experts, Ancient History offers the opportunity to study the history of Greece and Rome in the Classical period (600 BCE to 700 CE). Over three years you will delve into the politics, events and developments underpinning our understanding of many aspects of historical societies and, indeed, our own culture. You will explore themes, key periods and problems in Greek and Roman history, such as the emergence (and fall) of democracy and the rise, decline and fall of Empires.
As a student of Ancient History you will be part of our Classics Department, where the quality of research that informs our teaching and a friendly, individual approach which shapes the way we guide our students combine to create an unbeaten academic experience.
At Royal Holloway we have a unique approach to Philosophy that looks beyond the narrow confines of the Anglo-American analytic or the European tradition of philosophy focus on both traditions, their relationship and connections between them. The result has been the creation of a truly interdisciplinary and collaborative course that brings together academic staff from departments across the university.
With the opportunity to examine (amongst other things) the mind and consciousness, aesthetics and morals, the self and others, the range of subjects available to Philosophy students at Royal Holloway guarantees that there will be something on offer that really engages you during your time with us.
Our flexible degree programmes enable you to apply to take a Placement Year, which can be spent studying abroad, working or carrying out voluntary work. You can even do all three if you want to (minimum of three months each)! To recognise the importance of this additional skills development and university experience, your Placement Year will be formally recognised on your degree certificate and will contribute to your overall result. Please note conditions may apply if your degree already includes an integrated year out, please contact the Careers & Employability Service for more information. Find out more
- Explore key themes and problems such as the rise, decline and fall of Empires.
- Opportunities to study archaeology, literature, philosophy and language.
- Choose to specialise in Greek or Roman history, or both.
- A historical range from ancient to contemporary analytic philosophy.
- Develop critical skills for your career or further study.
Core ModulesYear 1
You will take the following modules in Ancient History:
In this module you will develop an understanding of the Greek World in the Classical Period. You will look at the key events in Greek History from 580 to 323 BC and place these in their historical context. You will consider historical problems and critically examine information and accounts set out in the Greek sources as well as in the works of modern historians. You will analyse a range of sources materials, including inscription, historiography and oratory, and develop an awareness of potential bias in these.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the development of Roman politics and society over the extended period of Roman history, from early Rome through to the emergence of the Medieval World. You will look at the chronology and development of Rome, examining key themes in the interpretation of particular periods of Roman history, including the rise and fall of the Republic and the Imperial Monarchy. You will consider the difficulties and methological issues in the interpretation of Roman Historiography and analyse a variety of theoretical approaches used by historians.
In this module you will develop an understanding of how different classical disciplines interrelate. You will focus on specific academic skills such as avoiding plagiarism, approaching and evaluating a range of ancient evidence, using library and other resources, critically evaluating modern scholarship and theoretical approaches, and relating academic study to employability.
You will take the following module in Philosophy:
Knowledge is often thought to be the highest achievement of rational creatures, the thing that distinguishes us from other animals and is the basis of our ability to predict and control our environment. Beginning with the most Platonic of questions—‘what is knowledge?’—this course introduces you to basic topics in contemporary epistemology. Among the questions it goes on to address are: why is knowledge valuable?; how do we acquire knowledge and how do we pass it on to others?; how do we become better knowers?; is there such a thing as collective knowledge?; do animals have knowledge?; is there such a thing as knowledge at all?
You will take the following modules in Philosophy:
In this module you will develop an understanding of the major debates in European and some Anglo-American philosophy. You will look at the key texts by eighteenth and nineteenth-century philosophers Immanuel Kant and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, examining the continuing significance of their ideas. You will consider the major epistemological, ethical and aesthetical issues their idea raise, and the problems associated with the notion of modernity. You will also analyse the importance of the role of history in modern philosophy via Hegel's influence.
In this module you will develop an understanding of how the rationalist and empiricist traditions in philosophy influence contemporary thought in the philosophy of mind. You will look at the continuing relevance of the mind-body problem to the question of what it is to be a human being and consider the connections between the analytic and European traditions in philosophy with respect to language, subjectivity, and the phenomenology of experience. You will also examine the importance of consciousness to contemporary debates in philosophy, psychology and cognitive science.
- Extended Essay (Dissertation)
There are a number of optional course modules available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course modules that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new modules may be offered or existing modules may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.Year 1
Optional modules in Ancient History may include:
The Roman Republic occupies a special place in the history of Western civilisation. In this module, we explore the history of the Republic from the foundation of Rome to the murder of Julius Caesar on the Ides of March 44 BC. Students will examine the social and political pressures that drove Rome to conquer her Mediterranean empire and the consequences of that expansion for the Romans and for the peoples they conquered. The major literary sources will be discussed in translation, together with the evidence of archaeology and material culture which helps us to bring the ancient Romans to life.
For almost half a millennium, the Roman empire ruled over the ancient Mediterranean world. This module surveys the golden years of imperial Rome, from the achievement of sole rule by the first emperor Augustus (31 BC - AD 14) to the murder of Commodus (the white-clad emperor from Gladiator) in AD 192. We will analyse the political, social and cultural developments under the emperors of the first and second centuries AD, and reassess their achievements and legacies: Claudius’ invasion of Britain, Nero’s cultured tyranny, the terrible efficiency of Domitian, Trajan the conqueror, and the philosophical Marcus Aurelius.
- Greek History to 404 BC
- Greek History from 403 to 322
- Greek Historiography
- Historiography of the Roman World
Optional modules in Ancient History may include:
- Gender in Classical Antiquity
- Greek Law and Lawcourts
- The Roman Republic: A Social and Economic History
- The Rise of the Roman Empire: An Economic and Social history
- Alexander the Great
- The City from Augustus to Charlemagne: The Rise and Fall of Civilisation
Optional modules in Philosophy may include:
- Modern European Philosophy 1: Husserl to Heidegger
- Modern European Philosophy 2: Critical Theory and Hermeneutics
- Philosophy and the Arts
- The Varieties of Scepticism
- The Philosophy of Religion
- Philosophy of Religon
- Philosophy and Literature
- The Good Life in Ancient Philosophy
Teaching & assessment
The course has a modular structure, whereby students take 12 course units at the rate of four units per year. At least five units of Ancient History must be taken over the three years of the degree, with at least two at year 3 level.
You will be taught through a mixture of lectures, seminars and individual tutorials, depending on the subjects studied. Outside classes, you will undertake group projects and wide-ranging but guided independent study, including completing language exercises and reading prescribed and open material. Private study and preparation are essential parts of every course, and you will have access to many online resources and the University’s comprehensive e-learning facility, Moodle. When you start with us, you are assigned a Personal Tutor to support you academically and personally.
In your final year the Classics department provides ongoing support for your dissertation work, which usually includes:
- Lectures and practical sessions on Dissertation Research Methods e.g. planning your topics, carrying out research, using specialist resources, finding information in print and online, and managing your search results and references. These sessions are run in conjunction with the Library Service and are generally also open to second year students.
- Short departmental writing ‘surgeries’, in which academic staff offer general writing support if you experiencing problems and/or those who have specific queries.
Assessment takes place by a flexible combination of essays, projects, examinations, and tests, various methods being employed depending on the nature of the course unit and the intended learning outcomes. In the third-year, students complete a guided and extended piece of independent research, a 10,000 word dissertation, on a historical subject.
A Levels: ABB-BBB
- At least five GCSEs at grade A*-C or 9 - 4 including English and Mathematics.
Where an applicant is taking the EPQ alongside A - levels, the EPQ will be taken into consideration and result in lower A-level grades being required. Socio - economic factors which may have impacted an applicant's education will be taken into consideration and alternative offers may be made to these applicants.
Other UK and Ireland Qualifications
International & EU requirements
English language requirements
All teaching at Royal Holloway (apart from some language courses) is in English. You will therefore need to have good enough written and spoken English to cope with your studies right from the start.
The scores we require
- IELTS: 6.5 overall. Writing 7.0. No other subscore lower than 5.5.
- Pearson Test of English: 61 overall. Writing 69. No other subscore lower than 51.
- Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE): ISE III.
- Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) grade C.
For more information about country-specific entry requirements for your country please visit here.
For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, we offer an International Foundation Year, run by Study Group at the Royal Holloway International Study Centre. Upon successful completion, you may progress on to selected undergraduate degree programmes at Royal Holloway, University of London.
Your future career
Our degree courses not only promote academic achievement but also the means to hone the life-skills necessary to excel, post-graduation.
Studying a Classical subject requires research, assessment, reasoning, organization and self-management often on your own or as part of a team. In Philosophy you learn to develop and express reasoned arguments, to use logical processing and critical analysis to defend your position and debate opposing opinions. So, by choosing to study these intellectually demanding disciplines in combination you will develop a broad range of skills which are highly prized by employers, including:
- the ability to communicate views and present arguments clearly and coherently
- the ability to critically digest, analyse and summarise content
- time management and the discipline to meet deadlines
- organisation and research skills
- problem-solving skills and capability
Being able to understand and process complex issues, to critically evaluate resources and construct coherent arguments both verbally and in writing is why many Royal Holloway classicists become employed in law, marketing, publishing, the media, government and finance. With its emphasis on reason and argumentation, philosophy is an excellent preparation for a career in law, religion, business, international diplomacy, social work, medical management or writing as well as post-graduate education.
Employers like Channel 4, multinational law firm SJ Berwin, The Guildhall (City of London), accountancy firm KPMG, the Natural History Museum, Customs and Immigration, London Advertising, Broadstone Pensions and Investments and the Armed Forces have all recently recruited Royal Holloway alumni from the Department of Classics.
Fees & funding
Home and EU students tuition fee per year*: £9,250
International students tuition fee per year**: £18,800
Other essential costs***: There are no single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course
How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options, including loans, scholarships and bursaries. UK students who have already taken out a tuition fee loan for undergraduate study should check their eligibility for additional funding directly with the relevant awards body.
*The tuition fee for UK undergraduates is controlled by Government regulations. For students starting a degree in the academic year 2020/21, the fee will be £9,250 for that year. The Government has also confirmed that EU nationals starting a degree in 2020/21 will pay the same fee as UK students for the duration of their course.
For EU nationals starting a degree in 2021/22, the UK Government has confirmed that you will not be eligible to pay the same fees as UK students, nor be eligible for funding from the Student Loans Company. At Royal Holloway, we are currently reviewing the implications of this announcement for our applicants and will provide further information on the fee you can expect to pay shortly.
**Fees for international students may increase year-on-year in line with the rate of inflation. The policy at Royal Holloway is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information see fees and funding and our terms and conditions. Fees shown above are for 2020/21 and are displayed for indicative purposes only.
***These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.