Skip to content

Toggle service links

You are here

  1. Home
  2. Schools
  3. School of Arts and Cultures
  4. Classical Studies
  5. Postgraduate Taught
  6. MA Classical Studies: Advice to Applicants:

MA Classical Studies: Advice to Applicants:

Entry Advice

There are three requirements for successfully taking the Classical Studies MA:

  • An enthusiasm for all aspects of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds, and willingness to study a broad range of topics rigorously and in depth via guided, but increasingly independent, research. This MA is taught entirely online, but with the support of a tutor who will interact with you through online discussion forums and through discussions in real time.
  • The skills associated with a degree in the Humanities(you must have a BA Honours degree by the time you begin): familiarity with the methods of study and critical evaluation of a range of source material, textual and/or visual; the ability to present a coherent and organized written argument on a given topic; the skills associated with reading, understanding and analyzing large quantities of secondary literature on a variety of topics. If you would like to assess or brush up on your research skills, you could work through some of our short online skills courses.
  • Your enthusiasm and skills must be backed up by some knowledge gained in previous study, as the course materials assume that you have a good background knowledge of the ancient world. This will usually mean that, if your first degree was not in single or joint honours Classics/Classical Studies/Ancient History, it included at least some modules in these subjects, and that you achieved a 2:1 or better in those modules. If this is not the case, before applying we recommend that you take one of our undergraduate modules; in particular, A219 Exploring the Classical World (60 points) or A330 Myth in the Greek and Roman worlds (60 points), or at the very least work through some of our materials from A219, A330 or A340 on OpenLearn. You can find links direct to these through our Taster Materials page. Alternatively, taking relevant evening classes or MOOCs may help you to ensure you have enough background knowledge to take this MA.

One good way to get up to speed with MA-level work and to enhance your research skills is to take the free online course Succeeding in postgraduate study. A sample from the first part of the MA, on the Library of Alexandria, is available on OpenLearn, and this will give you a sense of how online learning works. Alternatively, taking relevant evening classes or MOOCs may help you to ensure you have enough background knowledge to take this MA. A free, 6-week MOOC produced by one of the MA course team is next available on 11 June 2018; its topic is ‘Health and Wellbeing in the Ancient World’.

The MA consists of a 60-credit foundation module and a 120 credit module comprising the subject module and the dissertation.

Here are some further suggestions of how to ensure that you are ready for MA level work:

A863 The Foundation Module

If it is a long time since you worked on classical studies, or if you are relatively new to the subject, you may find useful:

On classical literature:

Allan, William (2014) Classical Literature: A very short introduction, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Beard, M. and Henderson, J. (2000) Classics: A very short introduction, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Hall, E. (2014) Introducing the Ancient Greeks: From Bronze Age seafarers to navigators of the Western mind, London, Bodley Head.

Pelling, C. and Wyke, M. (eds) (2014) Twelve Voices from Greece and Rome: Ancient ideas for modern times, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

On ancient history:

Boatwright, Mary T., Daniel J. Gargola, and Richard J. A. Talbert (2004) The Romans: From village to empire, New York and Oxford, Oxford Univ. Press

Cartledge, P. (2011) Ancient Greece: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford and New York, Oxford Univ. Press

Goodman, M. (1997) The Roman world, 44 BC–AD 180, London and New York, Routledge

Hornblower, S. (2011) The Greek World 479-323 BC, London and New York, Routledge

Kelly, C. (2006) The Roman Empire: A very short introduction, Oxford and New York, Oxford Univ. Press

Martin, T.R. (1996) Ancient Greece: From Prehistoric to Hellenistic Times, New Haven & London, Yale University Press

Potter, D. (2009) Ancient Rome: A new history. New York: Thames & Hudson.

Treggiari, S. (2002) Roman Social History, London and New York, Routledge

While knowledge of the Greek or Latin language is not necessary for the MA, knowledge of elementary Greek or Latin might be valuable for later work, especially for the dissertation (depending on your choice of topic).

The following websites provide an introduction to the ancient Greek and Latin languages:

Introducing Ancient Greek

Getting started on Classical Latin

If you have not previously studied ancient material culture, you could read:

Alcock, S. E. and Osborne, R. (2012) Classical Archaeology, 2nd edition, Chichester, Wiley-Blackwell.

or Greene, K. (2010) Archaeology: An Introduction, 5th edition, London, Routledge.

If you have not previously studied classical reception, you could read:

Hardwick, L. (2004) Translating words, Translating Cultures, Classical Inter/Faces, London, U.K., Duckworth.

To get a flavour of the interdisciplinary nature of classical studies, and of current research in the discipline, visit Classics Confidential.

A864 The Subject Module

The focus of this module is the interdisciplinary study of the body in antiquity. Here we would recommend the following:

Garrison, D. H. (ed.). (2010). A Cultural History of the Human Body in Antiquity. New York, Berg.

Foxhall, L. (2013). Studying Gender in Classical Antiquity. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Montserrat, D. (ed.). (1998). Changing Bodies, Changing Meanings. Studies on the Human Body in Antiquity. London, Routledge.

Robb, J. and Harris, O.J.T. (2013). The Body in History: Europe from the palaeolithic to the future, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Squire, M. (2011). The Art of the Body: antiquity and its legacy, London, I.B. Tauris and Co.

Request your prospectus

Request a prospectus icon

Explore our qualifications and courses by requesting one of our prospectuses today.

Request prospectus

Are you already an OU student?

Go to StudentHome