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Figures carved in statue in Rome

MA in Classical Studies

This fascinating course examines many different aspects of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds – their literature, history, philosophy, archaeology, languages and material cultures – through a scholarly tradition that is both fast-moving and long-standing. You will investigate the different disciplinary areas within Classical Studies, and you will come into direct contact with a wide range of evidence from classical antiquity including literary texts and material artefacts, which you’ll examine from multiple theoretical and methodological perspectives. You will also acquire and develop research skills that will enhance your knowledge of the ancient Graeco-Roman world and prepare you for independent study, culminating in a dissertation.

Key features of the course

  • Explores the question of ‘how we know what we know’ about the ancient civilisations of Greece and Rome
  • Takes an interdisciplinary approach to the study of ‘the ancient body’, including birth, death, ancient medicine, dress and beauty 
  • Draws on cutting-edge research by members of the Classical Studies department
  • Concludes with a substantial piece of independent research on a topic of your choice.

Masters degree

Course code
F27
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
180
How long it takes
2–10 years
Read more about how long it takes
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Course cost
Postgraduate loan available
See Fees and funding
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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Course details

Modules

To gain this qualification you require 180 credits as follows:

Compulsory modules Credits Next start
MA Classical Studies part 1 (A863)

This module tackles the question, ‘How do we know what we know’ about ancient Greece and Rome by investigating classical studies as a multidisciplinary field.

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60 06 Oct 2018
MA Classical Studies part 2 (A864)

Drawing on cutting edge research, this module explores aspects such as birth, death, ancient medicine, dress and beauty in the ancient world in an interdisciplinary way, preparing you for the writing of your dissertation.

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Register
120 06 Oct 2018

Or from the discontinued modules A860, A861 if you started before 2014.

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 60 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.


We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 8th June 2018.

Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills
Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes.

Credit transfer

If you’ve successfully completed some relevant postgraduate study elsewhere, you might be able to count it towards this qualification, reducing the number of modules you need to study. You should apply for credit transfer as soon as possible, before you register for your first module. For more details and an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website. 


On completion

On successful completion of the required modules you can be awarded the Master of Arts in Classical Studies, entitling you to use the letters MA (Class Stud) (Open) after your name. You will have the opportunity of being presented at a degree ceremony.

If you leave the programme before you qualify for a degree you can be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate in Humanities after successfully completing MA Classical Studies part 1 (A863).

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website. 

Entry requirements

You must hold an honours degree to study for our MA in Classical Studies. Although your degree need not be in Classical Studies, you must show some knowledge of the subject, together with the study skills expected of a graduate in this field. The part 1 module brings you up to date with the latest ideas and approaches, but it does not offer remedial undergraduate training if your qualifications and/or experience are inappropriate – if you’re in any doubt, please contact us before you enrol.

To study successfully for this MA, you need to be able to:

  • write clear, concise, accurate prose
  • read large quantities of text quickly, accurately and critically
  • classify evidence precisely and assess its value and reliability
  • argue logically, consistently and sceptically
  • marshal various sorts of evidence to support a logical argument.

How long it takes

Modules on this MA are studied during a fixed period each year. The minimum overall time in which it is possible to complete the qualification is two years, studying the modules consecutively. If you do not study the modules consecutively, you must have completed them by a maximum of 10 years to qualify for the degree.

Career relevance

From an academic point of view, an MA in Classical Studies is the final step towards a PhD and an academic career, but it also has a much wider relevance in terms of employability. As well as giving you the means to continue your study of the ancient world and the opportunity to explore an area of that world which particularly interests you, the MA in Classical Studies can help benefit your career in a number of ways. Classical Studies graduates often go on to careers in museums, journalism and teaching, but other employers recognise the unique qualities of a Classical Studies degree as well: they have long valued the skills and abilities that Classical Studies graduates display because of the high level of critical and independent thinking involved, the close work with sources of evidence and attention to detail, as well as the proven ability graduates have to conduct independent research, evaluate a range of types of evidence, and complete projects to deadlines and within word limits. Above all, an MA in Classical Studies leads to a better understanding of where we come from and who we are today, and employers often recognize the value of such a unique perspective on human culture and society.  

Careers and Employability Services have more information on how OU study can improve your employability.