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MA in Classical Studies


This MA is designed to help you 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. It investigates Classical Studies as a multidisciplinary field and brings you into direct contact with texts, artefacts and other surviving evidence from classical antiquity. This fragmentary evidence is examined from a range of theoretical and methodological perspectives including options in classical archaeology, language and reception, and a subject module based around the body in classical antiquity.

Planning your studies

You must hold an honours degree to study for our MA in Classical Studies course. Your degree need not be in the subject area, but you must have the basic skills expected of a graduate in that area and show some knowledge of classical studies. The part 1 module brings you up to date with the latest ideas and approaches in classical studies but does not offer remedial undergraduate training for those who have an inappropriate bachelors degree or inadequate experience. Before you start the MA you must be able to:

  • write clear, concise, grammatically correct and accurately spelt 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.

If you would like help to assess your preparedness you can contact us for advice.

You must commence your studies towards the MA in Classical Studies with the part 1 module which tackles the question of ‘How we know what we know’ about ancient Greece and Rome by investigating the different disciplinary fields of classical studies. Your final module must be the part 2 module. This module will be worth waiting for as it will be your chance to explore an exciting new field of classical studies: The Ancient Body.  Drawing on cutting-edge research by members of the Classical Studies department, this module will look as aspects such as birth, death, ancient medicine, dress and beauty in an interdisciplinary way. Throughout this module you will gradually be prepared for the writing of your dissertation.

You must complete this qualification within ten years.

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.

Career relevance and employability

Studying an MA in Classical Studies at the OU is challenging but fun. You will learn about the many different aspects of Greek and Roman worlds - their literature, history, philosophy and material cultures - and the various ways one can approach them through a scholarly tradition that is both fast-moving and long-standing. As well as giving you the opportunity to explore an area of that world which particularly interests you, by means of developing your critical ability and independent thinking the MA in Classical Studies can help benefit your career and even be the first step towards a PhD. Above all, it will lead to a better understanding of where we come from and who we are today.

There is more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU’s Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication OU study and your career and look at our subject pages to find out about career opportunities.


For this masters degree you require:

180 credits from the following compulsory modules:
Postgraduate 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.

See full description

60 Oct 2015
MA Classical Studies part 2 (A864) NEW

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

See full description

120 Oct 2015

Or from the discontinued modules A860, A861, A867 if you started before 2014.

Learning outcomes

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, and how they are acquired through teaching, learning and assessment methods.

Credit for previous study elsewhere

If you have already completed some successful study at postgraduate level at another institution you may be able to transfer credit for this study and count it towards this Open University qualification. If you wish to apply to transfer credit you must do so as soon as possible as it may affect your choice of OU modules. If you are awarded credit for study completed elsewhere, you may find that you need to study fewer OU modules to complete your qualification with us.

Visit our Credit Transfer site for more information and details of how to apply for credit transfer.

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 qualify for a Postgraduate Certificate in Humanities (C20) after successfully completing either A860 or A863, or a Postgraduate Diploma in Humanities (D35) if you have studied A860 and A861.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the following regulations:

These regulations are also available on our Essential Documents website.

How to register

If you want to study for this qualification, read the description and check you meet any specific requirements (for example, some of our qualifications, require you to be working in a particular environment, or be sponsored by your employer). Then select the module you wish to study first and ensure it is suitable for you before following the registration procedure for that module. During the registration procedure you will be asked to declare which qualification you are studying towards.

See a full list of modules available for this qualification

About this Taught Masters
Code F27
Level Postgraduate
Made up of 180 credits

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